A humanist wedding blessing at Pekes Manor
Pekes Manor, a 14th-century manor house in the Sussex countryside, within view of the South Downs. An old manor house, with various cottages on the grounds, so that Annabelle and Mike could book the whole venue and have a weekend of celebrations with family and friends. People who had come from afar. Many, like A&M, from their home in Manhattan, NYC, and other parts of the US. They got married two years ago in New York City but this was the main wedding day, in many ways. That had been a reception on a New York rooftop, now it was deep in the English countryside. A humanist blessing – with handfasting and wedding rings. Most important though, was family and friends to celebrate with them, in the sunshine. (Which meant quite a few sunglasses…)
Annabelle was getting ready in The Wing, amidst family and friends. Occasionally ducking under the window, should Mike walk by. As the ceremony time approached, the guests gathered for lemonade, before entering the small, open-sided marquee. Sat on hay bales – with a view looking out over lush Sussex countryside – a slight breeze in the sunshine. Annabelle was led down the aisle by her father and the celebrant, Felicity, go the ceremony started. Not long – readings, the ring exchange, and the old pagan custom of handfasting. Their mothers bound their hands together in large blue ribbon – a symbolic sign of unity. ‘Tying the knot’.
After the ceremony, A&M led the guests back to the main lawn, in front of the big marquee, for more drinks, pictures and a coconut shy! Some very competitive throwing going on too. One female guest had the best arm on the day, from what I saw. Food followed and then some speeches – funny and emotional. A joint speech from A&M. Next a barn dance. Some English dancing for the Americans. Then the DJ, with the first dance accompanied by the confetti, that hadn’t made it to the ceremony earlier. Quite a good time for confetti actually! As darkness fell, the Swedish flames got going.
Here are just a few images from this very chilled out day at Pekes Manor in Sussex…