Friday, 21 December 2018

Laura and Anthony's Humanist Wedding at The Principal Edinburgh

What's in a name? Well, as Laura wrote, when she sent me these great photos by Gee from Geez Photography,'I think we both gain a sense of pride in being able to refer to each other as "husband" and "wife" rather than that rather awkward "partner" title we used before - I personally always hated that!! 

Things definitely feel much more secure and complete, which is what we were hoping for.

I really loved how Anthony and Laura involved their family and friends in the ceremony!

when it came to the time to talk about what marriage means to them, they asked no fewer than twelve of the guests to read out quotations, hidden until then in twelve envelopes.

And the kids got a look in too: as they said, 'We are so proud to have Ava, Jude, Jules and Luca here with us today and would like to take a moment to acknowledge the role that they play in this family and how important they are.' and then they read them one of their favourite stories!

We loved doing the Dr Seuss reading for the kids and we gave them each a copy of the book afterwards as a little memento of the day. I was proud we managed to get through it all without falling apart like a pair of emotional wrecks!!

Thank you again for helping us put together the ceremony and for officiating over it. It really was just the most special moment of the day and the hard work writing everything up was so worth it. Everyone commented on how personal, unique and intimate it was. 

For us, the next task at hand is conquering Christmas with all 4 kids in tow. No mean feat as I'm sure you can imagine! I hope you have a wonderful break with your own family, and do let us know if you decide to write a blog based on our day - we'd love to see it!

Your wish is my command, Laura, and I wish you, Anthony and all the kids a wonderful Christmas and a very happy New Year!

Thursday, 20 December 2018

Jill and Muznie's Humanist Wedding at Prestonfield House

When you're getting married, you need to spend some time getting to know the person who's going to conduct your ceremony. 

It's great when it can happen face to face, in real time, but that's not always possible, and over the years, I've got used to having that conversation over Skype, FaceTime, WhatsApp, Google Hangouts and even - yes, the phone!

I've occasionally wondered if that technology gets in the way, but this email from Jill and Muznie really put my mind at rest.  

They live in Drumnadrochit up on the shores of Loch Ness, which is a good 4 hours drive from me, so we spoke on Skype. As Jill wrote, 

'I know we didn't get chance to meet before the wedding but it felt really personal and  we felt we had someone who 'got us' to read our story'.

I wasn't the only speaker: Jill's mum kicked us off a poem by an unknown author called 'If': Jill's nephew Charlie gave us an edited version of 'A Lovely Love Story' by Edward Monkton, 

Her sister Amy gave us her version of 'Marriage Is', 

and her daughter Poppy read that perennial favourite, 'On Your Wedding Day'Poppy and Charlie were the ring-bearers too.

It was a very, very happy day, as you can see from these lovely photos taken by Jill's brother in law, Gavin Shirkie. Jill said, 'I had never been to a humanist wedding before ours, and it was so intimate and personal compared to some others I've been to - it was just what we wanted!

The whole day went by in a flash and all the little things that I/we thought would matter like photo frames and decorations didn't matter at all. 

What we really loved was the ceremony and how wonderful it felt hearing our story read back to us and all the laughter in the room that made it a wonderful day. 

'Muznie and I can't thank you enough for being a part of our special day: it wouldn't have been the same without you and we are grateful for all the guidance and help you gave us. 

I love reading your blogs and seeing your Facebook/Instagram posts and look forward to seeing many more of your weddings over the years to come :)'

Jill, I really hope you do keep an eye on the blog as the years go by - I am touched and surprised by the number of brides who actually do, and it's yet another reminder of how lucky I am to be allowed to do what I do. 

It was a pleasure working with you and Muznie and I wish you not only many years of joy and happiness but also a very merry Christmas!

PS - Isn't this just a brilliant photo? Definitely a candidate for 'Pic of the Year!'

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Emma and Stuart's Humanist Wedding at Dalhousie Castle

I love it when owls are part of ceremonies!

I just had to remind myself that 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone' was first published in July 1997, which means that a whole generation has come of age who grew up with the idea of'Owl Post'.

