Love - What a wedding is all about

Monday, 6 May 2013

Julia and Gregg  17 December 2012

This was a very special wedding for two main reasons.  Firstly it also involved a family ceremony for their two children, the youngest of which had almost thrown a very large spanner in the works by severely injuring a finger just a few weeks before the wedding was due to take place with most of Julia's family about to travel from new Zealand.  Secondly, there was to be equal tribute paid to the heritage of both the bride and groom.
They chose Boath House Hotel at Nairn for their venue which is a small intimate hotel which they adore and was suitable for the numbers able to attend.  Julia's family are friends with the New Zealand Maori author Witi Ihimaera who, as a surprise, adapted an extract from his book "the Rope of Man"  which fitted Julia's family story to a "T".  It was read by her mother.  As French martinis had played a large part in their first and subsequent meetings it will be no surprise to learn that they included a Quaich ceremony  as well.

The family ceremony part was enjoyed by both sets of grandparents and the guests as Julia and Gregg made commitments for their childrens lives in the future which they will have to strive hard to achieve but knowing them, I'm sure they will.

The only downside was that I forgot my camera.  However they and their family enjoyed the ceremony which is all I can ask for.

Hello George,

We just wanted to thank you very much for carrying out our wedding and naming for Annabelle and Monty.
What a perfect day and we really appreciate all the work you put into making it a special ceremony. You delivered exactly as we wanted and everyone was full of praise for such a perfect ceremony.

Thanks also for our keepsake of the wedding. Great to have it all there for the future. We are so happy to have got married and to have chosen both Humanism and you to do this.  Many thanks and best wishes for Christmas and the new year.

Gregg, Julia, Annabelle and Montgomery.

Jennifer and Alex  -  8 December 2012

This was held at beautiful Aswanley outside of Huntly which is a lovely location.  However the weather for a December wedding might not be capable of showing the venue in its best light.  On the morning of the wedding after some very heavy snowfall, over a 100 tons of snow had to be cleared from the driveway to allow guests and more importantly our bride and groom (okay me as well as without me there is no legal bit)

Amongst the symbolic gestures they chose for the day, drinking from the Quaich, the two handled Scot's loving cup which is said to originate from when a Scot's King gave it to his Scandinavian Queen which was most appropriate as Jennifer was born in Norway.  They also had a number of friends read poems during the ceremony.

"Dear George, We would like to thank you for conducting our wedding ceremony.  We loved the service and many people also commented on how personal and wonderful it was.  You were so helpful and kind in the run up to the wedding.  We both really appreciate the effort you put in to make it so memorable."

Gloria and Duncan - 10 November 2012

This was a wedding which gave hope to all who have suffered earlier in life when all the fates appeared to have been against you, robbing you of those you love.  It was after such a life which left them both strong willed independent people who after realising that this relationship was capable of being something special strove to work out how to be one while still individuals.  To say that they have achieved this is something special.  The fact that so many members of their families and friends made the effort to be there was testament to the affection they are held in.

The ceremony was quite traditional in conception however the fun which they find in life was very well to the fore and did include a fair selection of twists which caused a many a laugh not least, this poem which really defines marriage!!

‘Marriage Is’
Marriage is all about giving and taking
And forgiving and forsaking
Kissing and loving and pushing and shoving
Caring and sharing and screaming and swearing.

About being together whatever the weather
About being driven to the end of your tether
About sweetness and kindness
And wisdom - and blindness.

It's about being strong when you're feeling quite weak
It's about saying nothing when you're dying to speak
It's about being wrong, when you know you are right
It's about giving in, before there's a fight.

And for you two today it's about to begin
And for all that the two of you had to put in
Some days filled with joy, and some days with sadness
Too late you'll discover that marriage is madness!

Ani and Roland  28 October 2013

This was a beautiful location at Ardkinglas House  which fitted the bride and groom perfectly.  They had met as both worked teaching violin at the Royal Conservatoire of Music in Glasgow.  It would be of no surprise that it was on a visit to a violin maker who told them he had proposed to his wife after one week as it just felt right.  Despite knowing each other only for a few months, it just felt right so Roland proposed.  He had lost himself in her beautiful eyes when he first saw her.  Apparently all Armenian women have lovely eyes and Ani's are definitely no exception.

