Cathy and Ste: relaxed pub garden wedding

Cathy and Ste celebrating their humanist wedding outside at The Willow Tree, in Bourn. Image by Rebecca Watts Photography

Cathy and Ste celebrating their humanist wedding outside at The Willow Tree, in Bourn. Image by Rebecca Watts Photography

Cathy and Ste first met as students ten years ago, when they had part-time jobs at ‘The Cheshire Cat and Queen of Hearts’; a pub/ club in Manchester affectionately known as ‘Tarts’.

Given how their relationship started, it made sense to mark this bext phase at a pub albeit a more respectable establishment, The Willow Tree, in Bourn (with none of the sticky floors that Tarts was infamous for!)

The ceremony was held outside, under the branches of a huge willow tree on one of THE windiest days of the year (so that added a certain terrifying frisson to proceedings!), and wrapped around the trunk were plenty of Alice in Wonderland-themed goodies to recreate those authentic Queen of Hearts vibes!

Why a humanist wedding?

Ste and Cathy came across humanist weddings via friends of theirs, Katy and Paul, who I actually married a couple of years earlier (this is the first of my weddings where I’ve had one of my own couples in the audience, which was lovely!).

They really embraced the ethos of humanist weddings and were very keen that their ceremony centred around their love story, reflected on the meaning they were taking from this moment, and incorporated elements of their personalities to kick their celebrations off - Cathy and Ste style!

The opening of Cathy and Ste’s humanist ceremony set the scene for what was about to play out… (spoiler: I love it when couples start off disliking each other! Makes for an incredibly satisfying narrative arc because, given we’re all at the wedding, we’re all safe in the knowledge that this one is going to end okay!)

‘Now, I’ve been reading a lot of Alice in Wonderland in preparation for today’s ceremony and I’m going to follow the advice the King gives the white rabbit to ‘begin at the beginning’… because… it’s a very sensible place to start!

So, like Alice, we’re going to fall down the rabbit hole now, and, while I make no pretense that we’ll end up in anything like Wonderland, let’s just say it’s the next best thing… (Cathy and Ste aren’t looking too convinced!)

 For it is here… on the sticky dancefloor of Tarts… that we find Cathy and Ste’s… Beginning!

Back in 2008, Cathy was new to Tarts, whilst Ste had already survived a year behind the bar and was part of the battle-weary ‘old guard’ that looked fairly disparagingly upon this cohort of naïve newbies. They kept their distance from them and did their utmost to maintain this air of superiority!

Tensions between the two tribes persisted for a few months – in spite of Tarts hilarious policy of asking all their staff to jump up on the bar and break out into a prepared dance routine every time the song ‘Blame it on the Boogie’ was played (which you would think was the ULTIMATE in bonding exercises!)..

Extract from Cathy and Ste’s ceremony 

Cathy and Ste were so much fun to work with. They gave me loads of juicy material to spin into their love story, and absolutely ran wild with my ideas for making their ceremony really stand out!

Cathy and Ste incorporated a mid-ceremony shot into their humanist wedding. Image by Rebecca Watts Photography

Cathy and Ste incorporated a mid-ceremony shot into their humanist wedding. Image by Rebecca Watts Photography

For example, I suggested we do a mid-ceremony shot (in keeping with the joint pub/ Alice in Wonderland theme - serving them to guests in little ‘Drink me’ bottles).

Cathy and Ste were super-keen, and they then decided that, in order to make that point in the ceremony even more EXTRA, Cathy’s sister would spring up from the audience (Love Actually-stylee) to play the song Tequila on her sax, whilst everyone was necking their shots of Tequila - which was INSPIRED!

I also recommended finishing on a group sing-along (one of my favourite ways to end a ceremony!), which, again, they went for.

But as we worked together, Ste and Cathy came up with ANOTHER IDEA that still makes me cry with laughter when I look back on the photos and videos from the ceremony. They decided to incorporate a dance breakout, whereby Cathy, Ste, and all the old Tarts gang would do the routine to ‘Blame it on the Boogie’! It was an amazing moment, which everyone in the audience absolutely went mad for (apparently my cackles of delight are VERY audible on the official wedding video!).

Cathy and Ste were my favourite kind of couple to work with: fun, exuberant, creative, full of love for each other and excited to make a one-of-a-kind ceremony totally reflective of them. I don’t expect I’ll EVER do another Tequila shot/ saxaphone solo moment in a ceremony (more’s the pity!).

Here’s what the two of them had to say about working with me:

From the moment we met for our initial chat (Katie suggested we meet in a pub, great start!) we knew she was the person who could give us our wedding exactly the way we wanted it. We're at that stage where we've been to loads of weddings and they're all beautiful but just a tad samey and so we wanted something different, something US and that's exactly what we got. I've absolutely no idea how Katie took all of our ramblings from meetings or from our questionnaire and turned it into the most beautiful ceremony ever but she seriously nailed it :D

’SO many of our guests told us afterwards that it was the best ceremony they'd ever seen - and I'm not biased or anything but it totally was! If you're looking for a ceremony that is not only a bit unique bit is just totally and perfectly YOU then DEFINITELY give Katie a call!

If the sounds of a SUPERSTAR CEREMONY, full of love, laughter and personality sounds just the thing, then get in touch.

Blame it on the Boogie - dance breakout! Image by Rebecca Watts Photography

Blame it on the Boogie - dance breakout! Image by Rebecca Watts Photography