Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Sarah and Russell's Humanist Wedding at The Royal Scots Club


That was the word that came to mind when this card hit my mat this morning, because I'd literally just sent a copy of Russell and Sarah's ceremony to another couple, as inspiration to create their own.

I thought their wedding ceremony was great, but I didn't realise how great until a few days later when Russell's best man Kyle and his fiancée Jen asked if I could conduct their wedding next month - and they were so fired up by what they'd seen and heard that they even did their homework before we met!

What made it so special? 

Well according to Sarah and Russell it was me keeping it running like clockwork, making everyone laugh and pulling at their heart strings, but of course that's not true, because all the funny stuff, and all the heartstring pulling material came from Russell and Sarah themselves: I just got to tell their families and friends on their behalf, and that's what makes humanist ceremonies so powerful!

So thank you, Sarah and Russell, not just for making me a part of your very special day, and not just for introducing me to Jen and Kyle either: thank you for my 100th review! 

I look forward very much to seeing you again in just a couple of weeks, and Russell - your jokes had better be funnier than Kyle's...

Monday, 24 August 2015

Alison and Michael's Humanist Wedding at Balbirnie House

You don't need to write a three volume novel to tell your story, as Alison and Michael's tale shows.

 They first met when Alison took a notion to play badminton at a club where Michael was already a member.  After a few dates in the bars and restaurants of Edinburgh,  they were soon seeing each other so regularly that Alison allowed her attendance at badminton to dwindle.  Despite their their differing views on back-seating driving and the importance of hot water bottles, their love grew and they started living together. 

I loved their promises which were almost - but not quite - identical. Alison promised that Michael would always be allowed to listen to Coldplay, and get to choose what films to watch: Michael promised to catch all of their spiders, and make Alison a hot water bottle every night!

I was delighted to read their card: it succinctly sums up all  I ever hope for, so thank you Michael and Alison, for allowing me to be a part of your perfect day!

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Louise and Neil's Humanist Wedding at The Caves

Neil and Louise's relationship kicked off at a Potterrow School Disco when they were freshers at Edinburgh University, and survived not only Neil's choice of Texas Chainsaw Massacre as a first date movie, but a year's separation as they set out on their separate careers. 11 and a half years later, they and their family and friends came together at The Caves, where Louise, Neil and five of their friends entertained everyone with a very funny and touching ceremony. Three months later, they sent me these photos and this lovely note.

We just want to say a huge thank you for letting us create our own wedding; the ceremony was absolutely perfect and everyone said after how lovely and personal it was! 

All of the input you gave to allow us to pick and choose what we wanted to include in our wedding really made us realise that it was about what we wanted to say in front of our friends and family and we kept that at the forefront of our minds the entire time. It was a perfect day: thank you again! Louise and Neil xx

Not at all, Neil and Louise, thank you for saying what you did, the way you did. It was great and I felt privileged to be a part of your special day! Thanks too to Ryan White whose great shots these are.

You can see more detailed photos from the day on We Fell In Love too: well worth checking out!

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Eli and Kate's Humanist Wedding in their garden

Kate and Eli came up with so many great ideas for their ceremony!

First of all, it was at home, in their garden, which is a cook's paradise. All their raised beds were brimming with prime produce just waiting for the wedding to be over so they could be picked. 

They decorated the entire garden with bunting, put up a big gazebo on the patio to provide a sheltered space for sitting and eating or drinking and dressed up the tables really simply with a checkered tablecloth and some flowers in a champagne bottle.

Weddings are all about making people feel welcome. As they wrote on their blog, "Something we felt was important was that our guests, some of whom had never met each other, felt comfortable and able to chat to each other. So we asked each of them to submit a photo and a small paragraph telling us about themselves. We then turned this into a small booklet to go with the order of ceremony that everyone was given when they arrived".

Two of the most important ones couldn't be with us, Eli's little brother Arlen and his wife Diane, so Eli and Kate set up a a Google hangout so they could watch the ceremony live.

Weddings are all about presents: Kate and Eli really excelled here. Books were one of the first things that brought them together, so they chose books for all of their guests, which came custom-wrapped in ribbon, with a packet of wildflower seeds, and an ingenious bottle opener in the form of a key, so everyone got a very special keepsake of the day.

