Els and Casey: a celebration of the most tender and true love

Bespoke wedding at Gaynes Park led by London based celebrant Rosalie Kuyvenhoven. Photo credits: Christina Rossi

I am so proud to be able to share the story of Els and Casey’s wedding with you. This beautiful couple had the most moving ceremony.

Love doesn’t get more true and tender than theirs.

Els and Casey met as teens and from the moment they met their hearts would skip a few beats when they saw each other. They were inseparable from the very beginning, but, being gay, they had to overcome quite some hurdles before they could openly say their ‘I do’s’ and fulfil their dream of getting married.

The ceremony was filled with many meaningful and touching moments.

Read on to learn how we paid tribute to their love of Japan, how they remembered their much loved Nan, what readings they chose and their unique way of sharing their vows (inspired by Gentoo penguins!).


Els and Casey share a love of Japan and many special memories were created in this country. We started the ceremony with the following haiku:

Meeting is
One of the accidents.
The sunshine at the beginning of the summer.

Special wedding guest Ted

We had a special guest, Ted, who was sitting in Els’ Nan’s seat. Nan had always been a great fan of Els and Casey and had always supported them. She sadly died before she could witness their marriage, but was represented by Ted. She was also present in two pieces of jewellery that Casey and Els were wearing on the day. A beautiful way to remember someone who was dearly missed on the day.

Inspired by Els’s love of Winnie The Pooh, we thought Ted would also appreciate some words from this famous bear:

Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind.
‘Pooh!’ he whispered.
‘Yes, Piglet?’
‘Nothing,’ said Piglet, taking Pooh’s paw. ‘I just wanted to be sure of you.’

‘We’ll be Friends Forever, won’t we, Pooh?’ asked Piglet. ‘Even longer,’ Pooh answered.
Piglet: How do you spell ‘love’? Pooh: You don’t spell it…you feel it.

I choose you again and again

Els and Casey knew they were meant to be together form the moment they met. However, being able to celebrate this in the open, and sealing it in a more formal way had been a challenging journey.

Els’ aunt read a poem that reflected the unconditional choice for one another:

I choose you
I choose you
again and again
at the start and finish
of every single day
no matter the season
no matter the year

I choose you
to struggle and succeed with
to fight and make up with
to love and grow old with

I choose you
knowing there are still trials
we must travel
knowing there are mountains
left to climb

I choose you
To always be by my side

(Tyler Kent White)

Wedding vows: one for each year

Vows come in many forms and shapes. It is quite common, when a couple shares their vows that they prepare a special vow to the other, which typically remains a secret until the day.

Els and Casey took a less conventional approach. They wrote nine vows, one for each year they had known each other, and read them together, each one line at a time:

We promise to always take care of each other
We promise to always try to make each other smile
We promise to always talk things out
We promise to always support each other’s interests, even if they’re not out own
We promise to always try to surprise and delight each other
We promise to always listen to each other, even if no one else will
We promise to take care of our home and our family together
We promise to lift each other up in everything we do
We promise to give each other the things we need to be happy

Pebble ritual

They also included a very special ritual. Inspired by a courting ritual of gentoo penguins, they had also brought a special pebble for the other.

Penguins search through piles of pebbles to find the smoothest, most beautiful one to present to the penguin of their dreams. For Els and Casey, their pebbles are also a meaningful symbol for building a home and a future together. 

True love, forever

Throughout the ceremony, their love filled the room and was seen and felt by everyone.

These two are so in tune, and the energy, fun and warmth between them is infectious.  It was an incredible honour to play a part on their special day.

Els, Casey, I wish you all the happiness in the world in your future life together!

Wedding photographer: Cristina Rossi
Wedding venue: Gaynes Park Barn Wedding Venue, Essex

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