Thursday, 31 August 2017

Fiona and Allan's Humanist Wedding at Prestonfield House

This is the story of two equally important but very different envelopes...

Are you sitting comfortably? 

Then I'll begin.

Workplace romance can be tricky, as Allan discovered when he realised that he'd fallen for his colleague Fiona. They'd been colleagues for years, and during that time, they'd both been in long-term relationships, but coincidentally both their relationships had ended around the same time.

One day, when Allan was at home and feeling especially lonely and miserable, his beautiful daughter Danielle asked him the all-important question: ‘Dad, is there no one that you like?’ Allan thought about it for a while and said, ‘actually there is a girl at work who I have always liked - and she is single!’ 

He decided - as Valentine’s day was fast approaching - that he would send Fiona a card, and see what came of it. 

Now Allan is quite a shy and private individual, unversed in the subtleties of office romance, so he made a school boy error in sending the card by internal mail, forgetting that Fiona shared her mail box with three colleagues... 

The card was duly collected by one of them who, noting both the date and the red envelope, correctly guessed as to the contents, so the rumour mill duly swung into action. It was the talk of the steamie, with everyone speculating as to the identity of Fiona’s secret admirer!

When Allan realised what was going on, he thought "I can't admit to this: I will be a laughing stock and I’ll never live it down!"  

But then, just a few days later, he was working with two colleagues, one of whom was another of Fiona’s not so secret admirers. He said that as no one had come forward to claim responsibility for the card, he was thinking of saying it was from him and chancing his luck. 

Allan thought: no way! He decided to find Fiona and own up, but this was easier said than done.

Fiona was in meetings all that day and the following day she was due to go on leave.

Allan decided to put all his thoughts in a message and send it to Fiona through Facebook. He spent ages writing it and ages more plucking up the courage before he hit 'send'. 

Fiona got the message just before she boarded her flight out of the country. She looked at her phone and thought “Why would Allan be sending me a message?”

You've probably guessed by now that the story worked out rather well in the end, and so it was that in June of this year, Fiona and Allan brought their families and friends to witness their wedding at the wonderful Prestonfield House Hotel.

The ceremony was every bit as entertaining as the above excerpt suggests.

We were all gathered together in the Garden Room, where Gregor gave us a reading of 'Look to this Day, and Lucy read 'I'm so Lucky to have found You'. 

Then it was time for the vows, and the all-important Legal Declaration, which they spoke directly to one another.

The next thing we had to do was sign the Marriage Schedule, the document that makes the whole thing legal. Except we couldn't find it...

So I suggested to Kris Soul, the photographer, that he take some of the portraits he would usually do later while we tracked it down. 

It took a while. 

It turned out that Allan had given the white envelope containing the Marriage Schedule to his son Dale that morning. Dale in turn had  handed the envelope to Fiona's mum, but she,  unaware of its importance, had left it in Prestonfield's Whisky Room. 

Fortunately an eagle-eyed member of staff had spotted it, and taken it for safety to Allan and Fiona's bridal suite, so after only a few frantic minutes it was retrieved, and Fiona was able to breath again!!

I had forgotten that particular detail when Fiona and Allan got in touch with these photographs, and a lovely thank you message.

"Married life is wonderful, and we are both still on a high! Our wedding was the most fantastic day and thanks to you our ceremony was so special.

All our guests loved how personal it was and Allan and I are so grateful as it was just how we imagined (apart from the misplaced wedding schedule!)"

As I have said before, 'all's well that ends well', Fiona and Allan! Thanks again for letting me share your wonderful story, and thanks too of course, to Kris Soul, for these lovely photos.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Michele and Jim's Humanist Wedding at Cornhill Castle

"A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away..." is a phrase that resonates with a certain kind of person. 

Jim is one of them, and that is why Michele decided to give him a very special wedding present - one that came as a bit of a surprise to everyone, and not just to him.

Jim and his best man Stevie were waiting with me for the entrance of the bridal party in the marquee at Cornhill Castle Hotel

what he didn't know was that they were going to be preceded by Darth Vader and two of his stormtroopers!

As you've probably guessed, Michele and Jim share a great sense of humour. From the earliest days of their courtship, when Michelle told Jim he could Bissell her carpets anytime, through dates at Macdonalds, lost car keys at the Braehead Shopping Centre, ferries to Dunoon, the birth of a child, and dealing with dirty nappies, they've made a partnership that can survive any challenges - including evil parrots!

