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Els and Casey: tender wedding ceremony in an Essex barn

I am so proud to be able to share the story of Els and Casey’s wedding with you. This beautiful couple had the most moving ceremony at Gaynes Park.

Love doesn’t get more true and tender than theirs.

Fulfilling a dream

Els and Casey met as teens and from the moment they met their hearts would skip a few beats when they saw each other. They were inseparable from the very beginning, but, being gay, they had to overcome quite some hurdles before they could openly say their ‘I do’s’ and fulfil their dream of getting married.

The ceremony was filled with many meaningful and touching moments.

Read on to learn how we paid tribute to their love of Japan, how they remembered their much loved Nan,


Els and Casey share a love of Japan and many special memories were created in this country. We started the ceremony with the following haiku:

Meeting is One of the accidents. The sunshine at the beginning of the summer.

Special wedding guest

We had a special guest, Ted, who was sitting in Els’ Nan’s seat. Nan had always been a great fan of Els and Casey and had always supported them. She sadly died before she could witness their marriage, but was represented by Ted. She was also present in two pieces of jewellery that Casey and Els were wearing on the day.

A beautiful way to remember someone who was dearly missed on the day.

Wedding reading

Inspired by Els’s love of Winnie The Pooh, we thought Ted would also appreciate some words from this famous bear:

Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. ‘Pooh!’ he whispered. ‘Yes, Piglet?' ‘Nothing,’ said Piglet, taking Pooh’s paw. ‘I just wanted to be sure of you.’

‘We’ll be Friends Forever, won’t we, Pooh?’ asked Piglet. ‘Even longer,’ Pooh answered.

Piglet: How do you spell ‘love’? Pooh: You don’t spell it…you feel it.

"I choose you again and again"

Els and Casey knew they were meant to be together form the moment they met. However, being able to celebrate this in the open, and sealing it in a more formal way had been a challenging journey.

Els’ aunt read a poem that reflected the unconditional choice for one another:

I choose you I choose you again and again at the start and finish of every single day no matter the season no matter the year

I choose you to struggle and succeed with to fight and make up with to love and grow old with

I choose you knowing there are still trials we must travel knowing there are mountains left to climb

I choose you To always be by my side

(Tyler Kent White)

Wedding vows: one for each year

Vows come in many forms and shapes. It is quite common, when a couple shares their vows that they prepare a special vow to the other, which typically remains a secret until the day.

Els and Casey took a less conventional approach. They wrote nine vows, one for each year they had known each other, and read them together, each one line at a time:

We promise to always take care of each other We promise to always try to make each other smile We promise to always talk things out We promise to always support each other's interests, even if they’re not out own We promise to always try to surprise and delight each other We promise to always listen to each other, even if no one else will We promise to take care of our home and our family together We promise to lift each other up in everything we do We promise to give each other the things we need to be happy

Pebble ritual

Casey and Els also included a very special ritual. Inspired by a courting ritual of gentoo penguins, they had also brought a special pebble for the other.

Penguins search through piles of pebbles to find the smoothest, most beautiful one to present to the penguin of their dreams. For Els and Casey, their pebbles are also a meaningful symbol for building a home and a future together.

True love, forever

Throughout the ceremony, their love filled the room and was seen and felt by everyone.

These two are so in tune, and the energy, fun and warmth between them is infectious. It was an incredible honour to play a part on their special day.

Els, Casey, I wish you all the happiness in the world in your future life together!

Wedding photographer: Cristina Rossi


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