“The Harmony Glass Experience” is an innovative way to remember loved ones.

18 months ago, I was booked by a couple, who were looking to hold an outside ceremony to celebrate their marriage, amongst friends and family .

Within a few days of first contact , we had arranged to meet at a beautiful National Trust site with stunning garden spaces. When we met and walked around the outdoor areas , they both proceeded to talk to me about their plans for their Celebration of Marriage ceremony.

@TheDorothyCliveGardens has many potential areas for Celebrant led ceremonies , but as we spent time walking around, there seemed to be an agreed consensus on one particular area.

This area was beautifully framed with an old oak tree and many specimens of other varieties of trees and bushes. Their faces were a delight to see, lit up, picturing themselves and their loved ones together in this magical place.  I couldn’t identify all the greenery around us, but the groom to be, proceeded to share his passion and knowledge of trees, telling me all about them and what colour they would be at the time they planned their event.

Their faces were a delight to see, lit up, picturing themselves and their loved ones together in this magical place.

I could see straight away that this place was truly special for both of them and I learnt that it had been a particular favourite dating place for them both – in the more inclement days of weather snuggling up in the warm café that was also on site.

I sat over a coffee, listening to them eagerly telling me about themselves as a couple, and their story of how they both fell in love. He was obviously an expert in trees and worked in this field, they both loved the outdoors and gardens, and   these gardens were an obvious choice when the question was popped. They did not have to think about anywhere else.

They were both in their 40’s, having found their soul mates, perhaps a little later in life than some , but this planning was very special to them both. Although the bride loved nature and all the colours ,her husband to be was the spiritual one – loving the pagan way of life …

As with many couples, they were a bit lost as to where to start with their plans but   I gave them lots of ideas, some they didn’t like, others they loved… particularly the unique idea of “The Harmony glass experience”

So, what is “the Harmony Glass experience

Their love of nature and outdoors was to be a prevalent   theme to run throughout their ceremony.   I discussed the journey that the “Harmony Glass Experience” could give them and showed a couple of examples of finished pieces of stunning glass art that I had taken along with me.

They both loved the idea of being able to use this part of the ceremony to bring in the memory of a lost parent, and also involved those parents who were still thankfully alive , to share in their blending part   of the glass crystals – and also to have a beautiful piece of glass art as a permanent memory of their special day .

There are 4 key bespoke Harmony glass shapes, in which to make the choices from – my couple chose the Totem shape.

With over 22 different coloured glass crystals to choose from ,we discussed what combinations of colours they would like to see in their finished totem piece …

There was no problem with the choice of colours that they wished to choose – all woodland based colours of Amber, Two different Greens and a White.

The “ ceremony” part of the Harmony experience , is where the couple decide what loved ones they would like to  come forward and stand with them, pouring their chosen coloured glass crystals with them and blending all together into a glass receptacle , creating those magical memories .

The date for the ceremony was set for 2021….. We had spent a lovely couple of hours together, and they left with ideas buzzing around their heads. . As was my normal practice, I agreed to send across a draft of the ideas that we had discussed , and to enable them to look at the structure of their day.

After our initial meeting , we exchanged a couple of e mails and then , as is normal practice because the date was still 2 years away ,we agreed   to leave the finer part of the details until a year before their chosen date .

But fate was about to play a very different pack of cards for my couple …..

in early October, only a couple of months after our first meeting, I received a shocking phone call from the bride to be , asking my availability to write and deliver their ceremony for them in 2 weeks’ time… She had recently been through hospital tests that resulted her being informed that she had a type of cancer that was thought to be incurable , and that only palliative care was available for her.

The venue was very quickly changed, ,and I met with them again , in their home environment to discuss the detailed content of their rescheduled day…

We didn’t have the 2 years of planning we had just 10 days…..

The Woodland Theme

All the stops were pulled out to make the surroundings look as similar to their woodland theme that they had originally wanted …. The personalisation was everywhere ,from the Green writing of a chosen poem on the candles, beautifully crafted by @ Candles to Cherish,   through to the solid wooden baubles that the Groom had   carved personally, from 4 different woods – to be hung at the end of their handfasting cords – colours of 3 different greens and white -.

Four chosen people came forward with their dedicated colour of ribbon placing it over the couples hands and pausing for a kiss with each of them in turn… the 5th person came forward and proceeded to plait the ribbons together whilst a favourite chosen piece of music was sang so majestically in the background by the lovely Emma whilst strumming the strings of her guitar………..

We chose to have a ring warming, the rings thread through green ribbon that everyone slid across to the next person infusing those rings with love .

The colours chosen for “The Harmony Experience “ were of course woodland colours of Amber, Green , Green and White… each person taking it in turns to pour first a little of each of their colour, with the spiritual reference of the choice of meaning of each colour being spoken quietly, as a favourite choice of music was softly playing in the background..

Then all the colours were poured all together, the colours all merging together in the bottom of the bowl-once poured, never separated

As the couple were signing their certificate, each of their guests had been given a stone pebble in which to write their messages- to be placed , after the ceremony, in their shared favourite place in their home garden.

The bride was strong and well enough to enjoy their special day and memories were made with smiles all around, but with bleeding hearts underneath.

Little did I know how significant their piece of Harmony glass was to be…

The couple had been invited to attend the glass studio to come and watch their blend of crystals be transformed into their chosen piece of ” Harmony Glass” art by the talented glass blower @Kayleighyoungglass, but the bride was too poorly to make the journey ….

I received a text message to tell me that the bride had been taken into the local hospice.

A quick phone call and a trip to the glass studio, I made a video of the making process, in the hope that, at very least ,she would be able to see the final process of the experience .

The glass has to go through a cooling process for a minimum of 24 hours, and we were racing against the clock, praying that she would hold out . I sent the video recording to be shown to her, and after watching, I was told she had perked up enough to be able to watch it ….The next day, Kayleigh drove to take their Harmony piece of glass art, directly to the hospice ,where it was placed on a base light shining at her bedside …. She woke, smiled and then drifted into a deep sleep, never to wake.

Yesterday was the anniversary of their wedding …. I sent a message of support to her widower, but a tinge of great sadness wrapped itself around me, as I chose not to post their wedding photos onto my social media as a sign of respect…..

In memory of a very special person, Alison

“The Harmony glass experience “….” Making moments into lifetime memories “ ….

www.harmonyglass.co.uk

www.cariad-personalceremonies.co.uk

www.kayleighyoungglass