Category Archives: UK & Ireland

Friendship Ceremony: Vy & Sahaja

We’ve never posted about a friendship ceremony before, but when Vy & Sahaja got in touch, we couldn’t resist sharing their story!  Here’s what they had to say:

About us:

We are Vy (lesbian) & Sahaja (label-rejecting pansexual). We are from Moscow, Russia.
We are friends – nothing more and nothing less. Vy has been in a committed relationship for years. Sah is currently single. We met in early high school, and no matter our romantic statuses, we have been family for each other ever since (17 years and counting).

How did it start?

Vy: I’m a wild fan of On a Bicycle Built for Two. For years I’ve been dreaming about my own submission. But it took an unexpected turn: I realized that the first commitment ceremony I wanted was one with my best friend.

Sah: All of a sudden we saw how unreasonable it is that our society has developed no generally accepted way for those not romantically involved (friends, family members, etc.) to celebrate their love and commitment to each other.

What was the plan?

Sah: We decided to celebrate our love and say “thank you” for our past, “I trust you” for our present, and “we will” for our future in a friendship commitment ceremony in a beautiful old park in London. The plan was to say our friendship vows, exchange our friendship rings, and play our friendship songs for each other.

Vy: The preparation for the ceremony was a bonding miracle. Just one example: I will never forget how it turned out that we both chose the same thing to be engraved on our friendship commitment rings: it was “ebb & flood & ebb & flood” – in reference to Khalil Gebran’s The Prophet, on friendship: “And let your best be for your friend. If he must know the ebb of your tide, let him know its flood also. For what is your friend that you should seek him with hours to kill? Seek him always with hours to live.” 

What was the best part?

Sah: The best part for me was how exactly this project of ours brought itself into life. No one to thank for it but ourselves. Simple perfection, as crystal clear and true as we dared to make and experience.

Vy: All the way down to the ceremony I had fits of commitment anxiety: my vows were so damn serious. But as I was standing in that solemn moment right in front of Sah, in the middle of London, against a crowd of frowning, disapproving-looking folks, all I was seeing were her eyes – it felt like I was looking in them for the first time so openly, so confidently. We were standing on top of the world, on the top of us.

And what now?

Sah: Now we’re rock solid in knowing that there always will be an ebb and a flood and an ebb and a flood for us – and we will stay together through it all.

Vy: The ceremony totally impacted us. Further up and further in.

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Event Credits

Date: 04/05/2016Location: London, UK
Also posted in Minimalist, Other Ceremonies, Pants + Dress, Real Wedding Inspiration, Region, Style | Tagged , , | 3 Responses

Wedding: Beth & Liv

From the brides: As today (10/10/16) is our one-year anniversary, we thought it was about time we finally got round to submitting our photos to this lovely site that has inspired us even pre-engagement and all the way up to our wedding day.

We met at 16, in a sixth form college chemistry class, of all places. We fell in love at 17 and 18 when we moved classes and ended up sat next to each other. We used to message each other online every night until we fell asleep and then one day at a friend’s house, in the middle of the night, after an ungodly amount of Irn Bru-flavoured vodka, we kissed.

We moved away to separate universities, with Beth even doing a year abroad. But we never gave up on each other and when Beth moved back to England, we moved in together and adopted a cat.

In 2014 Beth proposed on top of a hill in Devon, in the middle of a ‘gay christian’ retreat. Liv told Beth to close her eyes, then pulled out a ring of her own and asked her right back! Beth nearly fell off the edge of the cliff she was knelt on.

Nearly 6 years after that first kiss, we got married in Richmond, North Yorkshire (UK). We had a fair few naysayers, so it really was a triumph and the whole day was beautiful. We decorated the whole place ourselves, brought in outside caterers (the day was 100% vegan, much to Beth’s carnivore dad’s annoyance), had a great friend do the photography, another friend doing flowers… the whole thing was a massive group effort, and it was so amazing.

We chose to do our own spiritual ceremony first, with our good friends as officiants. We roughly followed a Celtic Christian service but we changed it to suit our tastes and not alienate our guests. After drinks and nibbles the registrar arrived and we did the legal bit too. We danced into the evening with our brothers and an iPod in place of a real DJ, ate far too much gorgeous food including from the pick and mix bar, played board games and finally roasted marshmallows on a fire.

The whole day was perfect and everyone looked so beautiful. One year later and we are so happy in love. We are fostering a dog now, along with a cat, and hope to foster some human children by this time next year. Life is good.

Photos courtesy of Jefferson Studios.

