A year of weddings- what have I learnt?

It’s been a full year since I married the delightful Diane and Thomas.  And what have I learnt? 

Loads, loads, loads.

Things I quickly confirmed: my admin skills are abysmal, I have a pathological fear of double booking (but have invented a 400 point strategy to avoid it) and sleep in July is for wimps.

Perhaps more importantly for you:

It’s never to early to book your celebrant.  Fact.  

If you are getting married between May- September, regardless of how far away your wedding is, BOOK YOUR CELEBRANT!! Then sit back and peruse Pinterest with impunity, smug in the knowledge that you are sorted.

And, if you are getting married between October- April, BOOK YOUR CELEBRANT!  Damn it, just do it!

Claire | Claire the Humanist

People confuse Humanists with Spiritualists all the time.

Let me be clear. Humanists are fantastic, genuine, considerate and compassionate folk who would never pray on the understandable desire of the bereaved and vulnerable to speak to their much loved deceased relatives.

Spiritualists, not so much.

Weddings get HOT.  Damn hot.  

Open ALL the windows. Now.

Claire | Claire the Humanist

Folk worry about being emotionally vulnerable in front of their guests.

Dinnae worry about it.  They LOVE it.  In my limited experience, grooms are more likely to cry than brides.  I put this down to the long wait with no dizzyingly chaotic bridal party to distract them.  Groomsmen- yo need to up yo game, bruh.

Most commonly asked question about ceremonies is ‘How long does it take?’

Answer: longer than the 20 minutes on offer by some wedding venues.  Yes, The Vu, I’m looking at you.

Bridezillas are a figment of TLC’s imagination.

Bridesmaids and Mums, on the other hand, are occasionally as crazy as a soup sandwich.

Claire | Claire the Humanist

The most important thing I have learnt this year is this:

Your ceremony sets the tone for your entire wedding day.

Claire | Claire the Humanist
You heard me.

If you do your homework and spend some time thinking about who to involve in your ceremony, you will be amazed what happens.  A teensy bit of effort on your part and your wedding is elevated from something lovely to something extraordinary.  Don’t take my word for it, check out what Katie’s Dad had to say….

You really set the tone for the whole day and it carried on through the meal and the dance at night – we had an absolutely fabulous day.

See?  If Mike said it, it must be true.

I know it’s been a good day when I have to wolf whistle to get everyone back to their seats after the ‘Signing the schedule’ photo break ‘cos they are all so hyper.  I know it’s been it a good day when I’m picked up and burled round by an excitable Scouser proclaiming it’s the ‘best fookin weddin’ he’s ever been to.

And I know it’s been a good day when I get a wee email afterwards that says this,

Everyone at the wedding said it was quite simply the best they had ever attended, Louise & Chris

We had a totally perfect day and the beautiful ceremony you conducted was exactly what we had hoped for, Ryan & Angela

Thank you so much for making our wedding ceremony so amazing, Derek & Lisa

Nailed it.

Thanks, Year One Wedding Couples, it’s been a blast…..bring it on, Year Two!

Claire | Claire the Humanist

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>

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.

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…..

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.’

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…..

….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.

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!

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.

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!

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)