Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Nicola and Derek's Humanist Wedding at Melville Castle

Next time someone asks me "What's so special about a humanist wedding?", I'm just going to ask them to read these words, written by the new Mr. and Mrs. Bellany.

"I hope you like our photos -  we love them and think the mixture of smiles, laughing and tears sums up our cememony perfectly.

Now that 3 months has past since our big day we can truly reflect on our wedding day and what our ceremony has gone on to mean for us. 

We feel lucky that our wedding vows really reflected our relationship and in the weeks following our wedding, we have both said more than once, 'remember our wedding vows'. I'm still trying to be tidier and Derek is still trying to accept my mess! 

I have a feeling this is going to be a recurring theme for our marriage, but we knew what we were getting into and honestly wouldn't have it any other way. We are imperfect people, and the fact that our vows allowed us to be imperfect, accepting of each other and happy anyway was exactly what we needed.

Literally everyone who attended our wedding commented on how personal and sincere the ceremony was. Mostly people said that it felt 'real'. 

A lot of our family and friends had never been to a humanist wedding before and were moved by how personal it was. 

Although Derek and I both knew we wanted a humanist ceremony, neither of us really knew what that would look like. 

I suppose we were a bit shellshocked with the talk of 'homework' and writing our own ceremony - after all we wanted it to be good lol.

Thank you for inspiring us into saying the things to each other that really mattered and really thinking about the things that made us fall in love. 

We got a chance to tell our story to the people who matter most in the world to us and for that we truly thank you. 

We joked, laughed and cried while writing our ceremony - which I think is the whole point - and ultimately it helped bring us closer and really take ownership of our wedding day. 

Our ceremony helped set the tone for our entire day - and to us it was perfect. 

Mr and Mrs Bellany xx

Nuff said? I think so - other than to thank Ewa Labuda for her lovely photography and to thank Nicola and Derek once again for their kind and inspiring words xxx

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Lucy and Jeremy's Humanist Wedding at St. Columba's by the Castle

I'm tempted to let the pictures speak for themselves on this one

But I do want to say a couple of things about Jeremy and Lucy's wedding.

First of all, it was just such a happy day from the start: family and friends had flown from as far away as South Africa to be here. And the atmosphere was very relaxed, and informal. 

I've conducted several weddings in the hall of St Columba's-by-the-Castle, despite the fact it belongs to the Scottish Episcopal Church: I think that says a lot about the tolerant and welcoming attitude of its minister and congregation. It is exactly what you'd expect a church hall to be, big, spacious, a blank canvas that you can do up as you see fit.

I thought the flower girls looked absolutely charming in their outfits, and there was a pleasing lack of uniformity about what the entire wedding party wore.

More importantly, Lucy and Jeremy got lots of people involved. Dave and Sarah told their story

Talis their dachshund carried their rings, and Joanne, Charlie and Dave led us in a rousing rendition of the old Morecambe and Wise classic, Bring Me Sunshine.

Solen who took these excellent shots was working with a 'second-shooter', which was a great idea because it meant Jeremy and Lucy got lots of shots of how their ceremony was going down with the crowd

After Malcolm gave us a reading (the lyrics from 'Ain't Nobody by Chaka Khan - a brilliant touch!), we took a quick pause for quiet contemplation before we hit the high spot with the vows, which of course they wrote themselves and spoke directly to one another.

I got this email from Lucy and Jeremy a while ago.

Three months following the big day we are still very much on cloud 9. 

It was such an amazing day, full of love and laughter. 

I have still not found the words to accurately describe the feelings I had that day, but I feel very humbled to have been surrounded by so many wonderful people wishing us love and happiness for the rest of our lives together.

Solen's photography has captured the moments of the day so well, we are absolutely thrilled with them and I am still (slowly) putting an album together of the best ones but it is so hard to choose between them!

Many thanks again for being our celebrant, you were brilliant. Much love, Lucy and Jeremy xx

They are great photos aren't they? You can see more of Solen Photography's work here

My thanks to her, to Jeremy and Lucy, and of course, to Talis!

