On an icy day in December, Cheyenne and Caleb, accompanied by a small group – all three generations – of their closest family, set off along a short, steep walk amidst the rugged mountains of Ballachulish. We reached a cairn outcrop close to the spectacular waterfalls at The Meeting of the Three Waters and overlooking sweeping mountain views.
I opened the ceremony by inviting everyone present to take a moment to connect, to ground ourselves in this tranquil place, to reflect on the loving and binding promises that Cheyenne and Caleb were choosing to make to each other on that day, in that moment. As Caleb and Cheyenne placed their hands on each others hearts, their family also took time for their own peaceful reflection.
While Caleb and Cheyenne are Atheist, Caleb and Cheyenne’s families beliefs range from Christian to Agnostic. It was beautiful to be able to hold space for everyone in a shared ceremony in which their varied beliefs were welcome and respected. Some sent a silent prayer or well-wishing thought to Caleb and Cheyenne. This moment to pause and connect brought a stillness to the gathering, a peacefulness that gave Caleb and Cheyenne the opportunity to ‘be’ with each other, before they made their life declarations to one another.
Family is really important to Caleb and Cheyenne. To gather everyone into their ceremony, they chose to declare their love and commitment to one another with a traditional Handfasting, with each of their family members gifting one of the Handfasting ribbons.
Their words were unscripted and loving. Every person who stepped forward to share their blessings gifted a colourful plaited ribbon, each with it’s own symbolism and meaning. And, as two self-confessed geeks, Caleb and Cheyenne invited me to slip in some Tolkien references before they tied their eternity knot.
The individual ribbons entwine together, lending strength to one other, just as each of you do in your partnership together. Your Handfasting cord represents your unending devotion to each other and your promise to remain bound to one another through all that life brings. To borrow from Tolkien and quote you both, “this is the one cord to rule them all, and in the darkness bind them.”
Caleb and Cheyenne, do you both choose to bind your lives together so that your individual stories, hopes, and desires for the future will be forever entwined?“Yes, we do!”
As a group, we reflected on the journey that Caleb and Cheyenne had shared and on all that had brought them to be standing together on their wedding day. From those early days of Cheyenne first secretly admiring Caleb at high school to Caleb being the only person to break through, in their good friend’s words, “Cheyenne’s anti-man facade,” to Cheyenne being surprised to discover she was actually enjoying Caleb’s attention. In her words,“I knew immediately that I felt comfortable with Caleb.”
It wasn’t long before Caleb declared his love to Cheyenne in the midst of them both playing Pokemon Go together, and despite the unexpected timing of this meaningful and poignant declaration, Cheyenne realised she felt the same.
“We are both geeks, we are each other’s best friend, and we make each other happy. We’ve grown as people as we’ve grown together.”Cheyenne and Caleb
With the mountains and their loved ones as witness, in an emotional exchange of personal vows, Caleb and Cheyenne made their life promises to one another.
At the beginning of their relationship, Cheyenne imparted to Caleb, the importance to her of pinky promises; a sacred vow that could never be joked about, taken lightly, or broken – sealed with a stamp. So, to seal their promises, Caleb and Cheyenne, made shared vows with their pinkies entwined and sealed with a thumb stamp.
Will you continue to laugh together every day, embracing life’s great adventure, creating a life that you love as much as you love each other, and a home filled with love and happiness while facing the obstacles in life knowing you have your one true friend by your side?“We promise!” *stamps thumbs*
They gifted each other a ring as they made their Marriage Vows to one another and it was my honour to declare Caleb and Cheyenne as wife and husband.
We closed the ceremony with the sharing of the Quaich – all of us enjoying the warmth and celebratory feeling of sharing a wee dram to toast Cheyenne and Caleb’s love.
A thousand blessings to you both, Caleb and Cheyenne. It was such a pleasure planning your ceremony with you and sharing in your gorgeous, windswept day. Thank you for sharing these details with us all.
Thank you to the wonderful Raini Rowell Photography for these glorious photos.