Fraser and Sarah got married at The Balmoral Hotel last November. They thought it would be a good way to end a long week at work by sitting down together and having a chat about their ceremony and how they feel now. I am delighted they want me to share their thoughts with you, so I thought I'd begin by showing you the photo they sent me before they got married.
Humanism was new to us when we got engaged back in October 2015. Living in England, it is not a type of wedding ceremony that we had ever came across before but when Fraser’s sister mentioned how personal and touching the Humanist ceremonies were that she had been to, we knew we had to investigate it further. Upon hearing of our interest in a Humanist ceremony, our wedding planner at The Balmoral personally recommended Tim Maguire from her previous experience of his weddings.
Following a quick exchange of mails, we had our first meeting with Tim over Skype during which he introduced the homework element of planning a Humanist ceremony. We did not know at the time, but this homework exercise would form the bedrock of our ceremony and would also be a constant source of joy, laughter and tears (happy ones of course).
How did we meet? Why did we love each other? Why did we want to get married? All questions that we had to answer as part of the homework, some easier than others. It’s not often that couples sit down on their own and really think about the reasons why they love their partner, however the process of doing this is an important one as part of the Humanist experience as it allows a person to explore their deepest feelings about their relationship.
Documenting the reasons why you want to be married to someone, to make such a huge commitment, is challenging but also unbelievably uplifting as it reasserts the strength of feeling for your soon to be spouse. Take all this emotion, feeling, and history, as seen from each others point of view, throw in a bottle of red wine in a local pub and before you know it you have a boozy and highly emotional afternoon that leaves you over the moon to be in love and getting married to the most special person in your life!
Even after all the planning and practising; I (Sarah) felt butterflies as it got closer to 2pm, our ceremony time. Public speaking really isn’t in my comfort zone! I was worried that I would be emotional, we had practised the ceremony and quite often there were tears even when reading through the words, they really do mean so much but as soon as I walked into the room and saw all of the people I care for looking at me I felt calm. Seeing Fraser at the end of the aisle turned those nerves into a feeling of excitement and I knew that we were ready to share the story of us. After the ceremony, so many of our guests came to us to say that they had never been to a wedding where the ceremony was so personal and touching, and that we were very brave to stand in front of everybody and just share our thoughts and feelings.
When planning your wedding, you will put so much thought into how to make your wedding personal and quite often the focus is on things that people see like colour themes, flowers and favours. For us, the ceremony was the perfect way to make our ceremony unique to us as a couple, a reflection of two individuals coming together to start an exciting journey.
The freedom to design it as we saw fit allowed us to include some of the people who are special to us by using them as the storytellers of our lives apart and together. Friends and family told stories of our lives while we explained to the audience all the reasons why we loved each other and why we had decided to get married. This last part was one that we were sure would make us both teary eyed however we did not anticipate the impact on our guests, of whom there was barely a dry eye in the room!
So, if you are thinking about having a humanist ceremony we would say go for it! There’s no need to worry about where to start as Tim is there to guide and support with the writing process as much or as little as you need!
Fraser and Sarah x
I've posted this story exactly as Sarah wrote it, because it's just a perfect example of why I choose to work the way I do. Ultimately it's about giving you total control over what you say, how you say it, and who you involve, and the reward is plain to see.
I'm very touched that Sarah took the trouble to write at such length (and to send me some amazing honeymoon photos too!) and I just wanted to acknowledge photographer Lauren McGlynn who took these lovely photos of Sarah and Fraser's big day.