Monday, 16 December 2013

Tara and Robin's Wedding at Aikwood Tower

This was my first visit to this gem in the Scottish Borders - the exceptional sixteenth century Aikwood Tower, which has been lovingly renovated in recent years, while at the same time maintaining the endearing character and quirks of the historic building.

The elegant yet relaxed surroundings were the perfect setting for Tara and Robin’s intimate wedding. 

Tara and Robin put a great deal of thought into writing their vows and sharing their feelings on love and marriage, which made their ceremony unique and very personal to them. They also chose to have a handfasting using tartan cloth to symbolise the joining of their families.

In preparing their ceremony, I ask couples to tell me three things they love about one another, and if they want to, they can keep these a secret from each another, until I reveal them during their wedding ceremony. I really like doing this and love to see their reactions! 

Robin took this part very seriously indeed - I asked him to write just three things that he loves about Tara, and he gave me a page and a half! 

His words were eloquent and came straight from the heart, and when I read them out during the ceremony everyone was completely bowled over. Afterwards, Robin got a well-deserved round of applause!

Tara and Robin chose a poem called ‘I Will Be Here’ by Steven Curtis Chapman, which was beautifully read by Tara and Robin's friend Katy:

If in the morning when you wake,
If the sun does not appear,
I will be here.
If in the dark we lose sight of love,
Hold my hand and have no fear.
I will be here.

I will be here,
When you feel like being quiet,
When you need to speak your mind I will listen.
Through the winning, losing, and trying we’ll be together,
And I will be here.
If in the morning when you wake,
If the future is unclear,
I will be here.
As sure as seasons were made for change,
Our lifetimes were made for years,
I will be here.

I will be here,
And you can cry on my shoulder,
When the mirror tells us we’re older.
I will hold you, to watch you grow in beauty,
And tell you all the things you are to me.
We’ll be together and I will be here.
I will be true to the promises I’ve made,
To you and to the one who gave you to me.
I will be here.

I was delighted when Tara and Robin sent these great shots of their big day, by Chantal Lachance-Gibson Photography, and this note:
“We just wanted to say a huge thank you to you for the beautiful ceremony you gave at our wedding. We have had so many people telling us how wonderful it was and that they wished they themselves had had a humanist wedding! You managed to capture our story perfectly.”

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Vows of Commitment

The great thing about a Humanist ceremony is that you can write your own vows of commitment that reflect your personalities and your aspirations for the future. I will send you lots of examples of vows so you can choose wording that you like, or you can use these as inspiration to write your own.

There are different ways of saying your vows – it’s entirely up to you!

  • I could read them and you say “I do” 
  • You could repeat them after me, line by line
  • You could read them yourselves, or if you’re feeling confident you could memorise them 

If you want to include a traditional handfasting in your ceremony you might like to say your vows at the same time. By doing this you are binding yourselves together through your vows and in token of that bond, the handfasting ‘Ties the Knot’.

You might also choose to read a poem to one another to express your hopes and dreams for your marriage. 

Here's an example:

I cannot promise you a lifetime of sunshine
I cannot promise riches, wealth or gold
I cannot promise you an easy pathway
That leads away from change or growing old
But I can promise all my heart's devotion
A smile to chase away your tears of sorrow
A love that's ever true and ever growing
A hand to hold in yours through each tomorrow.

(Mark Twain)

Thursday, 21 November 2013

A Triumph for Equality

The Humanist Society Scotland has actively campaigned in support of the Bill to legalise same-sex marriage in Scotland.

Yesterday was a historic day as legislation to introduce same-sex marriage in Scotland was approved in principle by parliament. The Scottish government's Marriage and Civil Partnership Bill passed the first of three parliamentary hurdles by 98 votes to 15 with five abstentions. 

Follow the links below for more on this landmark event: 

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Lindsay and Eddie's Wedding at Duddingston Golf Club

Lindsay and Eddie first met at work, and bonded over a mutual love of comic books and Star Trek!  When I first met them we had such a good laugh I knew their wedding was going to be brilliant!

Lindsay was a stunning bride as she made her entrance with her dad Malcolm, accompanied by Eddie's friend Danny playing Pachelbel's Canon on classical guitar.

Lindsay and Eddie 'Tied The Knot' with a tartan ribbon from Lindsay's side of the family and a blue ribbon representing Eddie's Italian heritage. 

Lindsay's mum Pat read a beautiful excerpt from 'Captain Corelli's Mandolin' by Louis de Bernieres.

Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion………..That is just being ‘in love’, which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away…… roots that grow towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossom has fallen from your branches you find that you are one tree and not two.

