Wedding – Claire & Stephen

I like to blog in a timely manner.  It’s important to be relevant.  That’s why I’ve waited a WHOLE YEAR to blog about Claire and Steve and their tremendous winter wedding at The Lodge on the Loch on the 21st November last year.  Great at weddings, useless at blogging.

Steve spent their first date grinning goofily and not really understanding what Claire was saying.  Claire just kept talking regardless and time passed and lo, they got married!  It was a great big, everyone’s invited kinda wedding- Steve and Claire booked out the entire hotel, filled it with their very excited pals and, as parties go, this one was tough one to leave.  Nearly didn’t.  Nearly went home with them to London.

Their ceremony was full of lovely moments including a band warming that started with Steve’s Dad, Richard, and ended with Sebastian and Ethan (super-nephews) polishing the rings on their kilts to make them shiny again.  Then Claire and Steve’s mums lit the first two candles on a Unity candle, a nice touch and a great way to include two very important women.  As for their handfasting, aaaaw man!  This pair chose to use one of Steve’s ties and a piece from Claire’s dress but not just any old tie or dress, oh no.  They used the dress and tie that they wore on their first date.  All.  The.  Heart.  Eyes.

I wasn’t sure I would ever find someone as caring, wonderful and inherently good to share my life with, who understands my quirks, calms me when I need it, and supports me in all I do.

I’ll be eternally grateful that we found one another.

Something that was obvious was how relaxed their guests were.  This was a three day party and the wedding fell right in the middle so everyone had been hanging out together and, by the time I arrived, they were all pals.  Cue the tall humanist woman trying to be part of the gang.  As atmospheres go, this one was buzzing even before the Bold Colin Lawrie started blawin’ all that hot air.

Add to the mix an usher called Tudo-rhymes-with-Judo, some lovely readings read by lovely voices (sucker for an Irish reader) and the best vows and it was a spectacular wedding.

I will always be your safe place and I love you more and more as every day passes.

I spent much more time than I should have having a good nosey at all the gorgeous photos courtesy of Paul Walker Images but just look how much Claire and Steve love each other!  Absolutely brilliant day and happy anniversary, Mr and Mrs Aldous!

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Music- Colin Lawrie making a tuneful racket and Pharrell’s Happy for skipping back up the aisle

Readings – The Bridge Across Forever by Richard Bach, The Union by Robert Fulghum and The One (Poet unknown)

 

Wedding- Ryan & Angela

I’m sure you’ve realised by now that a Humanist wedding is an opportunity for you to have the wedding of your dreams. Some people’s dreams are traditional, others less so and the wonder of our ceremonies is that that’s fine, in fact, it’s encouraged. You choose. It’s your wedding.

Themes for weddings are common, THEMED weddings less so.

On my first meeting with Angela and Ryan, we gently chatted awhile until Angela paused, leaned forward and said, ‘How do you feel about a Doctor Who themed wedding?’

Well!!

Naturally I felt just fine, especially when they told me that Dr Who brought them together. Not in an ‘actual time travel’ kind of way but in a ‘both mad Whovians and met at a Convention’ turn of events.  They knew what they wanted and that was a wedding that was elegantly geeky and truly reflected who they were.  I think you’ll find that’s what we HSS celebrants do…..

In their wedding we covered how they got together with expedience and urgency took a hundred years to stop man-flirting and start snogging, how the proposal ended with “[sitting] under the stars, on a bench in the car park, drinking alcohol that neither of them particularly liked, listening to the sounds of the neds leaping off the pier” and how special the wedding rings were.  Yes, I know, all wedding rings are special but these ones were handcrafted by Angela and Ryan (and Angela’s son) from bits of jewellery donated by their mums.  And they were “currently resting on your ring bearer’s plunger”. I kid you not.  Best line in a wedding ever.

Witnesses?  An actual doctor and a (sometimes) pretend Doctor’s assistant.

Vows?  Oh yes.  Written by themselves and including the line “Your reliable, confident, constant friend and favourite Companion”  

Symbolic gestures?  A dinky wee handfasting with a dinky wee tardis charm to bring us luck.

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When it comes to themes, you can go all out and that works….as long as you commit. Don’t be half arsed- do it like these super-cool Biffy Clyro fans. Share the love.

Alternatively, reflect your passion with subtlety and clever touches* (and a few props that even normals will recognise) and enjoy your day being a little different and very much all about you.

“Thank you so much for the work you did on conducting our ceremony at the end of August. We had a totally perfect day and the beautiful ceremony you conducted was exactly what we had hoped for. We knew the first time we met you that you were the one for us and you didn’t disappoint!

My father was pretty upset that you seemed to have stolen his ENTIRE speech. He really did explain this when it came to his turn to speak and just said “ditto”. It is good to know that our ceremony reflected us so well that it echoed the words used by someone that has loved me for my entire life (& for months before).

