The offbeat bride: Zillah

Her offbeat partner: Jon, computer programmer

Location & date of wedding: In a field near Brighton, England, UK — June 5, 2010

What made our wedding offbeat: We are both lucky enough to have families that let us do what we wanted, so we did. We hired a field with a tap and had to sort out the rest. It was basically a mini-festival, with a picnic buffet and dancing until the small hours.truly handfasted!

Just because it was in a field didn't mean we missed out on home-comforts, we had a bar with fridges, sofas and a pool table. To keep costs down we did everything ourselves, and with a lot of help from our friends and family, we had the most overwhelmingly romantic and amazing day (and night) ever.

Tell us about your ceremony: We officially got married at the town hall a couple of days before, with only eight people present. We did that just to make it legal.Nanny Pat tying us together

The main ceremony and party was our handfasting, we had about eighty people there. We didn't need any “official” people as we had already done the legal bit, so we made it up ourselves. We got our friend to “call in the directions.” Everyone turns to the North, East, South and West and shouts a loud A-HO! with their hands in the air. This was a nice ice-breaker.
jumping the hay bale!
Then everyone tied us together one at a time with their own ribbon/string/shoe lace/electric cable(!) that they had brought with them for their own personal reasons. This was a nice way to say hello to everyone and kind of like a “receiving line” but more fun. Then we said how much we loved each other (not really vows as such), and jumped over a hay bale! It was perfect.

Everyone brought unique items to tie around the couple during the handfasting ceremony.

Our biggest challenge: The generator failed and we had to get someone to come and fix it. The man who came was a hero and re-soldered the engine in the field at night, then hey presto, we had lights and music!

My favorite moment: The handfasting was very special, and very made-up on the spot! Luckily it worked out.

Our friend Dom gave a hilarious and touching speech.

ha ha point

My funniest moment: My husband was making a speech to welcome everyone and just as he said “as you can see, this is all a well oiled machine-” he knocked over his glass of champagne, and everyone laughed. I think they thought it was planned, but it wasn't, I have married Mr. Bump.

Look! Picnic tables and a basket!

My advice for offbeat brides: We were trying to save money, and did everything ourselves. I think it might have been wise to at least get someone to do the food!

What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? Never trust a generator until you've seen it doing what you need it to do!

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

  • We got the willow ‘tipis' that we got married under from Creative Willow
  • The main tent came from Party on the Grass
  • My dress, the bunting, the napkins were all handmade by me.

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Comments on Zillah & Jon’s handfasting picnic wedding in a field

  1. Love the handfasting twist of having every guest bring their own ‘rope’ – what a lovely way to include everyone & focus on the meaning of the day! Congrats!

    • It was really lovely actually. We got given some lovely things- battery powered fairy-lights, a piece of cloth blessed by the Dalai Lama, a ‘male to female’ XLR cable (funny joke), the ribbon from my mother in law’s wedding hat… Everyone thought so much about what they gave us. Now I just need to think of something to do with them all!

  2. WOW!! jumping a hay bale is just the cutest thing ever!! i love how your celebration was so loose and open and casual. you both looked so relaxed – everything a couple should be through their wedding day!!

    • Thank you, we were possibly a bit too relaxed and casual! We didn’t know what we were going to jump over… then a friend of ours put down the hay bale, and it was the perfect thing!

  3. I wish we had a field somewhere to hand an outdoors ceremony. The only large area is our yard, but our yard literally backs up to the freeway. I can look out the window from where I’m sitting and watch traffic passing at 80MPH. Outdoor-weddings are just so peaceful and wonderful. This one is no exception.

    • We live in the town, but we hired this field from a farmer about 5 miles away from where we live. He rents it out to people who do similar things there all through the summer, there might be someone near you? Although if you live in the States I guess it could be very different there?

  4. congratulations! absolutely beautiful!!! everyone looks so carefree and happy!

  5. being in the uk i wonder how you prepared for the chance of rain? looks wonderful x

    • Well, that is a good question, and it is one that I kind of pushed out of my mind. I told myself it wouldn’t matter if it rained, that we had a big enough tent to get everyone in. This was true, and we would have had a lovely time no matter what happened, but I’m really glad it didn’t rain, it made the whole thing much easier. It was a massive gamble, but you can’t stay in all the time in case it rains!

  6. Hand-fasting, picnic and hay bales… SQUEEE! Hoping for all 3 for our wedding too, but in a different style. Love this wedding, congratulations.

    (Oh.. and one quick question, do you think anyone was offended that they weren’t invited to the “signing the documents” day? we were think of doing that in advance to but FH isn’t convinced)

    • Hello, oh how exciting! Good luck! I would love to see some pics of yours.

      For the official registry part of our wedding, we just tried to emphasise how it was not the most important part to us. And how we would really love to have them at the handfasting. I think that people understood this once they saw how lovely the handfasting was.

      But we only have quite a small family, so I think it wasn’t too hard to keep it to 8 people. The next biggest room held about 50 people though, and that is the one that most people go for, I don’t know what it is like where you are, but maybe you could compromise with something like that?

      I hadn’t really thought about the registry part, as all the focus was on the handfasting day, but the registry day was actually a really lovely day too. We all went for a nice meal afterwards, then just me and my husband went to a hotel in our hometown, we had a romantic walk along the seafront that evening.

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