Saturday, 12 December 2015

Vicky and Mat's Humanist Wedding at The Glen Pavilion

Mat and Vicky first met just over five years before their big day. A trip to the legendary Download Festival sealed the deal, and they made it more real by living together and getting their two dogs, Blue and Kizzy. 

Grooms-to-be could learn a lot from the way Mat approached their engagement in April 2013. Knowing that Vicky has very specific tastes in jewellery, he used a piece of ribbon to propose and then allowed her to choose her own ring: smart move, Mat!

Their friend Lee Sutherland gave us an excellent rendition of Edward Monkton's tale of two dinosaurs, 'A Lovely Love Story', and then Vicky and Mat spoke their vows. They really wanted to say 'I take you', but as long term followers of this blog will know, the HSS insists that couples use the word 'accept', so we came up with a compromise that kept them within their interpretation of the law.

Tim: Do you Mathew take Vicky as your wife; will you love her with all your heart? Do you promise to encourage and inspire her, to laugh with and comfort her in times of sorrow and struggle, to love and cherish her always through whatever life may bring you?
Mat: I do.
Tim: Thank you. Now we will have an exchange of rings

Mat (speaking): Vicky, I accept you as my wife and give you this ring as a reminder of my love for you.

Vicky and Mat asked their grannies, Rosemary and Paddy, to be the witnesses, and then, once all the guests had promised to enjoy themselves, we all went outside for some al fresco photos in the park. A wee while back, they got in touch to send me these photos and some kind words.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for conducting our
ceremony. It was all we expected, and more and really made the day feel
like it was about us.

Everyone that attended had something positive to say about the
ceremony, especially the ones that hadn't seen a humanist one
before. I think it was the subject of most conversations in the
evening (unless people were just changing the subject everytime we

We would definitely recommend a humanist ceremony to anyone we know
and we have done so on a few occasions since our wedding.

Mat added, 
'It felt good to finally finish the ceremony but at times it was it was very difficult to find the right words (you may remember the correspondence regarding the term "I accept"). 

I would never suggest people use a general ceremony as writing it is what makes the ceremony yours. 
I felt pretty relaxed throughout, even though it did seem to go very quickly!' 

Mat's so right. If you want a unique expression of your love, the more you put into it, the more you get back. (But it will still seem to go very quickly!) My thanks again for choosing me to be your celebrant and thanks to Thomas Adameczek of White Tree Photography for these great shots.

Friday, 11 December 2015

Catherine and Alastair's Humanist Wedding at The Scottish Cafe at The National Galleries of Scotland

Catherine and Alastair's story proves that distance is no obstacle to romance. 

They fell in love even before they met in person for the first time, when Catherine flew over from Quebec, and Alastair gave her a whirlwind tour that took in gigs and ceilidhs, family meetings and the very special Isle of Jura. By the end, Catherine had fallen in love with Scotland too.

Getting a visa wasn't a cakewalk but when it finally came through, they celebrated with a 'Famous Canadians/Scots' fancy dress party where Alastair came as a mythical Québécois lumberjack, and Catherine dressed up as Dolly The Sheep. 

Their ceremony was joyous. Both their mothers spoke: Lyne, Catherine's mother, read an excerpt from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres, and Alastair’s mother Gay read from The Prophet, by Khalil Gibran. Then Catherine and Alastair did a very brave thing: they shared some of the reasons they love each other.

  After a pause for contemplation, they spoke their vows in both French and English, and exchanged rings.

While we signed the Marriage Schedule, we were treated to a great acoustic version of the David Bowie classic, Heroes, performed by Andy & Gabrielle, the best man and bridesmaid. They chose to ask their mums to be witnesses, but they kept that a secret so it was a wee surprise for them both on the day.

'We had a wonderful wedding day and are so glad we chose a Humanist ceremony' wrote Alastair and Catherine when they sent me these photos taken by their friend, the Canadian photographer and comedienne Genevieve Cytko. 
'Having the freedom to design our own ceremony (under your invaluable guidance!) 
allowed us to make it so personal and special to us'. 

'Everything that we said and did really meant something to us 
and we loved having Andy and Gabrielle
playing and singing while we signed the register with our mums. 

Being able to add a bit of French into the ceremony was great too 
and an added bonus that you were able to speak it. 

All our friends and family really enjoyed the ceremony. 
We think a few even said it was the best wedding ceremony they'd ever been to! 

If we hear of anyone else planning to get married, 
we will definitely recommend Humanism to them 
and we won't hesitate to suggest you as a celebrant too. 
All the best, Alastair and Catherine'.

As you can see, The Scottish Cafe at The National Galleries of Scotland is a great place to marry because you have all of Edinburgh's top sites right in front of you. The cafe is run by the wonderful Carina and Victor Contini, so the food is great too. You can check that out here, or just pop in for a coffee or dinner.

As I type, Edinburgh's Winter Festival is in full flow. The German Market is going on above, and there's open-air skating in the Princes Street Gardens, so it's an ideal time to visit!

Once again, thank you, Catherine and Alastair, for choosing to work with me: I loved the warmth and sincerity of your ceremony, and I wish you both every happiness in the years to come!

Friday, 4 December 2015

Jenna and Jonathan's Humanist Wedding at The Royal College of Physicians

If there is such a thing as a blockbuster wedding, then this was it. 
Jenna and Jonathan left nothing to chance. They chose the one sunny day in June. 

They booked the splendidly grand Royal College of Physicians
and they stuffed it to capacity with 150 of their favourite family and friends.

Jonathan had four ruggedly handsome best men; Jenna had two gorgeous bridesmaids and a maid of honour.

They had a great story that began over a hot photocopier in London, 
and ended at the very cool Tribeca Grill in NYC. 

Their dear friends Mhairi and John wrote and delivered a very cheeky poem, 

And Jonathan's little sister Rosie made everyone cry 

After a pause for quiet contemplation, 
we reached the climax of the ceremony when Jenna and Jonathan spoke their vows.

I loved the way their photographer Zsofia Molnar of Studio Life Photography stole all these great reaction shots: it must have been lovely for Jonathan and Jenna to see the expressions on their guests faces as they said the most important words they will ever say.

Their mums witnessed the Marriage Schedule, we all spoke a blessing, and then off they went to Queen Street Gardens for a quick, but romantic photo shoot.

Much time has passed since that sunny afternoon, and as I type, December gales are giving Edinburgh a battering, but these photos - and Team JJ's lovely letter - warmed my heart. 

"We can honestly say that creating our ceremony was a brilliant experience (if, a little daunting at first!)

But thanks to you and your words of wisdom and ideas, the creative juices were soon flowing, so much so that we had to attempt to cut the ceremony down (which to people that know us, was not a surprise!) 

So many people have come up to us and said it was the best ceremony they've ever been to and they couldn't believe how personal it was. It incorporated everything: love, happiness, humour and most of all, it represented us, and for that we cannot thank you enough. We will remember it for the rest of our lives. 

Thank you for making our day so special. We look forward to staying in contact, and will recommend you to everyone we know! All our best wishes, Jenna and Jonathan".

There is nothing better that a bride and groom can hear from their guests is there? The reason Team JJ is very simple: you wrote it! 

Thank you for having the courage to do it your own way, for making me a part of your wonderful day, and thank you Zsofia for your brilliant pics

Jill and Chris's Humanist Wedding at Mansfield Traquair

Just look at Mansfield Traquair . Could it be more calm and tranquil? Little did Jill and Chris know what was to come. If they h...