Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Abigail and Ryan's Humanist Wedding at The Signet Library

 I don't usually post photos from the prep, but these candid snaps by Ricky Baillie are too good not to share!

David (above) is Abigail's mum Nicola's partner and an old friend from my years in advertising. If I remember correctly, he was the person who suggested to Abigail that she contact me about her wedding a good two years ago, or more.

You can see where Abigail gets her good looks and her sense of style, can't you?

And yes, that was the day and the date that we all gathered at The Signet Library, which since the 15th century has been the home to the Society of Writers to Her Majesty’s Signet - they were the lawyers authorised to produce manuscripts with the King of Scotland’s seal, or signet.

The building is nothing like that old, though. It was designed by Robert Reid and completed just in time for the famous visit to Edinburgh of King George IV 
in 1822. It's one of the jewels in the city's architectural crown, and we're very lucky that we're now able to use it for weddings.

There's plenty of space, which is a good thing when you have six groomsmen and even more bridesmaids and flower girls!

I often suggest to grooms that they stand with their hands behind their backs, and you can see why in this shot: they can dissipate their nerves by twiddling their fingers and nobody can see (unless they've got a very observant photographer like Ricky!)

Abigail brought a nice touch to her entrance when she came in with both her father and grandfather

And yes, it was one hell of a dress!

Once she'd arrived, the bridesmaids and groomsmen took their seats and I began the unlikely story of how the China Doll and the Boy with Black Pudding in his Teeth met, went to see 'I Love You, Phillip Morris' and eventually fell in love.

It was a very good story...

and it took us a long way from Jewel and Ask College,  because it was at the Trevi Fountain in Rome, where, surrounded by persistent paparazzi and hundreds of tourists, Ryan got down on one knee.

Abigail didn't notice, because she was looking at the crowds around the fountain, and it was only their cheering that alerted her to what was going on.

 Suddenly that persistent paparazzo became the most important man in Rome, because he'd caught the moment on his Polaroid camera. A tensely negotiated ten euros later, the images were theirs, and the planning for their big day could commence!

Ryan and Abigail kept their vows a secret until the day, and they spoke them directly to one another, which was both very funny and very moving.

Among other things, Abigail said

I promise we will grow old and crusty together, 
shake our collective fists at teenagers,
and reminisce back to the days a Freddo was 10p in 1990.  

While Ryan said

I promise to still be bin and dish boy,
and also clean the bathroom,
after you've been on a Patron shot sesh. 
But seriously...

after the signing of the Marriage Schedule, Abigail's mum Nicola read us a poem that she'd written herself 

And I sent them all off to do the mandatory huge group shot with Ricky on the stairs, surrounded by portraits of the great and good.

I didn't hear from the happy couple for quite a while, because they were off on honeymoon in the Caribbean, but they did send me a lovely email along with these photos.

Thank you so much again for everything - we can't believe how quick time flies: it really was the most perfect day!  

It was a pleasure, Abigail and Ryan - thanks for asking me to be your celebrant, and thanks again to Ricky Baillie for these really excellent shots - the boy really knows how to use light doesn't he?

Sunday, 21 July 2019

I'm delighted by Vicky Allan's article about 'WE DO!' in today's Sunday Herald!

My thanks to all the couples who are featured in it: Eli and Kate, Elizabeth and Bengtis, Natasa and Grant, and in the headline - but sadly not the article itself - the originators of 'Until death or zombies do us part', Kellie and Kevin. And of course thanks to the lovely Ditte of First Light Photography for the photo above

Thursday, 18 July 2019

Sharon and James's Humanist Wedding at Edinburgh Castle

Weddings don't get more intimate than this...

James and Sharon hail from British Columbia, and they contacted me in March of this year about their wedding at the Castle in May. My first concern was that they might not have enough time to get the Home Office to approve their visa, but luckily, the wheels of bureaucracy moved quickly and smoothly and we had all the required paperwork.

