Rhiannon & Graham’s viking and folk-metal wedding by a castle

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The offbeat bride: Rhiannon, English and Drama Teacher (and OBT Member)

Her offbeat partner: Graham, Sales Manager, Artise

Location & date of wedding: Rye Castle, Rye, East Sussex, England — July 30, 2010

What made our wedding offbeat: We wanted our wedding to be something we, and those closest to us, would enjoy every minute of. As a result we didn’t focus on what a wedding should be like and what it should consist of, but instead thought about what WE wanted it to consist of.


We always have been huge fans of rock and metal music, more specifically Scandinavian Folk Metal, both for its music and the fact that the songs and lyrics are rooted in history and mythology. It was our main inspiration in terms of the content and aestheic of the ceremony. Apart from the costumes we all wore, I think what made our wedding the most offbeat was our ceremony, which we wrote ourselves. And it took place in a local castle.


Tell us about the ceremony: We wrote our own ceremony using Viking wedding traditions. The Viking traditions we included were: The exchange of sword and key, where the bride presents the groom with a sword to protect the family home, which is later passed on to the first born son. In exchange, the Groom gives the Bride the Key to his house, to symbolize that what’s his is now hers. We also drank of the bridal mead, as the Bride and Groom are not considered legally married until they have both drunk it. Then we exchanged rings on the hilt of the sword. We also jumped over the besom at the end of the ceremony.


Along with these traditions we had two readings. My mum read an extract from Vincent Van Gough’s letters, and my sisters Mathilda and Skye read, “A Lovely Love Story” by Edward Monkton, which made everyone laugh!

Our biggest challenge: Paying for most of it ourselves. There were times where I was worried if we could afford this or that. However, we were so lucky that our friends and family helped us out. My friend Em made our invitations. My mum made both our cakes and lots of bunting. My friend Nat made our Chillingworth coat of arms. My sisters Cammy, Mathilda and Skye performed at the ceremony. A good friend from work officiated it. My dad and step mum made our besom. Graham’s parents did all our photos. front of dress

My favorite moment: Our ceremony had some very meaningful moments: walking in to my sister playing “Free Bird” by Lynyrd Skynyrd was amazing. Also amazing was seeing all our friends and family standing in the beautiful courtyard of the herb garden and the exchange of rings and vows.

However, I think my most meaningful moment was during my little sister singing “Dance Me To The End Of Love” with two of our groomsman playing the acoustic guitar. We had just signed the wedding scroll so we had about a minute to just stand together and listen. It was just beautiful and emotional.

Riding in the horse and cart with my mum to the ceremony was lovely as it gave us some time together after a very hectic morning getting ready. Also, one of my students had helped my mum arrange it and she was there, it was so lovely seeing her!


My funniest moment: During the ceremony I put Graham’s ring on the wrong finger! We were both laughing as I announced that I clearly didn’t know my left from right!

I found out later that there was a big ass bee in a flower near my bridesmaid Em’s ear, and she hates bees! So she spent a lot of the ceremony taking deep calming breaths, trying not to freak out.


My advice for offbeat brides: You CAN have an amazing wedding on a budget. You just have to do lots of research, delegate and DIY! As a result of all the help from friends, family and local community we had amazing things for a fraction of the price. Our whole wedding probablly cost around £3000. My husband was a chef so good local food was very important to him. We splashed out and spent the most on food.

Viking long boat cake

The day is about the two of you, not what Great Aunt Mildred thinks. Listen to the people you care about, not the people you feel obligated to. I didn’t expect the wedding to be the most amazing day of my life, but it truly was. I think the main reason is that every step of the way we only did what we thought would be meaningful and fun.

If you can pay for most of it yourself, do it. By paying for most of it ourselves it gave us the license to do whatever we wanted.

If you don’t want “things” a honeymoon registry works very well. We never would have had a honeymoon without it. I found that most people were actually relieved to just hand over some money as it was easier than buying a gift.

Cutting the cake

What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? People won’t judge you or think you are strange if your wedding is a bit unusual. In fact, they will enjoy it because it truly represents who you are.

Also, it re-affirmed for me how important it is to surround youself with people who love and support you on your wedding day. It made me feel so incredibly lucky that we have so many amazing people in our lives.

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

  • Bridesmaid Dresses: Zizzy Fay -gorgeous website perfect for any faery themed weddings
  • Groom Armour: Mytholon it’s in German, but very good quality costumes and very reasonably priced.
  • Gorgeous Hair Wreath: Etsy seller Whichgoose
  • Venue (Castle): Rye Museum – very reasonably priced and gorgeous
  • Cakes: my Mum who has a small freelance business, if anyone is interested please contact me through OBT for more details.
  • My dress: Wendy – An amazing, talented lady who makes costumes for the theatre amongst other fabulous things. If anyone would like to contact her please contact me through OBT.

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

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