Saturday, 9 July 2016

Wedding No. 1,000

It was quite a day at Prestonfield House yesterday, when I conducted the wedding of Robyn and Paul. As luck would have it, theirs was my 1,000th legal marriage, so I gave it to them as a wedding present.

We were very lucky. The guests were glam, and the weather was on its best behaviour.

Emma Gray was on hand to do the photographic honours, and one of her shots ended up here, in the Edinburgh Evening News

Friday, 1 July 2016

Get It On: Music for a Humanist Wedding

Mrs. M and I are regular listeners to Bryan Burnett's BBC Radio Scotland show Get it On, a programme where the audience suggests a theme and picks the playlist.

It's a great show and every so often we drop them a line to suggest a song. To cut a long story short, a few weeks back I suggested that they might choose music for a humanist wedding as a theme, and last night, that's what we had.

You can listen to the programme in its entity on the BBC iPlayer here

And there are many, many great tracks on the playlist, which you can see here

Some of them I know well, others were a revelation.

If you choose any of these songs for your wedding, please let me know, and drop a line to the programme too - I am sure they'd love to know You can reach them at

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Euan and Keri's Humanist wedding at The Roxburghe Hotel

Keri and Euan met when they were both 20 at a little club on Castle Street called Stereo: Euan asked Keri on their first date over Bebo, which tells you how long ago that was
That first date featured an ice-breaking hot chocolate at Starbucks, because it was the first time they'd met sober. 
It all moved up a gear on the day of Euan’s 21st birthday party when Euan said to  Keri, “I don’t really know how to introduce you, can I just call you my girlfriend?’ 
Keri’s response was ‘Aye... I suppose you could.” 

That their relationship survived Euan  parading around his party in a mankini tells you all you need to know...
The function suite at The Roxburghe Hotel on Charlotte Square was packed with family and friends.

Keri came in with her brother, and one of the first things she and Euan did was light a candle together in memory of those they loved who could not be with them.

 By July 2013, they had both graduated and they were looking for their first house. Within the space of a weekend, they'd not only bought it, but Euan had also surprised Keri with a proposal and a beautiful ring. As they said, Monday back at work was interesting “So how was your weekend?" 
"Not bad, thanks. Got engaged, got a house...”
Among other things Keri said she loves about Euan were that he's handsome, fun to be around, and he has a patience of a saint. She also loves how he thinks it’s acceptable to loudly sing and play guitar at 8 in the morning - not just waking her up, but the neighbours too!
Euan said, "Truth be told, there’s nothing about Keri I don’t love. She has such a big heart, her attitude is inspirational, and I love her cheeky smile: not just any smile but the one she can't help but do when she’s so happy! Hopefully a smile you will see a lot today."
What made that so sweet was that Keri was so nervous, she hardly smiled at all during the ceremony! 
After Euan’s mum Jackie gave us her version of 'Love Me' by BeeRawlinson, and Paul gave us Union, by Robert Fulghum, it was onto the vows, which they wrote themselves. Then came the kiss...

and then, and only then, did Keri begin to relax.

They sent me these lovely photos of their day, taken by Thomas of Whitetree Photography, who's based in Dunfermline, and who shoots in a documentary style. You can check out his website here
They also sent me these kind words.

We want to extend a huge thanks for everything you done for us. 

Everyone absolutely loved the humanist ceremony and the way it was conducted, it was a great opportunity for everyone to get learn more about our story, laugh, cry and celebrate with us. We are so pleased with the way everything went and can not thank you enough for the role you played.

From start to finish nothing could have went better! You were not only excellent in supporting us and making sure we were relaxed before, during and after the ceremony, but you also kept all the guests involved throughout the whole thing. 

We would highly recommend this type of ceremony and, of course, Tim as your celebrant. 
Many thanks again Tim, from Euan and Keri

You can see even more photos of Keri and Euan's very happy day over on the Whitetree blog

What you probably don't know about Euan is that his surname is D'Arcy, just like the handsome but tricky hero of Jane Austen's novel, Pride and Prejudice, so I thought I'd end with this quotation, which seems very appropriate.

My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”.  Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice.

Thank you again Keri and Euan: it was a wonderful day and I loved being a part of it!

