Village wedding and English pub reception in the United Kingdom
Chad and James planned a destination wedding as a unique solution to a common problem. In an attempt to avoid closed-minded relatives from attending the wedding, the two decided to invite everyone in their family so the thought was there, but assuming most people would not attend. Thinking almost no one would come due to expenses, time off of work, and general travel inconveniences, the couple was very surprised to see just how many family and friends flew across the pond to join them on their special day.
From the photographer, Paul Rogers:
Chad and James flew their family and friends over to the UK from California for a English Village wedding followed by a pub lunch with friends before everyone was transported by vintage bus to the UK’s gay capital, Brighton.
James comes from a very large Mormon family. When faced with navigating their religious beliefs, as well as the size of the family, I panicked. The Sea Ranch Wedding I had dreamed about suddenly became a mob scene numbering 300 people. There’s no way I could justify the funds needed. As an alternative, we conceived of a very small, modest wedding near a group of close friends in England. Keeping in mind the cost of travel and time off needed, we’d invite our whole family and many friends, assuming most would opt out. This also would avoid any awkward religious conversations with James’ family.
Our plan worked, but not quite as well as we expected. What we thought to be 20 people, soon grew to 60 people, with RSVP cards with +6 having me breathing into a paper bag. Many people from James’ family were eager to attend, and so many of our friends used it as an excuse to travel. Over 40 flights to England were purchased on behalf of our nuptials. We don’t come from a particularly affluent bunch, but suddenly everyone was coming!
We fretted over the details for over a year, insisting the day be as simple, modest and unpretentious as we could possibly have. We said no to so many wedding conventions, down to opting for no flowers, only live plants. There were many twists and turns: we approached the vicar of the village, just to say a blessing at a meal, when he invited us to be married inside the church. The vicar and the village is very progressive, and it turns out he’s a very famous TV presenter of religious-oriented shows on the BBC as well as an accomplished author and speaker.
My spouse is a bit on the nerdy side, and he wanted to cut the cake with “ a sword older than our country.” We found a 300-year-old sword surprisingly easily. Being England, there’s stores for such things. To our surprise, the cake actually fought back from being stabbed, bending the sword! I’m not sure if that’s a good sign, but we’ll go with it. Many of the women, especially from James’ side, really got into the idea of wearing hats to the ceremony. Some of them were even beautifully hand crafted.