Wedding – Louise & Chris

Claire | Claire the Humanist

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.

Claire | Claire the Humanist

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.

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.

Claire | Claire the Humanist
Claire | Claire the Humanist

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.

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!

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….

Claire | Claire the Humanist

Wedding- Ian & Liz

Claire | Claire the Humanist

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.

Claire | Claire the Humanist

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.

Claire | Claire the Humanist

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.

Claire | Claire the Humanist

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 😉

Funerals

A lot of us celebrants have blogs but we rarely write about funerals. I think the assumption is that most people who are casually browsing for happy wedding inspiration have no wish to suddenly be confronted with a ‘Hellooooo! Everyone dies!’ post!

But, in real life, it’s Humanist funerals that seem to resonate with people the most. ‘They’re just so personal’ is the most common compliment but my favourite is the ‘I really enjoyed it…well, as much as you can enjoy a funeral…..I mean, it was really good fun……God….well, not God…..oh crap. I’ve totally myself in a hole I can’t get out of….a lot like Auntie Morag….HELP….ME.’

I conducted a funeral this morning for a lady with a lot of best friends and a very talented sister and, between them all, they created a ceremony that could only have been for Joan. The hall was dressed with candlabra and rose petals, all Joan’s friends wore leopard print and red ribbons and, rather than bring in the flower-covered wicker coffin, each ‘pallbearer’ carried in a photograph of Joan looking gorgeous with the broadest, most generous smile in each one, and they placed them on a display at the front. It was beautiful.

I led the tributes from her friends, another friend spoke of their good times together and between the stories, the projected images and the music, it was gloriously ‘all about Joan’.

Isn’t that how funerals should be? All about the person who died, their good points and their bad taste? Admittedly, sometimes, it’s not so straightforward- there’s been a few family visits where there’s been a reluctance to explain a substantial gap, maybe 3-5 years, in their dear brother’s life. My advice? Don’t worry about it, EVERYONE KNOWS ALREADY!!

We left the Crematorium today to the strains of the theme from Star Trek: The Next Generation. I was slightly disappointed that I didn’t ‘energise’ but you can’t have everything. A nice man told me it was his first time at one of these funerals and he’d thoroughly enjoyed himself…well, not enjoyed himself…oh crap.

Ellie’s Naming Ceremony

And the unbroken run of Naming Ceremonies with happy babies continues!

Gorgeous Ellie shone at her Naming Ceremony, blowing raspberries throughout, much to the amusement of everyone who’d come along to the Sky Suite of the Cyan Restaurant in Milngavie.

Ellie Selfie

All my photos of Ellie were rubbish but she took her own picture, her first selfie!

It was a really lovely family occasion- the restaurant belongs to Uncle David, Aunt Lesley did a reading and the Grannies and Papas read a poem between them, which worked really well. Ellie’s big brother, Jack, gave her a wee gift and she gave one to him and everyone was invited to add their fingerprints to a tree for Ellie’s wall, a beautiful idea, and nowhere near completion in the picture below!

Claire | Claire the Humanist

Claire | Claire the Humanist
Ellie’s parents and guide parents wrote their own promises and they were all very personal and touching but I was particularly struck by Mum’s promise, which began,

To my Ellie-Belle,
I will never forget the moment you entered our life…..I was in awe that we had created something so beautiful, and I couldn’t stop staring at your wonderful little face for hours.
I knew in the very first moment I met you that I was going to love you unconditionally, and forever. It was a feeling I have carried with me every day since.

*Gulp*

There was a lot of warmth and enthusiasm from Ellie’s guests, everyone delighted to see such a very happy baby. And it’s the first time I’ve done a naming ceremony to the strains of The Theme from the Godfather being played (badly!) by a busker outside. Brilliant!

 

Solomon’s Naming Ceremony

Naming Stones

An outdoor Naming Ceremony is brilliant idea, particularly in the glorious Scottish summer on the outskirts of Glasgow. Kat and Jo chose Mugdock Country Park for their son, Solomon’s rainbow-themed naming ceremony. It’s a beautiful place, full of rugged walks and muddy adventure trails but today’s ceremony was in the splendid walled garden looking down to Craigend Pond.

Not that anyone was looking at the pond when this wee fella was about! Solomon was an absolute star, he smiled all the way through his ceremony and he looked so handsome in his little kilt, complete with mini sporran and nappy kilt pin. Too cute!

Clara reading1 copy

Solomon’s big sister, Clara, was brilliant. Not only did she lead me and her friends in Ring-a-ring-a-roses, complete with her new favourite second verse, she also recited a poem to Solomon, called ‘Life Gave Me a Little Brother’ and had everyone in stitches as she laughed her way through the last verse:

Life gave me a little brother
to teach me about life.
He loves me,
Aggravates me,
and gives me strength and strife.

 Thank goodness for my brother
He is as special as can be
Don’t mess with my little brother
– or you’ll have to mess with me!

Author unknown

Then, it was a quick trip to Craigend Pond. Jo had painted the kids’ names on two (larger than intended- thanks, Granny Trisha!) pebbles and, after a Celtic blessing and a lot of encouragement from everyone there, the stones were thrown into the pond, narrowly avoiding the gorgeous ducklings that came to join us!

An outdoor ceremony brings its own challenges but as long as you have some shelter and think ahead a bit, it’ll still be magic. Solomon’s day was fab- the kids were great, everyone was smiling and happy. Who cares about a bit of rain?