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Event Credits

Catering: The Bear Co-op, Todmorden & The Health Warehouse, DarlingtonLocation: Natural Retreats, Yorkshire DalesPhotography: Jefferson Studios, BristolVenue: Natural Retreats, Yorkshire Dales, Richmond
Also posted in Attire, Attire, Caterer, Credits, Dress + Dress, Europe, Lesbian Real Wedding, Lesbian Wedding, Photography, Real Wedding Inspiration, Region, Rustic, Style, Two Dress Wedding, United States, Venue, Wedding Attire | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Flashback Friday: Emily & Holly

While we’re on vacation this month, the Bicycle Built for Two team is revisiting some of our all-time favorite (or, as Alice would say, favourite) weddings!

From Alice:

I love the English country rustic feel of Emily and Holly’s wedding. I love the florals, the bunting, the country church and, most of all, the beautiful flower crown! Their words also paint a beautiful picture of the community of loving family and friends they had surrounding them on their special day. As an English country girl myself, their wedding makes my dreams for the future seem that much more achievable. Thank you, Emily and Holly, for sharing your day with me and the rest of the readers.

(When we got in touch with Emily & Holly, they sent us some bonus shots, since the first time Emily sent the photos, Holly “was not consulted.” Haha. The first photo was one of her picks!)

Photos courtesy of Maxim Burlakov

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Don’t miss the rest of Emily & Holly’s photos in their original post!

Also posted in Attire, Casual Elegance, Dress + Dress, Lesbian Real Wedding, Lesbian Wedding, Real Wedding Inspiration, Region, Style, Two Dress Wedding, Uncategorized, Vintage | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Flashback Friday: Daisy & Sally

While we’re on vacation this month, the Bicycle Built for Two team is revisiting some of our all-time favorite weddings!

From Ashley:

Although it’s always hard to pick just one favorite, Daisy and Sally’s wedding stands out in my mind because it perfectly incorporates two of my favorite things: cream tea and punctuation marks. I oohed and aahed through all of these photos: from the couple’s adorable matching outfits and boutonnieres to the teacups and saucers to the GLORIOUS homemade ampersand light hanging above it all. 

Another thing I love about this wedding is the seating arrangements: the idea of having all of our guests seated at long tables gives the feel of a bustling family dinner, where no one has to be separated into sides or 10 tops. 

Thanks so much for sharing your beautiful story, Daisy and Sally! I’m so inspired (and wondering if Daisy’s dad would ever want to make another ampersand for my future wedding?)! 

Photos courtesy of Helen Lisk Photography.

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See the rest of Daisy & Sally’s wedding in the original post!

Also posted in Attire, Casual Elegance, DIY, Lesbian Real Wedding, Lesbian Wedding, Pants + Dress, Real Wedding Inspiration, Region, Style | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Response

Wedding (and Anniversary!): Adele & Sarah

Happy one-year anniversary to this lovely couple!

From Adele: As our first wedding anniversary approaches, we wanted to share some of the photos after using A Bicycle Built For Two as inspiration to plan our special day.

Sarah and I met at work and slowly but surely fell in love. We each secretly planned our proposals, unknowingly deciding on the same date and location. We were both armed with bespoke diamond rings. We both choose Cornwall as the perfect location—our favourite place to be. I beat Sarah by writing “will you marry me?” in the sand whilst she was busy finding the perfect spot to do the same! We were engaged in the November of 2014 and set a date for the big day—May 18th 2015. There was no question about the location for our wedding: we both love Cornwall (where I grew up) and felt our happiest on the beach.

Carbis Bay Hotel offered the perfect combination of relaxed luxury and beautiful views. We are lucky to have a friend, Jon Mayes, who is also an amazing photographer, who kindly recorded our perfect day in these photos. After seeing such beautiful first look photos on A Bicycle Built for Two we chose to keep our dresses a surprise and met up just before the wedding. Sarah looked more beautiful than I could ever put into words—it was an emotional moment and the perfect start to the wedding celebrations.

We asked all our guests to make a piece of bunting, which we then sewed together and used to decorate the room—it looked fantastic and everyone enjoyed comparing their handiwork! The sun made an appearance during the ceremony, we were walked down the aisle by our two best friends, and we said our vows overlooking the stunning views of Carbis Bay. We then swapped the Jimmy Choos for some Havianas and headed to the beach for some photos with my daughters Niamh and Erin and the rest of the bridal party.

We sat to eat just as the rain fell—producing a beautiful rainbow over the bay—a sign that my late father was with us, celebrating our love for each other. The rain then passed in time for ice creams on the lawn, whilst the children built sand castles on the beach. 

We were very blessed to be surrounded by so many loved ones on our wedding day, and their kind gifts meant that we were able to begin our next adventure of having a baby together. Phoebe Grace will be 8 weeks old when we celebrate our first wedding anniversary. I have included a photo of Sarah and I with our beautiful daughter—who is the most perfect wedding gift we could have wished for and reminds me every day of the day I married my best friend.

