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- Hannah & Ross Pt 2

I arrived at The Highland Fling and there was a definite buzz in the air.  That would be because Hannah and Ross had just arrived too and were a leeeeeetle hyper.

Ross was already dressed for the occasion and Hannah looked like she was too until she disappeared and returned…..in her wedding dress!  And she wasn’t the only one to make the effort; the bungee fellas were all ready for a wedding, kilts and everything.  It was abundantly clear to see they weren’t intending on jumping, if you know what I’m sayin’.  <nudge nudge>

highland fling folks

Callum, Michelle, Hannah, Ross, Lizzie, Loz

We all filled in that waiver, the one that makes you nervous, had numbers written on our hand* were secured into our harnesses and off we went in the minibus to the big bridge that towers over the River Garry.  Lovely spot of the world to throw yourself into nothingness.

Once we’d all made our way up the leg (?) of the bridge, we followed the very narrow walkway along the underside until we reached the platform suspended from the middle.  Safety checks….done.  Not looking down…..absolutely.  Just looked down…..gulp.

And that’s when it became less about the crazy-assed surroundings and all about Hannah and Ross and their lovely wedding.  And it was lovely.  They had sent me their Suffolk ceremony and, as it was so beautifully crafted by their friend, Clive, we used a lot of it when we were creating this one.  Ross and Hannah had brought with them a plaited ribbon and, with the help of Michelle, they were handfasted before they read their vows.  They rewrote the ones they said on Saturday and they said them to each other with smiles on their faces as broad as the bridge.  As a wee surprise, prior to the ceremony, Loz and Callum, two of our kilted bungee dudes, chose a reading each, and they read them beautifully.

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It was a ceremony that, for all it was in an odd location, was genuine, romantic, touching, endearing and honest.  Perfect.

I declared them married and there were HUGE cheers from the busload of German tourists standing on the banks as they spotted Hannah and Ross locking lips for a great big smooch.  They signed their marriage schedule before it was safely tucked away again and, rather than walk up the aisle, they shuffled across the platform, like Siamese penguins.  Which is odd given penguins can’t fly…..

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Unlike Ross and Hannah!  Seconds before they jumped, Hannah realised that, whilst her concerns about folk seeing her pants were very real, she had failed to take into account the effect gravity might have on her strapless dress.  ‘If my boobs all out, you stop filming!’ she instructed Callum who was videoing their wedding.  Callum, a typical young man, replied, ‘Aye. So I will.’

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And, as they jumped, all the distractions that made me temporarily forget my own impending doom, well, they all disappeared and, in their place?  Fear.  Holy crap, it’s a scary thing to be standing on the edge of an actual abyss.  It’s scarier still to jump. But it was my turn and, once I’ve said I’m going to do something, I do it so, I jumped and I opened my mouth to scream…..

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….and instead, as I hurtled through the air, I made a sound like a large cow being thrown from a bridge, a sort of ‘Mooooawwwaaaarggggghhhhhhoooooooomph’.  The gentle tug of the bungee, the one that meant I was still alive, it was glorious and comforting and not at all retina-detaching.

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Looking like Andy Warhol and Boris Johnson’s bouncing love child, I was hoisted back up and, after watching Ross jump again- aye, nutter- and shaking uncontrollably for a little bit, we clambered up and down ladders and back to terra firma and an ever-so-slightly emotional Flora.  I think she was a little worried but disguised her fear by telling onlookers that she ‘hoped her Mummy didn’t have too much fun on the bungee jump or she might forget about the Ikea Crayfish party the next day’.  Priorities, kiddo.

Cuddles all round and, after wishing the happy couple well on their epic honeymoon, I treated Andy and Flora to lunch at the Blair Atholl Watermill.  Seriously, this is one of our favourite places in the world. Go.  Eat.  Marvel at the working watermill that grinds the flour that makes the bread that we don’t share.