With music and drama within both families, some other members were volunteered to contribute readings which again reflected the couple, which is as they should be.  While we signed the marriage schedule friends performed Robbie Burns "Ca' the Yowes to the Knowes".  We concluded the ceremony with a Celtic Blessing for their future from all of us.

Dear George, Ani and I would like to thank you for the special ceremony yesterday and for being so perfect for us. It was an amazing experience and one we shall always treasure. Thank you again for everything! Best wishes Ani and Roland

Michelle and Craig  20 October 2012

This wedding was held in the beautiful Castle Fraser near Inverurie, another restored National Trust property.  One bonus of arriving early was that I was able to have a quiet moment in the cafe and sample the delicious scones - must curb my enthusiasm or I won't fit my kilt.

Michelle had very definite ideas about her wedding which is great.  Amongst her decisions was that all the guests stood as she entered.  I normally have the guests remain seated as most people when seated are around the same height, so it is easier to see the bride rather than trying to glance between and around others.  It is a matter of choice, as all parts of the wedding are for the couple themselves to decide.

They had met at Stirling University and shall we say first impressions were not good.  It took them six months to actually get to know each other better and from then on things moved at a pace.  Their personal story brought a great deal of fun to the proceedings especially the part about how Craig planned the perfect proposal only to be thwarted by Michelle who never gave him a moment to get the champagne into his rucksack so they had to settle for a bottle of beer by the loch side.  In keeping with having something alcoholic, they drank from the Quaich, the two handed loving cup to celebrate their marriage.

Gillian and David  -  6 October 2012

This wedding was held at Glenskirlie House and Castle which according to the sat nav was only a few miles away but given the roads that required to be driven on, it took longer to get their than I expected.  However I always allow plenty of time to arrive early.  The venue itself was warm and inviting so I am sure the guests all enjoyed the celebrations throughout the day.

Gillian and David's wedding was very traditional in structure but still very personal.  Gillian's sister Jennifer read the poem "Love" by Erich Fried translated by Roy Croft which summed their feelings up perfectly.

I love you not only for what you are,
But for what I am when I am with you.
I love you, not for what you have made of yourself,
But for what you are making of me.
I love you for the part of me that you bring out;
I love you for putting your hand into my heaped-up
Heart and passing over all the foolish, weak things
That you can’t help dimly seeing there,
And for drawing out into the light all the beautiful
Belongings that no-one else had looked
Quite far enough to find.
I love you because you are helping me
To make of the lumber of my life
Not a tavern but a temple.
Out of the works of my every day
Not a reproach but a song.
You have done it without a touch,
Without a word, without a sign.
You have done it by being yourself.
Perhaps that is what being a friend means, after all.

Claire and Finn - 22 September 2012

I thought at first this was to be a very special wedding with big stars (albeit from the world of darts) attending given our groom's surname.  However it was not the famous darts family from Holland.  There were a few introductions within the ceremony which were in Dutch but thankfully, Finn sorted those out with me in advance.

Their wedding was held in the beautiful Historic Scotland setting of Seton Collegiate Church at Port Seaton on the outskirts of Edinburgh.  As the sun shone throughout, it made the venue even more impressive.

 One thing which never fails to amaze me is the randomness of circumstances which bring the couples I marry together.  This was an extreme example of this.  With her friend Laura, Claire had gone off to New Zealand to visit her brother and spend some time working there.  Finn, deciding that
                                                                                   he needed a change headed off to New Zealand             without a plan but on first arriving in Auckland bumped into Nick,  his old room mate from university.  The following evening, Claire arrived at the hostel Finn was staying at to  change for a night out.  Unbeknown to either Claire or Finn was that Nick and Laura knew each other so Nick dragged a jet lagged and reluctant Finn out with him to meet Laura and some of her friends.  To say they hit it off together was the understatement of the century.

Their personal story within the ceremony brought such a reaction from their guests as it had everyone laughing and almost crying at some of the antics but mostly in awe in their description of their love for each other.

We concluded the ceremony with a poem by Robbie Burns called "By night, by day" which was read by Finn's mum, Sylvia.

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Laura and Paul  15 September 2012

This was a beautiful wedding in all senses.  It was held on one of the few lovely days of the year and on the banks of the silvery River Tay where the sun reflected off the flowing water.  We were within the grounds of the Hilton Hotel Dunkeld where the reception was to be.  The venue was chosen as they had sworn their love to each other at this spot some four years ago.

