VIP (Very Important Paperwork)

Here’s a thing.  I thought it might be useful if you knew what happened on your wedding day, prior to your ceremony starting and guess what?  There’s no one way.  You’re all very different.  You are all individuals <insert Life of Brian quote here>.

One thing that never changes- your Marriage Schedule.  You’ve submitted your M10 forms and supporting paperwork, one (or both) of you has collected the Schedule from the Registrar local to your venue a couple of days before your wedding and it’s barely been out of your sweaty hands since.

When I arrive at your wedding, I have a good scout* around for someone clutching a very official-looking envelope and I take it from them and I check it and I tuck it away in my folder and I smile and say, ‘There SHALL be a wedding today!’ and choirs sing and bells ring in glorious chorus and folk drop to their knees in elation.  Or something like that.

or

When I arrive at your wedding, I have a good scout* around for someone clutching a very official-looking envelope and, instead, I see queasy, grey-faced blank stares.  No marriage schedule.  It’s lost, forgotten, a dog ate it, it spontaneously combusted, it Evanesco’d, it’s an ex-schedule (what’s with the Python references tonight?).

Whatever.  Find it.  If you don’t find it, yo wedding is a bust.  It’s a very expensive party for some very grumpy people and the only saving grace is that your Mother-in-law, the one giving you the hardest, longest I’m-going-to-kill-you stare, isn’t actually your Mother-in-law BECAUSE YOU’RE NOT MARRIED.

So, for the love of All Things Dull and Ugly, remember your effing Marriage Schedule.

 

* Here’s a good scout, my friend and colleague, Jennifer.  With a owl.  Not a parrot.

good scout

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)

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?

rings

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.