I like to end the year on a high, and that's exactly what Kellie and Kevin's wedding delivered.
As it was just after the winter solstice, they very sensibly chose a late start, and I remember that Kellie entered the great hall of the Queen Anne Room "at 4.38 precisely!", a pre-scripted guesstimate of Kellie's arrival time from 'Team Milker' that got the first laugh of the day.
I always encourage couples to really involve their guests in the ceremony: not just having one or two doing a reading or a song, but actually getting them to tell their stories, talk about why they love one another, and share what it is they want to achieve in their marriage. Kevin and Kellie embraced this approach with imagination and enthusiasm.
Kellie's school friend and one-time fellow cadet Carolyn, AKA Big Bird told the story of their courtship, and Kevin's friend and romantic adviser Ben gave us a great reading of Seamus Heaney's wonderful poem, Scaffolding, but the high point (for me at least) was the way they got their guests to make a commitment to support them in their marriage. Here's a wee taster from that section:
Tim: Do you commit to providing Kevin and Kellie counsel should they falter and to reminding them of the promises they made today with hearts full of love?
All: “We do”
Tim: Do you commit to occasionally telling Kellie and Kevin that they’re being idiots if they forget these promises and complain about the little things?
All: “We do”
Better still, before making their very personal, serious vows that they had kept a complete secret from one another, they got eight of their friends to ask them to make some very specific promises, of which the last two were my favourite:
Kevin – do you promise to learn how to fold the towels properly?
Kevin: “I do”
Kellie – do you promise to accept that you may need to refold all the towels for the rest of your life?
Kellie: “I do”
As you can well imagine, LOTS of people came up to me after the ceremony to say it was the best wedding they'd ever been to, and I said what I always say on these occasions, which is "That's because THEY wrote it!"
Kevin and Kellie's wedding is one I talk about a lot when I meet couples these days, and given that it took place in the last days of last year, I simply can't believe it's taken me until now to write about it.
I was very pleased when they sent me this - along with the excellent photos from Robbie at Duke Photography.
"Just a wee note to thank you for your part in making our wedding day such fun, and such a great memory to keep for all of our many years to come. We’re going to have our ceremony printed off and bound at some point, not just as a keepsake, but also because it’ll remind us of the fun we had putting it all together…. the ceremony only lasted 30 minutes, but that was just the top of a rather enjoyable hill!"
It was important for us that our friends and family who weren’t familiar with Humanism actually buy into it and not get put off by the fact it was a secular ceremony. We wanted you to be our celebrant because you bring an authority and legitimacy to the proceedings which really helped keep everybody engaged and comfortable. Plus, you delivered our ceremony superbly - I think most people even laughed at my jokes…it’s all in the execution!"
No, K and K - it's (almost) all in the writing - and you did an excellent job!