AOW A-Z of Getting Married – X is for X Marks The Spot

The AOW A-Z of Getting Married is a resource for brides (and grooms) to be.  It’s a welcome piece of sanity in an industry-saturated world where people are bombarded with what weddings they should have, what they should act like, and how a bride should feel.  Created by the team behind Any Other Woman, this A-Z is the first collaboration of its kind, bringing together posts from readers across the AOW community filled with advice, wisdom and experience from sane, smart, real women, many of whom have been there.  From wedding planning to family trials to breaking taboos, no topic is out of bounds.  We are honoured and excited to run each and every post, and we learn from each and every one of our readers.

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X is for X Marks The Spot by Helen  

The delightful Amy shared her venue-hunting tips, this post is about the significance of the place you choose or, specifically, how I feel reflecting on ours. It isn’t that practical! More like an ode to the building.

X marks the spot. The spot where St George’s stands; a building which bore witness to so much joy. Our first encounter with St George’s was listening to stripped down folk on an acoustic guitar, before we were even engaged. I was awed by the building, there was an honesty and a fundamental presence to it which I struggle to put into words. It is both unfussy and ornate. The austere wooden floorboards contrasting with the divinely intricate reredos. The unadorned pillars upon which magnificent chandeliers shine. There is a wonderful permanence to the building and a stubborn enduring history. Yet this majestic, imposing venue, still somehow remains secret even those who’ve long lived in Bristol. Tucked off busy Park Street, nestled beneath Brandon Hill. It was the only venue we viewed and it was perfect for us.

On that Maundy Thursday it was the spot I entered almost paralysed by nerves and from which I nearly skipped just a short while later. Tripping up the flight of stone steps, dizzied by the towering cupola. Waiting in the vestibule, heavy with draped velvet. Briefly ensconced before entering the hall with soaring ceilings and my soaring heart. The beautiful windows pale in the chilly grey April day. Marvelling at the acoustics as our best man serenaded us and wowed our guests. The tinkling of the grand piano during dinner and later, the rock band filling the vast space with a punked-up version of ‘Delilah’ (featuring the groom on guest vocals). The contrast of the cosy crypt where our families mingled and chatted over tables filled with Easter flowers and scones.

Oh and a plaque in the gardens which said this:

All photographs here onwards are by Neil Light

I’ve already been back there for a concert. I felt the thrill of the day return as I entered the building and a surge of joy as I took my place in the stalls and looked up at the stage where we’d exchanged our vows. I wanted to tell the rows of people what had happened here, what significance it held for me. This glorious building now wedded to our life.

The setting of your wedding – whether church, barn or beach- is so important. It becomes part of the map of your relationship through which you charter your shared history. It joins the patch of grass on Snowdonia where I said “yes!”, the dingy Swansea night club where we first kissed. We’ll return to the city for our anniversary and make our way up the hill. We’ll linger at the gates to look up at the steps and remember them filled with our favourite people. St George’s is the spot, hidden away in what was once our city, to return to. Like a matrimonial pilgrimage.


NB: St George’s is not a licensed venue. A wonderful humanist celebrant led us in a celebration of our marriage, but we did the legal bit the day before. You can find out more about the building here.

Categories: A-Z of Getting Married
16 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Rach M
    Posted February 6, 2013 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    Wow, wow, wow! Am on a packed sweaty Hong Kong tram in the middle of the afternoon, and this has me jumping for joy. So well-written. You have me filled with awe. What a fab place. Congratulations! xx

  2. Mahj
    Posted February 6, 2013 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    I have actual goosebumps reading this! Beautifully written.


    • Posted February 6, 2013 at 8:38 am | Permalink

      It is, isn’t it. It makes me remember that you don’t need flowery waffly descriptions to evoke really powerful images (note to self!)

      • Lara Blue
        Posted February 6, 2013 at 11:13 am | Permalink

        This could be a note to me too!!!

  3. Posted February 6, 2013 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    Such a beautiful place to get married Helen! And a very beautifully written post indeed :)

  4. Posted February 6, 2013 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    I have lived in Bristol nearly 5 years and did not know this existed! I will now go hunt it out because you’ve written about it so beautifully. Maybe scurry up Brandon Hill tower while I’m there :)

    • Posted February 6, 2013 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      Oh yes, you must! It is a hidden gem.

  5. Gemma C-S
    Posted February 6, 2013 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    Loved reading this, loved the quote, and also loved the photo! xx

  6. Posted February 6, 2013 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    Totally loved this.

  7. Posted February 6, 2013 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    Wonderful post Helen. Sounds so perfect.

    I’ve walked past that building quite a few times when I’ve been in Bristol and always thought it looked really lovely. I hadn’t twigged that it was where you got married though – how wonderful. :-)

  8. Roz
    Posted February 6, 2013 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    “I wanted to tell the rows of people what had happened here, what significance it held for me.” This is the bit I love best! xx

    • Posted February 6, 2013 at 11:02 am | Permalink

      Thank you, Roz. It was very hard to keep quiet!

  9. Lara Blue
    Posted February 6, 2013 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    What a lovely read, Helen. You evoke the building with such eloquence and aplomb. I love the description of how it has now become part of your special relationship history, so true! xx

  10. Laura
    Posted February 6, 2013 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    I have been to a couple of concerts at St George and it really is a beautiful building in a beautiful setting! You are very lucky to have had your specail day there!

  11. Posted February 7, 2013 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Becci! Was wonderful to transport myself back there, especially since we’re now rather far away.

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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