Friday, 31 May 2019

Lisa and Ray's Humanist Wedding at Orocco Pier

 Like so many couples these day, Lisa and Ray were 'reversing into marriage' and they arrived at Orocco Pier with their ready-made family, their children, Ethan and Courtney. Courtney's verdict was crucial when it came to choosing the colour of the bridesmaids dresses, while Ethan made sure the countdown sign was always up to date.

The first time Ray and Lisa met was at the Eyemouth Herring Queen when he was sitting on the pier with his mum, and his identical twin brother Jamie. Lisa couldn't tell them apart, but because Ray was wearing the Rangers top, and Jamie was in the hoops, she went for Ray, which pleased me greatly, because there are few things I enjoy more than telling Rangers fans that they're being married by a Tim...

Ethan was born 12 years ago and Courtney made their family complete three years later. They love  their family camping trips and caravan holidays: they recently climbed their first Munro!

It took quite a long time for Ray to pop the question. Being a sensible man, he proposed with a Haribo ring so that Lisa could choose the one she liked herself (note to prospective grooms, this is generally a smart idea!) and a year later, we all got together to celebrate on their big day.

Niece Amy and nephew Ashton both gave us readings, then we had a moment for quiet contemplation before Ethan joined us to present the rings to his mum and dad.

And then pretended he didn't have them... which went down a storm.

Lisa sent me these photos by Carrie Roy the other day, saying 'Thank you for conducting our wedding ceremony, we had an amazing day from the beginning to the end! We wish we could do it all over again and thank you for making us both feel at ease. All our guests commented on how lovely the ceremony was and how personal it was to us all.'

I'm so pleased to read that, Lisa: as I always say, 'that's because you wrote it!' so congratulations are due to you for writing such a great script.

I wish you and Ray and Ethan and Courtney every happiness and I look forward to hearing from you when you do your next Munro!

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Shauna and Will's Humanist Wedding at Dalhousie Castle

Will and Shauna are a very international couple. When they first got in touch about their wedding at Dalhousie Castle, Shauna was in Brisbane AUS and Will was in Tampa FLA so our first conversation over Skype ranged over a 15 hour time span, with Will 5 behind and Shauna 10 ahead. Somehow, we managed to keep it coherent, and over the next twelve months, we caught up frequently to make sure that their plans for the big day were on track.

Planning a wedding in another country is a big logistical exercise, so it was just as well that both Will and Shauna are experienced project managers, and well-used to working outside of their comfort zones. They really embraced the whole idea of creating their ceremony in their own words, and making their guests a part of it. 

As you can sort of see in this photo, they had a BIG wedding party! Alongside Best Man Fraser, Will had three groomsmen, Chris, Craig and Nick. Darragh, the page boy, is Shauna's nephew, and our flower girl is Eva. 

The rest of Team Bride were sister Lisa, Cousin Gemma, Will's sister Kelly and Shauna's niece, Emma, all of whom you can see above.

They invited their Oz based friends, Chris and Alice Budd, to tell the story of their relationship, which began back in 2013.

Kelly told the story of the proposal, and then Will and Shauna spoke their vows directly to one another from cards. Their guests were surprised and delighted when the rings arrived by 'Owl Post'

And to bring the ceremony to a close, Junior Bridesmaid Emma gave us an old Irish blessing - pretty appropriate, as that's not just where Shauna hails from, but it's also the nickname by which she was first known to Will and everyone he mentioned her to: 'Irish'!

It's Emma's voice that you can hear at the start of this great highlights trailer from Ian and Nicola at iMack Productions 

Along with these great photos by Karol Makula, Will sent me these words.

'In terms of how it feels now, I can honestly say that it feels fantastic being married to Shauna. 

16 March 2019 truly was the best day of our lives – everything was perfect, everyone was perfect. 

Living in Australia meant that being able to spend a day with our family and friends all in one place was truly incredible. I only wish we could wind back the clock and do it all over again! 

 Thank you so much for everything that you did for us – before, during and now after our wedding day. We are both so happy that we chose you to be our celebrant.  Kind Regards Will and Shauna'

The feeling's mutual, mates! Thanks again for choosing to work with me, thank you for your kind words, and thanks again to Karol Makula for these lovely photos. Don't lose touch!

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Are you in any videos?