As a lovely story to come from the day, some relatives decided it was innappropriate for them to attend a Humanist ceremony and declined our invitation. Ryan’s Godfather was concerned that maybe he should not attend and consulted 4 Catholic priests and a BISHOP! He was told that he was ORDERED to go – “love is love and should always be celebrated in all of its forms.” (as long as he didn’t participate in any rituals)

I would not hesitate to reccomend a Humanist ceremony to everyone I know and a few people have even been asking questions about Humanism in general which can only be a good thing! We will also continue to sing your praises every time we remember our most special day.

Thank you again.

Mr & Mrs H”

Readings:  Excerpt from Louis de Bernières’ Captain Corelli’s Mandolin
Music: Their friend, Zoe, played the flute and it was lovely
* Angela folded a thousand cranes to bring them luck. The patterned paper she used was the Exploding TARDIS.  When she wasn’t folding cranes, she stuck a squillion TARDIS coloured crystals on to her shoes.

Wedding- Scott & Paula

Scott and Paula have been meaning to get married for ages and yesterday, on the sunny banks of Loch Lomond, they finally did it!  Their wedding was on a shingle beach at Milarrochy Bay near Balamaha and, for the first time in forever, the sun shone, absolutely perfect for a very informal and fun wedding.

‘They chose to be married on a beach, surrounded by water and hills, the wind (and possibly rain!) whistling in our ears because this is where they are happiest. It’s also a pretty good metaphor for their relationship- nothing is forced, it’s all very natural and easy and, individually, every element is amazing but, together, it’s something unbelievably special, breathtaking at times.’

Scott and Paula have two girls, eight year old Robyn and Grace, who’s five, and they have been involved throughout the planning and during the ceremony too.  As well as being beautiful bridesmaids, they were happy to (very loudly) give their blessing to Mum and Dad, blew bubbles for the people who couldn’t be at the wedding, in particular Paula’s late father, and, right at the end, Robyn led the toast and introduced her Mum and Dad, for the very first time as, ‘Mr and Mrs MacDonald!’

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After Scott and Paula made their vows to each other, they both made a promise to their daughters,

‘Robyn and Grace, you have always been the most important part of mum and dad’s life and we are so proud of you both. Today we are making a promise to one another. It is a promise that whatever may happen, good or bad, that we will always be there for one another.

This promise is also a promise to you.

We love you with all our hearts, and no matter how big you get or where life takes you, we want you to know that that‘s forever.’

Scott and Paul painted their names and their wedding date onto a fairly substantial wee boulder (!) which was then passed round all their guests as the ceremony went on, much like a band warming. After the bride and groom had signed their Marriage Schedule, Scott, with the Grace’s help, launched the rock into Loch Lomond, a permanent reminder of their wedding day and a really fun thing to do.

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Paula and Scott’s wedding was really special as it was a proper reflection of them and their girls. It was relaxed and fun, their guests were happy and truly delighted that their twenty year wait was finally over!

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Congratulations, Mr and Mrs MacDonald!

Things to consider if you are thinking of a similar wedding:

Shingle beaches = knackered shoes.  Anyone wearing high heels was in trouble yesterday; trying to manoeuvre over the stones was extremely difficult and the pebbles weren’t kind to the shoes either. Lots of shredded heels.

Having the permission of the Loch Lomond Rangers is not sufficient.  You MUST have requested permission from the Duke of Montrose if you want to be married on his land.  Contact the National Park for more info.

You cannot release balloons.  They might kill ducks or cause the sea plane to crash. Yes, really.

You cannot drink alcohol on the east side of Loch Lomond, not even for a toast at a wedding.

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Scott and Paula brought several bottles of completely alcohol-free fizz for a toast to close the ceremony but it wasn’t long before the police rocked up to check we were following the rules.

There are always other people on the beach.  Some are content to stand and watch your wedding from a polite distance, others actively try to photo bomb it. People are walking their dogs, traffic trundles along in the background, kids are running around screaming, dogs charge through your guests, jet-skis roar past…….  It’s never as secluded as you would like but hopefully you will be so caught up in your own moment that you don’t even notice everyone else.

Shelter and seating- we were lucky as it stayed dry but you need to have a back up plan in case the weather turns.  Also, your guests are hanging about for an hour or so; a few folding chairs never go amiss.

Lastly, when your eldest bridesmaid steps on her dress and rips it from hip to hip along the waist, don’t panic!  Speak to your celebrant.  I carry a sewing kit (amongst other things) and I am pretty nifty at emergency lochside repairs.  Same goes for balloons that suddenly require a string…..

