Saturday, 29 June 2019

Susanne and Mark were among the very first couples to buy my book at the launch back in February. Here's what they said...

Our wedding day was without doubt the most fabulous day ever.  

Everyone was so happy for us and there was something special about having family and life long friends who knew our journeys to witness the start of our happy ever after.  

Everyone spent the day smiling, crying, laughing, drinking and dancing.  And it was very considerate of the sun to make an appearance and shine all day!

Regarding our ceremony, the amount of people who said to me afterwards that it was the best wedding ceremony they had witnessed was unreal.  Asking people to put their phones away and be in the moment was a great move.  However, the master stroke of the ceremony was getting us to write it.  

The way you guided us to do that was enlightening and clever.  A few people said ‘the humanist knew you so well!’  That’s not really accurate, but you knew how to get us to tell our story and you delivered it so well!  

I know it’s your ‘job’ but you do it so professionally, with the correct amount of humour, emotion and sentiment.  

I’m so glad we got the kids involved.  Not only did that allow them to feel even more part of our special day, but it generated even more emotion, in an already emotionally charged room!  

I don’t think we would have come up with that idea if we hadn’t read your book.  Not because the idea was in the book, but the inspiration for it was.

The rest of the day just followed in the same vein as the ceremony.  We had a magician for our guests when we were getting our photos taken and he was brilliant.  The speeches were very funny and very moving.  Then at night The Soul Kings performed and the dance floor was literally jumping.  

We followed that with our ‘Happy Hibby Half Hour’, green shots for our guests and songs associated with our beloved football club.  And the best thing about our entertainment was that we hadn’t told a soul.  

So nobody knew what to expect, nobody had any preconceived ideas about how the night was going to be and everybody had an incredible time.

Thank you so much for marrying us and helping us create the most wonderful memories.  One of my favourite moments of the day was when one of our friends approached us during the wedding breakfast and said ‘seriously guys, are you in a competition for the best wedding day ever!’  

Mark and I just wanted to be married to each other, but on planning our big day we realised we wanted everyone to share in what that meant to us and to join us in celebrating our marriage.  And celebrate we did!  I wouldn’t change a thing about our day.

Love from Mr and Mrs Hendo.

Mark and Susanne, I just want to say a huge thank you for your kind words: I couldn’t be happier with what you said, and I loved this particularly - 'I don’t think we would have come up with that idea if we hadn’t read your book.  Not because the idea was in the book, but the inspiration for it was.’ That was what I hoped the book would do, so it's very affirming to read. Much love to you, and of course many thanks to Neil Whiteside of Dream Captures Photography

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Laura and Craig's Humanist Wedding at Rufflets St Andrews

Scene One, EXT. 
A formal garden in St. Andrews 
A group of sharp dressed men walk to camera

But these dapper dudes are not Mr. Blue, Mr. Brown, Mr. Orange and MrPink: they're Lee, Sean, groom Craig, and his brother, 'protein shake enthusiast', Rorry.

Cut to INT, where a pensive Laura awaits bridesmaids Michelle and Louise and of course, her dad ...

When we can't find time for a rehearsal beforehand, I always have a quick heads up with the cast before they take the stage...

Craig and Laura put a lot of thought and imagination into their ceremony, which covered a lot of different locations in the eight years since they first met in their hometown of Blairgowrie.

Their burgeoning relationship moved to Edinburgh, and it took in gigs by Lady Gaga, Calvin Harris and Moby, as well as trips to London, Las Vegas and The Grand Canyon before climaxing in a romantic proposal by the Rialto Bridge in Venice.

Craig and Laura shared their homework over a bottle of bubbly, and they used it as a basis to write their vows as well as the rest of the ceremony. 

Before they did that, Best Man Sean read ‘I wanna be yours’ by John Cooper Clarke

And I asked the guests to make a series of promises to the happy couple

before Laura and Craig spoke their own, very personal vows. 

Among other things, Craig promised to protect Laura from the 8-legged intruders which often frequent their home...

While Laura promised  always to be Craig's cheerleader, supporting him through his presentations and reports, no matter how dull the topic may be...

After I pronounced them husband and wife, but before we signed the Marriage Schedule, Maid of Honour Michelle gave us a particularly good rendition of e.e. Cummings ‘I Carry Your Heart with Me’ 

Only then were we joined by Hilary and Marion, the mothers of the bride and groom, who witnessed the signing.

