Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Chaplaincy Pilgrimage to St Andrews

My colleague Mandy Evans Ewing and I were invited to join the Chaplains from the various universities of Scotland at their annual meeting which this year was held in St Andrews. She's the Humanist Chaplain for the University of Glasgow and Glasgow Caledonian University, while I'm the Humanist Contact at the University of Edinburgh Chaplaincy Centre.

It was a genuinely interesting day, and I'm glad we went along.

Mandy isn't in the photo above: these are just a few of the religious chaplains from Edinburgh, ranging from the Free Church of Scotland all the way to the Greek Orthodox - no prizes for guessing where he is in this picture!

Angela & Matt's Humanist Wedding at One Royal Circus, Edinburgh

I remember that when I first spoke to Matt and Angela, they were going to marry at Edinburgh Castle, which in late January can be a cold and forbidding place, so I was very pleased when they told me they'd changed their minds and booked into Edinburgh's most discreet private venue, One Royal Circus.

A complete Georgian House overlooking Royal Circus Gardens, it was designed by that most celebrated of Edinburgh classical architects, William Playfair, and as you can see made a stunning setting.

The ceremony was very much an intimate family affair. Angela and Matt wrote their own vows, which they spoke from the heart; their mums did the readings and when we signed the marriage schedule, their dads were the witnesses. Along with these shots, they sent me this note.

"We would like to say a huge thank you for your help in the run up to the wedding and your guidance on getting our vows just right, as well as your invaluable advice on all the legalities and paperwork to be completed! You took the stress out of it for us and you also helped us to create vows that were entirely personal to us." 

In terms of the wedding day itself, it was a very intimate wedding and extremely emotional which was due in no small part to the personal vows that you had helped us to put together."

Everyone commented on how well you conducted the ceremony and how beautiful it was and there wasn't a dry eye in the house! The ceremony was perfect, everything we hoped for and more. Thank you so much!"

My thanks as always to Susan & Mike Gordon of One Royal Circus for being such gracious hosts, and to Richard Wall of Capture My Life for the excellent photographs. But best of all, my congratulations to Angela and Matt on their forthcoming event - that's wonderful news and I'm delighted for you both!

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Jen & Ally's Humanist Wedding at Glenbervie House Hotel

It's always nice when people take the trouble to write and thank you after a ceremony, and I particularly like it when a couple creates a card using photos taken on the day.

I got this last week from Jen and Ally, a lovely young couple whose wedding I celebrated at Glenbervie in early March: it was a fantastic ceremony not only because they made us all sing an old Dusty Springfield hit, "I Only Want To Be With You" at the tops of our voices, but also because it was Ally's dad who led us all from the piano.

Among other things they wrote, "It meant so much to us to have a ceremony that reflected us as a couple. So many of our guests commented on how much they enjoyed the ceremony and specifically said what a good job you did."

"Thanks also for all your help with the 'homework' - it really made us think and made it so much easier to create the ceremony that we wanted... We have wonderful memories of the day, and especially of the ceremony and are really grateful to you for helping us make our day so special for us."

When I met Ally and Jen to talk about the ceremony, I remember reassuring Jen that while it's generally the bride-to-be who's worried about crying, it's usually the groom whose eyes are brimming with tears. Well I'm not always right!

Jen wrote, "apologies for crying so much, and proving your theory wrong - I was a bit overwhelmed!"

Not at all, Jen - as far as I am concerned, there's no better day to cry!

These photos come thanks to ace photographer Paul Preacher, who wrote, "They were obviously a much-loved couple. I think you can measure people by their friends, and theirs were a glowing testament to them."

And they say photographers have no feelings!

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Registrar Fees from April 1st, 2010

I just had a call from the Registrar in Duns, who was kind enough to let me know that from the 1st of April 2010,  the fee charged by all the Register Offices in Scotland for doing the paperwork on your humanist wedding has risen by £2.00 per person.

So from now on, expect to pay £69.00, rather than £65.00.

This covers their costs for accepting your notice of marriage (the Form M10 to you and me) and for issuing an extract of the entry in the register of marriages (or in other words, a copy of the marriage certificate).

The registrars do a wonderful job, and make sure that all of our marriages are legal, for which I am really grateful.  When you go to see them, to submit your notice of marriage, it's always a good idea to make an appointment to collect the marriage schedule at some point during the week before the ceremony.

Only one of you needs to do that, but you do need to do it in person.

It's also a good idea to think about whether or not you want to have more than one copy of your marriage certificate, so you can leave one at home, and take one with you on honeymoon, to wave at the check in desk in the hope they upgrade you.

Each copy costs £9.00, and you can read more about the registrar's fees here.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Volcanic Eruptions....

I've just had my second phone call from a couple whose wedding plans have been blown sky high by the Eyjafjallajokull volcano - thankfully in both cases, their marriage will go ahead, but there are parents and friends stranded all over the world at the moment, and lots of anxious brides to be.

In the hope it may be a help, here's a useful link to The Guardian's Volcano Travel Blog which is updated constantly.

If you're getting married this weekend and one or more of your witnesses can't make it, get in touch with your Register Office and let them know; they'll be happy to help sort out the paperwork.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Thursday is the new Saturday - Official!

I was waiting to celebrate Lee & Kelly's wedding at the Vu, the stunning hilltop venue just outside Bathgate, when I got talking to the very helpful young assistant, Mhairi Donald.

It turned out that she's a Business Studies student at Glasgow Caledonian University, and is working as a waitress at The Vu not just to make some useful cash, but to learn all about how to run a successful business.

She told me that The Vu isn't free on a single Saturday between now and 2012, but that smart couples are choosing to marry on a Thursday, and are telling their friends to make a long weekend of it.

As a result, The Vu is busy with weddings from Thursday to Sunday: you can see why.

These great pics come from Photos by George. And you can find out more about The Vu here

Jill and Chris's Humanist Wedding at Mansfield Traquair

Just look at Mansfield Traquair . Could it be more calm and tranquil? Little did Jill and Chris know what was to come. If they h...