Looking for ways to make your wedding memorable? Pat and Colin came up with lots.
Telling the story. Rather than just rely on me, they broke it down into four sections, each of which they put into separate envelopes, and gave friends to read, with linking passages from me. A brilliant ice-breaker, that got everyone laughing (and occasionally wiping tears of joy from their eyes.)
The Vows. There were no fewer than eight of them in a Q&A format before their personal vows, and again they gave each one to a different guest. While the response was generally 'I do', or 'We do', there was one (read by Samantha on behalf of all their children) which went like this, "do you both promise to pay attention and listen to your children and respect their wishes at all times?" and which got a rather different reply!
The Exchange of Rings: rather than coming from best men or bridesmaids, Pat decided to ask their Boxer dog, Yoda, to bring them in, to Colin's surprise and delight.
A Song: In this Age of the iPod, it's so nice to hear a human voice. Pat's daughter Victoria gave us her version of Emelie Sande's Next To Me, and everyone joined in on the "Woo Hoos"!
I feel a bit hard done by if I ever leave a wedding reception without someone telling me, "That was the best wedding I've ever been to!" (to which my reply is always, "I know - because they wrote it"), but that evening, no fewer than three couples queued up to say precisely that. It was really touching, as in each case, it was their first experience of a Humanist wedding. As Pat wrote, when she sent me these photos,
"Thank you for making our day so special for us. You made us think out of the box and we ended up writing the whole ceremony, which we would never have considered doing or even imagined being possible. The result was the most meaningful and happy wedding ceremony that Colin and I have ever known and certainly every one of our guests concurred.
We also appreciated your suggestion that we could meet our guests for some champagne prior to the ceremony. This certainly opened a few eyes in astonishment and served to get everyone over all the anticipation over what the bride would be wearing. I'm sure some were still in shock as they entered the Conservatory! And so the day continued to be full of surprises for everyone concerned. We still laugh at the argument over who would read out Reading no 1! And as for our boxer dog Yoda making his huge entrance with our rings - well Colin is still amazed he hadn't twigged to this little addition."
Thank you, Pat and Colin. I can assure you that your ceremony will be shared with lots of other couples over the coming months and years: as well as imagination, it was full of love and warmth, so it was an inspiration to me too: it certainly woke me up on the day!