Pagan charms, brooms and ribbons – a very different wedding

Graham plants a sweet kiss on his bride.
Graham plants a sweet kiss on his bride.

Your wedding day is a day you’ll never forget. And brides and grooms enjoy it so much, they long to do their special day all over again. So why not do it twice?

For that’s exactly what Claire and Graham Wyatt did.

The newlyweds were joined by guests to jump over the broom.

The newlyweds were joined by guests to jump over the broom.

‘We first got married on August 3 and it was a small, intimate ceremony with my six children and our close family,’ says Claire, 44, ‘and then we had a pagan-style wedding on August 18.’

The couple, from Hilsea, decided that once they were legally married, they would like a bigger ceremony for all their friends and family to attend. Despite having no connection to Paganism, Claire and Graham loved the idea of how inclusive the celebrant blessings can be.

Their Pagan wedding differed to a traditional wedding as their celebrant spoke of how the couple met and their history - instead of the traditional wedding vows. Before putting on the wedding bands themselves, the guests at the ceremony touched their rings to pass on their love and support.

‘We also had our own broom, which every guest at the wedding jumped over,’ explains Claire, ‘I loved it. It was something different.’

Claire poses on her big day

Claire poses on her big day

Their chosen broomstick was decorated in burgundy, silver and blue ribbons, as well as special charms.

‘I chose sheep because we met in Wool, Dorset, and Graham chose bicycles, because he loves cycling,’ says Claire.

Jumping over the broom traditionally signifies a couple’s entrance into a new life and their creation of a new family by symbolically ‘sweeping away’ their former single lives, problems and concerns.

‘It was actually our wedding planner who suggested a Pagan style wedding. It sounded different, so we just went for it.’

Both ceremonies were held at Brookfield Hotel, Emsworth, with their first wedding involving 20 guests and 70 guests attending their second one.

Graham and Claire first met when they were 16-years-old. They both worked at Fratton Railway Station, but Claire insists that they didn’t really speak to each other at the time.

‘It wasn’t until I got Facebook all those years later, that we became friends and started chatting,’ she explains.

But the couple didn’t meet up again until Graham invited Claire to a cycle race in Dorset.

‘He didn’t think I would turn up but I did. It was freezing cold, wet and windy. But I went anyway.’

The couple clicked straight away and will be celebrating eight years together soon.

‘When we were first dating, he said there was absolutely no chance he would get married. But he came round eventually,’ she laughs.

‘After talking about it quite a lot, I knew a proposal was coming but just didn’t know when. I couldn’t wait for him to ask!’

However, for Graham getting down on one knee didn’t go exactly to plan.

‘He knelt down at Gunwharf Quays when the sun was setting, but his knee hit a drain cover and he hurt himself,’ Claire laughs, reminiscing, ‘but I insisted he did it again.’

After the engagement in August 2017, Claire, along with her mum and dad, spent a lot of time planning for the summer wedding.

However, the couple had already viewed a few of venues before Claire even had a ring on her finger.

‘We originally wanted to get married in Scotland. But then we started looking down here and loved Brookfield Hotel.’

The couple are planning to honeymoon in Mexico at the end of October. But their feet haven’t touched the ground since they jumped over the broom.

‘We’ve been so busy ever since the wedding, and we’re looking forward to relaxing soon,’ Claire laughs.