Monday, 18 December 2017

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 proposed to Leanne just three months after they met. OK, it was in Munich, and it was during Oktoberfest, so it's no big surprise that once they'd both sobered up, they agreed to put their engagement on hold. 

I don't think Leanne would have been quite so understanding if she'd known then that she'd have to wait eight years for the next one!

They weren't idle in the meantime. Greig and Leanne didn't just move in together, they had their two boys, Lewis and Ruaridh, so like many couples who 'reverse into marriage' they weren't too wrapped up in the whole romance of the big day.

For me, that just made it all the sweeter to see what happened, as you can in these great shots from their chosen photographer, Sean Bell.

"As you know Greig and I didn't particularly see the relevance in getting married, we had been married to each other in our heads and hearts for years anyway. So you can imagine both our surprise when the emotions of the day caught up with us! Our only expectations for the day were that we wanted the whole thing to feel relaxed and informal and I think a humanist ceremony helped us achieve that beautifully. 

Everyone has commented how personal and emotional the day felt and being able to tell our own story and write our own vows was a huge part of this. It was also important to us that our kids were involved and it meant so much to me to have Lewis help walk me down the aisle. 

It was also great how you managed my rascally little niece, who was determined to steal my thunder!!

Leanne and Greig wrote their own vows, which they spoke to one another on the day, from cards I held at their shoulders: as you can see from this photo, the card was invisible to the audience, which meant that they could glance at it to remind themselves of the next line. It's a great idea and as you can see, it worked a treat for them!

Leanne just sent me these photographs this morning, and they vividly bring back the emotion of the day!

Once again a huge thank you from the bottom of our hearts for helping us create the day of our dreams, even if we weren't really sure what that was going to be like going into it!"

Warmest regards
Leanne and Greig

As you can see, Carlowrie Castle is the perfect place for a fairytale wedding, and 
Leanne and Greig's story really is a very contemporary one. 

More and more couples do the hard yards of marriage before making it official, and what's lovely for me is to know that helping them create a meaningful ceremony is every bit as important as it is to a couple who are only taking those first steps.

Thank you so much Greig and Leanne for sharing this with me and my readers: you just made my day! Thanks too to Sean Bell for these perfect pictures.

Friday, 15 December 2017

Grant and Natasa’s Humanist Wedding at The Secret Herb Garden

Natasa and Grant’s story began right here in Edinburgh at the start of 2006. Over the course of the next eleven years, it took them many thousands of miles away, to Sydney, Canberra and finally Jakarta, so when they came back to get married, they invited friends from each of those cities to help tell their story.

Grant's best man Andrew set the scene in Edinburgh as his best and oldest friend fell in love with an Australian girl whose visa was coming to an end, which meant she was a bit wary of becoming too attached to one of the natives. Despite that, she did, which didn't go down too well with Andrew at the time, and I really love the honesty with which he spoke about that in his chapter of the ceremony.

"When Grant broke the news that he was going to quit his job and move to Australia so he could continue to be with Natasa I was more than upset. My best friend was leaving to live on the other side of the world. In a lot of ways I am a small, petty and childish man and over the 7 or 8 “leaving doo’s” I diligently attended with Grant I would often (and loudly) drunkenly slur: “Why are you leaving and ruining everything? Just get her to stay”. 

It took a long time for it to sink in – just how much Grant must have truly loved Natasa, so much that he would uproot himself from his family, his home, his country and his friends to be with her. It is the kind of lasting love that brings happiness to everyone around them and that never needed a ceremony to prove its strength."

Big Respect, Andrew! Kim and Gareth shared some of their memories of Natasa and Grant during the Sydney years, which involved a lot of beer, rugby, stuffed tigers, and WAY more gluten and dairy based desserts than any doctor would recommend!

Their next stop was Canberra, which is why that chapter was entitled, 'You're moving WHERE?' As you may know, Canberra is often the butt of jokes in Australia. It's a planned city, full of public servants, out in the middle of the bush with no nightlife and more roundabouts than the rest of the country combined, but Justine made it sound a lot more appealing with her tales of cocktails, music festivals, and home made pasta.

The final chapter of their voyage took them to Jogjakarta in Indonesia where they met Andrew Coghill. Like Natasa and Grant, he too was a newbie so they met in a language class as they mugged up on their Bahasa and discovered the delights of bananas as long as your forearm and long necks of Bali Hai accompanied by garlic roasted peanuts.

The Secret Herb Garden is a very special place that feels a lot further away than the six miles it actually is from the centre of Edinburgh, and its laid-back vibe was just perfect for Grant and Natasa's big day.

Before they made their own secret vows, all the guests joined in making promises to them: I call this a 'Group Vow' and it's a great way to subtly remind your guests that they're not just part of your past, but your future.

One of the attractions of having a humanist ceremony is that you are free to write your own vows. Most couples write them together, but the bravest of the brave write them separately and keep them secret until the day. It's the ultimate wedding present, but I always insist they send me what they've written separately, so I can check that they're clinically sane and on the same page.

Natasa and Grant passed that test with flying colours - although I did have to consult the oracle that is Google to discover the identity of Mick Fanning...

Grant and Natasha put a lot of thought and imagination into their ceremony. I remember when we first spoke about the homework process over Skype more than a year ago, and Grant said, 'I've just realised that until now, all we've been doing is event planning. You just made this real!' so I was delighted when they got in touch the other day with these great photos by Caro Weiss, winner of Brides Magazine's "Best Wedding Photographers UK 2017".

"It's been about 3 months now since the big day and we have had a chance to catch up with quite a few people who were at the wedding including some of our speakers. 

We continue to receive nothing but compliments about just how wonderful our wedding and in particular the ceremony was. It was just such a great experience for both of us! Thank you again for your advice and guidance 😊

It was a privilege, Natasa and Grant. Seeing these photos today reminds me just how moving and yet relaxed your ceremony was, and I'm just so glad you and your guests felt the same way, so thank you again for asking me to be your celebrant!

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...