Monday, 20 June 2016

Katie and Ross's Humanist Wedding at The Signet Library

I think you can guess which Edinburgh author
inspired the theme for Ross and Katie's wedding...

 It was an appropriately magical occasion, 
in the splendid surroundings of Edinburgh's historic Signet Library

Where even the railings seemed somehow to have been art directed to match.

I don't usually post quite so many photos of the build-up, but I think that Karolina did such a great job, you'll enjoy them as much as I did: you can check out more of her work here

Katie and Ross met at school - sixteen years before, when the new first year students of the Royal High School gathered in the assembly hall on their first day. Ross was struck by Katie's big beautiful eyes. 

Katie thought Ross was a prefect because he was so much taller than everyone else.
(He's not quite so tall now…)

But before I told their story, 
Katie’s bridesmaid Emma and Ross's groomsman Stephen gave us our first reading, 
“A Lovely Love Story, by Edward Monkton”

The story was a long one, but it was a good one, and it was very, very happy.

Their teenage romance sort of began at the age of 12, 
but it wasn't until they were 15 that Ross began his wooing 
in the way that only a teenage boy can: by breaking all of Katie's stuff. 

In one RE class Ross dismantled Katie's pen, 
and as its spring flew across the room, 
one of their exasperated classmates cried out, 
“will you two not just get together?”

From being teenagers just finishing school 
they became young adults with degrees and careers, 
and they moved in to their first flat together 
on the date of their 5th anniversary

After nine years Ross thought it was probably time he popped the question.
He did it with great panache. 

 He told Katie to come home from work early because he had a surprise for her, 

but when she got there, he was nowhere to be seen.

Instead, there was a card that had ‘Read Me’ written on it. 
 Katie found herself at the start of a treasure hunt 
that took her all around the house, 
where she found more and more cards, 
each with a picture on the front and some words written by Ross inside.

The last one told Katie to put something pretty on,
because a taxi would pick her up in an hour

Completely bemused, Katie complied. 
The taxi took her to Chambers Street, 
where she had been instructed to open the final clue.
It told her to head to the Tower Restaurant at the National Museum of Scotland.

When she got there, 
she was directed to the private roof terrace on top of the museum, 
overlooking the castle which was all lit up at night.
 Ross was waiting for her. 
He he asked her to marry him. 

Katie said yes! 
Cue tears of joy all round…

After Sally gave us a reading, 
from The Amber Spyglass, by Phillip Pullman

we had a pause for quiet contemplation and then it was vow time. 

I began by asking the guest to make some promises to Ross and Katie, 
which was a great idea.

Then Katie and Ross spoke their own personal vows to one another.

I pronounced them man and wife,
then I got out of the way 
so Karolina could get these great shots: 

you can see just how their families and friends felt at that moment too.

After signing the Marriage Schedule,
with Ross's brother Robert and Katie's Maid of Honour Sally, 

I asked the guests to join me in speaking a blessing to the happy couple.

It was a truly joyous start to their day. 

When they got back from their honeymoon, Ross & Katie kindly sent me this email, 
along with these wonderful photos by Karolina Kotkiewitz

Now that the dust has settled from our wedding, we have had time to process everything and reflect on what was such an amazing day for us.

You told us when we first met up that after the ceremony everyone will be saying how good it was, and how nice it was to have a ceremony that was all about the couple for a change - and you were right! The response was overwhelmingly positive with people loving how it was informal yet not silly, funny, poignant and even a bit romantic. And these comments came from a wide spectrum of people - religious, non-religious, old, young etc. They particularly liked hearing our story as only a few people knew our story from the very beginning - even family members had no idea about some parts of it.

We therefore want to extend our heartfelt thanks to you 
for how you presided over our ceremony. 
You gave us everything we wanted from a celebrant, 
and we loved every minute of it. 

Our wedding really was the best day of our lives,
 and a large part of that was due to the tone set from the ceremony. 
It went by in a blur, but luckily we have some brilliant photos from Karolina! 
The Harry Potter theme has gone down very well, 
with a wedding blog even making a feature of it. 

So my heartfelt thanks go to the new Mr and Mrs Whiteside, for letting me tell their story 
and of course to Karolina for her very atmospheric photographs.