Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Ross and Rachael's Humanist wedding at The Balmoral Hotel

Music is a big part of Rachael and Ross's life. They first met in August 2011 when they boarded a bus with mutual friends to go to the music festival Creamfields, where they danced like idiots to Calvin Harris, (once Rachael had woken up!)

So perhaps it wasn't that much of a surprise that Rachael and her bridesmaids, Zara & Lauren, entered to the sounds of deadmau5 - Strobe

Ross had three best men, Ross, Jon and Paul: his dad Michael was also an important part of the ceremony, which took place in the Balmoral's newly redecorated Holyrood suite.

I really liked Zara's reading: Love is a Science, in which she attributed their love not to fate, but to dopamine, heightened oxytocin release, and increased neurotransmitter activity. If you haven't come across it before, that's not surprising because she wrote it herself!

I also loved that Ross invited his father Michael to say a few words before we came to the climax of the ceremony: 

the vows and exchange of rings.

Ross and Rachael recently sent me these kind words, along with this excellent collection of shots by Jonathan Fowler, whose work frequently graces this blog.

Looking back on things, we are both struck by how perfect the day was. We know this is a fairly common summary of a wedding, however literally everything ran smoothly and according to plan and we both felt pretty relaxed all the way through the day. (Certainly more relaxed as the day progressed and the drinks flowed!)

The ceremony definitely helped set the tone for the rest of the day. 

We loved how personal it was to us, and this really allowed our guests to feel more a part of it, which helped us to enjoy things so much more. 

We would highly recommend a humanist ceremony to anybody. It was the perfect start to the perfect day, and we can vividly remember the whole thing which will provide us with fantastic memories for years to come. 

Thanks again for all your help before and during the ceremony, you were absolutely fantastic.

It was my pleasure, Rachael and Ross: you created a wonderful ceremony and it was just a joy to be part of it. Thanks again not only for these kind words, but for sponsoring me as part of the Sleep in the Park event on December 9th. I'll be thinking of you as I try to stop my teeth chattering!

And thanks again to Jonathan Fowler for these great photos: I loved this shot of my friend and colleague, 'Toastmaster Bob,' who always makes a wedding day full of warmth and fun!

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Ingrid and Tom's Humanist Wedding at Jupiter Artland


There could have been no more perfect backdrop for Ingrid and Tom's wedding than Nathan Coley's illuminated artwork

And Tom may be a gambling man, but I'd bet that even he wouldn't have put money on being able to get married outside in Scotland in October, but that's what he and Ingrid did in the courtyard of Bonnington House, the Jacobean Manor that lies at the heart of the Jupiter Artland estate.

These photos, taken by Sam at Mirrorbox Photography, really capture the mood. As Ingrid said, "They're the most beautiful photos of the best day of my life", so I'm sharing lots of them!

This is the talented fiddle and guitar duo, Toby and Nick, AKA Anima. They bring a lovely gypsy swing feel to any wedding!

As Ingrid and Tom said in their ceremony, 'Perhaps surprisingly for a poker player, Tom does not believe in luck. Instead he believes in chance and opportunity. So, when chance (and a leaky pipe in Ingrid’s dorm room) brought together these two people born at opposite ends of the world onto the same corridor in their university halls, Tom took the opportunity to get to know Ingrid better. They first became great friends and then, in the true British tradition of getting drunk in a nightclub and finally kissing, they became something more'. 

Jen's friends and fellow doctors, Mariam and Jen, gave us the first reading, from Winnie the Pooh, by A.A. Milne.

Kirsten reminded us that 'Love is a temporary madness,' as Pelagia's father, the wise Doctor Iannis told her in 'Captain Corelli's Mandolin' by Louis de Bernières.

Ingrid and Tom told us a little of what is was that made them realise that this is the person with whom they want to spend the rest of their lives, and then Tom's mother Anita read the 'Code poem for the French Resistance' by Leo Marks.

When I asked Tom and Ingrid what marriage meant to them, Tom summed it up by saying "Marriage is learning to be kinder and giving more and more to each other with every passing day – it is the pursuit of selflessness and willingness to sacrifice for the sake for each other. This pursuit is impossible to ever fully attain and must continuously nurtured."

After a short pause for quiet contemplation, Tom and Ingrid spoke their vows and exchanged rings. 

Then we signed the Marriage Schedule, witnessed by Tom's father, Nick, and Ingrid's mother, Tina.

Along with these gorgeous photos, Ingrid said, "being able to write our own ceremony had so many advantages; least of all there were no surprises! Having organised the wedding with a fair amount of micro-management, I appreciated this. It was a very special thing to share with my husband and helped turn the wedding from this theoretical event in the far distance into something a bit more tangible in the run up to the event."  

"Some of our favourite photos are those of the guests' reactions during the ceremony. Writing it ourselves made it come from the heart, and that has such strong emotional impact. The guests involved in the ceremony really appreciated your subtle stage management!"

So subtle, Ingrid, that I didn't even notice myself stage-managing, but I'll take the compliment! 

Thanks again for asking me to conduct your wedding, and I wish you and Tom every happiness in 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...