Emma & Jon's sandy, handfasting, Celtic wedding celebration

Updated Oct 12 2015

Copy of ceremonie (8)

The offbeat bride: Emma, Cooking teacher in a fab Tropical Kitchen Garden program at primary school (and Tribe member)

Her offbeat partner: Jon, Registered nurse

Location & date of wedding: Casaurina coastal reserve, beach then surf club, Darwin, NT, Australia — June 26, 2010

What made our wedding offbeat: Our wedding was a blend — Celtic traditional, bush, beach, druid and earthy all rolled up into a rocking party under a really amazing eclipse of the full moon.

To the ceremony

Everyone was asked to meet in some special Casaurina trees in the coastal reserve. They were served champagne by our friends and a Vanuatan string band rocked up. (We'd spent a lot of time sailing in Vanuatu.)

I turned up, walking through the trees with my best man. We then lead a beautiful procession along through the bush to the beach ceremony site.

In a circle we had a handfasting ceremony, conducted by a good friend.

rock good
handfasting

The rings were blessed in a wooden bowl made from part of the deckhouse of the boat we sailed on. We had a quaich sent from Scotland and shared mead and exchanged rings.

We walked along the beach to the surf club and enjoyed an awesome sunset, a puppet show — with puppets of us, telling our story — an acrobat act and a rendition of The Owl and the Pussy Cat all by freinds.

best everyone
Puppets

All the food was local and organic and made by friends, family and caterers.

We sat in three long jar-candlelit tables and ate while a local funk band played. Then we danced the night away, under a full moon, with the best eclipse I've ever seen, to a crazy celtic fiddle rock band.

We even slipped in a hacking of the cake, with a sexy sword dance, fire twirlers and a belly dance.

Cake cutting
ceremony too

Our biggest challenge: Getting local organic food made was our biggest challenge. It is the area I work in and it took ages to find a caterer who was willing to do this, and it was pretty expensive. Darwin is very far from everywhere and most things are trucked in.

I did not want to do the food myself or get friends to do it, as most were on holiday. We compromised and got someone we knew to barbecue local barramundi we bought off the boats, some catered salads and some nibbles by friends. I organized a cheese board and nibbles for the evening, so everyone wouldn't get too smashed (…my efforts did not exactly work!).

I worried so much about whether there would be enough food, and how many people could be invited to dinner. In the end, of course, there was way too much and we could have invited everyone.

the celebrant talks
rock pose - rock boys and fairy girl

My favorite moment: The walk through the bush reserve, which we had done so many times, was lovely — to look back and be leading so many special people on the walk we love was fab.

Bindi sang in our ceremony circle and gave respect to the traditional owners of the land. She had consulted and cleared it with them first — something often forgotten in Australia. They were also acknowledged when bringing in the spirits of the compass points.

Singing to the trditional owners

The ceremony was really special. We constructed it with the best woman and our "super celebrant," and it underlined our spiritual link to Scotland, to nature and really bonded all present — we are feeling it still.

ceremony
Puppet show

I really enjoyed our impromptu cake cutting dance, where we joined in to Michael Buble's "Feeling Good" with our belly dancing friend.

My mum slaved over pavlovas in the shape of hearts filled with cream. She put so much effort into it. They were made with love!

Of course the eclipse of the moon — we had planned a full moon, but had no idea it would eclipse until that day. It was amazing and lasted throughout dinner and into dancing.

Another dusty sunset
Entertained

My advice for offbeat brides: Have get-togethers before and after the wedding, especially if people come from far away — barbeques or dinners, or swimming or anything. We mainly wanted a wedding so that we could get our lovely friends and family together and the more interactions the better.

rock pose

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

  • Dress and shirt: Leigh Kelly in Kuranda, Queensland
  • Earings and head pice: Sally of Embella, Darwin
  • Bands: Jigsaw collective, Darwin; Bloody Mary's, Darwin
  • Photos: our friend Justin
  • Candle holders: old jars
  • Plates: camping store
  • Table cloths and runners: homemade

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

  1. Okay, everything was absolutely gorgeous, of course… but I LOST MY SHIT when I saw the closeup of the shirt and the dress, with the tiny little seashells sewn into the beadwork! What an amazing detail!!

    Beautiful! Congratulations! 🙂

  2. As a fellow Aussie i have to say i love your whole wedding! I have a couple of friends who live in Darwin and my brother is stationed there currently and they keep telling me to come up for a visit (i'm in NSW) and your amazing photos have convinced me, what a magical part of the world! A huge congrats!

  3. oh goodness. that photo of the two of you standing in the water just gave me chills. beautiful, beautiful.

  4. Oh my gosh! I was so excited to see a wedding in my city, and recognise the rocks and everything (and the puppets too, I definitely know who made those)! Sorry, just had to get that out. Absolutely gorgeous wedding, I especially like the bouquet with the grass and ferns in it. And doing the barramundi was such a great idea! We're having our wedding interstate for various reasons, but it's cool to see how lovely it can be here.

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