It was back in March 2010 that I first heard from Claire and Andy. One of the first things they told me was that they were from different religious backgrounds, but neither were churchgoers, so they felt that a Humanist ceremony would be the right thing for them. I was pleased that they'd raised the subject, because Humanism is all about the things that unite rather than divide us, and over the years, I've married lots of people who've chosen to look beyond the faith they were raised in and found that they recognised themselves in what Humanists believe.
They were planning to marry in the stables at Hopetoun House, the fabulous Adam mansion out by South Queensferry - it wasn't until later that I discovered that Claire is a keen horsewoman, so that may have been part of the reason they chose the venue.
We met in April, and in the year that elapsed between that and the wedding date, she and Andy moved house, did their homework, chose readings, wrote a poem that told their story so far, and created a very personal ceremony that involved both friends and family. They were so organised, they even managed to fit in a quick pre-wedding holiday after their stag and hen nights so they could relax, catch a bit of spring sunshine, and feel at their very best on the big day.
Their young nephew Jack was the ring bearer, and I remember he took his job very seriously!
When the bride walks down the aisle, it's always fun to watch how the bridegroom reacts: and I had no doubt how pleased Andy was to see Claire!
Claire and Andy spoke their vows directly to one another, which takes a lot of courage and is always very moving - not just for them, but for the guests too.
When we signed the Marriage Schedule, I was pleased they took my suggestion that they invite their mums to be the witnesses. There's nobody to whom your wedding is more important than your mother, and they are always surprised and delighted to be asked, because they usually assume that the best man and chief bridesmaid will be doing it.
I got a lovely email from them not long afterwards, saying "We just wanted to say thank you for a fantastic wedding ceremony. We and everyone else loved it and all have said how good you were. It was very personal and emotional and just what we wanted... it all went so fast. We had a fantastic day and the sun was even shining by the time we got to the reception!"
Thanks Claire and Andy - I hope you have lots of fun on your long trip around the world, and thanks also to Alan Hutchison Photography for the excellent shots.
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