At the end of the ceremony, we all enjoyed singing along to  'All You Need Is Love' by The Beatles, performed by Danny on guitar, Lindsay's brother Calum on ukulele and friends Tam and Kyle singing!

Thank you Lindsay and Eddie for these fantastic photos that perfectly capture your big day!

“Fiona, I just wanted to say thank you for marrying Eddie and I in September! You really made our day and everyone kept saying how lovely and also how intimate the ceremony was. I think everyone really felt a part of our big day and that's what we wanted.”

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

What's so special about a Humanist wedding?

Click on the video below for a sneak preview of a one-minute trailer for our new film, "What's So Special About A Humanist Wedding", which we'll be premiering at the prestigious Luxury Wedding Show to be held at The Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh on Sunday 19th January 2014!

  What's so special about a Humanist wedding? from Humanist Society Scotland on Vimeo.

It's also on the HSS facebook page: 

Anna and Shaun's Wedding at The Minto Hotel

The Minto Hotel, a traditional Georgian townhouse in Edinburgh provided the perfect backdrop for Anna and Shaun's wedding. The ceremony took place in the hotel's beautiful private garden with the sound of running water and a string quartet adding to the calm and elegant atmosphere.

Hey you two, I said calm and elegant!

Anna and Shaun told me that soon after they met they went on holiday together to Turkey, and while they were there, after having a couple of drinks one night they decided to get tattoos of each others names. This was something they did not tell their families......until I revealed it at the wedding that is!

Anna’s brother Martin, and Shaun’s brother Darren filled a Quaich with whisky to represent the joining of their two families. By drinking from the same cup, Anna and Shaun symbolised their commitment to share all that the future may bring.

Although by the look on Anna's face perhaps whisky wasn't the best choice of drink!

A marriage makes two fractional lives a whole; It gives two purposeless lives a work and doubles the strength of each to perform it. It gives two questioning natures a reason for living and something to live for. It will give new gladness to the sunshine, a new fragrance to the flowers, a new beauty to the earth and a new mystery to life.

(Mark Twain)

A big thank you to Anna and Shaun for sharing these terrific photos by by Kris at Soul Photography and for this note from Anna: 

"Hi Fiona. What we liked about the ceremony was that it was personal and appropriate to us. It was relaxed and fun. We liked how everyone laughed when the story about us getting the tattoos of each others names came out - as our families didn't know it was quite funny to come out in that way! Also drinking from the Quaich was great. It was nice to do something different and unique. I didn't enjoy the whisky at all but Shaun certainly did! We have had great comments from our friends and family saying how it was the best wedding ceremony they had ever been to. The ceremony really was outstanding thanks to you."

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Vikki and Colin's Wedding at Keavil House

Vikki and Colin were married on a lovely August day in the beautifully secluded Keavil House Hotel, Dunfermline.  

Their wedding ceremony was relaxed and fun and suited their personalities to a tee!

And now for the serious bit....

Love this photo of the happy couple with bridesmaid Lisa and best man Michael!

When the one whose hand you’re holding
Is the one who holds your heart,
When the one whose eyes you gaze into
Gives your hopes and dreams their start,
When the one you think of first and last
Is the one who holds you tight,
And the things you plan together
Make the whole world seem just right,
When the one whom you believe in
Puts their faith and trust in you,
You’ve found the one and only love
You’ll share your whole life through. 

Thank you Vikki and Colin for sending these great shots by photographer Tom Russell.

"Fiona, we would like to say thank you for all you did on our big day - it all went perfectly!"

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Amanda and David's Wedding at Ghillie Dhu

Amanda and David celebrated their marriage in style at this spectacular venue in Edinburgh’s West End. The beautifully restored auditorium boasts a vaulted ceiling, with chandeliers and candlelight creating a breathtaking atmosphere.

At the beginning of the ceremony, Amanda and David each lit a candle to symbolise their individual lives, and after they exchanged their vows they lit a third candle together to represent their joining in marriage.

Today I marry my friend,
The one I have laughed and cried with,
The one I have learned from and shared with,
The one I have chosen to support, encourage,
And give myself to, through all the days
Given us to share.
Today I marry the one I love.

(Bertrand Russell)

 Amanda and David share a passion for music, and their love of the same type of music was what ultimately brought them together.   

Amanda walked down the aisle to  'Something I Can Never Have' by Vitamin String Quartet. For the signing of the marriage schedule, they chose Samuel Barber's 'Adagio for Strings' and made their exit to 'Lux Aeterna' from the soundtrack to 'Requiem for a Dream'.

At the reception, the band 'Dead Eyes Opened' played three of their own songs plus covers of various songs from the 80's - opening with Billy Idol's 'White Wedding' of course!

Amanda and David, it was a pleasure to be part of your special day, and thank you for sharing these stunning photos by Karol Makula.

