Love - What a wedding is all about

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Janey and Alan - 21 July 2012

This wedding took place at the Britannia Hotel in Aberdeen with a couple whose main passion in life outside of their family is Pool and both are quite proficient at it.  The wedding ceremony itself was quite a traditional affair, as Janey did not want to have a fuss and people looking at her.  Kind of difficult to do on your wedding day I'm afraid.

It was during a family holiday in Florida that Alan hatched a plan to propose.  Janey is a very big fan of Disney and Alan intended to do the deed while in front of the Disney’s famous Cinderella Castle.  Unfortunately, there were large crowds around the Castle and, as he knew she would not want anyone looking, he did not go ahead.  However, at the airport, on the way home, he came across a cardboard Cinderella Castle and quickly took the opportunity to propose.  While she was happy, indeed delighted to accept she kept constantly looking around her, hoping no one would see what was happening.

Both bride and groom were nervous beforehand but, as they stood facing each other, they gained the strength of the other, just like I said in my intro - am I psychic!  After the ring warming, their small son did the honours by polishing the rings before we placed them on their fingers.

There was only one potential small hitch in the proceedings.  As we moved to the table and chair to sign the Marriage Schedule, Janey discovered a slight problem; her dress, which had one of these plastic rings to hold the base out, made it difficult to fit it under the table.  However, with a little squeezing, she was able to sit down.

After the ceremony they were piped down the aisle and out of the building to a welcome breath of air outside in the sun.  Notice to the Britannia - air conditioning, which works, on very hot days would be much appreciated.

While mingling with the guests over an orange juice (maybe one day I'll earn enough to employ a driver) I learned that, for many, it had been their first experience of a Humanist Ceremony and they were very delighted with it, remarking upon how personal and apt it was for Janey and Alan.  That's what I strive for!

Lisa and Dave - 7 July 2012

This was a fun wedding on a very miserable day.  To make matters worse while my new Skoda Superb car is excellent the Skoda umbrella, which came with it, leaves much to be desired.   Yes, there was great precipitation from on high washing the streets clean.

The wedding was held at the Marcliffe of Pitfodels in Aberdeen, which is a lovely venue.  While the wedding itself was planned to be indoors the initial drinks after the ceremony were to be held in the courtyard, a quaint little enclosed garden.  Well, so much for that idea!

The ceremony itself was quite representative of the couple who have a very fun outlook on life.  We told the story of how they came together or, closer to the truth, almost didn't.  Dave is a tall lad and very outgoing but, as we got closer to the ceremony, he began to appear a bit nervous.  When Lisa appeared, looking stunningly beautiful, and began to walk down the aisle to join us, I thought he was going to faint as his emotions took over but a gentle hand from Lisa on his helped to steady him and we progressed.  Amongst the readings by friends was "Marriage Is" by that well-known author, Anonymous - the one that ends in "Marriage is Madness".  This went down very well with the guests.  After we signed the Marriage Schedule, Lisa and Dave drank some Rosé wine from their Wedding Quaich which, no doubt, helped his nerves!

After the wedding, Dave looked like the cat that got the cream.  All the guests were extremely flattering about the ceremony and its content, which mostly goes down to the couple themselves.

Jonica and Sean - 23 June 2012

I seldom do two weddings on one day but I was persuaded, on this occasion, although this decision almost came back to haunt me.

Jonica and Sean live in Australia and so all the wedding ceremony preparations were accomplished through email.  They are both quite laid back people and tying them down to get the details of their ceremony in place seemed to take forever, they were so quite chilled about the whole process.  The only part that seemed to annoy them was the local Registrars’ having the idea that they were to marry them.
They arrived in Dundee on the Tuesday prior the wedding and we were able to speak for the first time.  My parting shot to Sean was not to forget the marriage schedule!  Guess what?  At 4.15pm, at Scone Palace, Perth, for a 5pm wedding, I asked Sean to produce the marriage schedule.  Oops!!  He thought Jonica had it!  Quick phone call - answer, NO!!  Some names were then bandied about until it was decided the Marriage Schedule was in Granny's car.  The problem was that Granny's car was in Dundee!!

Having explained to Sean, family members and guests that, without the marriage schedule, I could not conduct a legal wedding and suggesting vigorously that someone be dispatched to Dundee for it, we waited until the bride arrived in her Bentley.  It was she who decided that someone must high tail it to Dundee for the Marriage Schedule.  Meanwhile she removed herself to a nearby hostelry for a lemonade!

By 5.40pm, we had confirmation that the driver had retrieved the marriage licence and so we began at 5.50pm.  By this time, the co-ordinators at Scone Palace were very anxious and concerned, as they had to have the room vacated and restored for the next function by 7pm. 

The wedding was always going to be different and so it began.  If you ever saw the spoof Royal Wedding video, "Everybody in the House of Love", on YouTube, you get the idea!  (Hmm, I must try and get a copy of my dancing.)  We had reached the Hand Fasting and they were exchanging their personal vows when the Marriage Schedule arrived.  A quick check, to confirm everything was in order, and we were ready for the legal vows
We finished about 6.35 and everyone danced out.  It was a very memorable wedding albeit for two entirely different reasons.  The Scone Palace staff was very impressed, especially with the way I had handled the situation.  It's a good job they didn’t see me panicking inside!

