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Hampshire Wedding Photography // Surprise Humanist Barn Wedding

“It was the most amazing night of our lives.” -Paul + Toyha

When Paul + Toyha decided to get married, they talked a lot about the reasons why they were doing it and what would be important to them on their wedding day.  They knew straight away they wanted to plan something memorable that they could look back on over the next 50 years and smile. About the decision to make it a surprise, Toyha says, “The whole surprise wedding idea came to us really naturally, once we started stripping away all the extras that so many couples get caught up in, it was easy for us to see what was left. With neither of us being religious we knew that it was our friends and loved ones that we wanted to witness us making a commitment to each other and to our own family.

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As soon as we discovered the idea of a humanist ceremony we fell in love with the freedom to make the service completely what we wanted it to be and personal to our story.  Knowing this wasn’t legally binding, we then added in slipping away to the registry office to sign our licence in the morning, but for both of us the main focus was always going to be the evening ‘event’.”
Over the months of planning, there were so many really hard moments not to spill the beans to all their friends, but knowing they had this secret between them was also extremely special.

“We knew using the guise of an engagement party would make sure that those who are special to us would come and they did.”

For me, the best part of the humanist ceremony was the handfasting ritual. It was such a beautiful expression to see both sets of parents tying these two together and then stepping away, leaving Paul + Toyha to become one and begin their lives as husband and wife.
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Another beautiful part of the ceremony was where the rings were passed around the entire barn for all of the guests to hold and bless with their hopes and dreams for Paul and Toyha.
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“We took all the best parts of a traditional wedding, stripped it all back and celebrated in style, there is nothing we would change!”

Of the most electric moment of the whole day, Toyha says, “The build up to the big reveal and the suspicious whispers of some of our guests added to the drama and excitement of it all.  The most magical moment was the second Paul made the reveal and I walked in to meet him. The atmosphere went electric and gives us goosebumps each time we think about it. The whole thing went exactly to plan and we just wish we could go back and do it over and over.”

The Photos

// SUPPORTING CAST //

The Author & Artist

I'm Elizabeth, the photographer behind Gracie May Photography. I've been shooting since my first wedding in 2008 on a borrowed camera.

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