“We have just about come back down to earth after our big day. We absolutely cannot thank you enough. Your smiley face stood out to us on the HSS website and we immediately agreed we would try and tie you down to the date. Our first meet sealed the deal for us, you’re funny, witty and warm personality was exactly what we wanted for our ceremony. None of this, however, could have prepared us for the ceremony itself. You completely blew us (and our guests away) with the delivery of ‘our words’ which you gently coaxed from us.. Every single person commented on the stunning service. Your real genius came out when you sewed up my teary 8 year old daughters bridesmaid dress which she had torn climbing a fence (why did I let that happen!). Really there are no ends to your talents. Thank you so much for everything, you contributed in more ways than one to making our day blooming perfect!”

Readings: ‘I don’t believe in marriage’ (An excerpt from the wedding toast for Frida Kahlo and her husband Diego from the film, Frida) and Carrie’s Poem (from Sex and the City)

Wedding – Louise & Chris

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Christmas? Done.  Hogmanay? O-ver.

Bored now.

Thank goodness for Louise & Chris and their post-New Year nuptials, possibly the most tasteful wedding in the world and definitely one of the most anticipated by their family and amazingly stylish pals.

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Cameron House Hotel has a reputation for being a bit special, regardless of the season and, in the glare of the winter sun glinting off Loch Lomond, there was no finer place.

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And inside, just as gorgeous: the Christmas lights were still twinkling, the fires roaring and the mahoozive gingerbread house proving *just* too large to hide in my handbag.

Louise and Chris achieved the impossible, planning their wedding in a month. That would be hard enough for most normals but this couple are the actual hardest working people on the planet and, as they work together running a fab restaurant and bar, their wedding planning had to be slotted in amongst a full month of Christmas bookings and parties and running a stall in the Glasgow outdoor market.

Their wedding day was a day off.

A more welcoming and generous couple would be hard to find and there was such warmth emanating from their friends, everyone very excited and delighted to be included.

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Not known for soppiness, Louise (and the rest of the room) was floored when Chris summed up his feelings about her with, ‘She’s my girl!’ And there was a wee wobble when Louise said that Chris that ‘she didn’t know who she would be without him.’ Is it wrong to admit that the wobble came from me?

One of the many highlights was Louise’s sister’s reading of Huey Lewis and the News’ The Power of Love, complete with audience participation. What made the reading so fantastic was Caroline completely got that the key to success is to give it laldy! The impromptu singing also helped….

Beautiful people, beautiful words and, when I introduced ‘the married couple’, the loudest cheer I have ever heard. Magic!

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Readings: The Power of Love,  Huey Lewis & The News

Music: Bridal Lullaby by Percy Grainger, Do I Love You by Frank Wilson, Can’t Hurry Love by The Supremes

“I cannot thank you enough for your incredibly professional, bespoke and touching ceremony for our amazing wedding at Cameron House.

You made Chris and I feel so at ease, and everyone at the wedding said it was quite simply the best they had ever attended.
I was so nervous before I walked down th aisle, but seeing all of my friends, you and, of course, Chris, I was put at immediate ease.

Chris’ parents and my Dad said that they were so overwhelmed by how personal and warming your words were and hilariously funny too.

You have found your calling, you are absolutely brilliant at it and I will be advising everyone who is planning to get married (our clients included) to give you a call.

I wish we could do it all again and we are both still on cloud 9…”

Cheers pals! Oh and this wasnae me, by the way….

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Wedding- Ian & Liz

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I’m just gonna say it…..I love a winter wedding. Ten years ago, I was married in November and one of the nicest things was being able to shrug when people said, ‘But the weather! What if it rains?’ So what? It’s Scotland! It could rain anytime! One less thing to worry about, to be honest (although it was a nice surprise when I awoke to the first frost, clear blue skies and a good excuse for a furry coat).

Ian and Liz booked their wedding for that wee lull between Christmas and New Year, and invited their family and best pals to join them for the weekend, and a party, at the stunning Lodge on the Loch Lomond.

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When I first met Liz and Ian, they booked me with the phrase, ‘….and you seem like the right kind of nutter to marry us!’ Takes one to know one, that’s all I’ll say…

Ian & Liz’s ceremony was a belter! They have a great life together, full of laughs and adventures and their hopes for their future together were simple…..more of the same.

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Liz was accompanied by her daughter, Lauren who later read a poem with her sister Pamela and Ian’s son, Neil. When the poem finished, Ian and Liz ‘tied the knot’ with Marshall and McKenzie tartan ribbons, and I don’t know who was more delighted by the knot, me or Liz, who loudly exclaimed, ‘Oh well done, Claire!’ much to everyone’s amusement.

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Ian’s grandsons, Aly and Harry were there to spontaneously lend a hand with the rings and, promises made, vows said and declarations announced, Ian and Liz had a great big kiss to enthusiastic cheering from their guests. And then they had another one when I said, ‘You may now kiss!’ Just couldn’t wait, apparently!

After signing the schedule, Liz and Ian enjoyed a succession of drinks from their quaich, an apt ceremony to celebrate their union and one particularly appreciated by Ian, I think.

And the weather was beautiful.

I did that 😉