Ceri and Andy, in the Library with the Broomstick. No I wasn’t playing Cluedo!
I was, in fact, officiating a lovely intimate vow renewal ceremony for a gorgeous couple who have been together 40 years. They measure their ‘special date’ from their first kiss (as it was a year in the coming) rather than their wedding day.
I could have cried with joy at the harp; the sound of it just resonates in my soul and is the most melodious, grounding yet ethereal experience. And Nia, played it perfectly, selecting Celtic tunes at the request of the couple. Our mutual friend, Amanda Rose was one of their guests and we were both in awe of the harp, I joked that, being such a mobile instrument(!), I should like to be permanently accompanied by a harpist , as it would be good for my wellbeing. Being an illustrator , Amanda immediately started sketching on a scrap of paper as I described my need for a little wheeled cart on which my harpist would perch, as it dragged it along, (like a go-cart) wherever I went.
Anyway, I digress.
I absolutely adore vow renewal ceremonies. They really show true love and it’s strengthening, moulding and deepening with the passage of time. With a vow renewal you can take time to reflect on your shared journey. You can give gratitude to your partner for their love and support and how, together, you navigated the imperfections of life and overcame the challenges.
And we did everything just a little differently from what would be considered a traditional ‘norm’. My couple settled into the library first, we had a chat and a hug, Nia started playing, and, when they felt ready, we opened the doors to the adjoining bar, and welcomed their guests in.
Their story and vows involved a degree of humour, with Andy promising to try and keep the kitchen tidy in future years! The close friends and family were invited to affirm promises for their love and supp0rt of them as a couple.
There were interludes for reflection as Nia mesmerised us with the lilting sounds of the harp.
And then, at Andy & Ceri’s request, they “Jumped the Broom”.
Jumping the broom is believed to have originated from a time of slavery, when those in servitude were the property of those they served. They were not allowed to marry without permission of their owners, they had very little, but as domestics, they had brooms and created their own symbolic ritual , by jumping the broom together, they were entering into a future as a couple, whatever fortunes and trials that brought. The broom, or ‘besom’ also features in Pagan and Celtic cultures, symbolising, in the same way, the crossing of a threshold into another life chapter. They were crossing the threshold into that time together. Today Andy and Ceri will hold hands and jump the besom together into their Third Age!”
The celebration was rounded off with the venue bringing champagne into the room and after we signed a certificate commemorating the occasion, with their son and daughter as witnesses, we all raised a glass to toast the happy couple.
They engaged a lovely professional photographer, Jonathan Cundy, to capture their afternoon and as soon as I get to see them I’ll share a few in part two !