Jumping the besom in a beautiful Scottish wedding

Karen and Kenny’s Handfasting ceremony last August represented a first for me with the inclusion of the Jumping of the Besom. While this is a controversial ritual for many due to its historic links with slavery, for Kenny and Karen it felt important to include this ancient ritual in honour of Karen’s deep and long held connection to Wicca.

It was important to them both that their Marriage ceremony respect their shared and varied beliefs. Kenny is non religious and Karen spiritual with a deep respect for Wicca. It was my pleasure to craft a ceremony with them both that entirely reflected their own unique personalities, wishes and beliefs.

Their ceremony took place in the historic 17th century Old Kirk at Glencorse House near Edinburgh and, as was their wish, it was so much fun – with a fair bit of hilarious and welcome banter from their loved ones.

We shared the story of how these two brilliant people met at the time when they least expected to in life. How Kenny was so quiet, almost shy, in that first meeting that according to Karen, “trying to get a chat out of him was like trying to get blood out of a stone.” It came as a surprise to her then that several months later on a night out with friends, when they happened to meet again, Kenny was so chatty and funny that, in fact, as Karen says “he didn’t stop talking!”

We heard how they hit it off immediately, bonding over their shared outlook on life and their similar quick wit and sarcastic sense of humour. It wasn’t long before they were spending most of their time together, and as Kenny says, ““it just felt so comfortable. Like we had always known each other.”

During their ceremony, I shared some secret thoughts that Karen and Kenny had written for each other – the beautiful, loving, poignant and funny – which resulted in happy tears and laughter from them both and their loved ones.

We were all weeping happy tears as they both shared their personal vows then gifted each other a ring.

Do you promise to always love each other in good times and in bad, when life is peaceful and when it is disordered, when you are proud of one another and when you are frustrated until the end of your forever? 

“I promise!”

Karen and Kenny made their life promises to one another with a traditional Handfasting and it was my great delight to declare them married to the whistles and jubilant shouts of their friends and family.

Over the months preceding their ceremony, Karen and Kenny gathered birch on their walks together. They used these birch sticks to create their own besom. Birch is symbolic of new dawns and new beginnings, hope and the promise of what is to come. Some believe the word birch comes from the ancient Sanskrit word, bhūrjá, which translates as “tree whose bark is used for writing upon.”

To close their ceremony, Karen and Kenny jumped together over their birch besom into their married life and the promise of all that is to come; a shared future where they will write the stories of their lives together. Then they enjoyed some fizz in this excellent VW van before celebrating with their family and friends.

I loved being Karen and Kenny’s celebrant at the historic Glencorse House near Edinburgh. It was such an effervescent day of love, laughter, friendship and family and I smile every time I think about it.

Heartfelt blessings to you both, Kenny and Karen. In the words of this Apache Blessing:

Karen and Kenny,

Now you will feel no rain,  

for each of you will be shelter for the other.  

Now you will feel no cold,  

for each of you will be warmth to the other.  

Now there will be no loneliness, 

for each of you will be companion to the other.  

Now you are two persons,  

but there is only one life before you.  

May beauty surround you both in the journey ahead  

and through all the years,  

may happiness be your companion  

and your days together be good and long upon the earth.  

Thank you for sharing these gorgeous details with us all. Thank you to Edinburgh Photographic for the wonderful photos.

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