Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Step by Step Guide to a Humanist Wedding no. 5 - What Can We Sing?

This is a question I'm often asked, so I was really pleased to see this list drawn up by my friend and colleague, Marilyn Jackson


They're all simple enough and familiar enough to be sung by large groups of people of varying ability, with the possible exception of All You Need Is Love, by The Beatles, which has a really tricky line at the beginning of the second verse. 


Don't say I didn't warn you...


• `I do, I do, I do', Abba
• `All You Need Is Love', The Beatles
• `Eight Days a Week', The Beatles
• `I Wanna hold your Hand', The Beatles
• `Love me do', The Beatles
• `When I'm sixty four', The Beatles
• `Bring Me Sunshine' Morcambe and Wise
• `Love and Marriage', Frank Sinatra
• `Happy Together', The Turtles
• `I wanna spend my life with you', The Proclaimers
• `I would walk 500 miles', The Proclaimers
• `Let's Get Married', The Proclaimers
• `I'm a Believer', The Monkees
• `It must be love', Madness, (originally by Labi Siffre)
• `Wonderful World' Louis Armstrong ( with versions by The Ramones and Israel Kamakawiwo'ole

To which I would definitely add
• 'Can't Take My Eyes Off You', Andy Williams, and 
• `Mairi's Wedding', traditional


If you've got any suggestions, drop me a line and I'll add them and credit you.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Jo & Gregg's Humanist Wedding at Wedderburn Castle


The opening line of a novel is critical. The same is true of a wedding ceremony, and this one is hard to beat.


Jo’s mum gave her two warnings when she left the UK almost 5 years ago for her working holiday: One: ‘If you get a tattoo, I will disown you.’ Two: ‘Just you wait and see, you’ll fall in love with a Kiwi and won’t come back.’  How prophetic at least the second warning would prove to be...


I first heard from Gregg and Jo 18 months before their wedding. They'd met up in the snows of Mount Ruapehu,  when she was preparing to go back to Borneo, while he packed up for a summer in Antarctica, and as they wrote, "they exchanged numbers and promises to share photos of their adventures on return, and then promptly forgot about each other".  




Needless to say, they eventually remembered about one another, and decided that Wedderburn Castle in the Scottish Borders was the ideal place to celebrate their love. 


Jo's bridesmaids included her younger sister Kathy, Carla who she met at Glasgow University, and Bex, her old housemate from Mt Ruapehu, who also made Jo’s dress.



Jo and Gregg’s friends, Carla and Gillies, gave a great reading of the wonderful poem by Hovis Presley, 'I rely on you'


And during the pause for contemplation, Jo's father Frank gave us a moving rendition of The Brahms Intermezzo, Op.117 No.1which he used to play for her when she was tiny.



Gregg and Jo spoke their very personal vows directly to one another, and exchanged rings whose design was inspired by the mountains they are drawn to again and again.



And while they signed The Marriage Schedule, Jo's brother Graham gave us Tim Minchin's song "Nothing Can Stop Us Now"



When they got back to New Zealand, Jo sent me these shots and told me that they were just about to do it all again, Kiwi-style, with Gregg's family and all their NZ friends. 


As she said, "How many brides get to wear their wedding dress twice within a few months?!"  


We'll take any opportunity for doubling up on the parties..."


It was a day full of love, laughter and fun, as you can see in these great photographs from Martin Pettinger. He's posted his own blog on the wedding here, where you can see some more shots, and get a bit more info on the Castle. 



My thanks to him and of course to Gregg and Jo - long may they remain happy, laughing, and enjoying life to the full!

Zoë and Scott's Humanist Wedding at The Balmoral Hotel

It's not often I marry a teacher to a pupil, but that was how Zoë and Scott met, when Zoë was a final year medical student and Scott...