The other really original touch was that they brewed their own beers - that's right, beers, plural. Not just  a Black IPA, and a Belgique Ale, but Dandelion & Burdock or Ginger Ale for the non-drinkers. How cool was that? Even better, Kate built the bar from which they were served. And an elegant piece of craftswomanship it was too.

What else did they do? Well here are just some of the things that Eli said on the blog

For our wedding Kate and I wanted all of our guests to play an actual part in the day - after all they are our important witnesses to a life changing event. So we did a couple of little things so that our guests could really leave their mark on our day and leave us with a little souvenir or two from them.
We left little antique keys with paper labels attached to them on a table and we asked our guests to write on these paper tags and tell us their “key to a happy marriage”.  Kind of like a guest book but more personal.

We also asked each guest to leave a fingerprint on a print of a bare tree, making the leaves of the tree. This is now framed and hanging in the house as a reminder of all our family and friends who shared our day.
I could go on but I think you get the picture: it was a gloriously happy ceremony, thanks to all the love and imagination Kate and Eli brought to it. I was really touched to be given two bottles of the bridal brew for me and Mrs M. 

And to learn from Eli just where the word 'bridal' comes from in the first place… I had no idea until she told me (and I read this).
I got all these great photos and a lovely wee note the other day that said, "We're both sitting here grinning like mad things after going through all the photos and reminiscing. Now I COMPLETELY get why you do the job you do".
What can I add, other than my thanks to Eli and Kate for making me a part of their very, very special day. #EliandKateForever

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Craig and Nic's Humanist Wedding at Broxmouth Park

Looking at Craig and Nic striding out purposefully by Broxmouth Park's lovely loch, you'd never guess that this was the email Craig sent just two days before the ceremony.

Wedding team,

We have something of a problem, though not an insurmountable one.

I have had back trouble for some time now, culminating in surgery last Friday. Whilst I was assured by all and sundry that I would be fighting fit in time for the wedding, it now appears that recovery is taking a little longer than had been hoped...

So yes, on the day, Craig was sitting, rather than standing, but it didn't detract one little bit from what was a very moving and thoroughly entertaining wedding. Both bride and groom had five supporters by their side, and their friends Scott and Ron treated us to a fabulous rendition of Ed Sheeran’s 'Thinking out Loud' as we paused for a moment of quiet contemplation before the vows. 

They sent me this great card, that says (among other things), "Nic and I always wanted to have a personal, intimate wedding service, and you really did make the whole process of delivering that seem effortless".

I'm glad to see you back on your feet Craig. Thanks for the card and the kind words, and I wish you and Nic every happiness for the future!

Emma and Tom's Humanist Wedding at Seton Collegiate Church

Every wedding needs a good opening sentence, and Tom and Emma didn't disappoint.

"Good afternoon everyone and welcome to Seton Collegiate Church for this very rare and special occasion - the marriage of a Town Planner to an Architect!"

High school sweethearts who stay together forever are pretty rare these days, but Tom and Emma have gone the distance. They survived the separation caused by Tom's failure to get into the same university as Emma: they've had adventures from Iceland to Vietnam, they've hiked together, climbed together and even renovated a flat together, and ended up in complementary but opposing professions. As they said in their ceremony, "at home as much as at work,  Emma sets the policies,  and Tom finds ever more elaborate ways to justify non-compliance." Their wedding was warm, witty and full of tenderness.  They sent me this photograph along with this charming card.

We just wanted to say a huge thank you for being part of our special day. Thank you for all your help and advice leading up to our wedding, and of course for marrying us!

It was wonderful to hear our ceremony come alive through your voice, filling Seton with joy, laughter and happiness. Most of our guests hadn't been to a humanist wedding before, and they all commented on how personal and beautiful it was, (speaking very highly of you!) We had the best day of our life, and memories to cherish. 

Love from Emma and Tom 

It was my pleasure, E&T: now, let's meet up, and talk about my plans for a roof garden!

It's time to celebrate, people!

I'm delighted to announce that from now on, I will be a celebrant with Celebrate People , a new Humanist organisation led by two of Scot...