"Fiona, thank you again for conducting our ceremony - we got some brilliant feedback. What we liked about the ceremony was the relaxed, less formal nature of it and also because it was highly personal - those who may not have known 'our story' certainly got a better idea of this by the end of our ceremony."

Friday, 4 October 2013

Claire and Craig's Wedding at Dunsapie Loch

What a magnificent location for a marriage ceremony - on the banks of the picturesque Dunsapie Loch, nestled below Arthur's seat in Holyrood Park.  

Although Claire and Craig now live abroad, Edinburgh is a place that will remain close to their hearts as it was here that they first met. 

In true Scottish tradition it was raining for much of the ceremony, but nothing could dampen anyone's spirits that day!
Claire and Craig's ceremony had a distinctly international flavour. To represent Claire's heritage and the couple's international outlook on life, there were readings by friends and family in English, French, German and Irish.

Friend Marty brings some Irish humour to the proceedings!

Claire and Craig exchanged wedding rings and the vows they had written for one another.

They also 'Tied the Knot' with a traditional handfasting, using tartan ribbons representing both families. 

I can promise all my heart’s devotion;
A smile to chase away your tears of sorrow;
A love that’s ever true and ever growing;
A hand to hold in yours through each tomorrow.

Claire and Craig, thank you for sharing these lovely photos by photographer Paul Cowan.

"Fiona, thanks once again for helping to make our wedding special and full of many great memories."

Thursday, 19 September 2013

David and Rhona’s Wedding at DoubleTree Dunblane Hydro

David and Rhona chose to have their wedding at the stunning DoubleTree Dunblane Hydro for several reasons, but it was Rhona’s daughters Eilidh and Meghan who had the final say in choosing this venue - they fell in love with it instantly as they thought it looked like a castle. They certainly were princesses for the day!

The unique atmosphere of David and Rhona’s ceremony was instantly created when Rhona made her entrance to the beautiful ‘Darling I Do’ from ‘Shrek Forever After’, sung by her good friend Kirsty. 

Let's have a listen!

Kirsty also sang Adele's 'Make You Feel My Love’ during the ceremony and Emeli Sande's ‘Next To Me’ for David and Rhona’s exit.

David and Rhona had a handfasting as they exchanged their vows of commitment – a Celtic tradition where the expression ‘Tying The Knot’ is said to originate.

The ceremony was sincere, emotional, joyful and fun! For me, one of the highlights was when Eilidh and Meghan each read a poem, which was a complete surprise to David!

When Elmo isn't ticklish
And Pooh Bear hates honey
When Tigger stops bouncing
And Goofy isn't funny

When Peter Pan can't fly
And Simba never roars
When Alice in Wonderland
Can't fit through small doors

When Dumbo's ears are small
And "Happily Ever After" isn't true
That's when I'll stop
Loving you

What's Micky without Minnie?
What's Tigger without Pooh?
What's Donald without Daisy?
What's Me without You?

(author unknown)

Mum and David get married today
I'd like to help them on their way
So here's some special advice from me
To help them with our family

Keep our house filled with laughter
Let's have fun forever after
Keep the cupboard filled up with sweets
And give us girls lots of treats

Make sure you spend time together
To keep your happiness forever
Please spend lots of dosh on us
And then we won't make a fuss

But the most important thing for you
Is - show your love in all you do
Then however far Eilidh and I may roam
We know we'll always have a happy home

Thank you David and Rhona for sharing your fantastic photos, taken by friend Rachel Birch, and for this note: 

"Hi Fiona. Thank you so much for all you did on Saturday (and all the preparation beforehand!). Everyone has been telling us how much they enjoyed the ceremony and how lovely and natural you were in conducting it - comments we wholeheartedly agree with!

You were a complete star and we just loved how personal you made everything. Thank you too for all your help with the surprise poems by the girls!

Honestly Fiona - we just can't thank you enough. Your input made our ceremony so special."

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Planning Your Wedding

Getting engaged and planning your wedding is a very exciting time but organising such a big event can be quite daunting too. If you feel there’s too much to do, get family and friends involved and don’t shy away from delegation!

Happily, there are lots of wedding planning tools online to help make your life easier. If you’ve already started planning your wedding you will no doubt be familiar with ‘The Wedding Checklist’! Here are two examples:

I was pleased to see both of these lists suggest that you find your wedding celebrant as soon as possible in the process. My advice is to book your celebrant as soon as you have chosen your date and venue - you can then relax and concentrate on the details that will make your wedding day all the more special. 

But if you do find yourselves feeling stressed, take a step back and focus on why you decided to get married in the first place. After all, your wedding is one day - your marriage is forever.