It's a question I'm often asked, and I have to admit my usual answer is, 'I have no idea' because while couples often send me their wedding photos, they don't often send me their videos. I wrote about Carley and Fraser's wedding back in 2017, for instance and I've never seen their trailer until today.
Kirknewton Stables Wedding // Carley & Fraser from Worldly Nomads Films on Vimeo.

I'm not having a go at them, by the way, (or the lovely Barry of Worldly Nomad either). There are lots of good reasons for that.

Video editing is time consuming: not everyone wants the world to see the film of their wedding online, and even if they do, the only element that goes global is the trailer, which tends to be music led.

I've seen plenty of trailers where I'm visible on set but I don't have a featured role. However, there are a few out there where I get to say a few words, and this is one of them: Claire and Ross' gorgeous wedding at Carlowrie Castle, shot and edited by Gryffe Weddings.


You can see my post about Claire and Ross's wedding here 

Another one, coincidentally at the fabulous Carlowrie, is this wee gem from Boda Productions. This is more typical in that Gary gets the first word, Serena makes her entrance at 01:45 and as you'll see, they spoke their vows directly to one another, so I don't get to say my lines until about two minutes in.

Serena + Gary // Carlowrie Castle from Boda Productions on Vimeo.

As you may know, if you've been following my blog, I encourage all my couples to speak their vows directly to one another, which is why I'm often a comparatively silent presence in these films, but I do that because having the freedom to speak of your love in your own words is perhaps the greatest of the many privileges that come with a humanist marriage.

If you really want to hear me speak, then get the popcorn and cuddle up in the back row, because this one's got lots of chat: it's an interview with Katie from the Scottish Wedding Directory (click here to watch it)

PS - If you come across any videos where I've got even a minor role, please let me know: I'd love to see them!

Just click here to drop me a line.

Ross and Kirsten's Humanist Wedding at Carlowrie Castle

In this age of online dating, it's almost a surprise to meet a couple who met at work, and it was in the pharmacy of the Boots Store in Hawick that the story of Kirsten and Ross began.

It didn't start very well. City girl Kirsten had panicked when she learned she was being sent to manage a store in the middle of nowhere in the depths of winter, but when she met the handsome relief pharmacist, things began to get better, not least because he brought her Creme Eggs on her coffee break.

Their first date didn't go too well either. Ross hails from 'the goldfish bowl of Gala', and it wasn't until he drove through to Balerno to take Kirsten to dinner that he realised he was missing an important piece of information: her address.

They got past that, and Kirsten's mum Karen  survived the year they stayed with her, sharing a single bed, making a mess of the kitchen, and sneaking bags of junk food up to their bedroom. She even wrote a poem for them that she read herself.

Ross and Kirsten gave a lot of thought to their ceremony and they made it very personal and meaningful, not just in words but in actions. Kirsten came down the aisle on the arm of her brother Kevin, standing in for her beloved dad John, who passed away eight years ago.

They asked both of their mums to give a reading, and Ross's mum Kay did a lovely one from Winnie the Pooh, by A.A. Milne.

Kirsten's close friend Maddy was the last speaker before we had a pause for quiet contemplation to remember loved ones, and to allow people of faith to have a silent prayer.

I had a great team to work with that day. Carlowrie Castle always make sure the venue is looking beautiful and Planet Flowers made sure everything was blooming lovely!

Andy Lucas was tinkling the ivories, and I had my old pals Derek Christie and Lee Richardson doing the honours on stills and moving pictures respectively.

You can see Lee's trailer for Ross and Kirsten's wedding here.

Kirsten & Ross's Wedding from Lee Richardson on Vimeo.

I was delighted to get these photos and this message from Kirsten and Ross yesterday.

We've been meaning to thank you for doing such an amazing job delivering our wedding ceremony. Time has passed so quickly! We loved every minute of it. 

The ceremony was definitely our favourite part of the day and so many guests commented on how lovely it was and how well you delivered it. It was all down to the prep work you made us do, and writing most of it ourselves really did make it feel so special and personal. 

Although writing the ceremony felt intimidating at first the way you broke it down in to sections for us made it easier and it’s great to have these words to always look back on. The poems by our mums and Maddy were a big highlight as well. 

We will definitely be recommending you and your book to any of our friends that get engaged! 

Why thank you very much, Mr and Mrs Darling: that's very kind of you! Thanks again for choosing me as your celebrant and for allowing me to share your story, which I'm sure will inspire many other happy couples to risk stepping out of their comfort zones and embracing the unknown!

