Most newly weds might worry if their other half spent their honeymoon deep in prayer.
For David and Vickie Morgan, it was a sign they were with the right person.
‘We didn’t have a conventional honeymoon,’ explains David.
‘We were surrounded by 800 teenagers on a youth pilgrimage.’
For anyone who knows David and Vickie, both priests at St Faith’s Church in Havant, their honeymoon is the perfect continuation of their story. The pair met in 2013 at Ripon College, Oxfordshire, where they were studying to join the ministry.
‘It was an instant connection,’ Vickie, 40, says. ‘One night we stayed up late drinking and chatting. It felt God-given, that he brought us together.’
But it caught David, 36, by surprise: ‘I arrived very much a single man – not expecting at all to come out with a wife and family.
‘It’s not rare to meet at theological college and form a relationship.
‘I think we’re quite unique in that we began training together, met, and got married in the college where we were training.’
Just under a year after meeting, the pair were the first couple to be married in Ripon College’s new chapel. And while most couples worry more about the right serviettes than the religious service, Vickie and David were able to practise what they preach.
‘We were lucky enough to design the whole service ourselves – because that’s what we were studying,’ Vickie says.
On top of the usual wedding day nerves, Vickie and David were in danger of having their wedding marked: ‘Our theology lecturer came back to marry us.
‘We had teachers in attendance – a lot of them,’ Vickie says with a nervous laugh.
Before marrying, the couple had agreed to take part in the youth pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady Walsingham in Norfolk.
Each year, more than 800 young people – aged between 11 to 16 – take part in a week of faith-based activities around the holy site.
‘We were there as street pastors,’ Vickie explains. ‘We were able to help young people talk about and understand their faith.
‘It was great fun – great to be in the middle of a field surrounded by young people passionate about their faith.’
As alluring as a honeymoon in the Bahamas might be, the pilgrimage was special for the couple: ‘We love our jobs, and we love working together,’ says Vickie, originally from Gosport.
The couple were made priests earlier this year, and now work together in the 13th century church in the middle of Havant.
So far, they have avoided married squabbles about work.
‘We don’t have disagreements about scripture,’ David says. ‘Everyone has their own experience to bring to a piece of scripture.’
David’s experience before becoming a priest was more rock and roll than ritual and religion, having worked as a freelance musician.
He describes his passions coming together as 'music, worship, and liturgy – how the church expresses itself.’
Vickie was a community nurse for more than 12 years, until she found her faith clashing with her career.
‘I left because faith was frowned upon,’ Vickie says.
‘There were issues around wearing a cross. And I didn’t feel patient’s spiritual needs were being met.
‘I realised it was something I felt really strongly about.
‘This was years ago – now its a whole lot better, with an increase in chaplaincy.’
Vickie’s decision to become a priest came as a surprise to her two children from a previous marriage, ‘but they were completely willing to move to theological college,’ Vickie says.
‘They have,’ David says, ‘a remarkable ability to take things in their stride.’
Having blessed many weddings, both Vickie and David agree on how to make a marriage work – communication.
‘I remember attending a golden wedding anniversary at my old church,’ David says.
‘The couple were asked if there had never been a cross word between the two of them in 50 years.
‘The husband said, “if you’ve never had a cross word in 50 years, you probably weren’t talking to begin with.”’
David nods as Vickie says: ‘You have to open up and be honest with each other. If you stop communicating, things go wrong.’