Renewal of vows ceremonies aren't yet as familiar here in Scotland as they are elsewhere in the world, but if Simon and Helen's was anything to go by, I think we're going to see many more!
Helen and Simon were coming up to their Silver Wedding Anniversary, so they decided to have a renewal of vows to add an element of surprise to their party.
We met just a month before the big day - or evening as it actually was - and in that time they went through the same homework process I set every couple who want me to marry them. The results were amazing, as Helen said when she sent me these photographs.
We loved the whole process of writing 'our story' separately and then reading each others versions over a nice bottle of wine. What struck us was that all the landmark events over the last 25 years were clearly just as important to both of us, as we highlighted all of the same landmarks in our separate stories. We definitely felt that the ceremony and celebration made us feel very close to each other.
They invited lots of people to contribute: their close friend Dorothy gave the first reading, which was a very appropriate passage from Captain Corelli's Mandolin, then Simon’s best man Richard, and Michelle, who chaperoned Helen on their first date, told very different versions of how their story began!
Helen and Simon’s children, Richard and Alex, gave a reading called The Loving Heart.
And then I talked about the reasons Simon and Helen had chosen to spend their lives together and what the renewal of their vows meant to them.
Helen’s brother John and Simon’s sister Lindsay gave us two more readings before we took a short pause for quiet contemplation and then Helen and Simon spoke their vows to each other. Once everyone had dried their eyes, Jane Sharp spoke a blessing and then everyone raised their glasses in a toast to the future. As Helen wrote,
To have our family and friends with us to celebrate 25 years of marriage was fantastic. The renewal of our vows was also very special: it marked 25 very full and busy years (raising 2 children and building a home) but it was also a way for us to look forward to the next 25 years and realise that it was a the marking of a new era for us, where we can watch our children (now adults) thrive, and make their own way in life.
We are so looking forward to the 'next stage' of our marriage - where we can celebrate our and our children’s successes, look forward to doing much more together as a couple, and enjoying the freedom this new era brings before we (hopefully) get involved in grandchildren, and future travels.
It has truly been a great year for us both and the silver Wedding Party/ Renewal of Vows was amazing. Many thanks for making it so special xxx
It was a pleasure, Helen and Simon: I wish you and your children every happiness in this new stage of your lives, and thank you again for asking me to help you create such a moving and powerful ceremony.