Hannah and Ross’s wedding was extraordinary.  They are two of the nicest, most up-for-anything people I’ve ever met and, although it all went a little bonkers after (phonecalls from journalists, BBC, ITV, my pals), they were just genuinely thrilled that they were married and they’d been able to do it they way they really wanted to.  I don’t imagine I’ll have many requests like theirs but, do you know what? Bring ’em on!

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The ‘joke’ was the numbers made mortuary identification easier. Oh, ha. Ha. Ha.

 

 

Wedding- Hannah & Ross Pt 1

Ohhhhh yes. This has been a very exciting week.

Hannah and Ross contacted HQ last year- would anyone be interested in conducting a wedding on a bungee platform?? Hmmmmm. I remember saying to them that I had never done a bungee jump but I had once fallen off a set of step-ladders (not my real ladders heh heh heh). No difference, I reckoned.

I was a little wary that some would see this as a silly wedding, a bit of a joke, but, within a few minutes of talking with Ross and Hannah, it was obvious they were incredibly sincere and just keen to have a wedding that was fun, different and reflected them. It was also to be a proper ceremony, not just the declaration, which was good to hear. They weren’t interested in publicity and had no wish for any press or photographers- I couldn’t help but like them from the off!

Over the next few months, we planned their ceremony, talked about paperwork, got excited about bungee jumping (them), resolutely blanked the idea of a bungee jump (me). Did I mention I was going to jump too?

They had a non-legal ceremony in Suffolk, on the family farm, a great big celebration, surrounded by all their family and friends. Ross said it was a truly wonderful day and, when it was all tidied away, they jumped in Kim the Campervan and headed north to the Highland Fling in Killiekrankie.

Meanwhile, Andy, Flora and I also decided to make a wee road trip of it and we had booked a couple of nights in The Roost at the Mill of Logierait. We’re quite partial to a wigwam and this one was magic. Lovely owners, fabulous views and a roaring fire. Right up our street and exactly what we needed.

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The day before the wedding, I asked Hannah if she had flowers arranged and, when she didn’t, Flora suggested she collected some from the hedgerows surrounding the farm the next morning. Quick check with Fiona (lovely owner) and off we went, secateurs in hand. Not a bad job, all in all!

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I had given the logistics of the ceremony a fair bit of thought. Flat shoes, leggings and no jewellery. My fancy pen was attached to The Clipboard of Impossible Romance with a length of bungee elastic for fear it would fall through the grille platform. The plans were to sign the Marriage Schedule before they jumped but, if it was super windy, we would do it in the minivan. Lots of thinking.

On the day, no breakfast. No wish to see my porridge twice, thanks. A short drive to Killiekrankie and we were almost ready to go……

(Pt2 to follow)

Symbolic Gestures- Band Warming

A nice way to involve your guests, particularly with a small to medium sized wedding, is to have a Band Warming at the beginning of your ceremony. I like to suggest the oldest or youngest person in the room starts it, especially if the couple have children or grannies, but it can start with anyone.

Whoever has the wedding rings holds them in their hands for a few moments, just long enough to warm them a little and, as they do so, think of all the hopes and dreams they have for the couple. Once they’ve finished, they pass them on to the next person and so on. Eventually, the rings make their way all the way round the room, back to the best man in time for the vows and declarations.

It’s an easy inclusion in your wedding and needs very little more than the rings you already have. I always suggest that you put the bands in a wee bag rather than leave them loose. If they are enclosed in a bag and the bag is dropped, no harm done. If the rings are loose and they are dropped, that could be a disaster, especially if you are outside.

It also prevents people putting them on their own fingers and then discovering they can’t get them off! I don’t mind telling people I used to be a funeral director and I can remove ALL jewellery with ease. That normally gets them trying a little harder…..

