Writing your own wedding ceremony isn't for everyone. And even when you know that it's exactly what you want to do, it can still be a challenge. It certainly was for Jolan and Dougie. We first met back in June, but two months later, Jolan got in touch to say that they were finding it the hardest thing they'd ever done. Her draft was like a book, whereas Dougie's was an empty sheet of paper, and they felt they were going round in circles, unsure of what to say. So we got together and had another chat.
It turned out that Jolan was worried about talking about her feelings in front of her daughters, while Dougie was worried that talking about his feelings at all would come across as being really soppy. I listened, and made some suggestions, and three weeks later, we had a great script that was moving and funny (but not even remotely soppy…)
Dougie and Jolan had been together for a long time - so long in fact, that everyone just assumed that they were already married. They were away on one of their wonderful holidays on a cruise ship when they made some new friends, Deb and Tim who, as Jolan and Dougie wrote, "when they found out that we weren’t actually married, marched us off to the ship’s Wedding Chapel, asked Dougie to bang out the Wedding March on the Grand Piano and Deb was all set to get the Captain out of his bed at 2am in the morning to officiate. (You may already have guessed that there was more than a little alcohol involved in this grand plan…)
But just when we were about to raid the ship’s shops for an evening gown, the Ship’s Chaplain appeared and - not being too impressed with our antics to say the least - asked us to leave. We laughed until we cried!"
On a more serious note, they also said, "We have already said how important our families are to us: the love and appreciation we have for our children is overwhelming, but they have all grown up now, and made their own way in life. Now it’s the right time for us to make our own way forward too."
So it just goes to show - when you take the time and make the effort to use your own words to tell your family and friends just why it is that you're getting married, it really makes all the difference.
I'm so proud of Jolan and Dougie for having the courage to keep going when they felt it was too much for them, and so glad that everyone there loved it too. It's all I ever hope for, and it's wonderful when it happens like this.