Winter Woodland Wedding
An ancient Irish woodland in winter, moss covered tree limbs, holly and ivy. It’s a secret location. An intimate gathering, the tinkling sound of a nearby stream. Its quiet save for the sounds of nature, the sounds that call this magical place home. Today there will be new sounds, gentle loving human voices and these same human voices have spent time with this woodland seeking its approval to exchange their wedding vows on this Winter Wedding Day.
It's the 12th day of the 12th month of the year 2021, these numbers are meaningful for our couple. The gathering is small and intimate. Our couple, myself, six of their closest friends and two musicians. The ceremonial cacao drink which the couple will share with their guests is hot and fragrant, we made it together a little earlier and it is imbued with loving thoughts and hopes and dreams for the future. It came all the way from Guatemala, from the bean of the Cacao tree grown on hallowed ground and tended to lovingly from bean to bar.
This is a simple ceremony but so full of meaning and symbolism. The elements are present, earth, fire, wind and water. We have lit a little fire in a clearing, for heat but also to welcome the brighter days ahead. The groom proudly stands in his wedding suit waiting for his love to arrive. He keeps the winter chill out with the woollen waistcoat his father wore when he married his mother. As our bride approaches through the trees one of the musicians, a Sean Nós singer begins to sing the hauntingly beautiful Mediaeval Irish carol called The Wexford Carol. Her sweet strains echo from tree to tree and fill the air with love and the entire forest seems to sit up and take notice, as though knowing something very special is about to unfold.
She is wearing a simple long sleeved white dress with a crocheted shawl fastened round her shoulders. Her dark hair hangs loose and she wears a crown of red berries. She reminds me of a Celtic goddess of Nature.
Never taking their eyes off each other she makes her way to his side. They join hands and our ceremony begins…