Some days go perfectly and Jonas and Donna's was one. We had ideal weather, and they created a textbook example of how informal yet moving a humanist wedding can be.
Donna and Jonas wanted to start the ceremony by spending time with their friends, and they were waiting for me at the door when I arrived. About twenty minutes later, everyone went out into the garden, and we were ready to begin. The leaves of the cherry trees cast a welcome shadow, creating wonderfully dappled light that was a gift for the photographers, their friends Tim and Christian.
Jonas and Donna both made a formal entrance with their parents
to a trumpet fanfare, played by Donna’s wee cousin Clara.
As you might have guessed from his name, Jonas is from Germany, while Donna hails from Scotland, and they did a very clever thing with their story. Not only did they get eight of their friends to read a paragraph each, they printed it out in two languages, so that everyone could follow what was being said. Thanks to Madi, George, Eike, Chrissi, Helen, Susan, Lisa, and Clare, it went down brilliantly.
Their friend Kate read a poem by Ben Okri that I hadn't come across before, called To an English Friend in Africa. It is advice to a friend living abroad for the first time, which applies equally well to two people getting married. Then Donna and Jonas spoke their very personal vows directly to one another. Because there were so many guests, they had a small PA system, so I held the mic for them as well as the cards.
After we signed the Marriage Schedule, Jonas’ parents and Aunt Andrea sang us a song called Wenn ich ein Voglein wär before their friend Mike wrapped up the whole ceremony with the ever-popular poem, Marriage Is.
I really liked their approach to photography. Everyone was invited to share their shots via Dropbox, and quite a few made the cut and are included in the album that Jonas and Donna then shared with all the guests on Flickr, where they were free to download whichever ones they liked best.
Along with these shots, Donna sent me a quick note to say "Thank you again for helping to make our ceremony perfect for us! We had a great day, and the ceremony was naturally a highlight. We have enjoyed watching the video again since, and I am really glad we recorded it as I completely forgot everything about the ceremony immediately!
We had many lovely comments from guests about our ceremony such as 'never knew a wedding ceremony could be like that', so I think we did our bit for promoting Humanism!
Not only the ceremony, but many people also commented that you were so calm and helpful in the way you conducted the ceremony - a sentiment with which we totally agree! Thank you again, and all the best!"
My pleasure Donna and Jonas, and thank you for so many great ideas that I am sure will inspire other couples who want to create a ceremony that really reflects who they are, and what's important to them.