Mum who married a tree three years ago says relationship is ‘still going strong’

The besotted bride clutched a homemade wreath of holly, ivy, pine and red winter berries, sprayed with some festive glitter.

Towering over her, it was hard to read her husband’s expression when she hung the gift on him, his expression rather wooden.

But that’s to be expected if you marry a tree – as eco-warrior mum-of-two Kate Cunningham did, with the pair now celebrating their third Christmas together.

Kate, who changed her surname to Elder when she and the elder tree wed in 2019, said the pair are more loved-up than ever this festive season.

She visits the tree up to five times a week and plans to spend Boxing Day with her bark-covered other half – with the rest of her family indulging in festive celebrations at home.

The 37-year-old says her love has only grown since their wedding at Rimrose Valley Country Park in Sefton, Merseyside, in September 2019.

She says their union changed her life for the better – and her boyfriend doesn’t mind the extra figure in their relationship.

Kate even signs her Christmas cards as ‘With Winter Wishes, from Mr and Mrs Elder’.

The former teaching assistant admitted that she sometimes clocks up to five visits a week, with this accelerating during the lockdowns.

She said: “It’s our third Christmas together now so it almost feels like a tradition to get the decorations out for it.

“When I was putting them up, the tree was as attractive to me as ever in the bright December sun.

“I made the wreath from holly, ivy, pine and red winter berries which I foraged from a walk over the weekend.

“Plus I added a little spray of festive glitter.”

Kate, from the nearby village of Melling, immediately knew the elder tree was ‘the one’ due to its earthly energy drawing her towards it.

When visiting Rimrose Valley Country Park to find the tree she would wed, her attraction to the elder was instantaneous, due to its light bark colour making it stand out.

She added: “People still ask questions and are still unsure of my motivations behind the wedding.

“I get asked, ‘has being married changed your life for the better?’ Yes it has! ‘Do you love the tree?’ Yes I do!”

Kate’s family and friends fully support her marriage as she has long-held a deep connection to the earth.

For Kate, trees are like people – they have energy and the capacity to form bonds with things around them.

But her union with the shrub isn’t entirely monogamous – as Kate has a boyfriend that has been with her every step of the way.

He supports her choice and even joins Kate on some of her visits, unfazed by their kissing and cuddling.

She still wears her wedding ring proudly, which was a birthday present from her Grandad a few years ago.

The marriage has given Kate a new lease of confidence which she channels into climate activism.

Kate works as a carer for her autistic son alongside her environmental work.

The wacky marriage was part of a wider campaign to save Rimrose Valley Country Park from being transformed into a bypass by National Highways.

Local residents campaigned to halt the new three-mile bypass, thought to ease traffic congestion, through Rimrose Valley and into the Port of Liverpool.

They argued that the dual carriageway would wipe out a large plot of green space and only redirect pollution to an eco hub.

Kate said that she likes people asking questions because it gives her a chance to share her marital joy, as well as raise awareness of Rimrose Valley Country Park.

She was inspired by Mexican women who married trees several years ago to highlight illegal logging and land clearance there.