Dalhousie Castle is the go-to wedding venue if that's something which appeals to you: they have a falconry centre in their grounds, and a diverse range of raptors from sparrowhawks to golden eagles, but it's usually Bella the Barn Owl who performs the honours at weddings, as you can see in this great shot from Dan at Fern Photography.

Stuart and Emma met at work, sneaking glances over their computers. A sneaky kiss behind a Range Rover was spotted by a colleague and before they knew it, Stuart had cured Emma of her vegetarianism by secretly feeding her on Parma ham, and Emma had not so secretly moved all of her clothes, shoes, handbags and make up into Stuart's wardrobe space...

Since then, they've done a lot. They've cycle-toured in Vietnam and watched the sun come up over Angkor Wat. They've cage-dived with great whites and snorkelled on the Barrier Reef, they've done Glastonbury, got a puppy,  driven down Route One in a Mustang convertible and seen Lionel Messi score a hat-trick for Barcelona. Getting married was obviously the next big tick on that bucket list!

Stuart's sister Claire gave us a reading of Union by Robert Fulghum, before their mums Val and Ann performed the first part of the candle ceremony. Emma and Stuart then exchanged their vows and best man Iain took delivery of the rings...

After signing the marriage schedule, Stuart and Emma then lit the third and last of the candles to complete the ritual and I sent them all on their way for a well-earned glass of bubbly.

Thanks again for performing our ceremony.  We received our wedding video from Matt at Next Scene last week and were able to relieve it at the weekend and were reminded how perfect it was for us.  

So many guests commented on how relaxed, welcoming and entertaining it all was and we were so happy that we chose you to play this important part in our special day.

All the best, Emma and Stuart.

It was my pleasure, Stuart and Emma: thanks for the kind words and the lovely photos: I hope you continue to have many more wonderful adventures together as man and wife!

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Shona and Simon's Humanist Wedding at the National Museum of Scotland

No limousine could be more appropriate for a French/Scottish wedding than a Citroën Traction Avant! First produced in 1934, they're still très chic today.

My couples meet in all sorts of interesting ways, but Shona and Simon's was truly a first: they were brought together by their daughters, Amy and Sophie.

Best friends at school, they schemed to set their unsuspecting parents up on a date. Eventually they gave in, just so the nagging would stop. Their first date was meant to be just along at the Elephant House, famous to Harry Potter fans the world over but it was so busy that they decided the museum would be better. But Simon and Shona weren't alone. Oh no: they had chaperones...

Sophie and Amy took a night off for their second date, but they were there on Shona and Simon's first holiday in Portugal where they celebrated Bastille Day and watched the feux d'artifices. 

They were there in Paris where Simon showed Shona some of the city's less-touristed sites, and of course they were there at Shona's 50th birthday too. 

Their wedding was a truly multi-lingual affair and they produced an Order of Ceremony with the readings and poems in French and English so everyone could understand.

Jackie read the poem 'Maybe'

Regis read an excerpt from Le Petit Prince 

and Shona and Simon talked about what marriage means to them. They are very different people. Simon is a morning person: Shona, not so much. That's why Simon always brings her coffee and toast every morning to ease her into the day.

Simon's best man Mick read 'Qu'y a-t-il' by Boris Vian

and then Shona and Simon spoke their vows and exchanged rings, given to them by who else but their trusty chaperones.

After they signed the marriage schedule, Amy wrapped up the contributions with a reading of the Edward Monkton favourite, A Lovely Love Story.

It was a very moving and heartfelt ceremony.

Along with these photos from Bill, Barbara and some of their friends, Shona and Simon sent me these kind words.

Firstly a massive thank you for being our celebrant on the day. We really appreciated how much time you spent on getting to know us beforehand, and we could not have wished for better person to conduct our ceremony - it felt like being married by a friend.

Many of our guests have said that they enjoyed the day because it was different from other ceremonies they had been to before, as it was much more personal.  It definitely reflected "us" anyway - the homework paid off in the end because it made all the difference!  

Thank you so much again, Shona and Simon.

"Il n'y pas de quoi, madame et monsieur: le plaisir était pour moi!

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...