The ceremony was designed to involve as many guests as possible and we began with a ring warming, followed by a reading.  The parents affirmed their support for the couple by handing over the amber nectar for drinking from the Quaich, - the two handed loving cup. Following a lovely tale about their relationships and adventures, they solemnised their vows by hand fasting.  The marriage concluded with that epic poem, "Be my Homer!" followed by a communal Celtic blessing.

Laura and Paul had wanted an upbeat ceremony involving their family and friends and were delighted at how well it worked.  After the ceremony, milling around with their guests, it was very rewarding to hear their praise for the ceremony and how it so reflected Laura and Paul's personality.
Then it was just the two and a half hour drive home in the sun.  Perfect!! 

Vladimira and Simon 14 September 2012

This is a tale of two people who met after Simon had been told repeatedly by a friend such crazy tales about Vladimira whom she worked with that he decided that he just had to meet her for himself.  The initial blind date did not go quite as planned as he was an hour late due to mechanical problems (which still beset the relationship) and in addition also went to the wrong restaurant.  Having found her, they found much in common and still surprise the other.

The wedding was held at Elgin cathedral and Vladimira's family came over from the Czech Republic to be there.  AS you see the box beside the bride and groom, made by his own fair hands in woodwork at school they placed love letters and wine to be opened on their tenth anniversary.  Apart from that the ceremony itself was quite traditional and ended with the poem "Love" by Roy Croft.


I love you
Not only for what you are,
But for what I am
When I am with you.

I love you,
Not only for what
You have made of yourself,
But for what
You are making of me.

I love you
For the part of me
That you bring out;

I love you
For putting your hand
Into my heaped-up heart
And passing over
All the foolish, weak things
That you can't help
Dimly seeing there,

And for drawing out
Into the light
All the beautiful belongings
That no one else had looked
Quite far enough to find

I love you because you
Are helping me to make
Of the lumber of my life
Not a tavern
But a temple.

Out of the works
Of my every day
Not a reproach
But a song.

I love you
Because you have done
More than any creed
Could have done
To make me good.
And more than any fate
Could have done
To make me happy.
You have done it
Without a touch,
Without a word,
Without a sign.

You have done it
By being yourself.
Perhaps that is what
Being a friend means,
After all.
(Roy Croft)

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Linda and Kirk  - 8 September 2012

Having conducted the ceremony for Sandra and Andrew in the late afternoon the previous day, it was up and away early to Liberton Golf Club in Edinburgh where we managed to prise Kirk off the golf course long enough to conduct their wedding ceremony.  Not quite true but close! 

They had first met at work but while they were friendly, nothing came of their relationship till a few years later.  They became engaged on a holiday in Turkey and their family and friends were over the moon for them.  It was a traditional style of wedding but very meaningful and respectful for all that had passed before in their lives.

One abiding memory I have is the photographer trying to organise the group photos with golfers trying to get in and out of the entrance to record their scores or head off onto the golf course.  Indeed some had to tee off beside the guests, thankfully no one sliced their ball into the group.

Hi George
Just a quick e mail before we go away on our honeymoon.
Thanks so much for yesterday. Service was lovely and everyone has been commenting on how lovely our service was. I know I was slightly overcome by the emotion of it all, however I can remember most of it and we loved every minute of it.

Sandra and Andrew  - 7 September 2012

Sandra works at my local gym ( note must start going again very soon or I won't get into my wedding outfits)and has an infectious personality so it was no surprise that she wanted an upbeat ceremony.  Many guests had travelled some distances but a special mention was made of those who had braved the rush hour traffic and managed the New Elgin bridge on their way to the Bishops Palace at Copper Park in Elgin.  We were fortunate that the weather was lovely as although they had a gazebo should it rain, the sunlight made for a beautiful ambience amongst the trees and building.

Their story of how they found each other raised quite a few laughs as did their personal marriage vows but what everyone said, the whole ceremony was them to a "T" and their love for each other shone through.  The celebrations thereafter were supposed to be slightly muted as they and many of their guests were flying the next day to a wedding in England before they actually flew off on their honeymoon to the West Indies - not that I am jealous!  Knowing them I'm doubtful if the celebrations were muted.

