Norwegian Kristine met Canadian Liam in the library at Queen's University, Canada where they both were studying at the time. Liam overheard his future-bride speaking what he thought to be Danish with her best friend Hedwig who was sat with her. He approached the two women to ask if this was so, as he himself had recently returned from a few months of study in Copenhagen, but alas they quickly corrected him on their native tongue, and then proceeded to talk about how cute he was, knowing he couldn’t quite understand them!
In their time together, Kristine and Liam have spread their love and their lives across multiple countries and continents, in order to exist as one. From their humble beginning in university halls, to embarking on a long-distance relationship that spanned across half of Canada; the couple then embraced a move together to Sydney Australia for a year before settling in London, where they currently live and work.
With their families living in Canada and Norway, and friends travelling from America, Africa and even Australia to join them, their wedding was a cultural collection of different people all striving to show their support for this awesome pair of people, and Liam and Kristine’s ceremony so perfectly reflected this.
Kristine and Liam chose to celebrate their marriage in the UK as it seemed like a suitable midpoint for all their friends and family to come together under one roof, and in honour of the country where they currently live. For many of their guests, coming to the UK for Kristine’s and Liam’s wedding also gave them an opportunity to make a vacation out of the occasion and explore London and the country.
Aynhoe House is an utterly stunning venue. The interior of this still lived-in stately home displays a bold and eclectic mix of old and contemporary design, brought together in the most elaborate and quirky of ways! Think taxidermy horses disguised as unicorns and vultures wearing bowler hats amidst an array of disco balls, glittery furnishings, and great plumes of feathers...and you’ve just about got it. Not to mention the choice statue of David sporting a watch around his neck to rival MC Hammer!
Their chosen wedding celebrant, Samantha met with Kristine and Liam at their home near Kings Cross a few months before the ceremony, where they got together to talk about their plans over platters of cheese and home baked nibbles.
'Kristine and Liam's genuine hospitality at our meeting simply reflected the unassuming and generous nature that they both so easily possess, as individuals and as a couple. It was clear to see that Liam and Kristine have bonded naturally in their ability to simply make you feel at home – in their home – wherever they are in the world!'
The process of planning their ceremony came about very organically. Kristine and Liam knew what they wanted for their wedding, but wished for guidance in knowing how to achieve it best, so together we considered a range of different ideas and options to make things feel right for them, and even made some occasional compromises to come to a conclusion on how best to conduct their day.
All in all, it worked – we crafted a beautiful, traditional ceremony with lots of personal touches which reflected them both and their wishes.
Telling Kristine’s and Liam’s story was one of my favourite parts of writing this ceremony, as I’d found their relationship so inspiring to learn about. They are such a spectacular example of how a solid couple can be so willing to compromise elements of themselves and the ir personal dreams in view of the bigger picture in their being together. I always find it so admirable to see how two people can give so much of themselves into their overall determination to be together, and yet still remain equally true to themselves as individuals along the way.
Kristine and Liam wowed me with their effortless ability to have gathered so many wonderful people from all around the world into their story, and the personal touches they had added to their day in respect of this made writing their tale all the more meaningful.
Kristine and Liam held their ceremony in The Orangery at Aynhoe House;a rectangular shaped room gloriously drenched in bright natural light from the great glass windows that adorn it. It made for a spectacular lay out, and guests were in awe of the real-life Victorian antique taxidermy giraffe which is suspended by large white balloons high above the entrance steps.
Even Samantha was in awe, as she opened her service with the statement:
'Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen...I must say, this is the first time I have said those words whilst making eye contact with a levitating giraffe!'
͟The service itself was the perfect balance of sweet, sentimental, traditional and relaxed, as Samantha shared Liam and Kristine’s story to a room full of faces lit with large smiles and laughter, and an occasional dabbing of tears along the way!
At the end of the service, Samantha asked all guests to be upstanding and to place anything that they had in their hands on the chairs behind them, ready to clap and cheer for the bride and groom...
͞ 'Oh, my word, did they cheer?! The whole room erupted into a great roar of yelling and applause as the couple kissed, which left both myself and the photographer gasping with surprise! I’ve never heard a cheer at the end of a ceremony quite like it!
Kristine and Liam had chosen to add some personal touches to their ceremony in honour of their families and their proud Canadian and Norwegian heritage. The ceremony began with everyone asked to be upstanding to sing a popular Norwegian song called “Mitt Hjerte Er Ditt͞ - which translates ever so sweetly as 'My Heart Is Yours.'
The singing was accompanied by a live string and piano duo, and guests were given hymn sheets to follow if they wished to join in – or else they were encouraged to have a go at humming along if they couldn’t quite manage the language! Later in the service we also sang the traditional English hymn, Morning Has Broken, and Bridesmaid Nadine gave a reading of Corinthians to honour their Christian religion.
Kristine and Liam were both nervous about reading their vows out loud, so with Samantha’s help they planned a way to share their sentiments together without any pressure to perform beyond their comfort zone. Together, Kristine and Liam wrote a list of joint promises which Samantha shared out loud with their guests on the day. This was then followed by a simple declaration from each of them to honour those promises, and to remain faithful, truthful and committed to one another for so long as they both shall live.
Venue - Anyhoe House http://aynhoepark.co.uk/
Photographer - Jessica Raphael https://www.jessicaraphaelphotography.com/
Thank you for learning our story and sharing it with everyone, and for being there early to talk us through everything - neither of us felt nervous at all - just excited, feeling present and able to enjoy the ceremony. We got so many comments from people who loved the ceremony, how personal it was, light hearted but also formal at the same time.
We are so glad we chose to have you there.
Samantha Kelsie is a professional marriage and family celebrant who prides herself in creating bespoke ceremonies and symbolic unions to suit couples of all different styles and personalities in the UK and abroad.
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