“Phil and I started planning our wedding by thinking about what we didn’t want & what we hadn’t liked about weddings we’d attended. We were both a bit uninspired by civil ceremonies and found them a little joyless and tedious. We also hated how, at a lot of weddings, you spend most of the day glancing around at a room of people you don’t know, and by the time the ice is broken it’s time to go home. The 3 day wedding idea was a way to avoid this awkwardness, a Friday night party would ensure that by the time I walked down the aisle the atmosphere would be full of shared laughter, love and friendship. The only way around a civil ceremony that we could see was to write our own. Bringing Zaq and Joe in on such a project was a no brainer!
Over dinner one night we outlined our ideas for the weekend; a chilled out Friday BBQ with circus toys dotted around to play with, our own ceremony on the Saturday led by Zaq & Joe (the look on their faces when we asked them to marry us will stay with me!) followed by us performing an aerial first dance & other performers in the evening. Sunday we didn’t really have a plan for. We wanted people to enjoy the grounds of the house, play in the pool, etc before a roast dinner send off. We wanted there to be enough to do so people wouldn’t be bored but not to annoy guests with sore heads! We decided that Sunday would be totally their project and a surprise for me and Phil. This turned out to be a great decision!
The Sunday of our wedding saw the grounds of Park Hall being turned into a wonderland with something magical at every turn. It was set up loosely as a scavenger hunt, but in a very laid back fashion, with no requirement for guests to have to see everything. Information was in each bedroom when the guests arrived with clues to the location of the performance areas. It worked beautifully! The grounds were dotted all afternoon with random groups of our guests wandering around enjoying the sunshine and marvelling at everything. The human crows who performed aerial hoop sequences when presented with a key were a particular highlight with the adult guests and all of children were dazzled by the presence of a real mermaid in the pool! The Nymph’s hoop workshop under the trees was a hit with those feeling energetic. Hula hoops had been dotted around through the whole weekend so the self-proclaimed ‘Kings of the hoop’ got to learn some more skills! For those who wanted a more chilled experience the fortune teller in the lounge and incredibly talented piano man taking requests in the drawing room provided some respite from the sun and I don’t think anyone missed out the ringmaster selfie booth! It was the perfect Sunday and an amazing way to end our wedding weekend.
Although the Sunday was definitely the crowning glory, the whole weekend simply could not have happened without the energy, imagination and enthusiasm Zaq and Joe brought to the whole event. During the preparation period they constantly took any logistical or aesthetic worries or problems we had and made them theirs, “Don’t worry about that anymore, that’s our problem now”. Whether it was how to get chairs from the garden for the ceremony to the Garden suite for the meal, who would mix the after ceremony drinks, how many flower bunches we’d need for a 5ft rig or what our plan B was if it rained, they took all our worries and made everything run like clockwork. This continued even to the wedding weekend itself. I was stopped by Zaq in a hallway who asked why I looked worried. I replied it was nothing, just that the downstairs loos were running out of loo roll. He told me not to think about it anymore and by the morning it was sorted. Just one example & just a little thing, but one less thing for a Bride to think about!
They organised an incredible spectrum of circus performers for the Saturday night. Pretty much all bases were covered, hoop, silks, net, fire, acro, poi, LED hoop, spanish web and flying pole! We had been concerned that stopping every 30 minutes for a performance might upset the tempo of the evening but our worry was totally unfounded. Zaq’s lively compering skills ensured the party atmosphere was just enhanced every time a new performer hit the floor. The garden was full of cheers, dancing and laughter. Many of our guests had never seen circus performers live before and were blown away. The Zaq and Joe double act ensured our whole wedding day ran perfectly. There was no awkward moments when the guests weren’t sure where they should be and no sudden silences when no-one thought to re-start the playlist! Zaq was a wonderful Master of Ceremonies, even making sure that the tedious wedding notices (phones off, no booze during legal ceremony, etc) had a playful air. Joe had a slightly less centre stage role and was often running around, making sure everything ran like clockwork. The perfect team!
Planning our fantasy wedding with Zaq and Joe was so much fun, but one of our favourite parts of the preparation stage was creating our aerial first dance with Joe. Both of us had some aerial experience before starting the process but had almost no doubles or performance experience. Joe was incredibly patient, working with us first on shapes, which turned into small sequences, which eventually shaped themselves into our dance. Both of us improved massively during these sessions, and session by session little bits of flare and other little moves and even a drop were added in as we explored the possibilities of the routine together. Zaq started coming to rehearsals once the routine had a skeleton and his performance tips turned it from a routine to a performance, our first dance! We progressed so much that with a month to go Joe dropped the bomb that we’d outgrown our song and needed something more dramatic. This turned out to be a great decision and we were incredibly happy with the finished product.
When you get to the pointy end of planning a wedding people start warning you that no matter how much planning you put in or how organised you are, things will go wrong so prepare yourself for it. We were prepared. Nothing went wrong. Our fantasy wedding weekend unfolded in front of our eyes. This was massively due to our amazing friends and family totally embracing every crazy thing we threw at them and almost totally due to the dedication, joy, hard work and love that Zaq and Joe brought to the project. By the end of the weekend a fair few of my guests want to take them home with them and all of them presumed that wedding planning was their daily business. I will always be grateful to them both for making our crazy dream come true.”
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