The first time I met Vicky & Tim was a typically rainy post-work evening, we cosied up in a Shoreditch pub to talk weddings. Except we didn’t talk weddings, over crisps and London Pride we meandered through politics, Quakerism, protest and the power of direct action, social justice and feminism and when I couldn’t possibly love them any further it turned out that they too were massive board game nerds. By this time I didn’t really care if I shot their wedding, I just wanted to come and hang out with them and play Catan.
They met at an anti-war demonstration in Trafalgar Square while still Uni students, and have been marching shoulder to shoulder ever since. Being Quakers, they held their ceremony and celebratory tea and cake at the Westminster Friends Meeting House, only a very short stroll from Trafalgar Square. I was thrilled they were up for popping out for a quick re-enactment shoot of their first meeting, while the meeting house was buzzing with friends and family pulling flowers and final cake touches together. Trafalgar Square was silly and funny and the thronging tourists treated them like the fabulous celebrities they are meant to be. They already had the placards at home from the previous week’s Pride Parade and they could not have been anymore appropriate. Did I mention that I completely love these two?
Quaker ceremonies are very unique in that they are not structured or lead by a celebrant in a traditional sense. Everyone gathers for quiet contemplation and anyone can speak when they feel ready. There are no pictures, the focus is just on being present with the couple. Interspersed with periods of reflection; poetry, song, wonderful anecdotes, and again and again, deeply felt expressions of affection and respect for Vicky and Tim. Listening to a wide cross section of their favourite humans, especially the young men, articulating heartfelt love without the crutch of copious wedding booze, makes you realise what a beautiful and rare thing it is to be so openly loving with each other. We could all do with a bit more of that in our lives.
The ceremony is concluded with everyone (including the photographer!) signing a beautiful poster sized certificate, and then gathering for tea and cake. I really loved the moment when Vicky and Tim cut the cake and then worked together to slice it up and hand it out to their friends, a simple gesture that managed to say a lot. The guests then rolled their sleeves up to wash the tea cups and brush the last cake crumbs away, then we all piled onto the classic red double decker bus heading East. Hackney City Farm was our destination, a beautiful, lushly rambling social enterprise bringing organic farming and environmental education to the heart of inner city London. It was the perfect London Summer afternoon to rambled about, meet the animals, catch up and be merry.
- Vicky’s mum Pam made ALL the clothing for the whole bridal party, including her own. What a legend!
- Vicky’s awesome Unicorn Doc Marten shoes, the glamorous wedding footwear that will take you from a demo to a wedding and onto the dancefloor. Shimmer right over those police kettles and farm yard puddles.
- Internal feminist nods of approval for the excellent speeches by all the women including Tim’s incredibly funny Best Woman.