Nic and Stéphane wanted their wedding to be creative, quirky, fun and joyful. They wanted to avoid stuffy rituals, put their own twist on tradition and to infuse the event with meaning and personality. Their humanist celebrant, Roxy, helped them realise their dream of bringing together their closest friends to celebrate their love – to laugh, eat, drink and dance.
As a British/French couple, living in Germany, the first challenge for Nic and Stéphane was to decide where to get married. After discussing what they wanted in a venue and asking around, a friend recommended the perfect place. It was love at first sight.
The perfect wedding venue
‘We were looking for somewhere with a lake or river to swim in, that was old and rustic, and was isolated enough that we could party all night. It also had to be a blank canvas that we could make our own,’ explains Nic.
They found an artist’s atelier, converted from an old cow shed, just outside Berlin. It met all of their requirements and more.
‘It just feels magical as soon as you arrive. The owner did not use it for public events, but she liked both of us. She thought our concept was great, plus she loved the idea of a gay wedding at her place.’
‘She asked us searching questions’
Venue secured, the next step was to develop the outline of the day,
starting with the ceremony itself.
‘Our celebrant walked us through the process and we told her how we wanted things to feel. The consultation meeting– when she asked us searching questions about our relationship, how we met, what we feel for each other and how we feel others view our partner – was really quite something.
‘It felt like a positive couples’ therapy session and very much affirmed our relationship and our love.
‘She drafted something and then shared it with us so we could edit it. It was important that anything around honouring and obeying, or anything that felt archaic, or that related to one partner being in service to the other was not included.
‘We both felt comfortable knowing this important part would be done so well, so we could focus on the design, dressing, menus, cocktails and music.’
A celebration of queer love
Music is very important to both Nic and Stéphane – a crucial part of both the wedding ceremony and the party afterwards.
‘Choosing the music was a labour of love. We really poured over this. We had music for when we were seated and when we left the ceremony, music for the champagne reception, various DJs from our friendship group, plus the special DJ set that Stéphane and I did. We also asked all of our guests to select one party classic, so we had those hands-in-the-air moments throughout.
‘We walked in to It’s a Sin by the Pet Shop Boys to get the crowd a little hyped. We love the band, and the words are perfect for an anti-establishment celebration of queer love.
‘Our final song, as we walked out under a human tunnel created by our guests holding pink flowers up to make an arch, was Wonderful, Wonderful by Diana Ross and The Supremes.’
‘The vibe was perfect’
For Nic and Stéphane, getting married was an expression of love, a practical decision that brought legal protection and, of course, a great opportunity for a party. They chose a humanist wedding because it reflected their values.
‘We chose the humanist approach as we are both non-religious. We wanted something that did not have historically negative connotations towards queer people. Stéphane grew up in a very religious family, who did not accept him after his coming out. Since then, he has had a strong distaste for stuffy rituals, so it was important for him to make it his own.
‘With rituals, a ceremony tends to become more about what society expects you to be or to do, and less about who you really are as a person. You feel obliged to jump through a lot of hoops. Now imagine if you were not constrained by the hoops you are given, but could create your own?
‘The humanist wedding ceremony allowed us to tailor everything to our personalities and beliefs, without preconceived notions and preachy undertones about love and family. We decided to write our own vows that ended with “for as long as it amuses us, and not a minute longer”. We have a part of that inscribed in our wedding bands.’
Looking back on the wedding, Nic feels, ‘The vibe was perfect. We had a lot of friends from different social groups, countries, queer and straight, and different backgrounds. The number one rule for the wedding was ‘talk to strangers’ and everyone did.
‘My advice for anyone else preparing for their wedding is simply to try and take in the day. It was the last thing our celebrant said to us before the ceremony. Just try to step back a few times and enjoy it all.’
Thank you to Nic and Stéphane for so generously sharing their story, and to their photographer Jenna Jones for the wonderful pictures which sum up this fun day so beautifully.
Nic and Stéphane’s wedding celebrant Roxy Hayde is based in Brighton and London. She creates original, joyful, love-filled ceremonies which are unique to each couple. Find out more about Roxy on her celebrant page or visit her website over at Roxy Celebrates Love.
Looking for more wedding inspiration? Check out these other fabulous real-life humanist weddings:
- Sally & Gabby’s humanist wedding on a farm in Derbyshire
- Lewis & Imanina’s countryside elopement
- Lauren & Chris’ castle wedding in Northern Ireland
More about humanist weddings