Thursday, 26 April 2018

Allana and David's Humanist Wedding at The Vu

I had a lovely surprise when I bumped into David and Allana, whose wedding I conducted at The Vu back in November 2015. They were guests at Serena and Gary's wedding at Carlowrie Castle last weekend, and it turns out that it was their wedding that made Gary and Serena decide to work with me...

I remember Allana and David's ceremony well. Being November, the weather up on the Bathgate Hills was atrocious: foggy, rainy, you name it. Everything you'd think that would put a dampener on a wedding, but not this one...

You can actually see the rain on the windows in the background of this shot, by Roy Wilson, but David and Allana's cloud had a silver lining.

Later that evening, Roy persuaded them to brave the storm, and he got this truly stunning shot! It's such a cracker, the VU actually asked to use it for their promotional material!

After speaking their vows and signing the Marriage Schedule, Allana and David chose to have a hand fasting, using material from David's kilt and Allana's dress to symbolise the importance of the day, and they invited their mothers to use it to 'tie the knot'.

When they sent me these photos, they said, "The ceremony was so special to us as it was our own way of expressing our life together. A lot of our guests knew the basis to the story and it was lovely to share it and see their responses to the parts they were unfamiliar with. 

We had been together 10 years and had a lot of stories to tell, so who better to tell them than us!"

I think the phrase is "Nobody does it better", Allana and David. Thanks again for getting in touch and for sending me these sensational shots!

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Emma and Daniel's Humanist Wedding at Inchcolm Abbey

I love this scene-setting shot of the three Forth Bridges, by Jonathon Fowler! When Daniel and Emma decided to get married on the Isle of Inchcolm, the new Forth Crossing bridge (far left) wasn't quite finished, and I think everyone was looking forward to seeing what it looked like from the deck of the Maid of the Forth.

Getting married on an island presents quite a few practical problems. Getting the bride there at the same time as the rest of the wedding party is the first of them, so Emma and her family went aboard a good half hour before everyone else just to make sure that nobody saw the dress.

The Maid has made that trip many times since she was built in Bristol in 1989. A deceptively small vessel, she can accommodate 225 passengers as well as her crew of five. 

Emma, like all brides, got to sit up in the wheelhouse with the captain. I don't think she really steered us over there, but I could be wrong!

 The guests were duly piped aboard and we made the short half-hour crossing to Inchcolm

By then the weather had changed for the better. That old line about Scotland having 'four seasons in one day' is only a cliche because it's true!

Inchcolm Abbey was founded in the early 13th century by King David I and it's still the best-preserved collection of monastic buildings in Scotland. If you think it looks a bit like the abbey on Iona, that's because it does. Its name in Gaelic means 'Columba's Island' which explains why it's often called the 'Iona of the East'.

Carved on the stonework at the entrance to the Abbey, if you look carefully, you may find this Latin inscription. "Stet domus haec donec fluctus formica marinos ebibat, et totum testudo perambulet orbem",  which means, "May this house stand until an ant drains the flowing sea, and a tortoise walks around the whole world".

The main body of the guests disembarked first, allowing Emma and her family to follow the piper from the pier to the kirk.

The wedding itself took place in what used to be the refectory, the room where the monks ate.

Daniel and Emma chose to marry on Inchcolm because they'd found their sea legs on the Firth of Forth, qualifying as Day Skippers at Port Edgar. As Daniel had also proposed to Emma on Sandray, another tiny Scottish Island, it made perfect sense to get married on another. 

Daniel's sister Catherine gave us our first reading, a passage from Captain Corelli's Mandolin, (a story that is also set on a small island, Cephalonia, in the Ionian Sea).

I told the guests the story of Emma and Daniel which involved 'bimbling', Norwegian mountains, sheep and basking sharks.

Emma's mum Kathleen gave us a lovely rendition of the Robert Burns classic, A Red, Red, Rose and then after talking about what marriage means to them, Emma and Daniel spoke their vows and exchanged rings.

I had a lovely surprise that day when I met Effie and David White, whose wedding I'd conducted at the Roxburghe Hotel back in 2012.

This was taken on my iPhone, so don't blame Jonathon for the quality of this shot, (or the following images either!)

As you can see, by the time we had to head back to the pier, the sun had got his hat on.

On the return journey, Daniel and Emma had done a very clever thing, that I would recommend to any couple who choose to get married on Inchcolm. They asked everyone to bake something and bring it with them.

The cakes - and there were lots of them - were delicious, and most welcome. The round trip to the Abbey and back is about four hours, and while the Maid of the Forth does sell teas, coffees and snacks, they're very happy if you want to bring your own.

Suitably refreshed, the piper once again led the wedding party along the promenade at South Queensferry all the way to the reception at another of my favourite venues, Orocco Pier.

Emma and Daniel sent me a lovely card the other day, and Jonathon Fowler was kind enough to share these great shots that really capture the mood of the day.

Just a note to say thank you for conducting our wedding ceremony nearly a year ago today. Thank you for your professional and expert delivery of our ceremony. We received so many compliments from family and friends, many of whom had never attended a humanist ceremony before, and expressed their appreciation of the unique and personal nature of the ceremony.

 We are grateful for the support you gave us in the preparation of our vows, and for making us both feel at ease on the day. Your delivery and encouragement made our wedding a ceremony that we will continue to cherish and we wish you continued success!

It is now just over a year since we were all together on Inchcolm, Emma and Daniel, but seeing these photographs and your kind words makes it feel as though it was just yesterday.

Thanks for the happy memories: may you create many, many more!

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Kirsty and Rob's Humanist Wedding at West on the Green

Its great when couples really embrace the freedom of expression that a humanist wedding offers. Robert and Kirsty totally got that idea, and I loved the way they told their story at their winter wedding at West on the Green

"When Robert and Kirsty met, it quickly became clear that Robert had - and continues to have - some fairly terrible habits. Luckily, Kirsty likes a challenge, and Robert has often proven himself to be very, very challenging..."

After a year of living together Robert finally convinced Kirsty to get a kitten. Before she knew it, she discovered that he had reserved two. 

James and Georgie quickly became part of the family and although sceptical at first, Kirsty’s favourite sound now is hearing Robert giggling with his cats.

It really was 'a winter wedding!'

Kirsty sensibly chose a pair of Hunter wellies to make the short journey from the limo to the venue.

Robert's sister Susan gave us a reading called 'Union', by Robert Fulghum.

Then Kirsty and Robert spoke their vows and exchanged rings.

After they signed the marriage schedule, Kirsty's brother John gave us a last reading of 'The Art of a Good Marriage' by Wilfred Arlan Peterson before the wedding party headed out onto Glasgow Green to brave the Beast from the East!

I was very pleased to get this message today, along with these great photos by Simon Lees.

We can't thank you enough for your help with building and delivering our ceremony and how well it went on the day. 

Everyone commented on how lovely and how special and suited to ourselves it was which was all down to you guidance. You really did put us both at ease as well as set the scene for what was the best day of our lives!

Again we can't thank you enough for the work put in beforehand and for helping us through the process. It really did make the whole ceremony very special to us and we won't forget this for a very long time (hopefully forever!)

Thank you again for helping to make our big day extra special to us both.

Best wishes, Rob and Kirsty 

Mr and Mrs Boab I should be thanking you! It was a real joy working with you, and I hope that your wedding will continue to inspire you and your families and friends for years to come. Thanks for these kind words, and thanks again to Simon Lees for these very atmospheric photos.

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...