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!

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Julie and Thomas's Humanist Wedding in The Byre at Inchyra

This is 'The Year of the Barn' - everyone loves the offbeat charm of old farm buildings and they're becoming ever more popular as wedding venues. I've been to quite a few, but this was my first visit to The Byre at Inchyra.

Thomas and Julie had a capacity crowd for their wedding. With no fewer than 6 groomsmen - Thomas's 7-a-side team - they couldn't all stand with us, but the atmosphere was electric when Julie and her modest trio of bridesmaids came into an arrangement of 'Sky Full of Stars', by Coldplay.

Julie and Thomas's story goes back to when they were 14 and met at The Pitz in Hamilton: their first date movie was 'Matrix Revolutions' when Thomas was wearing a Ben Sherman shirt and a dangerously flammable amount of Lynx hair gel... Fast forward seven years, they were sleeping under the stars on Maya beach in Thailand, jump cut again to 2015 when they went back there again, because Thomas had decided it was the only place in the world that he wanted to propose.

The ceremony was a lot of fun, but don't take my word for it. This is what Julie and Thomas wrote when they sent me these photos.

"Tim made our wedding ceremony - there literally was not a dry eye in the house! The delivery of how he shared our story was amazing...all our guests were blown away and told us it was without a doubt the best ceremony they had ever been to. 

There was laughter, there were tears and he made it truly magical. We first met Tim at our friends' wedding last year and were blown away and how personal he made the ceremony. 

We met him in person in Edinburgh and spoke in detail about who we were as a couple and what we wanted from marriage before doing some 'wedding homework'. Then we wrote our story that we shared with guests on our wedding day!  Tim also has a fantastic way of sharing what a humanist celebration is without it being overbearing. We cannot recommend him enough!"

I think you just did, Thomas and Julie! Thank you so much - and I hope one day you return to Maya Beach for your Golden Wedding Anniversary xxx

My thanks also go to Robert Perry, whose website you can see here

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Jen and Sean's Humanist Wedding at Colstoun House

As its website will tell you, Colstoun is arguably the oldest house in Scotland, dating back in parts to the 12th century. 

It's very beautiful but when Sean and Jen got married there, they really wanted to be outside. In fact, as Jen said on the Colstoun blog, "Before booking our date, I'd checked historical rainfall figures for East Lothian and May showed by far the lowest chance of precipitation so we went for 20th May and kept our fingers crossed..." 

You know where this is going, don't you? 
Jen takes up the tale...

Our Rock Paper Scissors Ceremony

We knew we wanted our wedding to be personal, which is why we chose a humanist ceremony. And it doesn't get more personal than getting the opportunity to write the whole thing, from start to finish! 

That, coupled with a professionalism that was unrivalled, was why we chose Tim.  

Writing the whole thing initially seemed a bit daunting, as we thought we didn't have the first clue about what should go into a wedding ceremony. 

But Tim made it easy for us by breaking it into smaller, bite size chunks, and in the end it was such a great experience putting it together and remembering all of the little things that are part of our story. 

It helped us to remember the reasons why we were getting married in the first place. 

I enjoyed it so much I frequently recommend the 'homework' to other couples even if they're not getting married, as it was such a lovely experience - we learned things about one another that we didn't know before. (That is such a good idea, Jen - thank you! Tim.)

We were able to communicate our story and what it is that we love about each other to our guests so that we could share what brought us all there that day. 

Our vows were built from what we each wanted out of marriage (with a few extras thrown in there too!), so it meant that we were able to make promises to one another that are actually relevant and therefore a lot more meaningful. 

Tim was great on the day, a reassuring visit to each of our respective cottages ensured we knew exactly what we were doing and who was to go where. 

I will never forget the feeling I got right before the ceremony, as I approached the poly-tunnel with my dad and my bridesmaids. 

Seeing the silhouettes of our guests inside, hearing them laughing and talking with the string quartet playing mixed with the sound of the rain on the canopy was incredibly exciting. 

The butterflies I got when my last bridesmaid turned from me, smiling, and disappeared into the polytunnel before it was just my dad & I left to do the same! Unreal. 

Then it was our turn to go, and seeing Sean for the first time truly settled my nerves, and I was so excited for the day to begin. 

I walked down the aisle to 'String Reprise / Treaty' by Leonard Cohen, arranged and played beautifully by The Cairn String Quartet. It was perfect.

During the ceremony, it was so lovely seeing all of our guests enjoy hearing our story and our promises to one another. 

When the rain got so loud that some guests struggled to hear, Tim (ever the professional) knew to pause the ceremony and wait for the rain to die down. Sounds disastrous, but it was hilarious!

We incorporated a game of rock paper scissors to decide who got to speak their vows first, as this is how we resolve many dilemmas. 

Our readings were super personal - the first was a rhyming story Jen wrote for Sean one Valentine's day, and the second was chosen by Sean as a surprise - the lyrics from 'The Greatest Story Ever Told' by Aiden Moffat & Bill Wells. 

The latter was so perfect, our guests laughed very loudly at the line 'and still it will rain' (those who could hear it over the rain anyway!)

We included a ring-warming ceremony and a guest-spoken Apache wedding blessing, as we wanted our guests to be a part of the ceremony too. 

It meant that the day was not just a celebration of our love for each other, but also our love for all of our friends and family, and was a small acknowledgement of everything they'd done for us that meant we could all be there that day. 

Our ceremony was just perfect. 

All of our guests have told us how personal and touching they found it - it offered an insight into us as a couple, and brought us all closer together. 

It was our favourite part of the whole day and I wouldn't change any of it, even the rain!  

Especially the rain, Jen and Sean! Thank you so much for this perfect story of a brilliant day. Who needs sunshine? Thanks to of course to Caro Weiss whose excellent shots these are: you can see more of them and read her story of the day on her blog here

PS This has prompted me to create a new category - Really, really rainy weddings - something tells me that I'm going to be using it again soon!

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 Devo...