Frida and Are - 23 June 2012

Frida and Are came all the way from Norway for their wedding at Forter Castle, Glenisla, near Blairgowrie.  One advantage was that their family and friends were able to stay in the castle as well.  I won't mention the fact that the cost of alcohol in Norway is over four times the level of that in Scotland - and they had sourced a great deal of it for their weekend stay from local supermarkets!

I first met Frida and Are in Edinburgh at the beginning of May, after exchanging many emails, and we discussed the draft of their wedding.  Despite being together for eleven years and having two small children, they were very keen for a simple wedding.  The venue had been chosen because of their friendship with Phen, a Scot who works with Are.  To complete the wedding they wanted a Piper and I was able to put them in contact with my friend and excellent piper, Robbie Innes (

As you might suspect, the weather on the day played some games and as Robbie was piping outside, he was walking around trying to avoid the rain, using the building as cover.  What I found really amusing, was the sight of Robbie trying to walk away from the guests to allow them to enjoy the scenery and give them a little quieter area.  However, they were chasing after him to have their photos taken with him! 

The wedding itself took place in the very small chapel in the castle as you can see from the photos.  I had to "move" the large cross from the front of the table for obvious reasons.  During the ceremony, their young daughter, Selma, polished the wedding rings after the ring warming - well they do get a bit grubby with all those hands.

By the time the ceremony was over, the weather had relented a bit enabling drinks to be served and photos to be taken, outside.  Even for Norwegians it was quite nippy. Are had been very chilled out prior to the wedding taking place as you can see in this photo.

It was a beautiful location, with a lovely couple and guests, who made both Robbie and I feel at home.  Pity I was driving, but Pipers traditionally get a dram after playing - eh, Robbie?  Maybe next time!

Nora & David 16 June 2012

The words of the song, "Love Story" keep floating around my head as I begin to write this story.
Both Nora and David are from Ireland although they live in Edinburgh.  As they are both professional people they lead very busy lives, which made it quite difficult to arrange everything, but thank goodness for Skype and email.

The venue was the Hub just off the Royal Mile in Edinburgh.  It is the old Church of Scotland Ecclesiastical School and Assembly building.  The main auditorium is simply splendid, although you can easily guess its former origins in the fittings.

Now, I am often accused of being cruel in that I suggest to my couples that they face their guests (just so they can see who has bothered to dress up, of course!), however, Nora and Dave took this one or two steps further.  They had three best men and three bridesmaids whom they intended to make work for their keep!

They came down the aisle together to the sound of a harp, beautifully played by their friend Declan.  Shortly into the ceremony, they asked their mothers to light candles signifying the union of their two families. This was followed by short readings given by one best man and two bridesmaids on behalf of Nora and Dave who wanted to express their feelings for their families and guests and show appreciation for their support they had received over the years.  Next came a ring warming - cue best man No 2.  Nora's sister and Bridesmaid No 3, Grace, then read an excerpt from Walt Whitman's "Song of the Open Road" after which Best Man No 3, Daire, read the "Owl and the Pussycat" by Edward Lear.

It was all highly appropriate as, although they did not actually go off to sea for a year and a day, Nora and Dave did spend a year working, first in Malawi and then travelling through Africa and South America.  It was during this time that they became engaged.  More music followed, this time by three friends on guitar and a female cousin singing "The Blowers Song", which was excellent.

To seal their vows, I conducted a hand fasting which, from the beginning, gave me some concern.  They had decided to use a piece of Irish Linen, (a wedding present to her parents) and a length of cloth from Malawi.  Initially, I thought nothing of it - until I saw them!  The Irish linen was quite a bit longer than the usual one metre and fairly wide.  The Malawi cloth was shorter and much wider.  However, I managed to fold them into what I hoped would be a workable size and they were given to other guests to deliver at the correct time.  To my absolute delight(and okay, some shock), it worked a treat and is definitely one of the best knots I have ever tied.

Even the ring exchange had an unusual element in that the rings had been made by Nora and Dave themselves in a local Jewellery Craft shop near to their home.  After signing the Marriage Schedule (music provided by another friend), they lit the third candle to symbolise their, and their families’, joining through marriage.  This was not quite the event we planned.  Before the wedding, as we set up the candles, I found that the main one had been broken in transit and we could not reset it so it was now the shortest candle of the three.  Fortunately, this mishap did not faze them one bit. 

To ensure everyone was in the mood to enjoy the festivities afterwards, we then had a Mexican Hug, which went round very well.  So well in fact, that I was moved to say that I had business cards if anyone now needed my services!

As I sent them back down the aisle, their friends played and sang the Beatles song "I Will."

After the ceremony, I received a massive bear hug from one of the guests who proclaimed it to be the “best wedding ever!!!”  Everyone was very impressed and delighted with the ceremony.  When I eventually reached the end of the line, where Nora and Dave were greeting their family and friends, they were ecstatic, as all their guests had commented on such a beautiful and meaningful ceremony.  All had thoroughly enjoyed the wedding.  The credit has to go to Nora and Dave and all their friends who made such a significant input during the ceremony. 

It is one wedding that will endure in my memory for a long time.