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Sunday, 30 June, 2002, 18:01 GMT 19:01 UK
Love blossoms at Glastonbury
Chris Richmond and Emily Chalmers, who married at a disused London Tube station before Glastonbury
Chris Richmond and Emily Chalmers did it for real

She was radiant in her flowing, if slightly grubby wedding dress.

He looked thrilled in his informal black jacket with grey jumper.

Together, they had just been blessed along with 19 other couples by the priest of the Church of the Annihilation to a huge cheer from the congregation, and were now dancing to disco music in the boxing ring on the far side of the chapel.

Not your average wedding - but then, this is Glastonbury, and not much is average here.

Greenpeace Soulmates tent
Many were - others just wanted to be
The unconventional mass wedding inside the Chapel of Love or Loathe, in the far corner of the festival site, took the total of couples taking part in these semi-serious ceremonies to about 150 over the weekend.

The ceremonies may not have been legally binding, but they were not a total joke either according to those who took part.

As everybody here knows, Glastonbury is much more than just a place to watch bands, and love was blossoming more than ever.


As well as the mass weddings, a new match-making service was proving popular with festival-goers, and at least two couples chose to start their honeymoons here.

Glastonbury couple Jane Aldridge and Sam Pemberton, plus friend
Jane Aldridge and Sam Pemberton seal it with a kiss
The "groom" of one of the couples at the Chapel of Love or Loathe, Sam Pemberton, 23, from Leeds, said it was a spontaneous decision to take part - but that it was not a joke.

"We were walking past last night and saw it, and decided to do it," he said. "It's not legally-binding - it's just a symbol."

According to the organisers, the ceremonies can involve a chariot ride into the chapel, gospel singers, cabaret performers and a silver service meal afterwards - which couples love.

Greenpeace Soulmates tent
It takes more than a skinful of cider to prompt romance
But despite the novelty, the people taking part were "quite serious", the chapel's Laura Griffiths said.

"The only thing that's not the same as a normal wedding is that we haven't got a bit of paper to say that it's legally binding," she said.

Another mass wedding was organised by Greenpeace, who also ran an on-site match-making service that attracted up to 600 single festival-goers over the course of the weekend.

'Looking for love'

It was set up to help fans find people to share "Glastonbury moments" with - but lonely festival-goers took it more seriously than was expected, according to co-ordinator Helen McEachern.

"We didn't realise how much people were looking for love," she said.

"People come to festivals and see people who are the kind of people that they would want to go out with. But a lot of people don't have the guts to go up to them."

The charity would be expanding and "putting a little bit more thought" into the service in time for next year, she said.

Greenpeace Soulmates tent
Never mind, at least you can watch
If festival-goers do find love next year, there could be a fully-licensed chapel for the legal ceremony, if plans by one Christian arts group are approved.

For one couple, there was no need for a match-making service at the last event in 2000, when they met in a tipi - and returned this year to start their honeymoon.

Chris Richmond and Emily Chalmers married on the day before the festival in the ticket hall of a disused London Underground station, and were flown by helicopter to the site before settling into their honeymoon tipi on Friday.

"We both really love it here, so it's amazing," Emily, 33, said.


"It was quite special," said Chris of their first encounter in 2000.

Greenpeace Soulmates tent
"You may now kiss the..."
"When you're here, you can do whatever you want. You are laid-back anyway, so it makes it easier to meet people."

After they got engaged, they both agreed to wait until the Glastonbury date was confirmed so that they could plan their arrangements around it, Chris, 30, from Staines, Middlesex, said.

"I think Glastonbury was announced on the Friday, and we told everyone on the Sunday."

Glastonbury may be a music festival - but the Glastonbury spirit involves a lot more than just watching bands.

Festival focus

The band's diary

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Glastonbury scenes

Glastonbury scenes

The history of Glastonbury

Glastonbury history

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