Thank you so much for an amazing and personel wedding Truly cant thank you enough. And thanks 4 putting in the schedule 4 us. We r on final route to jamaica now. Thanks again. Mr & Mrs Cruickshank

Victoria and Christopher - 1st September 2012

This was a first for me in two ways.  Firstly, it was my first wedding which was conducted via a wedding planner (who also runs the venue) and there were several occasions that "our" standard practises clashed.  However these were resolved amicably.  The venue itself was only about five miles from my home so it was a very local wedding for me.  Unfortunately, the wedding planner and the couple had a falling out about six weeks before the wedding the venue changed to Croiscrag Cottages on the shore of Loch Rannoch which was a lovely setting.  Only about 120 miles from home!

The group of cottages held all their guests and many came down the night before with them and had a pre wedding party, just to practise for the main event.  On the day, the weather was overcast but held fair so the wedding went ahead by the shore.  As Vicky came down the quite steep grass embankment, escorted by her Mum, Jacqui, I wondered if she would manage in her heels without accident.   Vicky and Chris walked to the loch and threw and placed a rose in the water in memory for her father and his grandparents.  They had taken great thought over their vows (which are the longest I have ever had) and they read them beautifully, much love and strength in them.

As they are based in Aberdeen in was appropriate for the final poem to be in the local Doric dialect which thankfully was read by Kenny, one of the best men.
"A Lang Promise"
Whether the weather be dreich or fair, my luve,
if guid times greet us, or we hae tae face the wurst,
ahint and afore whit will happen tae us:
blind in the present, eyes open to the furore,
unkempt or sharply dressed, suddenly puir or poorly,
peelie-wally or in fine feckle, beld or frosty,
calm as a ghoul or in a feery-farry,
in dork December or in springy Spring weather,
doon by the Barrows; on the banks o' the Champs d'Elysees,
at mid-nicht, first licht, whether the mune
be roond or crescent, and ye be o' soond mind
or absent, I'll tak your trusty haund
and lead you over the haw – hame, ma darlin.
I'll carry ma lantern and daur defend ye agin ony enemy;
and whilst there is breath in me, I'll blaw it intae ye.
Fir ye are ma true luve, the bonnie face I see afore me;
nichts I fall intae slumber, it's ye I see swimmingly –
all yer guidness and blytheness, yer passion.
You'll be mine, noo, an' till the end o' time,
ma bonnie lassie, I'll tak the full guid o' ye'
and gie it back, and gie it back tae ye:
a furst kiss, a lang promise: time's gowden ring.
(Jackie Kaye)

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Jemma and Tony - 25 August 2012

This was quite a difficult but very positive wedding ceremony which may very well seem a strange introduction but let me explain.  Both served in the armed forces and were deployed over various parts of the world whilst trying to draw all the many strands which comprise a wedding together.  Although both are English they had met and fallen in love not only in Scotland but with Scotland so wished their wedding to be here.  While Jemma enjoys her tom boy activities she has a very strong girly side which came to the surface when they found their perfect venue, Bunchrew House, Inverness which is PINK. 

Now I actually thought they had chosen a Humanist wedding ceremony because of ME!   They had been doing the rounds at a wedding fair when I managed to catch their attention and introduced the thought of a Humanist ceremony to them.  After giving it some consideration they decided it gave them the opportunity to have the wedding they wished so as they say the rest is history.  From the very first meeting we had they wished their wedding ceremony to involve their guests which they did but what struck me most were their personal wedding vows.  While they were a mix of traditional and personal - about their love, they also included fun parts that reflected their personalities.  All I will say is that Tony's ended with "You have the right to remain silent!"

After the ceremony many of their friends made a point of coming up to me and congratulating me on a ceremony which fitted Jemma and Tony to a "T" and was the most fun they had had at a wedding.  From Jemma's Facebook pages, they are having a ball and still very deeply in love.

The previous blog you will have noticed I struggled not to call the the couple Rick Shaw but on this occasion, the wedding transport was a Rickshaw - cool and very fitting.

Tanya and Rick  - 18 August 2012

For Tanya and Rick, the most difficult part of their wedding was finding a date.  Not because the wedding venues were full but due to the lack of appropriate dates between Rick's sporting seasons.  Indeed up until their honeymoon they had never had a warm climate holiday but as Rick kept the honeymoon destination a secret, it may still be they haven't had a warm holiday.

The choice of venue was hopefully to be outdoors and on the beautiful old bridge at Craigellachie with the local hotel on standby.  On the day it was absolutely beautiful, just like the bride.  Tanya and Rick had found the poem "Marriage Is For Life, Not Just The Wedding Day" by Denise Jones which was read by their friend Jen.

