Login Register

UK's first NAKED Pagan wedding takes place in Forest of Dean

By citizenmike  |  Posted: May 25, 2014

By Michael Wilkinson

  • Happy couple... John and Helen Donson have had a Pagan wedding in the nude

  • Marriage laid bare... Helen and John Donson celebrate their Pagan wedding

  • Helen and John share a kiss in the Kiln Wood

  • Priest David Abel and Priestess Melanie Sopp with the happy couple

Comments (9)

LIBERATED couple John and Helen Donson said ‘I do’ in the buff at their Pagan wedding at the weekend.

The pair stripped off to get hitched near Kiln Wood, in the Forest of Dean.

Their wedding at the Pines Naturist Club is the first naturist ‘handfasting’ – a term for a Pagan wedding – in the UK. Handfasting dates back more than 4,500 years.

John, 61, and Helen, 48, met three years ago at the funeral of Helen’s former partner – and John admits it was love at first sight. “As soon as I saw her I knew there was something special there,” he said.

Related content

But John, who works for Airbus, was soon to discover Helen’s naturist ways. He said: “She brought me here and I was quite apprehensive about it, but I quickly got used to taking my clothes off and now I love it.”

Helen said: “As a girl my mum would try to get me to put my clothes on but I always used to run around naked.

“I hate clothes. I only wear them as a necessity but can’t wait to get out of them.”

The Pagan ceremony saw John and Helen’s hands tied together. They had to work together to free themselves of the tie without undoing the knot – a symbol that they can work through difficult times together.

They then had to use a blade to slash each other’s hair – John took a lock of Helen’s hair, while Helen, who is a domestic cleaner, took a chunk out of his white beard.

The pair, who hail from Chippenham, in Wiltshire, also said ‘I love you’ in Norwegian.

In one year and one day they will legally marry as Pagan weddings are not recognised in law.

Priest David Abel and priestess Melanie Sopp have a busy year of Pagan weddings – with some 83 bookings this year, including some in the centre of the Stonehenge circle.

Mr Abel, who is a former Methodist minister, said: “I was quite uncomfortable with the thought of conducting a naked ceremony when I was first asked. I thought to myself that my Methodist congregation would have been horrified at the thought of it. But I went along with it and it has been liberating.

“Handfasting is a tradition that dates back at least 4,500 years. People would worship nature such as the Earth, the sky, the stars and the moon.”

It is thought there are up to 200,000 Pagans living in Britain today.

Read more from Gloucester Citizen

Do you have something to say? Leave your comment here...

max 4000 characters

9 comments

  • NaturistSpace  |  May 27 2014, 8:28AM

    LocalNudistSingle com gives yourself a better chance by meeting nudists who enjoys the same nudist lifestyle that you do!

    Rate 0
    Report
  • NaturistSpace  |  May 27 2014, 8:24AM

    Most single nudists just like other single people are searching for that perfect companion, someone they can spend the rest of their lives with. But to achieve that goal, there might be a few rounds of naked frog kissing involved.

    Rate 0
    Report
  • NaturistSpace  |  May 27 2014, 8:21AM

    Congratulations! wish more nudists can find their soul mate, you know, it's not easy for all nudists

    Rate 0
    Report
  • honslknjklyt  |  May 26 2014, 11:46AM

    Congratulations.

    Rate   6
    Report
  • Deanie240473  |  May 25 2014, 7:17PM

    I'm so proud of my dad and Helen, I was surprised when my dad told me that they were naturists, but if they are happy with taking their clothes off then so be it. It was just funny explaining to John's 3 grandchildren that they go nudist camps after receiving a post card with naked people on it, my youngest went "went really they like taking their clothes off - that's weird" but we love them both and can't wait for the main wedding next year where they will have clothes on x

    Rate   9
    Report
  • Malcolm_Boura  |  May 25 2014, 6:32PM

    Oops, my comment vanished. Repeating it with a correction. Congratulations to the happy couple and for the first naked pagan hand fasting, however it is far from being the first wedding. It is probably about 15 years ago that I put some guidance together because of the number of enquiries. We know of several officiants from a variety of religions and denominations who would conduct marriage or any other ceremony. Please get in touch with British Naturism if you would like assistance finding a venue or an officiant.

    Rate 0
    Report
  • Malcolm_Boura  |  May 25 2014, 6:28PM

    Congratulations to the happy couple. However it is far from being the first. It is about 15 years ago that I put some guidance together because of the number of enquiries. We know of several officiants from a variety of religions and denominations who would conduct marriage or any other ceremony. Please get in touch with British Naturism if you would like assistance finding a venue or an officiant.

    Rate   1
    Report
  • RoadWombat  |  May 25 2014, 5:45PM

    Did anyone else misread "hand fasting" first time round?

    Rate   2
    Report
  • MikeMorrisOBE  |  May 25 2014, 2:21PM

    The bare faced cheek of it. Seriously though, fair play to them. They're not hurting anyone, lying to the electorate or tax dodging, so all the best for the future.

    Rate   20
    Report

      YOUR COMMENTS AWAITING MODERATION

       
       

      MORE NEWS HEADLINES