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Last weekend I was invited to a ‘meringue’ which was a happy event that had the qualities of meringue being light, airy and sweet yet also marked the rite of passage of a couple to be married.

Held in the woods on Mackerel Hill, off the grid, the ‘meringuests’ were invited to a camp over night (or stay in a nearby B&B). We were perhaps 150 people of all ages who joined the feast and to commence this celebration, a special ceremony took place – the exchange of rings. Under the old oak tree the couple and their best ‘Martins’ (men) stood facing the circle of friends and family whilst two spools of ribbon, one green and one yellow, were passed out into the group in opposite directions. The instruction was that the reels must pass everyone, and each of us would unreel a little piece of ribbon and hold it whilst the spool continued to travel to the next person until the spools had passed amongst everyone and once again reached the couple. Then, with everyone still holding on to the ribbons, a ring for her and a ring for him were threaded onto the ribbons – again going in opposite directions, one on the green and one on the yellow. Thus the rings traveled on the ribbons between every guest’s hands and allowed everyone to touch and feel his and her ring as it passed by. The special rings had both been spliced in two and soldered back together to form a half and half of his and her rings.

It is traditional for a couple to exchange wedding rings after they say their vows, and the rings are symbols of the marriage. This ritual took a while and at one point we could sense the trepidation of the couple as it was a slow process. However, this test in patience was perhaps what made this ritual a blessing as once the rings reached the couple again; they did so having been touched by all those present.

This ‘meringue’ was designed to celebrate love and sharing without a vicar or a registry office, and the redesigned ‘wedding’ not only reflected the communion of two talented and thoughtful designers who understand the importance of tradition and who embrace the future, but also celebrated connectedness and creativity. It may have been an ‘alternative’ wedding, it may have been an ‘eco-wedding’ but first and foremost it was a true and unforgettable experience that reflected the values of an exceptional couple and proved that old rituals can be redesigned to celebrate important events in our life.

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