Girls, you have to work hard at being wed,
It's not just about what you do in bed!
You have to compromise in this life,
From wife to husband and husband to wife.

He isn't perfect (they never are!)
He'll cherish you less than he does his new car.
He won't do the dishes or pick up his smalls,
He'll belch and fart and scratch his balls.

He won't give you flowers or take you out,
Still drinks with his mates, what's that all about?
But don't constantly shout, give him a break,
Just go with the flow, you must give and take.

Cause you're no saint either, just remember that
You won't change the wheel when the tyre's flat.
'I've just done my nails', he'll hear you sigh,
Then you'll render him speechless with a little cry.

And girls when you argue, fight and scrap,
Just remember why you married your lovely chap.
Your knees still go weak when he cracks a smile,
He's your Mr Wonderful, wins hands down by a mile!

So remember to always have a laugh together,
To face challenges head on whatever the weather.
Talk and talk and talk some more,
Make home your sanctuary, behind that front door

For forty long years I've now been wed,
But I wouldn't change a thing it has to be said.
There's been pain and heartache, dark moments and all,
But we've come through it together and we're still having a ball."

This theme of including their guests in the marriage ceremony was continued when we closed the ceremony with a Celtic Blessing for their future happiness.  I just had to be very careful introducing them as husband and wife as I could not get the idea of saying they had their own transport to the reception, Mr & Mrs (Rick ) Shaw out of my head.  Fortunately my professionalism came to my rescue and they headed off down the bridge towards the waiting car.

Hi George Just a quick line to thank you from myself and Tanya, the ceremony was very special and the census of opinion was that everyone enjoyed it.
I must apologise that we never had more time to speak after the ceremony but things got quite hectic. So thanks again for helping to make a very special day all the more memorable

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Laura and Stuart 28 July 2012

This was my very first wedding at Innes House on the outskirts of Lhanbryde so I appreciated the opportunity the day before as Laura and Stuart were setting up for their big day to meet up with them and go through their ceremony in the actual location.  Both wanted their wedding to be outdoors in the lovely garden but the weather forecast was not so good.  While the main room is very nice there was no doubt that being outside in the gardens would be better.

On the day, while the sky was black all around, there was a lovely oasis of sun situated on the garden so we went ahead with the outside wedding.  Fashionably fifteen minutes late, Laura appeared from behind the large rear wall, through the gate and entered the garden.  Laura had decided not to use the bridge to cross the pond in case she lost her footing so was piped around it as she was led by her father, to meet with Stuart and I.    All was going well, until we started to sign the marriage schedule when some large drops of rain began falling.  I thought if only she had been on time - hint to other outdoor brides - we would have been finished.  Mark the owner and piper, took me to one side and said, "If I had been a minister he would have believed I had a direct line to God as it was bucketing down(edited words) both behind the rear wall and in front of the house."   Our oasis of sunshine held on however so that we were able to enjoy the drinks and photos within the garden.  When I was finished I had to run to my car to avoid being soaked - should have stayed in the garden!

Jodie and Calum 11 August 2012

Jodie and Calum had sought me out to conduct their wedding as like Calum, I was a Police Officer .  It was held at the Seamill Hydro, near Largs in Ayrshire which is quite a distance from the north of Scotland  so I decided to make a weekend of it to visit some of the historical venues in the area.  Both Jodie and Calum had spent many a happy day in their childhood visiting the beach at Seamill and it was because of this joint love of the area they picked the hotel.

On my arrival on a glorious day, the wedding was set up in the main function room overlooking the garden/beach area.  Whilst we had thought of maybe holding the wedding ceremony in the garden, due to the amount of persons in the hotel restaurant and bar which overlooks the gardens, this could have proved boisterous so we remained in the room.  Whilst the guests had the lovely view past us to the gardens through the large French doors, Jodie, Calum and I were being toasted by the sun.  Full Highland regalia in the sun means sweat running from my brow into my eyes. 

As if the heat was not quite high enough, they chose a candle ceremony to symbolise their union!!

You can click on this link and see a trailer of their wedding video courtesy of Strange Worx productions.

Dear George,

Calum and I would like to thank you for being our celebrant on Sat 11th at the Seamill Hydro. Your warmth and humour was commented on several times by our guests and our families. You were a part of our start as a married couple and we are both happy you were.

Kindest Regards
Jodie & Calum Lang