Photos courtesy of Jon Mayes.

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Event Credits

Location: Carbis Bay, St Ives, Cornwall, UK.Photography: Jon Mayes
Also posted in Attire, Beachy, Classic, Credits, Dress + Dress, Lesbian Real Wedding, Lesbian Wedding, Photography, Real Wedding Inspiration, Region, Style, Two Dress Wedding, Venue, Wedding Attire | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Responses

Wedding: Emily & Holly

From Emily and Holly: Emily proposed to Holly in a forest of bluebells, orchestrated with the help of our closest friends—and to Holly’s surprise. Holly thought she was simply going for a walk with friends and then came to a clearing where Emily was surrounded by bunting, lanterns, and bluebells.

We got married at an English farm where Emily spent a lot of time as a child and where her father had a small office managing his international social projects and charities. Emily’s dad died of cancer in 2007, so we picked this special venue and the day of his birthday to get married.

The day was filled with friends and family from all over the world who came to share our special day with us. We are so blessed to have found one another and that we have the love and support of incredible friends and family.

Photos courtesy of Maxim Burlakov

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Event Credits

Location: Loudwater Farm, Loudwater Lane, Chorleywood, EnglandPhotography: Maxim Burlakov http://www.maximburlakov.com/
Also posted in Attire, Casual Elegance, Credits, Dress + Dress, Lesbian Real Wedding, Lesbian Wedding, Photography, Real Wedding Inspiration, Region, Rustic, Style, Two Dress Wedding | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Response

Wedding(s!): Erica & Alex (Part 3)

From Erica: When we planned our two weddings in 2010 (see parts 1 & 2), we honestly did not believe that we would see marriage equality in the US or the UK anytime soon, so when SCOTUS overturned California’s Prop 8 in June 2013, we were ecstatic! We went out to celebrate, and started fantasising about flying home and getting LEGALLY married in San Francisco City Hall, in my home state… I may have even gone out and bought a cute, white cotton £20 dress in a moment of excitement! We may have even started talking about updating my engagement ring to include some sparkly stones and talking about what kind of party we would want to throw!

Then, in July 2013, the UK passed the Marriage (Same Sex) Act and suddenly marriage equality was happening in England!* But what did that mean?! We were already civilly partnered here; could we go get a marriage certificate in the US and have it recognised here? Would the UK come up with a way for us to allow those thousands of couples who were civilly partnered to get married (if they wanted to)?? We had to wait until December 2014 for the UK government to get their act together and make it happen. Their solution: we could have the option of a ‘conversion ceremony’ whereby our legal relationship status would change from a ‘civil partnership’ to a ‘marriage’ and we would be issued a new marriage certificate with our original wedding date. Good ol’ bureaucracy….

Eventually, we calmed down from all the excitement and started to get practical. We decided on a small ‘conversion’ ceremony at our local town hall in London whereby we would renew our vows and then throw a party afterward at our favourite local pub. My parents were visiting in July 2015, so after having a spring wedding and an autumn wedding, we figured we should have a summer wedding as well! The day SCOTUS ruled on Obergefell v Hodges in June 2015, we were signing the preliminary paperwork for our conversion ceremony—we took it as a good sign!

The day was joyful and easy. Our closest friends, family, and godchildren joined us at the town hall ceremony. Colleagues of mine were busy decorating our rented brick barn in the beer garden of our local pub with bunting, pink balloons, and strings of hearts and we had jugs of Pimms on arrival. There were three Victoria sponge cakes with strawberries—one for each wedding—and a ton on Tunnock’s Tea Cakes! There was a perfect toast by my friend, Alex gave a speech (finally!), and another friend offered to sing ‘Married’ for us from Caberet! We ate, drank, and hung out with our friends until the evening when we hosted a 5-part pub quiz that’d we’d written! A great day…

Six weeks later, we met up with photographer Albert Palmer to take some loved-up couples photos of us in our adopted city. They were everything we’d hope they would be and perfectly captured us, five years into our version of married bliss.

*As of 2014, marriage equality is a possibility in England, Wales and Scotland. Northern Ireland remains under different laws and they are fighting their own battle there. However, after the Republic of Ireland passed marriage equality in 2015, I have hope for N.I.!

Photos courtesy of Albert Palmer Photography.

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Event Credits

Location: LondonPhotography: Albert Palmer PhotographyVenue: Wandsworth Town Hall & The Antelope, Tooting
Also posted in Attire, Credits, Europe, Lesbian Love Shoot, Lesbian Real Wedding, Lesbian Wedding, Love Shoot, Pants + Dress, photographer, Photography, Real Wedding Inspiration, Region, Style, Urban, Urban, Venue | Tagged , , , , | 2 Responses
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