Monday, 22 August 2016

Fiona & Aaron's Humanist Wedding at the Marriott Dalmahoy

Do you remember the volcanic eruption that grounded aircraft all over the world for almost a week? Well Eyjafjallaj√∂kull was its name, and because of it, Aaron and Fiona found themselves at the same party in Glasgow. Call it fate, call it what you like: it was certainly an explosive start to their relationship.

Their ceremony was great: and I say that on good authority because Fiona sent me these photos along with these kind words. "We had a fantastic day, it couldn't have been any better". 

The ceremony was great, it was the relaxed and personal ceremony we were hoping for.  

We had so many guests comment on how good it was and how it reflected us so well. 

Thank you for all of your help writing it, we are so pleased with how it all went.

We really can't thank you enough for being part of our special day. 

I think you just did, Fiona and Aaron - thank you again for asking me to be your celebrant and thank you to Fraser Cameron for these great photos!

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Selina and Jed's Humanist Marriage at Broxmouth Park

Jed and Selina's was a wedding of childhood sweethearts - with a twist.

The first time they met was in their first year of senior school; Jed remembers they were hanging around with other friends at the school gates at the time. Selina’s memory is less precise but she remembers meeting Jed at school even though he was only there for a ‘brief time’ before being expelled...   

They do agree that their first kiss was at the classy under 18’s club ‘The Mission’ near Waverley station, and that Bad Touch by Bloodhound Gang was playing at the time.    

They were inseparable even though they attended different schools: Jed won the all-time lateness award from his because he insisted on taking Selina to her school every day before trekking halfway across town to get to his own.

Fortunately they both went to the same University, where they had a wonderful time, and eleven years after they first got together, they brought all their families and friends to a spectacular setting, under a Cedar of Lebanon in the gardens of Broxmouth Park.

They both had lots of friends with them: standing by Jed were his best-man Jamie and his ushers, Ally, Gregor, Garry, Max, and Ollie. Supporting Selina were no fewer than six bridesmaids: Melanie, Jessica, Rachel, Katie, Aileen, Alice and two charming flower girls, Ella and Olivia. 

I was really impressed by the openness, honesty and sincerity of what they chose to share with their guests.

Jed sent me this email when they got back from honeymoon. "We've sent you a thank you card but it's a bit small to fit everything on."

We want to thank you for all your help in making our wedding such an incredible experience. 

I feel very strongly about the benefits of a humanist ceremony because, as I said later in my speech, weddings are a contradiction in that they are a very personal celebration but also such a common occurrence. Your approach really made us think about why we were having a wedding which might seem obvious but in reality is anything but.

I feel like we had an opportunity to really articulate the way we feel about each other and I don't believe that our wedding would have meant as much to us, or our friends and family, if we had had a religious or civil ceremony; not because of the religious element but because of the generic content. We were able to say exactly what we wanted and I'm grateful for that. 

On top of this your delivery was perfect, the ceremony went like clockwork and everyone felt included. 

My grandad who is a very religious man and strongly disapproved of our premarital cohabitation told us that he thought the ceremony was perfect which is high praise indeed. 

Selina's sister Jessica gave us a brilliant reading of the tricky 'I Carry Your Heart' by EE Cummings

And when Selina and Jed spoke their vows, they adapted a verse often attributed to the famous Humanist Philosopher, Bertrand Russell, 'Today I Marry My Friend'.

 Sam and Sequoia of Mirrorbox Photography made sure they were always in the right place at the right time, and got some excellent shots: I love this one particularly because it's the reverse of the usual 'you may kiss' picture, and you can see the happy faces in the background.

 I remember being very struck on receiving the first draft of their ceremony: it was so good it was almost a final one.

Yes, it was a huge crowd and a big day, but what made it so special was the thought and imagination that Jed and Selina put into their ceremony. 

 So, thank you once again Selina and Jed for asking me to be your celebrant: it really was a joy, and I wish you both every happiness over the years to come! 

Jill and Chris's Humanist Wedding at Mansfield Traquair

Just look at Mansfield Traquair . Could it be more calm and tranquil? Little did Jill and Chris know what was to come. If they h...