So I’ve being looking in the dictionary (for the last half an hour!) and there really is no word to describe the kind of excitement that makes you do a moonwalk across the floor. So whatever the adjective is that I’m struggling to find, the reason I am like this is all down to this amazing ceremony that I am sharing with you today.
Officiated by the lovely Michael Gordon, on a sunny (for most of the time) English day, this time last year, Lucy and Dave celebrated their love for each other and their new union in a truly unique and heartfelt ceremony, which included a Pagan jumping of the broom ritual! So surely you can see the reasons for my excitement? And what’s more any ceremony that had to face the trials of weather, wasps and the late arrival of the best man is well worth documenting!
Although, later than scheduled due to the late arrival of the best man (delayed by a very important but successful job interview!) Dave and Lucy made their entrance up the red carpet together, where I was waiting for them under the lovely floral arch. The service of blessing began and after my welcome, and a few words about absent friends, I talked briefly about Lucy and Dave’s love story that nearly never happened (as Dave had chickened out of popping the question when he thought the time was right). Anyway, the next time the opportunity came about, in Warwick Castle, he pretended to offer Lucy a chocolate bar, but when she unwrapped it, she found a ring. How romantic is that!
Trials and tribulations
Not long after the ceremony started, a wasp decided to get involved, and it buzzed around the three of us very persistently. This didn’t help Dave’s nerves, or, if I’m honest, mine. Lucy was seemingly unmovable, though! This being Britain, ‘the show had to go on’, and as we moved on to readings about love and then words of wisdom about marriage, the wasp finally lost interest. Unfortunately, there was a reason for this, which was that the heavens decided that this would be a good time to open! And so with that it started to rain!
As the celebrant, I felt that, although we still had a few minutes left ahead of us, we could hardly stop the ceremony. So we moved on to the significance of the rings. As we three were getting decidedly damp, an enterprising bright spark picked up a table parasol, opened it and brought it up to the front so that Lucy (though not we men-folk!) could be protected. This caused a good deal of laughter, and helped Dave to relax, too.
As the shower passed, I recited the lovely Apache (Navajo) wedding blessing, with its rather ironic (in the event) beginning:
“Now you will feel no rain, for each of you will be a shelter for the other. Now you will feel no cold, for each of you will be warmth to the other. Now there will be no loneliness, for each of you will be a companion to the other.
Now you are two persons, but there is only one life before you. Go now to your dwelling place to enter the days of your togetherness.
May beauty surround you both in the journey ahead and through all the years. May happiness be your companion, and may your days together be good and long upon the earth.”
Lucy and Dave had been adamant when we were planning the ceremony that there should be some light-hearted elements. So before we ended, there was the pagan “Jumping the Broom” ceremony. I explained that Lucy and Dave would together jump over the broom to symbolise a new beginning, a welcoming of the new – sweeping away old cares and worries. This represents entering into a new life of husband and wife. The wood represents the strength of the commitment in the marriage. The leap symbolises joyfully taking the leap into married life together.
I then held the broom some two feet above the ground and invited Lucy to hurdle it in her dress. To the onlookers’ delight, she looked completely horrified, as was the intention. Of course, I then lowered it to just a few inches above the ground!
Edit: The jumping of the broom depicted in this wedding is of Pagan origin. A ritual which was and still is hugely common within Europe. It is in no way, shape or form connected to the ‘jumping of the broom,’ ritual which has its roots and development attributed to African-American slavery. Yes, the same instrument is used, yes, the same action of jumping is undertaken, but the meaning and context is entirely different.
It was such a lovely, warm occasion for a delightful couple; everybody had a smile on their face. And now there’s an even happier end to the story. Lucy and Dave in recent months have just become parents to twin girls!
Edit: The jumping of the broom depicted in this wedding is of Pagan origin. A ritual which was and still is hugely common within Europe. It is in no way, shape or form connected to the ‘jumping of the broom,’ ritual which has its roots and development attributed to African-American slavery. Yes, the same instrument is use, yes, the same action ins undertaken, but the meaning and context is entirely different.
Mad love to;
Civil celebrant Michael Gordon for recounting this lovely ceremony
Soody Ahmed from Everlasting Memories for the images
And Dave and Lucy for allowing us to share their ceremony story! Good luck with your new baby daughters!