Friday, 23 September 2016

Jacqui & Rick's Humanist Wedding at The Waldorf Astoria, Edinburgh

I get to tell some great stories, but very few can match this one!
Once upon as time, way back in 1979, a frisky eighteen year-old Rick was introduced to a cute 15 year-old schoolgirl called Jacqui by her then boyfriend- we’ll call him Boyfriend #1 for now - who was a golf buddy of Rick’s. 

Much to Rick’s despair he couldn’t make a move on Jacqui because of the “Friends Code of Conduct!” Jacqui then moved onto Boyfriend
#2 who unfortunately was another of Rick's golf buddies... Are you seeing a pattern here?
The packed house was enthralled: you could have heard the proverbial pin drop.
Fast forward to 2012. Rick flies home to Scotland to attend the 50th Birthday party of Boyfriend #2.  Boyfriend #1 was there too.  Jacqui wasn't, but thanks to the wonder of Facebook, a new romance blossomed and a few weeks later she found herself flying 4,000 miles to spend three weeks with a man she hadn’t seen for over 30 years. Romantic? You bet!
Let's just say that Jacqui is a brave girl. And Rick is a big hearted man. Guess who his groom's men were? That's right.  Boyfriend #2 and Boyfriend #1. It was an extremely emotional ceremony. It was also an extremely funny one, overflowing with joy and laughter.

After the vows, we were blown away by the fabulous voice of Edinburgh's Got Talent Finalist Ciara Harvie, who looks and sounds like a young Maria Callas - you don't often get grand opera at a wedding, but this one deserved it and she really was outstanding.
It was the perfect music for such a dramatic and heartfelt ceremony.
From their Caribbean honeymoon, Jacqui and Rick sent me this note:
Rick and I would like to express our huge thanks to you for conducting such a wonderful ceremony for us. It really was something special and everyone could feel the emotion in the room.

We thoroughly enjoyed it despite all the tears and our guests all said its the best wedding ceremony they had ever been to!
We couldn't have done it without you and thank you for all your guidance in helping us put the ceremony together. We can't wait to see the video so we can relive the moment again!

With our best regards, Jacqui and Rick

It was a pleasure! And when you get the video, please let me see it too! My thanks also go to my old friend Mark Bryce for these stunning shots.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Nicola and Martin's Humanist Wedding wedding at the Marriott Country Club Dalmahoy

  Oh oh. Here comes trouble...

When someone as cute as Erin is the first to come down the white carpet, you know it's going to be a good day.

I had a great time when 'The Tesco Boy' and 'The Hot Girl That Comes Into Tesco' finally made it legal.

Nicola and Martin have a lot of shared interests, including football, which means that Martin is one lucky guy!

Their ceremony was as laid back and funny as they are, and you can see from these great shots by Ross Barber how happy they both were on the day.

Nicola's sister and Maid of Honour Lynsey gave us a reading, Nicola's wee niece Erin thoroughly stole the show and then Martin and Nicola both spelled out how they felt about each other, in suitably unromantic style. The guests loved it, and so did I!

Before Martin and Nicola spoke their own vows, I asked the guests to make a promise to them.

This is something of a new idea, and for want of a better name, I'm calling it The Guest Vow.

It's a great idea because a) it makes the guests feel involved and b) it gently reminds them why they're there. They're not here just for the party: you invited them because they're all going to be an important part of your future, and you know that at some time, you will need their support.

I'm going to write more about The Guest Vow in a separate post, but drop me a line if you want to know more.

Here's what Nicola and Martin said when they sent me these pictures.

The ceremony was fantastic, we were both delighted with it. 

 You made us feel so relaxed and comfortable with the process. 

 We have had so many people compliment the ceremony, commenting how your style was great.

A few even said it was the best wedding ceremony they have been at! So thank you once again for doing such a great job on our big day.

This is the shot I said they'd never use - but I'm glad they did.

Keep laughing, you two, and making each other laugh every day!

Thanks again to Ross Barber Photography: you can see more photos from the day on his blog here

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!