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Glastonbury couple seal marriage in handtying ceremony at Healing Field

Johnjo Smith proposed during Elton John’s performance at Glastonbury last year.

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A couple wearing summery clothes have their hands tied together

A couple who got engaged at Glastonbury last year held a handtying ceremony at this year’s festival, which they said is their “favourite place on Earth”, to “solidify the relationship in a spiritual way”.

Sian Barklem, 25 and Johnjo Smith, 24, from Liverpool, got engaged during Sir Elton John’s performance at last year’s festival and were married in September without any family or friends present.

The couple, who are at their third Glastonbury, decided to celebrate their marriage with a handtying ceremony attended by about 20 of their friends, with whom they have been to the festival in previous years.

A couple wearing summery outfits hold up their arms, tied together at the wristsFestival 2024
Sian Barklem and Johnjo Smith take part in a handtying ceremony in the Healing Field (Yui Mok/PA)

Ms Barklem told the PA news agency: “We got married in September but we had decided that we wanted to do this in Glastonbury this year, to celebrate with our friends and a year from our engagement as well.

“Glastonbury is a very special place because it’s our favourite place on Earth, so it’s very special that we can celebrate our marriage and our relationship on these special grounds and with all our friends, who we always come with.

“It’s a very spiritual place and we enjoyed spending time in the Healing Fields when we had come to the festival in previous years.

“It is a really special and significant place for us to solidify the relationship in a spiritual way.”

The celebrant was Glenda Procter from the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, who has been doing handfasting at Glastonbury for more than a decade.

Ms Barklem, a cabin crew member, said: “The words that the celebrant was reading really resonated with our relationship and it was a really emotional ceremony.”

Glastonbury Festival 2024
Sian Barklem and Johnjo Smith got married in September (Yui Mok/PA)

The couple’s friends found the ceremony “really moving, really emotional and really special”, she said.

“Everyone said you could just feel the love, like it was present everywhere, and everyone was crying. They said it was more emotional than they thought it was going to be.”

The couple wore pink, purple and yellow headpieces that they bought at Glastonbury last year and wore during Sir Elton’s performance.

After the ceremony, Ms Barklem said: “We’ve kept our hands tied together for a couple of hours but it’s not very practical being at a festival and having our hands tied so we’ve just taken it off now.”

Ms Barklem said that this year’s Glastonbury is shaping up to be their best yet.

“We had the opening ceremony last night, our wedding celebration this morning, the weather – it’s just got the makings for the perfect Glasto,” she said.

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