Sunday, 23 April 2017

Do you sleep next to your promises?

Jeanette Winterson is a writer whose work I've long admired. She's gay, and she was always against the idea of getting married because, as the sub-headline in her Guardian article says," Why conform to patriarchal ideas of monogamy?"

She's clearly changed her mind, because she has just got married, and I really liked her vows. 

I promise to look at you and always see you.
I promise to listen to you, 

even when you say things I don’t want to hear.
I promise to respect you: the you that is you; 

the you that is not me; the you that is not us.
I promise to stand by you in the world.
I promise to delight in you.
I promise to treat you like a Jewish princess.
With my body, with my mind, 
with my heart, with my imagination, 

I promise to love you for as long as I live.

As she says, "These were my promises, not someone else’s idea of what I should promise, and so they have real meaning for us both. 

Later I had the calligrapher Stephen Raw write them out. They hang on our bedroom wall. When I am in a good mood, or a bad mood, I read them out loud, and, for different reasons, depending on my mood, they steady me". 

I was very touched by this, not least because our vows hang on our bedroom wall too, and like Jeanette, I sometimes read them out loud, for the same reason. 

When you get married, especially if you are speaking your own vows from cardsdon't just shove them into a keepsake box - use them in some way. 

What have you done with yours?

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Distinguished Guests...

We all like to get dressed up for a wedding, and I was really impressed when I saw these gentlemen at Edinburgh Castle, where I was conducting the wedding of Mati and Kenny the other day.

Mati hails from Spain, and her father is a member of La Fundación de la Orden de la Bienaventurada Virgen María de la Merced - or in English, the Order of Our Lady of Mercy - as are many of his friends.

They don't do things by halves there, and all the men were wearing full evening dress, white tie, and medals: I felt distinctly underdressed by comparison!

This photo was taken and sent to me by Clarissa Reyes, who thanked me for  'a memorable ceremony'. I think that's diplomatic language for 'I liked it'  - ciertamente, lo espero, Clarissa!

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Can you spare 15 minutes?

The lovely people at the Scottish Wedding Directory came round this morning to do a Live Facebook Chat: as a former producer and director, it was fascinating to see what you can do with just an iPhone,  a tripod and a microphone.

Whether what I had to say about what makes humanist weddings so special is equally fascinating, I'll leave you to judge. But do let me know.

You can join in the Facebook chat on the SWD page here: feel free to ask a question!

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Speaking from the Heart

What language does your heart speak? 

More and more I find it's not English.
But that's not a problem.

One of the good things about getting married in Scotland is that the ceremony can be conducted in any language, as long as all parties (including the celebrant) understand what's being said. 

You can read more about that on the Registrar General of Scotland's site here.

That's why I was very pleased last week to see these 'Vow Cards' from my bride and groom in Spanish and English: it meant they could both say exactly what they wanted to each other in the language where they felt most at home.

I'm looking forward to writing more about this ceremony in the future, but in the mean time, thanks to Mati and Kenny for letting me use this photo.

Monday, 10 April 2017

Anne and Wullie's Humanist Wedding at Eskmills Venue

Anne and Wullie's wedding was memorable for lots of reasons, and not just because they were my FIRST EVER Tinder wedding! 

Wullie chose a perfect place for their first date: the fabulous Cocoablack in Peebles, recently named UK Confectioner of the Year. He's still convinced that Anne drove past a few times to check him out before checking in!

They had what the French call 'un coup de foudre' - a real whirlwind romance.

It was just six weeks after their first hot chocolate that Wullie got down on one knee at The Scott Monument, and Anne said yes!

Wullie's 91 year old mum, Olive, was delighted (but she told Anne not to pay Wullie too many compliments in case he got a big head!) 

Anne's niece Nicola spoke, as did Wullie's older sister Mary, and his pal Kenny, and Anne's friend Jennifer gave the final reading. 

Before Wullie and Anne exchanged their vows, I asked their guests to make some collective promises to them - not least to tell them that if they forget their promises and start to complain about the wee things, they're eejits!

It was a very heart-warming ceremony, and I think these photos show just how much Anne and Wullie enjoyed it.

Anne wrote me a lovely review on the Scottish Wedding Directory site, saying, 

"Just wanted to say... on behalf of my husband and I !!! Saturday was the best day!

The ceremony was so good, and we loved every minute. You were fantastic and everyone commented on how great it was and that they'd never been to a wedding like it. Thank you for making it special."

Well what really made it special Anne was that you and Wullie wrote it: that was what made it so special for you, and for your guests and for me too. 

Thank you so much for sharing these lovely photos by Cliff and Gordon, and I hope you and Wullie have a great time racing around on his motorbike!

Friday, 7 April 2017

Becky and Jim's Humanist Wedding at The Caves

Jim and Becky are actors: it's almost three years since I conducted their wedding at The Caves, and I've been itching to write about it ever since because the way they chose to open it was so original!

First of all, they chose not to go up onto the stage, like everyone else. 

They wanted to marry 'in the round', so we were down at the front of 'the stalls', along with about a third of the audience. The other two-thirds were split between the stage, and the balcony.

After the entrance of the wedding party, and before I said a single thing, a voice up in the gods lead off with the first line of a poem by W.H. Auden, "Oh Tell Me the Truth About Love"

Then a second voice chimed in from the stalls with the second line, and a third from the stage with the third, and so on. OK, they are actors but it really was a brilliant 'coup de theatre'

I finally caught up with them just the other day, and Becky explained that what with having had a baby, and moving home while expecting another, she'd had a lot on her mind recently! But this is what she said about the day. 

"It was the most perfect event we could have wished for. The main thing that stands out to us and to those who still talk about it to us was that it was a complete embodiment of everything we are. 

We often get comments from family and friends that they have never been to such a memorable and personal service and day. I feel that this was to do with everything from the words we spoke and the fact that we had a hand in everything from the flowers to the cake and much more. 

I feel that working with you gave us the tools and confidence to do this. I was rather forlorn at our first anniversary that we will never get to do the day again. Life has been non stop since then and I can't believe it's been less than 3 years since we got married. 

I think this is one of my favourite photos - I've never heard a song sung so well at a wedding - but then you can't go wrong with a bit of Madness!"

I hope one day to have a few more photos, but even without them, this will always be one of my most memorable weddings.

The ideas to take away? Remember - more than one person can read the same poem, and you can never go wrong with a bit of Madness!

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...