Their ceremony was full of laughter, but it had its serious side too.

Keira read a poem she wrote herself for Daddy and Michele

and after a pause for quiet contemplation, Michele and Jim spoke their vows and exchanged rings.

Jim promised 'to share the all the good things in life...apart from the remote control on a Saturday night, because I still refuse to watch the X Factor!'

Michele was more generous. She said, 'I promise to always love you and be your best friend through all of life’s ups and downs, grow old with you but act as young as we do today. I also promise to take it on the chin if you find the Roman gold first!'

After we signed the Marriage Schedule, Michele and Jim decided to add a symbolic gesture that's not often seen these days: the sand ceremony.

What you do is take two different-coloured sands and pour them into a single vessel: they chose to use an hour glass. 

The idea is that just as the grains of sand become indistinguishably blended, the two separate lives become one. 

I thought the hour glass was a great idea. As they said, 'sometimes it will be topsy turvy and upside down, but more importantly just as it will impossible to separate those grains of sand, it will impossible to separate us.' 

Michele wrote, 'I want to thank you so much for everything you did for us... You made our ceremony so personal and perfect! Our guests loved it and they all said it was one of the best wedding ceremonies they'd ever attended!!!! I honestly can't thank you enough for conveying our thoughts and feelings so perfectly.

Thank you again for all your help and for calming me down before the ceremony... I was as high as a kite!!! 

Please continue to give couples the 'Maguire' experience on their special days.... You are absolutely fantastic at it!!!!!!'

Och, Michele, you're making me blush, but thank you: I love my work, and I LOVED your ceremony. May the force be with you! And thanks to Dumfries-based photographer David Yule for his great photos: you can read more about him here

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Gillian and Alastair's Humanist Wedding at the Royal Scots Club

Sometimes the best weddings are the ones when things go wrong. Gillian and Alastair weren't the first couple to arrive minus something very important, but Gillian was definitely the first bride I've met who'd chosen to be responsible for bringing the rings...

When she got in touch today, Gillian said, "Looking back, I still can't believe that when it came to leaving the house between myself, my mum, my dad, 3 bridesmaids, a flower girl, a photographer and a vintage taxi driver none of us thought to check about the rings! 

Particularly considering my mum had spent about 10 minutes in our back garden, protecting the rings from the magpies while they were being photographed... It was only when my mum and bridesmaids arrived at the venue we realised anything was amiss! 

Dad, Matt (our photographer) and myself were actually running early and had just discussed with Gill, our driver, that we should take a drive round the block so I didn't arrive before the guests had all got in when we got the phone call asking if we had the rings. I had two options, to laugh or cry, thankfully I chose the first!

It was only after several frantic phone calls between photographers, drivers and my parents that we finally had a plan- I would be driven to a pub in Stockbridge to enjoy a G and T while chaos ensued around me. 

Gill, our driver would take the other taxi up to our house, let herself in, locate the rings, then drive back down. Meanwhile Alastair would be left sweating it out down in the venue unknowing about the lack of rings until my mum ran, flustered, down the aisle towards the two of you to say what had happened. 

After enjoying my G&T I then gracefully arrived, still without rings, at the Royal Scots Club where you had devised a plan to start the ceremony without the rings and have our piper, Callum, appear with them during the ceremony! 

The ceremony then proceeded flawlessly, thanks to you, with no one realising that the rings weren't actually at the venue when we started! The ceremony itself was beautiful, you did a wonderful job of capturing our love for each other (and gin). We got lots of comments after about how personal the ceremony was and how it really captured our lives and personalities. 

It was such a good ceremony, in fact, I believe it got you a booking from two of our friends next year- I can't wait to attend the wedding and see you conduct their ceremony! 

The rest of the day was filled with lots of gin, celebration, happiness and dancing (probably fuelled by the drinking of gin). It exactly the day we wanted it to be. I think neither of us stopped smiling the entire day.

Thank you again, 

Gillian and Alastair"

I also got this lovely message from Gillian's mum, Christine, who said, "I just wanted to thank you for such a perfect wedding. Your calmness in a crisis was fantastic! The ceremony itself was lovely- emotional, truthful(!)and funny,just as they wanted! It was absolutely perfect. Thank you very much for being a part of the day and helping make it so fantastic."

As Shakespeare said, all's well that ends well! 

