Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Abi & James Humanist Wedding at The George Hotel, Edinburgh


The George Hotel used to be the favourite late night watering hole for the TV Festival when I used to go there but its now had a major make-over and it's looking fantastic. I really like this Portuguese Man 'o' War chandelier.


Here's James and his best man, Andy, looking very composed and elegant.


I knew James was taller than me, but until I saw this shot I hadn't realised how much! James's mum gave me a buttonhole to wear, like the rest of the bridal party, which was kind, and a nice touch.


As I was leaving, James and Abi were going out to get a sneak preview of their wonderful old VW Campervan; they're becoming very popular at weddings and I can see why!


The camper van took them off on location for a photo shoot on Calton Hill - what a glorious afternoon it was!

Jen & Bryan's Humanist Wedding at Dundas Castle


Most couples wait til after their ceremony to get their photographs done, but not Jen and Bryan! I came across them out on the lawn in front of Dundas Castle looking windswept and interesting, as Billy Connolly used to say.


Jen's mum Chris looked very glamorous as did their flower girl Ebba who had the presence of mind to curl up in her mum's lap and sleep through the whole thing!


Bryan's best men, Russ John and Geo waiting to greet the guests at the foot of the Castle's 'auld keep' which dates back to 1416 and has an underground escape route that used to end up in South Queensferry - that's a lot of digging.


The chapel at Dundas is very lovely, even with nobody in it. If you look very carefully you can see the harpist, Rachel Hair, in the top left hand corner.


Most weddings at Dundas end with the bridal couple up on the roof of the keep which has wonderful views over the Firth of Forth; I grabbed this quick snap of Jen and Bryan, but I look forward to seeing the professional ones soon.

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Nicola & Fraser's Humanist Wedding at The Assembly Rooms


The Assembly Rooms on Edinburgh's George Street are world famous as the Fringe's leading comedy venue and Nicola & Fraser's ceremony had its funny moments too. Just as the ceremony was due to begin, we got a call to say her car had broken down. Then we had another call saying the replacement car had a problem with the brakes and they were waiting on a third one to come and collect them.


Half an hour later, Nicola finally arrived on the arm of her dad, Jim, looking supremely elegant and unflustered under a lace veil that she kept on until the end of the ceremony when Fraser was finally allowed to lift it and give her a long-awaited kiss.


It was a quirky, very personal ceremony, with a reading by Fraser's uncle of a poem by the late great surrealist poet and musician Ivor Cutler that really caught the mood of the day.

(Thanks to Nicola MacNeill for taking the pics for me)

Monday, 12 May 2008

Jill & Calum's Humanist Wedding at Craigmillar Castle



Jill and Calum chose one of Edinburgh's least known but loveliest castles as the venue for their intimate family wedding at the end of April. Built in the 14th century, Craigmillar Castle was the favoured Royal retreat of Mary Queen of Scots and the happy childhood playground for both Calum some years back and his wee grandson Leo today. Jill looks suitably romantic in this shot by Maurice, the family friend who took this picture.

Vicky & Robbie's wedding at Dunblane Hydro

I was just pulling into the drive of the spectacular Dunblane Hydro Hotel on Saturday when I saw the horse-drawn carriage ahead of me - luckily the bride wasn't in it, as I was half an hour early, but I did manage to get the camera out of the window and grab this lucky shot.

Vicky and Robbie's ceremony really was a 'fairytale wedding'. They first met when they went to nursery school, with teddies under their arms and they've been together almost ever since. Both blind from birth, they entered a  "Win Your Dream Wedding" competition in the Sunday Post so the Hydro was full of journalists and photographers capturing their special day. As reporter Sarah Johnston wrote, "they've refused to let their disability get in the way of their dreams and their determination has won everyone's admiration."




What made it particularly special was the thought and imagination they brought to the writing of their ceremony. Robbie and Vicky wrote their own, individual vows and spoke them to one another from memory. Both musicians, they had songs written specially for them by friends, and when we signed the marriage schedule, it was to the sound of the song Vicky herself wrote, performed and recorded for Robbie "Sweet Blessings", which you can listen to or download here: she'd be delighted if other people want to use it at their own weddings.




The weather turned while we were inside the hotel, but it didn't stop them from taking their photocall down on the lawn.


The bridesmaids and flower girls looked lovely under their brolly!

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Steven & Karen's Humanist Wedding at Houston House

Steven and Karen's ceremony at Houston House was a hoot: full of laughter, beautiful songs and some great poetry, courtesy of Steven's dad, Stuart, whose contributions ranged from William Carlos Williams 'This is Just to Say" to the Gaelic haikus of Kevin MacNeill


Ich amo you

I just had a call from a fellow Edinburgh based celebrant, Duncan Robertson that raised an interesting question: what do you do when you're asked to perform a wedding for a couple where both parties speak different first languages, and neither of them are English?

As Humanist weddings in Scotland become ever more popular, more and more people from all around the world are traveling here to have one and I've celebrated weddings where the bride has spoken Basque and Spanish or German and Swiss German, which makes the rehearsals very interesting!

Although I do speak a few languages other than Scots and English, I tend to suggest nowadays that after introducing the ceremony in English + the other tongue, a native speaker from the wedding party is delegated to deliver a translation of the key passages.  

We don't have to do everything twice, just the important bits. It does take a little longer, but it ensures that everyone is included.

Leanne and Greig's Humanist Wedding at Carlowrie Castle

Leanne and Greig's story is a very modern fairytale, so - if you're sitting comfortably - I'll begin... Greig first prop...