Saturday, 28 June 2008

Legalities and Vows

My esteemed colleagues, Mary Wallace and Juliet Wilson have both been applying their fingers to the keyboard recently and giving some valuable advice about taking care of the legal aspects (Mary) and how to choose wedding poetry and readings (Juliet). They're both well worth reading.

I suspect that Mary's latest post was prompted by an experience I had recently which made my life even more exciting than it usually is...

I met my couple for their wedding rehearsal two nights before the big day and while we were talking about all the necessary arrangements I asked if they'd collected the marriage schedule from the Registrar's office yet. They gave me a rather blank look and said "did we have to give some papers to the Registrar?" As gently as I could, I reminded them that they should have done this six weeks ago, as we'd discussed several times and as specified, not just in my correspondence but also in our Legal Marriage Form, the simple form of contract that we use.

Some tears and a few phone calls later, we adjourned the rehearsal having agreed that at nine o' clock the following morning, I would call the Registrars and do some very special pleading on their behalf. To cut to the chase, the Registrars were both understanding, helpful and very forgiving; apparently this wasn't the first time they'd had to take a call like this and - because the couple could produce receipts and correspondence that showed that the wedding had been planned for several months - the Registrars were able to make a judgement in their favour and create the all-important Marriage Schedule there and then.

SO if you're thinking of having a humanist wedding ceremony, please, please PLEASE remember that the most important thing is not the dress, not the meal, not the venue, not even the best man's speech: it's THE SCHEDULE. No Schedule, No Wedding.

Still, at least my couple have a story they can dine out on for years.

If you're getting married in the Edinburgh area, you will find the contact details for all the offices in the Edinburgh area below.

Registrar's Office
Lothian Chambers, 59-63 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1RN
Telephone 0131 529 2600
Fax 0131 529 2613

The Leith Suite
Registrar’s Office
30 Ferry Road, Leith, Edinburgh EH6 4AE
Telephone 0131 554 8452
Fax 0131 554 6568

Kirkliston Registrar's Office
Kirkliston Council Office, 19 Station Road, Kirkliston EH29 9BD
Telephone 0131 333 3210

Queensferry Registrar's Office
Queensferry Council Office, 53 High Street, South Queensferry EH30 9HP
Telephone 0131 331 1590

In East Lothian, you need to call and make an appointment. The numbers are below and you can find all the addresses here:

Musselburgh - 0131 653 5225
Haddington - 01620 827308
Prestonpans - 01875 818100
Tranent - 01875 824101
North Berwick - 01620 893957
Dunbar - 01368 863434

Here's a link to all the Registrar's Offices in West Lothian The numbers and partial addresses are below:

Bathgate Registration Office, 76 Mid Street - Tel: 01506 776192
Broxburn Registation, Strathbrock Partnership Centre, 189a West Main Street - Tel: 01506 775509
East Calder Registration, Library, 200 Main Street - Tel: 01506 884680
Linlithgow Registration, County Buildings, High Street - Tel: 01506 775373
Livingston Registration, Lammermuir House, Owen Square - Tel: 01506 773754/3755
West Calder Registration, 24-26 Main Street - Tel: 01506 874700
Whitburn Registration, 5 East Main Street - Tel: 01501 678005

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Paula & Damian's Humanist wedding at St. Anthony's Chapel on Arthur's Seat

Paula & Damian's wedding was the most relaxed and intimate wedding I've ever been to - just them and their best friends Paula and Raymond, both of whom were photographing and filming the whole event for the benefit of the folks back home, which is why I don't have any images of the ceremony itself, although you can see them on the rather elegant website that Raymond built for them.

But that doesn't matter: it was funny, moving and poetic and you can't ask for more than that.

Kathryn & Ewan's Humanist wedding at Kirknewton House Stables

Kathryn and Ewan's wasn't the first wedding I've conducted at Kirknewton House Stables, but it was the first time I'd had the opportunity to have the ceremony in their beautiful garden. What you can't see in this picture is all the free range chooks running around in their enclosure over to the right of the grounds!

Their seven month old baby Rory was there too, with his grandparents and he behaved impeccably. He had the smallest kilt and sporran I think I've ever seen.

It's a shame you can't see Kathryn properly in any of the shots, as she looked gorgeous.

Note to self - in future, remember to give the camera to someone sitting as near to the centre as possible!

Friday, 20 June 2008

Nicola & Jim's Humanist wedding at Dundas Castle

Nicola and Jim came all the way from Yorkshire to find a suitable location for their fairytale wedding.

After a lot of searching, they finally settled on the spectacular Dundas Castle just outside Edinburgh.

They were lucky to get Roddy the Piper, who’s not just an outstanding player but even helped the best man to tie his ghillies - in case you don't know, here's how to do it yourself.

They took Polaroid shots of all the guests so they each had their own page in their wedding book.

One of their friends, Andy read a favourite poem of mine by the late lamented Hovis Presley, called 'I rely on you'. Click here to see Hovis reading it.

They had a fantastic cake, although I still can't imagine how they cut it without shattering it into a thousand pieces!

Friday, 13 June 2008

Jo and Stephie's Humanist Wedding at Mansfield Traquair

I was delighted to receive these shots from a wedding I conducted at Edinburgh's answer to The Sistine Chapel, the beautiful Mansfield Traquair in September 2007. It's a stunning building that used to be a great music and alternative arts venue called 'Cafe Graffiti' where Stephie and Jo spent many happy evenings.

This is a slightly nervous Stephie before the ceremony

And this is Jo coming up the aisle with her dad.

One of the best bits was the music - they had a wonderful band and among other pieces, they gave us the old Andy Williams classic, "You're too Good to be True" - you know the one that goes "dah dit, dah dit, dah dit dit dit dit, dah dit, dah dit, dah dit dit dit dit, dah dit, dah dit, dah dit dit dit dit diiiiiit. I love you baaby..."

Try singing along to that with a straight face..!

Colette & Neil's Humanist Wedding at the Queen Charlotte Rooms

More and more couples are doing it backwards - having a family first and then getting married and in some ways I find these ceremonies the most moving of all! This photo of Neil and Colette's family formed the backdrop to their wedding, and all the kids played their part.

Michael was the best man, Nicola read a poem, Lee-Ann and Tracey gave readings and wee Ryan ran around making all the grannies smile.

Colette and Neil wrote their own vows to one another and spoke them directly, which was very moving. I remember looking out into the room and seeing all these big blokes looking up to the ceiling, and blinking.

Neil's brother Derek and Colette's friend Sheena were both delighted to see them finally married after all these years.

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...