Thank you so much, Christine, Gillian and Alastair for your kind words, and thanks to Matt & Dan of Fern Photography for these photos. You can see some more images of the ceremony from their blog here

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Jenna and Darren's Humanist Wedding at the Royal Musselburgh Golf Club

I properly met Jenna and Darren two years ago when they began the process of creating their ceremony, but I think I probably first met them at the wedding of Darren's brother, Sean when he married Natasha back in 2011: theirs was the third wedding I've conducted for the Comerford family over the last decade, so it was lovely to see them all gathered together again to celebrate another very happy occasion.

As you can see from the photographs, there was a BIG wedding party: no fewer than six groomsmen and seven bridesmaids, including Ayda, Jenna and Darren's baby daughter: when they came in, to the sounds of the Dougie Maclean classic Caledonia, there wasn't a dry eye in the house. As I often warn grooms-to-be, it's always the big boys who cry when their bride comes in, and I wasn't wrong that day!

I loved how they told their story: as they said, it wasn't the most romantic one you've ever heard, but it took only a couple of weeks from their first date before Darren got down on one knee and asked Jenna if she would be his girlfriend. He got a slap for making a scene, but ever since, he's made Jenna the happiest girl in the world!

When they got back from their honeymoon, they sent me these photographs taken by Dan and Matt of Fern Photography, along with these words.

Thank you so much for conducting our wedding. It was just what we wanted and so many family & friends said it was one of the best services they have witnessed. 

Telling our story the way you did made it even more special to us. You're a natural and you bring a little bit of magic to the day. It was really lovely that you stayed behind to talk to our guests and caught up with us. Thank you for all your help & guidance. 

All our love
Mr & Mrs Comerford :) 

Matt and Dan from Fern photography put this slideshow together, which is a great idea, but as Jenna and Darren said, they've got a wedding film too, and like them I can't wait to see it, because that part of the day went by in a flash, so if you're reading this, Matt of Next Scene Films, please let me know when it's online!

Thank you so much, Mr and Mrs Comerford: it was a pleasure to conduct your wedding ceremony and I wish you and the family nothing but happiness in the years to come!

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Claire and Devon's Humanist Marriage at the Royal College of Physicians

Devon and Claire met at University in St. Andrews. 

They spent three years talking over Skype while Claire studied in Madrid, and Devon found a job in London, but they didn't just maintain their relationship: they spent those three years falling more deeply in love with one another as they grew as individuals.

Their ceremony was both thoughtful and fun, and they personalised it in some very clever ways.

isn't this the coolest wedding car you ever saw?

In the first place, they both greeted their guests as they arrived at the Royal College of Physicians on Queen Street. It's an imposing place, but they made it feel very relaxed and welcoming.

Then they both came into the library with their parents - bride first, followed by groom, which is original.

Rather than marry at one end of the room, as is usual, they chose to stand in the centre, where they could be surrounded by guests on all sides.

I did the introduction, then handed over to Anne, Byron and Julia, who began their story.

In between each reading, Devon and Claire turned by 90 degrees, so they were always visible to three quarters of the audience at any given time.

Stewart read a Burns poem, Love for Love, then we talked about their reasons for marrying, in which they quoted Madeleine L'Engle, who said, “If we commit ourselves to one person for life this is not as many people think a rejection of freedom rather it demands the courage to move into all the risks of freedom and the risk of love which is permanent into that love which is not possession but participation.”

After their vows, and an exchange of rings, Grandpa Leo & Grandpa Ray witnessed the signing of the Marriage Schedule. They'd both worked for the Canadian Broadcasting Company in Toronto back in the day, but didn't really know each other then, so the story of how their grandchildren met in the smallest student residence in one of Scotland’s smallest universities is now one of their favourite tales. 

The ceremony ended after the guests spoke the Apache Wedding Blessing...

Now you will feel no rain, For each of you will be shelter for the other.

Then the happy couple went out into the glorious afternoon to take some more photographs with the talented Kasia Maliszewska

Claire and Devon said, "We have had a lovely first year of marriage, and still think back to our wedding day almost every day. We came across our ceremony program yesterday actually, and were re-living how much fun it was to put it together, with so much love coming from our friends' and family's contributions... thanks again for helping us to orchestrate the most important part of the day!"

Kasia put lots more photos from the wedding on her blog which you can see here. I really like the way she used the upper gallery to give another perspective on the ceremony - and caught some great little details like these too.

Thanks to her and of course thanks most of all to Devon and Claire for sharing this with me and all of you!

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...