We’ve all heard of a hen party. But how about a hen wedding? Ky and Lizzie Gatherer are passionate about their chickens and, when they got married, they decided on a chicken-themed wedding. Lizzie tells the story Photos by Alistair Jones at Ideal Imaging http://www.idealimaging.uk.com

Ky and I have been together a while now, 11 years to be precise. This means our family and friends have been waiting a long time for us to tie the knot, and they were also expecting something a little different as Ky and I are a little bit quirky! We live together in Aldershot, Hampshire, and we are poorly-hen carers for the Berkshire team of the British Hen Welfare Trust. Having converted our garage into a hen hospital, we are passionate about our special girls and we devote a lot of time to them. We decided we would have a chicken-inspired wedding! I don’t mean that there was chicken on the menu (neither of us eat chicken), I mean we had a chicken theme! We managed to find lots of fun and quirky ways to include our love for our girls on our special day.

The trimmings

For our wedding breakfast, we had seven tables and each table was named after our first seven girls. Ky made a chicken wire and wooden frame so we could use little hen pegs to hold the table name cards in place which had hen-themed borders. Our friend Phil Burton (www.philburtoncreative.co.uk) designed us a wedding logo using our initials KG and LG which formed the face of a hen, and the border incorporated chicken feathers and feet. We used these hen-themed designs for our ‘save the date’ cards, invitations and guest memory cards. On each table we had a ‘chicken jar’. I had read somewhere that during the hen fever period under Queen Victoria, live hens would be displayed in glass boxes at dinner parties. I wanted to do this at our wedding… but of course without live hens!

Our friend Sarah Filkins (www.sarahfilkinsartwork.co.uk) drew some beautiful hens to go into a glass coffee jar (we like to recycle where possible!) and she made some feather labels too. Each jar had eight props inside, all with a feather label which told our guests some quirky facts about chickens! For example, we had a little plastic water pistol with an explanation that chickens became so valuable during hen fever that fanciers hired bodyguards to protect their chicken coops! Our tables were egg shaped but, I must admit, that was a fluke! As one of the many activities we had, a company called Fancy Features made a custom giant colouring- in canvas for us. The canvas was full of all the things we like as a couple, but there were also 46 hens and feathers, to represent all our girls, past and present.

The cake and the rings

Our family friend Diane Browne made our gorgeous wedding cake using eggs from our own girls. We even had fresh eggs as part of our ‘altar’ that Ky made. When it was group photo time, we handed out red latex gloves to our family and friends, they blew them up and held them on their heads so they looked like chicken combs! We had been to weddings where they have a fingerprint tree; we decided a fingerprint hen would be more suited to us; this was another task completed by our friend Sarah.

The best bit about our wedding, though, was the surprised look on everyone’s faces when our best man Mark was asked for the rings. He patted his pockets, looked a bit dismayed and then the song ‘Here Come the Girls’ started to play! Our wonderful friend Jane Marshall came through the doors, pushing a carriage which contained Blossom and Clucky, two of our BHWT girls. They wore little knitted jackets to match the bridesmaid’s dresses and there were little pockets so that each girl had the most important job of carrying a ring for both of us! Our talented friend Ruth Brooker made the knitted jackets. The girls really stole the show! Our celebrant, Philip Scott (humanist.org.uk/philipscott/), had to wait some time for the laughter to subside so that he could continue with our ceremony! At the end, our harpist Amy Turk (amyturkharp.com) played ‘Do the Conga’ and we conga-ed out of the ceremony room of Farnham Castle with huge grins on our faces!

A business is launched

Our wedding was perfect – perfectly different – and I am so glad we were able to share it with our girls whom we are so passionate about. I also used our wedding as the official launch of my new personalised wedding magazine business, www.wedition.co.uk We build beautiful, bespoke and personal wedding magazines that you can give to your guests as a wedding favour. You may choose to include the menu and order of service in your magazine (saving on stationery costs) and you might like to introduce the bridal party and stories of how you met your partner, a really wonderful conversation starter for guests who have not met before. Please email me for more details liz@wedition.co.uk

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