Fairy tale wedding in the woods

Northam couple are whisked away by the fairies as they create their own magical wedding.

FAIRIES abounded at the woodland wedding in Instow of local musician Tony Finney and community carer Lorraine Turner, both from Northam.

With the aid of friends, the couple created their own magical world at Tapeley Park in which to literally tie the knot.

Bride Lorraine wore fairy wings, as did many of the other women and girls among the 150 guests, in what was described as their ‘home made wedding.’

Lorraine’s dress was created by a friend from two bought at the Westward Ho! Cancer Care charity shop, while other friends and guests contributed by making their own fairy wings and by providing a giant paella and other food, a horse and cart for transportation, Morris dancers, music and thrones. They also contributed to a ‘pot of gold’ for the couple to spend on their honeymoon.

Their marriage vows were ‘home made,’ too, with each writing their own lines for the ceremony in the woods, led by Lorraine’s school friend Avril Elms.

The wedding took the form of a ‘handfast’ ceremony, based on Celtic roots. In an area brushed clean of the past and strewn with flower petals, the couple jumped over a broom to signify leaving their old lives behind and starting anew, after having their hands bound together with a red ribbon.

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Although not legally recognised in England, as it is in Scotland, the ceremony was a spiritually binding wedding, said Lorraine.

She and Tony, who have been together for seven years, said: “We wanted our wedding to be young at heart, with no conventional boundaries, where people could let go and be whimsical for the day. We went to the woods because the earth provides all we have and need and this way nature and our Celtic roots could have a starring role in the ceremony and everybody could be blessed by the surroundings.”

Both have suffered illness - Tony is still undergoing chemotherapy and Lorraine underwent two operations this summer.

They had considered calling the wedding off and it could not have happened but for the help of all their friends, said Lorraine.

The couple are now planning events to help cancer charities. Tony is a member of the band Firewater and they and other musician friends are planning a concert at Appledore Social Club on December 17 to raise money for the North Devon Chemotherapy Appeal and for the Children’s Hospice South West.

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