Wednesday, 18 January 2012


Is what we all seek in our different ways. 

BBC Radio Scotland gave me a call the other day asking for my thoughts, so I joined the former Bishop of Edinburgh, Richard Holloway. to discuss how we can live more balanced lives on the Sunday Morning programme that goes out at an hour you're still deeply asleep. 

The other guests were Professor John Haldane of St Andrew's University and Sally Foster-Fulton, the Vice Chair of the Church and Society Council at the Church of Scotland. 

If you want to hear the discussion, please click here, and Skip forward to 1' 43"

Friday, 6 January 2012

Lights, Camera, Action!

I've often been told I have the perfect face for radio, but every now and then, my ugly mug pops up in a wedding video, and this one, from Nik and Becky's wedding last summer, is one of the best I've seen (and not just because I make a fleeting cameo appearance!)

It was shot and edited by Steve, Stuart & Yvonne of Cherry Tree Films, who describe themselves as "a small team of filmmakers who absolutely love to tell unique wedding stories", which is probably why they've won the 'Videographer' category at the Vows Awards for the last two years in a row.

You can read their take on the day on their own blog here, and find out more about them here

OK, I think we can cut now.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

John & Jo's Humanist Wedding at Leith Town Hall

Sometimes pictures really do say more than words...

John & Jo's wedding simply radiated love, and happiness

They had so many friends, the hall was absolutely packed
And for once in my life, I had to use a microphone to be heard

It was a really home-made, thoughtful wedding.

The guests made and brought all the food and drink

which created a charmingly old-fashioned 'village hall' atmosphere

John said,
"I feel truly blessed that Jo has agreed to marry me.
She is  beautiful in every way and has a smile that brings light into any room.
It lights up my heart"
Jo said,
"John opens my eyes to me.
He shows me a golden, sparkly eyed, love-laden vision of life, our future, and myself".

John's daughter Ailsa gave us a wonderful reading of 'The Owl and The Pussycat'

Dear pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
Your ring? Said the piggy, 'I will'.

So they took it away, and were married next day

By the turkey who lives on the hill...

And of course their mums were their witnesses: there's nobody to whom it means more, is there?
My thanks to Ditte Solgaard of First Light Weddings, who took these wonderful shots.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Heather & Mike's Humanist Wedding in The Playfair Library

I got some lovely cards this Christmas, but my favourite came from Heather and Mike.

Unlike normal people, they didn't send me Jpegs, but instead posted proper photographic prints, with captions hand-written on the back. This one said, "This pretty much sums up the feedback we got on our ceremony! The best endorsement was to hear how enthusiastically it was talked about by a) my Catholic aunt, and b) Mike's teenage and perpetually unimpressed cousin". 

Somehow I feel that has a lot to do with the way Heather and Mike think and write. I liked the way I found myself saying, "When I asked Mike and Heather what they wanted from their ceremony, the first word that sprang to both their minds was “brevity”. Admittedly Mike didn’t actually know the meaning of the word “brevity” at the time, so he was somewhat surprised when it sprang to his mind..."

As Heather wrote, "The best piece of wedding advice I came across was to take the ceremony a bit more seriously, and the reception a bit less so, and a humanist ceremony allowed us to do exactly that, putting so much more thought into the proceedings than we might otherwise have done.

We approached wedding planning thinking of the ceremony as 'the boring bit', to be got out of the way as hastily as possible, but it ended up being the most enjoyable and memorable part of the day for us. (Well for me - Mike's hedging between that and the cake, but it was exceptionally good cake...)

Thank you again, for enabling us to have a wedding that reflected us, rather than ever feeling like a "one-size-fits-all" or tick-box exercise, and for surprising our guests (and us!) with the realisation that it's actually possible for a ceremony to be actively enjoyable."

We also appreciated the way you mingled with our guests afterwards - and I can only apologise for whichever of my brothers accosted you about Christopher Hitchens!"

Not at all, Heather. A spirited discussion over a glass of champagne is a great way to end an afternoon, and I enjoyed every minute of it! And you can be sure that your ceremony will go on to inspire other couples who don't want a "run of the mill, your-name-goes-here, hurry up and get it over with" beginning to their day.

Thanks for asking me to be your celebrant. It was a pleasure!

I'm delighted by Vicky Allan's article about 'WE DO!' in today's Sunday Herald ! My thanks to all the couples who ...