bex & ali’s woodland wedding in the highlands

We were so fortunate to have been married by Monika, she understood us so perfectly! Nature and the outdoors is an important part of our life together and when I read about Monika's approach, her values and the types of ceremonies she has covered, I knew she was the Celebrant for us. Communication and organisation from Monika's side was brilliant, she made it so easy for us. Our wedding ceremony was very small and intimate and it was lovely to have a Celebrant we connected so well with. We wanted a simple, relaxed ceremony in a woodland that means a lot to our family and Monika really helped to create the right atmosphere for that. We also appreciated her guidance on how to ensure our two children were involved in the ceremony in a meaningful way. Monika took time to get to know us, which meant that the contents of the ceremony was tailored to us, including her beautiful readings.
bex & ali
bex & ali
When I wrote the new FAQs for this website I reflected on the question – is there any kind of ceremony I like better than others? There is no simple answer for it, because once I start working with a couple then every kind of ceremony becomes special and important to me. Saying that, I do love elopements and small ceremonies, especially when there is a DIY element that means all those involved work closely together in making things happen.
I do love trees, woodland and forests and although I am lucky enough to live on a woodland croft most of my outdoor weddings are on the beach or coast. So when Bex got in touch to enquire about a small wedding ceremony in her local woodland I was very excited! Yes, small woodland ceremonies are definitely a favourite of mine!
Bex & Ali’s ceremony was to be all centred around their immediate family, closest friends, their twin sons and their dog Millie. Short & sweet with a picnic lunch and celebration to follow. Their chosen woodland location is a place that means a lot to their family – they go there for dog walks and family fun, building dens and dams, playing in the burn, collecting sticks and using them as magic wands and broomsticks and swords. It’s where they spend quality time on sunny days and even on wet & cold ones, and where they take strength from the oak trees. Apparently it’s where even fairies live, at least in one of the stories Bex wrote for her boys! And maybe they do, because while this woodland has a lot of personal meaning for this family it has also has a very special spiritual history. As far back as the 19th century it served as a place of worship, when many travelled far to listen to sermons and take communion there. 
Planning this lovely small ceremony and working with this couple was a real pleasure. Bex and Ali are in a well established relationship and they were engaged for many years. When couples like this finally take the formal step they usually have a good idea of what they are looking for, and my role is mainly to shape and finalise those ideas. One of our considerations was how to make this a family friendly woodland wedding where their sons could play a role, without it all getting too formal. Fun and relaxed was the theme for the day and I was very happy to fit everything around that!
As always, weather worries are part of the run up to an outdoor wedding, whether on the beach or in the woods, and this one was no different. After going through all the possible forecasts and even with the threat of thunderstorms thrown my main worry had been the midges when it turned out to be a dry but still day! And yet, not for the first time, my worries were unfounded and a lovely breeze kept them away.
All the guests, the groom and one of the twins gathered at the car park where everybody picked up their picnic basket and then we all made our way to the heart of the woodland. The groom had invested a lot of time into preparing the site and there was a bell tent, some shelter and hay bales with blankets to sit on. Music played from an outdoor speaker and an atmosphere of joy and excitement started to build up, especially as we were getting close to the arrival of the bride, accompanied by her father and the other twin son.
If I had to pick my favourite moment from this morning it would probably be the waiting for Bex to arrive. I’ve seen 150 people wait for this moment at other weddings and you might think you cannot top this level of collective expectation? Well, let me tell you nothing can beat the excitement of a 7 year old boy, running back and forth and waiting to spot his mum arriving to get married to his dad. His mix of sweet anticipation and slight worry was contagious and had us all on the edge… until he shouted ‘I can see them’ and we got our first glimpse of beautiful Bex, in her stunning embroidered dress, who looked like – maybe you can guess, a fairy!
What followed was some reminiscing about Bex & Ali’s story, some beautiful readings shared by family, and the ritual we had chosen for some family fun… a memory box that the couple and their sons, and all the guests filled with beautiful mementos from their journey to this day, the wedding day itself and well wishes for the future. Millie the dog truly enjoyed this part of the ceremony too, because there was some cheerful running back and forth and a general sense of merriment.
We concluded with what is at the heart of all weddings, Bex & Ali’s promises to each other, their words to take each other as husband and wife, and an exchange of rings. Often the peak of the ceremony in this one it felt like just another highlight in a string of heartfelt and genuine acts of joy.
So to conclude this story and loop back to where we started – yes I admit this wedding will always be remembered as one of the most special ones I had the honour and pleasure to be part of!
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