I got a lovely email from deepest Rajasthan the other day. That's where Jo and Tosh were on honeymoon, but thanks to the wonders of t'internet, they were still able to send me some shots from their wedding earlier this year at Broxmouth Park, and seeing them and reading the ceremony again just reminded me of all the little ways in which a humanist wedding can be made uniquely personal.
What name do you want to be called in the ceremony? It's a question I always ask right at the start, and as you might expect if you've been reading this blog for a while, there's no right answer. Some people like to be formal, others don't, so Jo decided to carry on being Jo, rather than Joanne, while Tosh reverted to his given name, Richard, for thirty minutes or so rather than use the nickname by which he's best known.
Another question I always ask is, how do you want the ceremony to begin? Tosh chose to walk up the aisle with his Nan, while Jo's brother Paul walked in with their Granny at the same time, which was a thoughtful touch, and much appreciated by the ladies present.
How many bridesmaids can you have? As many as you like, but it looks better when the groom isn't left up there like Johnny No-Mates, so while Jo had three gorgeous girls on her right, Tosh was joined not just by his best man, but three ushers as well.
One of the joys of the homework process is that it allows the couple to say in their own words why they want to marry, and I remember that when I read Tosh's, I was really struck by the words he used, and I was very pleased when he decided to incorporate them into the ceremony.
“It took me quite a long time to get here. Don’t think I really saw the point. I get it now. My friends know I love you, my family knows I love you, your family knows I love you, so that’s not it. I’m no fan of rules or tradition for the sake of it so it’s not that. We have arrived at a point in our relationship where it feels right, not because it is deemed appropriate by others, but because I am so in love with you that I want to make this public declaration and spend the rest of my life with you.”
Poetry and readings are always a part of a wedding; what made this particularly nice was that Dan, one of Tosh's closest friends from University, read one he'd written himself.
Music is crucial, and it was lovely to hear some of Jo's friends from her days in the Glasgow Youth Choir singing 'Sound The Pibroch'.
But best of all, as far as I was concerned anyway, was that they had the courage to stand in front of their family and friends and not only speak their vows directly to one another, but say why they love one another and what their hopes are for the future. I laughed out loud when they sent me the final draft of the script and I saw this.
Because they don’t trust themselves not to start crying, they hope you don’t mind that I’m now going to read these out on their behalf.
Every wedding is unique, and uniquely moving, but I'll remember this one for a long time.
It's always what I hope, but I was very pleased when Jo and Tosh said, "You were such an integral part of our wedding day and the ceremony remains the favourite part of our day. Your warmth, inclusiveness and humour all helped to make it a truly memorable experience and we've lost count of the number of family and friends who have commented on how much they enjoyed it; most saying that it was their first humanist wedding, but admitting it was the best they've ever been to. High praise indeed!"
Thanks Tosh and Jo! Please do let me know who took these excellent pics?