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Christianne and Leon's Humanist Wedding at the Braids Hill Hotel

I don't like to use the 'B' word but despite all the uncertainty around Brexit, more and more couples are choosing to speak their vows in Scotland. It was last November that Leon and Chris brought their family and friends over from the Netherlands, and they're still talking about their amazing ceremony now.

They made it their own in lots of ways. They got married at 11.00 in the morning so they could have a proper 'wedding breakfast'

They came in together with their much-loved daughter, Fiene

They spoke their vows directly to one another in Dutch

and they invited their mothers, Marianne and Wilma, to perform a hand-fasting with multi-coloured cords that they had woven themselves.

As they said when they got in touch, 'Looking back to our wedding, the feeling that sticks with us is one of Enduring Love. 

As we said in the ceremony, 'love is a verb' and we continue to do that. The day (and the whole week around it) was even better than we'd planned. We are so lucky to have such a wonderful group of family and friends'.

As you can see, not all of these photos come from their professional photographer, the brilliant Marc Millar, but he did take all the good ones - and I was particularly pleased to see this.

My flat is in a quiet lane that's very popular with photographers and I'm so pleased to see that my sign from the New York Department of Transportation made the cut!

So thanks again, Leon, Chris and Fiene, for allowing me to be a part of your wonderful day. Alles is Liefde!

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

Jac and Simon's Humanist Wedding at The Principal Charlotte

Every so often I'm sent a set of photos that make me smile from ear to ear. This is one of them, so all credit to Puddle Lane Photography for capturing the joy! 

Jac and Simon's wedding was at The Principal Charlotte Square, better known to old Edinburgh folk as 'The Roxburghe', but barely a week after their ceremony, it changed ownership and name again to become The Kimpton. Keep up there at the back!

I don't always get to see shots of the rest of the big day, so I was really touched by all the thought and imagination Simon and Jac put into every aspect of their wedding. 

When I arrived, Simon was already there, working the crowd...

And before the ceremony started, he made a point of walking his mum Gloria down the aisle. More and more of my grooms are doing this and I think it's a lovely, subtle way to say, 'I've got a family too, and they're important to me'.

Before the bridal party made their entrance, Jac's brother escorted their mum Liz to her front row seat

And then the show was thoroughly stolen by Ayla and Cameron... 

That last kiss from dad before the start of the ceremony is always a touching moment: it's a big day for him, (even if he pretends it isn't...) 

Jac's sister Stephanie made sure that Jac's flowing veil was behind her, and not still half way down the aisle

and then we got on with telling the story of Simon and Jac, which was a hoot, as you can see

Not least because of Simon's fear of heights, which manifested itself when they went for cocktails at The Shard...

They got out at floor 54 - to change elevators before going even higher. Simon almost collapsed in a heap. He turned grey and literally had to crawl along the wall to the next lift!

 Sorry mate: it's too good a story not to tell again...

But don't worry. I won't mention the kayaking...

It was such a happy, funny, touching ceremony: beautifully captured in these great shots by Grace of Puddle Lane and her second shooter, Jakki Brock. (This is my #photographersportrait of them from my Instagram feed.)

Simon popped the big question in a very dramatic location: The Giant's Causeway

And then they spoke their individual vows to one another from cards.  If you check out this sequence of shots, what you'll see (from the point of view of the bride and groom) is that the guests can't see them, but you can. They don't need to be tiny - Simon and Jac had a lot to say, so they put theirs on A4.

What I liked best about their vows was that they were different, but complementary, and as you can see, those words meant the world to both of them.

They asked their mums to be their witnesses - always a good idea in my book. It's a non-speaking part and there's always a chance that mum will know what a fountain pen is...

And then because this was an early March wedding, Jac and Simon sensibly chose to do a group shot with their guests before they actually left the room - there's another good idea for you when it's your turn.

Jac dropped me a line the other day, saying 'Already 9 weeks since the wedding & truly the most amazing day ❤️

We both really embraced doing our homework for the wedding & it was lovely telling our story to our family & friends during the ceremony. 

At the time it was a lot of work & we put so much effort into our homework, but so many of our guests commented on what a wonderful ceremony we had & so thank you for that too! Many thanks again,
Love Jac & Simon xxx

No - thank you Simon and Jac. You're right - it does require a bit of work, but your guests told you why it was worth doing, and your faces tell us how much fun it was. Thanks again for asking me to be your celebrant - I loved every minute of your wedding!

And of course, thanks again to Grace and Jakki for these excellent 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...