The Matara Centre – Holly and Shaun
A Humanist Wedding with a difference!
Holly and Shaun are a couple very close to my heart. I first met them at Holly’s graduation in Cardiff where she booked me as a photographer for the afternoon as she didn’t want the traditional graduation portrait – knew then that this was a woman who knows what she wants (and is super cool). What I love about Holly and Shaun is that they are achievers. They talk about careers rather than jobs, they think through every action with every bit of themselves and try to lead a healthy, ethical life.
I met Holly and Shaun at 8:00 am on the morning of their wedding. Against tradition, they had spent the night together in one of the beautiful rooms The Matara Centre has to offer so they could contemplate their last night before marriage. At this early hour, they wandered together hand-in-hand to find the spot where they would plant a tree together, ceremoniously on the morning of their wedding. It was a windy morning and I gave them lots of room to breathe and so what was said was private and between them. I saw how natural they were together, how each touch and and look was heartfelt and present. After the tree ceremony they left the hustle and bustle of the main Matara house and went off for a breakfast at a nearby pub together for one last bit of peace before the wedding prep really began. Shawn had helped pick out Holly’s dress and couldn’t wait to see her walk toward her wearing it. Holly wanted more than anything for me to capture the look on his face, which I think you’ll agree was full of rapture.
Guests were greeting with hot chocolate on arrival to warm them up on this cold January morning. The venue was decorated with a 1000 origami cranes which is an ancient Japanese couple based on the story that a crane mates for life and lives for a 1000 years. Holly and Shaun had made their own vows which were mind-blowing! So heartfelt and real, it really engaged all their family and friends as the words were so poignant and real with a touch of poetry. Their good friends were involved in all proceedings and each gave a reading. Their parents were invited to contribute letters to a wedding box that they would open on their anniversary.
After the ceremony, the procession and guests were led to the prayer tree, where colourful ribbons are tied to the branches whilst wishes for the couple are made. The day had so many unique touches, from the speeches from friends and family (which of course Holly spoke in, no silent brides here!) to the marshmallows and sparklers after dar. Finally as the night drew in Shawn (bodybuilding champion that he is) lifted Holly over the threshold as they saw in the night.