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Our big fat world-hugging weddings

By Ben Cohen | 19 Jun 2019

How Bake Off star Martha Collison – and three other couples said 'I do... love God's world' when they tied the knot.

Weddings are celebrations of love: love for the happy couple, for friends and for family. Well, what about some love for the rest of the world – the world outside the church or registry office walls?

Just as ‘God so loved the world…’ (John 3:16), meet four couples who made sure God’s world (the people and the planet) got a front row seat at their big celebration. One of them, you may well recognise...

Martha and Michael: baking plans together

Martha Collinson's wedding with flying confetti

Martha and Michael's wedding: the cake-lover's event of the year. (Photo: WeAreTheChamberlins)

Great British Bake Off star Martha Collison recently married her beloved, Michael Haywood. She was keen the wedding reflected two more of her loves: Tearfund… and cake. ‘A wedding’, says Martha, ‘is a big opportunity to shout what you’re passionate about.’ 

For baking, she had her fellow contestants whip up a pile of delicious cakey-creations. Meanwhile other friends and family pitched in for the big day. ‘We drew on the skillset of our friends and family,’ she says. ‘Everything from my mother sewing labels onto pashminas, to a friend photographing the event.’ 

And Tearfund wasn’t forgotten. ‘It was always important, as Tearfund supporters, that our wedding reflected God’s love for us, our love for each other and our love for others – the world,’ says Martha.

The bar in the evening was a Tearfund donation bar – guests left a donation and picked up a leaflet about us along with their drink. A Lebanese themed banquet was an opportunity for Martha to talk about her visit to the nation: ‘In Lebanon I remember seeing couples in wedding dress shops in refugee camps: it made me realise how privileged I am.’


Jo and Pete: no waste, lots of taste



'Another canapé – you don't want them to go to waste...'

'Do take another canapé: you wouldn't want them to go to waste.'

‘We wanted our wedding to be a complete celebration,’ says Jo Herbert-James. ‘But we also wanted to have the lowest environmental impact we could.’

The environment is an issue close to Jo’s heart. She works for Tearfund’s Advocacy Team and was happy to let guests know the various ways in which they’d ‘greened’ their wedding… all except for one, which they chose to keep under wraps – to start with at least.

‘We fed people with canapés made from food waste, food that would have gone into landfill otherwise,’ she explains. Food waste is a big deal, environmentally, contributing hugely to carbon emissions.

‘We found a company that caters with food waste. We had lovely cheese crackers and creamy fruit twists. I thought they’d be good but they were incredible.’

At the end of the afternoon reception, Pete and Jo explained what the guests had been nibbling on. ‘There was a mixture of responses: some were utterly shocked and unsure of what they’d been eating. Others had expected something like that, knowing us!’


Phil and Emily: stuff and no-nonsense

‘We started to feel a bit uncomfortable about receiving so much “stuff”’
Emily Keen
Phil and Emily join hands to marry

Phil and Emily's big moment.

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Written by Ben Cohen

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