 

Clementine Weddings c/o Etsy

E & A Heritage c/o Etsy

PieceLovePaper c/o Etsy

 

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, the key to a successful wedding is involving other people. Perhaps you know a talented cross-stitcher who could work with your pal who is good at drawing, between them creating something very special? The knowledge that someone took the time and effort to make this for your wedding day is just priceless. It’s a little like when you see a new baby in a hand-knitted cardigan; you know that wee baby is loved, don’t you? Just like that.

You don’t have to use a bag. Ring cushions are a more traditional option but there is the risk that, for fear the rings work their way loose, they are tied too tight. I always carry scissors for that very emergency but I’m not mad keen on ring cushions. It would be alright if it was frog-shaped though, even if that frog did look a little, erm, peeved.

 

brideandgroomdirect.co.uk

 

You can also use ribbon to tie them together, perhaps adding a label with some short instructions or, if you are a keen climber, what about a carabiner?

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www.raynamcginnisphotography.com

 

Or maybe you could make a tassel keyring using material with meaning- the t shirt worn when you first met, a tie from the university you both attended, a piece of mum’s wedding dress……

 

mypoppet.com.au

 

Or you could tie them to an appropriate book….

 

burnettsboard.com

 

Or, for something a little different……

 

besenseless.blogspot.com

 

….or forego handing them round and catch your guests on the way in.

 

Kelly & Justin c/o Offbeat Bride

For other suggestions have a look at here or here.

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 😉

 

Wedding- Zoie & Thomas

Have you been to Arrochar? It’s a small village on the road to westerly parts of Scotland and it’s the sort of place that you go to with good intentions to climb the surrounding hills only to abandon all plans in favour of an afternoon by a log fire, drinking something warming and there are few finer fires than the ones in the Village Inn.

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Originally, Zoie and Thomas were going to be married outside but, when the weather turned a little grey and damp, they wisely chose to move indoors.

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My old pal Colin and his young apprentice were playing the pipes which guaranteed a note-perfect arrival and a coffee and some outrageous chat after the ceremony!

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Thomas and Zoie planned an intimate, romantic and highly personal ceremony, one which reflected the journey to their wedding day, their hopes and dreams for their future and, equally importantly, their love of their two mad dogs, Pongo and Daisy. On the day, all their hard work came together in a beautiful and touching ceremony which took place in front of a small gathering of family, all of whom helped wish the happy couple well in their new life together.

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Included was a sand ceremony, everyone present at the wedding pouring different coloured sand into a specially chosen glass jar, creating a unique and very special memento for Zoie and Thomas.

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Oh, and a cat was watching us. The entire time.

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Hi Claire,

I just want to thank you as I didn’t get a chance earlier. Everyone commented about the brilliant ceremony and i just wanted to thank you for making it perfect for my self and Thomas. The day went in really fast but it’s a day I will cherish for the rest of my life.

Thank you so much

Zoie

It was my pleasure x

Wedding- Diane & Thomas

‘Make it funny’

Strikes a chill in my heart, that does.

Diane and Thomas wanted funny. Thankfully, they were funny people! The story of how they met got together was brilliant, their guests were quick to laugh and join in and the wedding, whilst formal at the right bits, had a really relaxed feel to it, lots of laughter, the occasional tear and an Oscars-style selfie at the beginning!

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The girls all got ready together, champagne flowing nicely.

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The boys played on the swings.

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Diane was walked down the aisle in the Lynnhurst Hotel by her seven year old grandson, Darren who, when asked if he was ‘happy for his Granny and Thomas to be married and content to wish them well as they take this first step in their married lives together?’, replied, ‘Hmmmmmmm. Let me think about it!’ Darren’s little sister, Lucy, was the most perfect flower girl- fun, cute and a total show-stealer!

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Just before their legal vows, Diane promised to let Thomas believe he was right and Thomas agreed that he would be quiet, at least every now and again. I’ll be honest- it’s a good job neither of these vows were actually legally binding as I think they were busted by the time they had finished lighting their Unity Candle!

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