I've been conducting legal marriages in Scotland for almost fifteen years and I can't believe that this was my first ever visit to Rufflets. A frequent VOWS award winner, it's best known for its ten acres of gardens, and the wedding suite which can take up to 150 guests. I think we were almost at capacity!

I hadn't worked with the Perthshire-based photographer Iain Struthers before either, but as you can see, he did a great job on these photos which Laura and Craig sent me a few days ago, along with these words.

"We cannot thank you enough, not only for conducting our wedding ceremony, but for your guidance and support throughout, which gave our ceremony the ultimate personal touch we were hoping for. 

Whilst the thought of the homework you set was daunting initially, we really enjoyed it in the end, hearing the little things that made us each fall in love, really thinking about what marriage meant to us, and why we wanted to take this step in life together. 

Your approach made our ceremony truly unique to Craig & I, and your delivery was fantastic. We don’t think we have ever heard as many laughs within a ceremony before, whilst not losing the sentiment or significance of the occasion. 

Our family and friends were truly present within our ceremony and heard every word: based on the feedback and the questions we received afterwards, even our guests of faith commented on how much they enjoyed our very personal ceremony.

From start to finish, our wedding day was more than we could ever have hoped it would be and after a forecast of rain, even the sun came out to play which really was the icing on top of the wedding cake! 

After a lot of planning, everything just slotted together and we have made memories we will cherish forever. It really was ‘THE’ best day!" 

It certainly looks exactly that! Thank you so much, Laura and Craig: it was a pleasure and I'm just proud of you both for giving your ceremony so much thought and making it such a pleasure for me to deliver - don't lose touch now!

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Nele and Neils' Humanist Wedding at Carlowrie Castle

I first met Neil and Nele not long after my book was published. They were among the very first people to read it, so I was very touched to see this sign when I arrived to conduct their fun-filled, imaginative and very emotional ceremony at Carlowrie Castle.

Most Scottish castles are rattling with antiques of one kind or another, but not Carlowrie, where the owners have brought their historic house into the 21st century with their striking use of design and their extensive collection of contemporary art.

I was also very impressed to see the groomsmen hard at work reading their contributions to the ceremony before the guests arrived...

the bridal party were much more relaxed!

Nele is not a nickname: she hails from the Baltic state of Lithuania, so that gave me a good reason to learn how to welcome everyone in her language.

She and Neil were doing what I call 'reversing into marriage'. They came to Scotland with their two beautiful daughters, Holly and Rosie (seen here with their favourite auntie, Gabriele).

 Naturally, they completely stole the show, even before it began!

 and their arrival had the predictable effect on Neil... I did warn him!

if you've been following my blog at all, you'll know that my aim is to ensure that every couple really has ownership of their ceremony. There's no one way to do that, but I believe that the more you involve your guests, the more fun they have, and that was definitely the approach that Nele and Neil embraced.

 So I didn't tell their story: their wedding party did... ladies first, naturally

I was very intrigued to find out who this rude dude was after he rated my picture “you look ridiculous”. 

When I saw him in his all white tennis gear, Babolat Stockings so high up- I couldn’t take him seriously and I didn’t fancy him at all!

And then the gentlemen...

My speciality is making curry. It all went well although I didn't know at the time that Nele actually hates curry... to this day she has never let me cook it for her again.

Neil can play any sport and whatever it is, he is very good at it, but he is absolutely crap at ice skating...

We had some contributions from the guests too: Mouse read Rain Sometimes, by Arthur Hamilton

before we reached the climactic moment when Nele and Neil exchanged their vows and rings

 I was so pleased to get these great fly on the wall photos from Dom and Robbie of Duke Photography

They always manage to find the right place to catch the emotion of the moment

And while the guests relaxed and chatted amongst themselves, Alastair and James helped us to sign The Marriage Schedule

And the rest of the groomsmen kept the bridesmaids entertained

 I'm always conscious when I'm conducting a wedding where some of the guests don't have English as a first language that we have to make sure they understand what's going on, so I was very pleased when Nele sent me these words.

Our guests loved the ceremony. They actually listened! I know that for certain because of the questions they asked afterwards 😊

I am very happy we chose you to marry us. It was so much fun, unlike boring church or register ceremonies ( no offence to them 🙈).. 

You may say that, Nele: I couldn't possibly comment...

But joking apart, thank you not just for choosing me as your celebrant, but more importantly, for reading my book and really using the ideas in it - everyone clearly had a wonderful day, and it was just a joy for me from start to finish! 

labai ačiĆ«! And big thanks as ever to Robbie and Dom for the lovely photos!

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...