David Piper and Ellie Shardlow were married in a Humanist ceremony at The Priest’s House, Barden Tower, Yorkshire. I was lucky enough to be invited.
Given the weather that weekend, we were also lucky to make it there on time and in one piece! It had been steadily pouring down with rain for days and the area around Barden Tower, known for its nice rivers and pretty waterfalls was in serious danger of being underwater before the ceremony started. On the morning on the 23rd, we received a message from Ellie encouraging us to get up there sooner rather than later to avoid being delayed by floods. I was already planning to head off early as I was picking some people up from the station in Skipton so I agreed to keep in touch with my brother, John, who would be following a few hours behind. In the end there were no travel mishaps and we all arrived safely with plenty of time to spare.
Lizzie and I had rented a cottage up the road from the venue in the lovely village of Skyreholme where we will also be spending the next week on holiday, see subsequent blog posts soon hopefully, and came back to the venue by taxi after dropping off the car and getting changed. We had to cross the river to get to the Priests House and could see how close it was coming to blocking our passage home later. When we arrived at the venue, most people were already there, including John who had already started taking pictures so I should mention that although all the photos here say “(c) Paul Cooper” some of them were in fact taken by John Cooper!
After milling around outside for a bit, meeting people and catching up, it was time to head inside for the ceremony. The venue was extremely small inside with only enough room for a few people to sit down and the rest standing around wherever they could. In addition to the guests and the wedding party they also managed to fit in a piano which I heard but never saw during the ceremony.
The ceremony itself was lovely, being a humanist ceremony it was free of the religious dogma and boring legal language that make up so many ceremonies but was instead a personalised expression of the couple’s commitment to each other. Instead of singing hymns we first sang “When I’m 64” and later on “Bring me Sunshine”. In between there were poetry readings and music from members of both sides of the family. All in all a very moving and beautiful experience and everyone I talked to agreed it was probably the nicest ceremony they could remember. Pictures were encouraged but some of the below are a bit ropey due to being brightly backlit!
After the singing was done the ceremony was over and we headed outside through the bar where we were given champagne. While photographs were organised and taken, we milled around outside chatting and watching the children playing. Miraculously, the weather has remained acceptable – grey and cloudy but not cold or wet as we had feared. There were plenty of opportunities for photographs outside with the wonderful countryside or the dramatic ruins as backdrops.
Whilst waiting for the photographs to be sorted, we watched these two children playing a game of frisbee with the girl’s hat. Unfortunately I had not worked out how to use the rapid fire function of my borrowed camera otherwise there would be some better (and many more) pictures of this game!
Wow, I hadn’t realised how long this post was going to turn out to be. At this point John took the camera and stalked the official photographer for a bit so this seems like a logical point to stop. Part 2 will contain the group photographs and probably the reception, dancing and speeches. Hope you’ve enjoyed it so far and come back for the second helping!