Thursday, 24 May 2018

Danielle and Brian's Humanist Wedding at Carlowrie Castle


Danielle and Brian knew their wedding was going to be emotional. As they wrote in the introduction to their ceremony, "Photos, laughter and lots of tears are allowed throughout the ceremony, and as you will already have discovered, there are in fact tissues on your seats if need be."



They came in very handy...



Brian and Danielle were 'reversing into marriage' as I like to call it, and they came with their beautiful children, Penelope and Oscar, who said, "Mummy and Daddy, we're so proud, and we love you both so much!"



Brian is a boxer. Not just any boxer, he's a 3 time WBO champion and one of the very few people who's retained the Lonsdale Belt



Which is why I warned him when we met that he might completely lose it on the day.



I wasn't wrong. And he wasn't alone in that...




I've now married two professional boxers, as well as a few other top sportsmen, and I've noticed that they tend to be much more emotional than you might expect.



It's an interesting paradox that the men who need to be as tough as nails in their professional life are the ones who are least prepared for the impact that love has on their wedding day, but I love that!



Their friend Daniel gave a great reading of 'Rain Sometimes', by Arthur Hamilton


then Danielle and Brian did a very brave thing: they chose to tell each other why they want to spend the rest of their lives together. 





That meant we needed to have a bit of a make-up repair session...





before Brian and Danielle spoke their vows, and Oscar gave them their rings.





Amarone Music gave us a few songs as we signed the Marriage Schedule




and Kirsty gave us our last reading: 'Look to this Day', a poem from the ancient Sanskrit.


I caught up with the happy couple after the ceremony, and Brian said a rather wonderful thing. 'You're the only man who's ever made me cry!'




He repeated it again on Twitter, which was really lovely.




I'll take that compliment any day, Champ!

Thanks again for choosing me to conduct your wedding, Danielle and Brian, and thanks too to Beth Alderson for these exceptional photos.

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Royal Wedding Vows

Congratulations to Meghan Markle! As the first bride who isn't promising to 'obey' her royal husband, she's made headlines around the world, as in this story from The Guardian.

It's no small thing, in the context of a traditional Church of England wedding, but it did make me smile. Since 2005, I've conducted more than twelve hundred weddings and in none of them has a bride EVER promised to obey. 

I have no idea if either Harry or Meghan has ever been to a humanist wedding, but there are quite a few elements in today's biggest wedding that look familiar to me.

The bride is choosing to enter accompanied only by her bridesmaids; the groom will wear a wedding ring, and rather than a hymn before the vows, the congregation will sing the Ben E. King classic, Stand By Me.

Of course humanist marriage is not yet legal in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, but I am confident that it's only a matter of time before it is, so it will be interesting to see, in a generation's time, what form of marriage the next generation of royals will choose.

In the meantime, I'm off to conduct the wedding of Stacey and Phil so have a wonderful day, whatever you're doing!

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Blue black permanent...

One of the first things that gets drummed into you when you're authorised to conduct legal marriages is that you must ensure that the Marriage Schedule is signed in 'permanent black liquid ink'.

Fair enough you might think, but what does that actually mean? Does it mean 'indelible' ink? Indelible means a mark that cannot be removed, something that is permanent and unfading. One thing it must surely mean is that you have to use black ink, but it seems not.

This slightly obscure topic came up at our Caledonian Humanist Association celebrant meeting yesterday, when Vicki Langridge brought in her extensive collection of inks.



As you can see, she's got a few, but her question is a serious one. There are quite a lot of 'permanent black liquid inks out there' so it's a bit confusing. It was Andy McSorley who provided the intriguing answer that is best illustrated by the birth certificate of a certain George Alexander Louis of Cambridge... but it looks blue, doesn't it?



That's because it's a real ink, made from oak galls, the kind of ink used by the monks who illustrated all those beautiful mediaeval manuscripts, and artists like Leonardo da Vinci.

It's dark blue when it goes on, but the colour changes over time to a very dark grey.

If you're getting married, then the person conducting your legal wedding will bring their own fountain pen, filled with 'permanent black liquid ink', so you probably don't need to worry about it, but it's worth asking them what kind of pen and ink they are using.

If you're conducting legal weddings, then you need the one called - perhaps unsurprisingly - Registrars Ink. The only place I have managed to find it is here, at The Writing Desk. It's the one on the left in the photo of Vicki.

It's made by a company in Liverpool called Diamine, and they've been going since the late 19th century when I suspect the market for ink was a bit bigger than it is today.

Thanks to Vicki and Andy, I feel I've learned something, and I know where I'll be getting my ink in future!

Melissa and Paul's Humanist Wedding at Melville Castle

Paul and Melissa's wedding was full of love and laughter, which makes this 'pre-wedding' shot of Melissa and her dad all the ...