With My Friends I Thee Wed

Not everyone can count among their wedding gifts more than £1,000 donated to charity along with one roll of wire cable and a pledge of toilet-cleaning duties. But Gail and Tim’s wedding was no ordinary wedding.

Gail and her partner Tim chose to have an outdoor festival-style wedding in the field of their future home and so invited friends and family to join them in making their dream come true. Gail explained that as she and Tim were already combining two homes, they didn’t need a usual wedding list. Instead they invited guests to donate money to their chosen charity; Gloucestershire Young Carers; or to help with the big day itself.

Gail and Tim chose GYC because they were looking for a local charity, but also because it fitted with what Gail has done before. She says: “My family and I ran church youth camps for many years. We loved it and carried on until my dad’s death several years ago. I then got involved with the scouts as my daughter wanted to join. We always enjoyed giving young people a chance to experience a different space away from their everyday lives. We weren’t aware of the charity Gloucestershire Young Carers when we ran our camps and I wish we had been, as my dad really wanted to offer young carers a chance to get away even if just for a short time. So it felt right to help the charity and the work it does in supporting young carers.”

tim-and-ismallThe wedding was held in the grounds of the couple’s newly purchased tin barn near Wotton-under-Edge which will, with hard work, soon contain their self-build house. Gail says: “For the past seven years we have been looking for the right location and right house to move into together. We saw this green tin construction up for sale and realised it was the answer to our dreams. We are now looking forward to working together on the construction of our home – the biggest issue being that it has to be built inside the tin barn and the barn has to remain standing.”

To meet the challenge they decided to ask friends for help and so encouraged donations or practical help for wedding gifts. Gail says: “We received sockets, saws and even fuel cells for a nail gun.” The couple’s unusual donated gifts didn’t stop there. Other guests mucked in with the plans for the wedding itself: making bunting, creating the wedding cake, which was a six tier ‘pudding and cheese cake’, or providing and serving scones and cakes for the afternoon tea spread that fed the 150 or so guests on the day. Friends also staffed the bar, made the table decorations, lit the Swedish fire candles, served ice cream and controlled the car parking.

The wedding, which featured music from a school steel band, Mow the brass band, a ukulele band and the Thrill Collins skiffle band from Cheltenham was a huge success and has the lasting legacy of benefiting a charity for deserving young people and laying the foundations for the couple’s home together.