Through The Strings

Hello Mr Blue Sky – The Wedding of Becki & Olli

The sun dawned bright and clear on Sunday 6th May, and I knew this was going to  be my first outdoor wedding of 2018!

Well, when I say outdoors, you have to bear in mind that in England, you cannot have a legal wedding ceremony outside.

Getting Married Outside

Photograph copyright to Jeff Kuipers - Scotland it is the words of the registrar that makes a wedding legal and you can get married anywhere, anytime and with any type of ceremony you want, religious, humanist, Pagan. In fact I have friends working in Orkney who preside over ceremonies at the Ring Of Brodgar, a favourite destination for those who choose the services of Helen & Mark from Orkney Pagan Weddings. I had the opportunity to play harp at one of their ceremonies in 2012.

As it happens I shall be in Scotland from mid-April to mid-July 2019, so if you would like a harpist for your highland woodland wedding, or to let the wind play my harp in the ring of Brodgar again, just get in touch!

In England you can choose to have a small legal ceremony in a registry office followed by an outdoor ceremony wherever you wish for a wider circle of family and friends. You can then get an independent registrar such as my friends Philip & Barbara from The UK Celebrant, and they can create a ceremony for you inside or outside.

Most English venues enable outside marriages by building or renovating an outside structure such as a summer house, or gazebo, something with a permanent roof which can be duly sanctioned according to law for the celebration of marriages.

At Wootton Park, they have come up with a clever variation on this theme.

They have a beautiful lake complete with ducks and geese, and they make the most of this by offering couples the option of getting married on a boat! Look closely – is it a boat? Is it a summer house?

Becki & Ollie May 6th 2018 – My Through The Strings Perspective!

It was on this Summer house/boat that Becki and Ollie decided to get married, having chosen what was to be one of hottest days of the year. I arrived with a big bottle of suncream, and found a nice patch of shade to play in.

The couple visited my house for one of my Open Harp Surgeries to choose the music for this ceremony, and the entrance piece they decided on was an instrumental version of the Disney classic by Elton John from the film “Lion King”:

Can You Feel The Love Tonight.


Being outside afforded the bridal party plenty of time for walking up the aisle, and the bridesmaids, along with the flower girl and page boy, arrived in a lovely blue-lilac as seen here.

The father hands over his responsibility to his soon to be Son-In-Law, and the couple make their way onto the boat. As the ceremony progressed one of the bridesmaids read a poem she had written, and then the couple had asked me to sing a solo in place of another reading. Towards the end of this song the resident ducks decided it was time to call out and fly around. It was nice of them to join in! I don’t have a studio recorded version of this yet, so here’s a live recording for you of Ed Sheeran’s, Photograph (Sorry, without added ducks!):


Photograph, Ed Sheeran


Rings 1

Where’s the bridesmaids when you need ’em? Ah it’s ok, the groom is stepping in to lend a hand.

The couple exchange vows, rings, and that special kiss that seals the deal, witnessed by an emotional pair of proud mums. Following the pronouncement of the marriage, the couple then signed the registers and during this I played more instrumental music chosen by the couple.

Thinking Out Loud, Ed Sheehan [Studio Recording]

Say You Won’t Go, James Arthur [Live Recording]

Can’t Help Falling In Love, Elvis [Studio Recording]


Doves 2

There was one more thing to do once the registers were signed, and that was the release of two doves as a sign of love and peace for the couple. Here they are waiting patiently in their cage before the release, and then you can just make out the doves being released.

Then the guests got out their confetti, and cheered the couple back up the aisle as I played Rather Be, Clean Bandit

I then followed the guests to the patio and played for them whilst they mingled with champagne and canapés, and while photos were taken. As it was so sunny, I found some shade under a gazebo. The couple had used my brand new Music Selection Tool which you get access to once you’ve book me, to choose the music they would like me to include.

Just before the end I managed to wish them all the best for the future before they went in to the Banquet, and to get a photo of all four of us together, Becki, Ollie, myself, and Arwen, the harp.

That marked the end of my involvement with the day, and I am always humbled to be invited to contribute in this way, and it was lovely to be able to bring Arwen’s lovely magic to Becki, Ollie and all their guests. After such a sunny day, with clear blue skies stretching in every direction, I can happily say, “Welcome, Mr Blue Sky!”

Congratulations to the new Mr & Mrs Dilloway!



The Dream Team – The Wedding Of Anna & Jam

My husband married someone today!

And I was there playing the harp!

No, it’s not that I’m super-forgiving, it’s the fact that my husband, Paul, is a vicar! Today at our church, St Mary Magdalene, Tanworth-In-Arden, we got the opportunity to work together to help make someone’s wedding special and memorable. It doesn’t happen all that often, so it’s lovely when, every now and then, we can contribute together in this way.

Today, it was Suzanna & James, and this is my “through the strings” perspective

For Anna’s big entrance processional (and it was big, with four bridesmaids, three flower girls and a page boy), she chose that wonderful disney classic, Beauty & The Beast.

With an unhurried grace she and her bridesmaids walked up the aisle to where a tearful Jam was waiting. Obviously I couldn’t take any shots of this moment as I was kinda busy playing, but here’s the wedding party shortly after that, with the bridesmaids in a classy and delicate Champagne colour.

Now, I’m probably biased, but I think my hubby does the best wedding! When he voices the vows for the bridegroom and bride to repeat, he says them very quietly, and this means that you actually get to hear the couple make those vows to each other. Paul just seems to melt away at that point. Today’s wedding was no exception.

There’s a promise that the guests gathered in the church have to make: “Will you the friends and family of Anna & Jam, support and uphold them now and in the years to come: We will!”  Paul will get the guests to practise this response before the bride arrives, and will often get them to do it again if he doesn’t think they’re loud enough. There was no worry today! Anna & Jam’s friends and family raised the roof. They also sang out all the hymns loudly which was great. I’m thinking that the party that night was an exuberant and fun affair!

So, yes, I admit it. I’m very proud of Paul when he does weddings with such tenderness, fun and care. And his wedding sermons are good too, although he did start talking about me in the middle of today’s address, something about our 29 years of marriage and the deep intimacy we share. Ah, hmm! I don’t often get put on the spot and embarrassed in the weddings I play at!

Above you can see them just before saying their vows, exchanging rings (there’s hubby just leaning forward into view), and then receiving the priestly blessing on their wedding. Note the spring theme. All the groomsmen had daffodils to brighten up their blue suits, and the Groom managed to keep the theme going with socks to match!

What you can’t see from these photos is how emotional the couple were when exchanging their vows, how the bride faltered over her words, because she was getting choked up, or how that was because the Groom was getting caught up in the emotion of the moment – a loop of shared joy and emotion. It was lovely.

For the signing of the registers they asked me to sing two pieces for them: True Colours and Wherever You Will Go. Following the final blessing, they requested I’ll Be There For You, the Friend’s theme for them to walk down the aisle together at the end. It was a lovely sunny day, so all the guests were ushered into the beautiful churchyard for some photo opportunities, and Paul and I got a chance to wish them all the best for the future.

Yes, it’s not often Paul and I get to do a wedding together, and I love it when we do!