They chose to have a morning ceremony so they could have a proper 'wedding breakfast' afterwards, and when I joined them on the roof of the Gatehouse, they were already being photographed by Luke Bennett

Their only guests were also their witnesses: James's parents, Janet and Gus, who've been married for more than fifty years - sadly Sharon's mother Jenny who's 93 wasn't able to make the journey to be with them, but she sent us some words which I read on her behalf.

One of the joys of a really intimate ceremony is that they are less formal, so we were able to take advantage of the space and light that the Gatehouse affords. The marriage chamber isn't a big room, and as it was built for defence rather than the view, it can be quite a tricky space for photography.

The first call I made was to move Sharon and James from the fireplace (where couples usually stand) over towards the south window, which gave Luke a strong light source to play with. 

Both Gus and Janet spoke, before James and Sharon spoke the traditional vows, and I pronounced them man and wife.

Sharon's mum wasn't the only missing person at the wedding. She and James had only just lost their companion of many years, Milo, a little black and white Japanese Chin, so it was lovely to get this message from them the other day.

Looking back we have nothing but the best memories of the whole thing. It was just absolutely amazing. It does feel like a long time has passed! A few days ago we adopted two Shih Tzu/ Havanese mix dogs from a rescue home. These two brothers are the missing piece of our family and we now feel like we have all we want in our lives! Sharon and I just want to thank you again for such a wonderful ceremony. 

I was also very pleased to get these very atmospheric shots from Luke, who said, "It was a pleasure to work alongside you because you're so aware of the needs of a photographer in terms of light and angles to create the most beautiful photographs. 

"James and Sharon’s wedding was a wonderful, heart warming, intimate celebration of love."

You're so right, Luke! Thanks again for the photos - it was a pleasure working with you and I hope we get to do that again soon!

This was one of the snaps I grabbed of Luke at work at the Castle - you can see a few more from the day on my Instagram feed.

And thanks again, Sharon and James - I wish you and your new canine companions many years of happiness together!

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Victoria and David's Humanist Wedding at Carlowrie Castle

I love it when a photograph just sums up a whole day. This great shot by Sean Bell does exactly that for David and Victoria's wedding at the stunning Carlowrie Castle

As is now 'the new normal', David and Victoria met online - but only just. David's initial subscription to was coming to an end when he spotted the babe in the blue lace dress, so he had to take out another three months' worth to see if she'd replied. For her part, Victoria had just signed up for a laugh, so when she saw the wink from 'EdiDave', she too had to fork out to check out this intriguing Russell Howard lookalike.

A mutual obsession with gin and food led to an espresso martini-fuelled first date at Bar Kohl. Date three took them skating where a Bambi-on-ice David had to grab an inappropriate part of Victoria to stop himself going face first onto the rink, but even before I could tell these stories, 

their friends Katie, Laura and Natalie gave us a great reading of ‘A Lovely Love Story’ by Edward Monkton.

Even the proposal revolved around food: David was keen to show Victoria the home of the award-winning Hebridean Blue Cheese but it was February and it was getting dark, so Victoria was a bit miffed that her farm tour was brought to such an abrupt end.

Romantic Calgary Bay was the destination of choice that evening, and thankfully, Victoria's immediate reaction to David's proposal - is this a joke? - wasn't her last, or we'd never have made it to their big day!

I was so pleased when Victoria sent me these photos the other day, along with these words.

The whole process of the ceremony writing seemed quite daunting at first but once we got stuck into it, it actually flowed quite easily. Honestly, it was worth every moment of effort to get the ceremony we did. 

Every single person has said to us what an amazing ceremony and many of them have even said it was the best ceremony they’d ever been to which is exactly what we’d hoped for, so thank you! 

I want every couple I marry to get exactly that reaction from their friends and family, so I count your wedding as 'Job Done!', Victoria and David.

Keep protecting each other from moths and spiders, keep conquering the world one coral reef at a time, and don't forget what you promised - 

Love is not for sometimes
Love is for all times,

For you and for me.

Abigail and Ryan's Humanist Wedding at The Signet Library

 I don't usually post photos from the prep, but these candid snaps by Ricky Baillie are too good not to share! David (above) i...