FLOATING ON AIR: BRISTOL COUPLE TIE THE KNOT ON 75 METRE HIGHWIRE IN UK’S FIRST ROPE WALKING WEDDING
Wedding day nerves are no unusual thing but one couple from Bristol will have the added pressure of being 25 metres above the heads of their guests when saying their vows in the UK’s first ever high-wire wedding.
Chris Bull, 37 and Phoebe Baker, 25 will be taking to the sky for the daring ceremony at Wookey Hole Caves in Somerset.
The daredevil pair will tie the knot on a wire stretched 75 metres across a valley at the show caves, while over 100 of their closest friends and family look on.
Chris, a professional rope walker who lives with Phoebe in an original 1930s showman’s caravan in Hanham, Bristol said: “I proposed to Phoebe in Burma and one of the first conversations we had about the wedding was me saying how cool it would be to get married on a high wire. I’d been a rope walker for 12 years and it was something I’d always dreamt about, but I never thought I’d find a wife to agree!
“Phoebe thought it was a crazy idea but to my surprise she actually said she’d be up for it! Phoebe had been developing her skills on a low wire at the time so we decided with some more practise we’d give it a go! She has now been practising in Belgium with famous wire walker Denis Josselin.
“It’s not actually legal to sign the register in the air so we have arranged to have a small ceremony in the caves beforehand and then the main wedding event on the wire. One of our friends who is a ringmaster is ordained to marry people so he will be conducting the ceremony from the ground with a megaphone!
“We are also hiring the Wookey Hole theatre on site for a cabaret-style reception that our circus performer friends will be performing at.
“We are so lucky to have found a venue to make our crazy dreams a reality. Daniel Medley and Gerry Cottle, the joint owners, have been brilliant.”
Chris and Phoebe met at a circus show when Chris was a performer and Phoebe was a costume maker. The couple have been planning the wedding extravaganza ever since.
After reading circus showman Gerry Cottle’s autobiography Confessions of a Showman: My Life in the Circus, Chris decided to email his idol and was stunned to get a reply back with Gerry agreeing to host the wacky wedding at Wookey Hole Caves.
Chris continued: “It was a dream come true and Gerry has been 100% behind the idea, helping us with rigging and planning. This is a day we’re going to remember fondly for the rest of our lives and we’re so pleased it will reflect us as a couple.”
Wookey Hole Caves is one of the UK’s most popular tourist attractions and one of the largest show cave systems in Europe. Attracting thousands of visitors every year the tourist hotspot is famed for its cave tour as well as the resident Witch of Wookey Hole.
The attraction also runs a Circus School for children with students performing regular themed circus shows to visitors during weekends and school holidays.
Wookey Hole Caves joint-owner and director Daniel Medley said: “We have held several weddings at Wookey Hole in the caves themselves but never any as ambitious and unique as Chris and Phoebe’s.
“We’re up for pretty much anything here and if we can create a really different, special wedding day which people will remember for years then we will!”
And what does Phoebe think about teetering across a wire in her wedding dress?
She said: “I’m really excited, this is Chris and I all over! My mum was slightly nervous at the thought of the idea first of all but we’ve agreed to install a safety wire at her request so she’s fine now. Both of our families are really supportive of our circus lifestyle and we’re looking forward to celebrating a special day together.”