Tuesday, 16 December 2014

First day of the new marriage law in Scotland

The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act 2014 came into effect today and this means that any couple of the same sex can either convert their civil partnership to a marriage or they can give the requisite 15 days notice of intention to get married. The first ceremonies will take place on 31st December this year.

I was delighted to be asked to be Stacey's and Georgie's celebrant for their marriage ceremony on the 31st December and I met them this morning at the registrar's office in Leith to submit their Marriage Notices!

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Cathy and Callum's Wedding at The Georgian House

Callum and Cathy knew that planning their wedding would be fun and relaxed. They wanted to make sure it really reflected who they are with films, music, food, wine and style. They are both unique people who like what they like and don't bother about what others think! 

I adore The Georgian House in Charlotte Square - a Robert Adam masterpiece and the perfect setting for an intimate and sophisticated wedding. The house has been magnificently restored to show a typical Edinburgh New Town House with a fine collection of period furniture and ornaments.

Cathy and Callum had a great story to tell and I enjoyed sharing it - there wasn't a dry eye in the room!

“Marriage means safety. It means that, like the Tim Minchin song, wherever you are and whatever you face, these are the people who'll make you feel safe in this world."

Callum proposed to Cathy in New York, one  of Cathy’s favourite places in the world. They were in Char No.4, a restaurant in Brooklyn that Cathy had booked months in advance, on the recommendation (not personal) of Adam Richman from Man v Food. It was also Callum's birthday.

They were sitting at the bar drinking cocktails when Callum got down on one knee. Cathy had no idea it was coming at that precise moment and she immediately burst into tears. Callum doesn't really remember what he said and it was all a bit of a blur, but he remembers her saying “yes” and everyone in the restaurant cheering and being brought the Champagne he had sneakily ordered earlier. Cathy was told “let the tears flow!” by an enthusiastic New Yorker!

Callum's friend Stephen reads the lyrics from  ‘House Where Nobody Lives’ by Tom Waits.

Thank you, Cathy and Callum for sharing your wonderful wedding photos, taken by friend Jillian Paton.

"Fiona, thanks again for all your efforts in the build up and on the day itself. You did a fantastic job and were a huge part of an amazing day."

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Date set for first Same Sex Marriages

I'm delighted to see that the first Same Sex Marriages in Scotland are set to take place from 31st December. 

See the following links for the full story and Scottish Government video featuring our very own HSS celebrant Ross Wright!


Sunday, 7 September 2014

Michelle and Ian's Wedding at Lochhouses Farm, Tyninghame

Michelle and Ian's wedding took place in May on a stunning beach in Tyninghame near Dunbar. The relaxed 'holiday' feeling of the wedding was perfect for this laid-back couple.

They kicked off their shoes and joined their families and friends for a weekend of celebrations, staying in the Safari Tents on Lochhouses Farm, right next to the beach. 

The melody of the pipes floated across the sand dunes, adding to the sound of the crashing waves as Michelle made her entrance with her dad, Michael and Bridesmaids Amanda and Lisa. 

Michelle and Ian's ceremony was unique and very personal, with every detail reflecting their personalities.

On this day,
I give you my heart,
My promise,
That I will walk with you,
Hand in hand,
Wherever our journey leads us,
Supporting each other,

And now, Mr and Mrs McIntosh, it's time to celebrate! Back to the fabulous marquee for drinks, nibbles and a wee heat!

I would like to thank Michelle and Ian for a memorable afternoon on the beach, and for sharing their lovely photos, taken by photographer Peter Sandground.

"Fiona, we just wanted to drop you a quick message to say a massive thank you for the ceremony on Saturday! Everyone has been raving about it and we couldn't have dreamed for a better celebrant."

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Ross and Julia's Wedding at The Caves

Ross and Julia's wedding took place in The Caves in the heart of Edinburgh's Old Town. 

I am always delighted when I am asked to conduct a ceremony here as the vaults that lie beneath the South Bridge, which were lost for over 100 years, provide an atmospheric, historic and truly unique setting for a marriage ceremony.

Julia and Ross are both from Scotland originally, but now live in Vancouver. And so their first reading, 'Apache Blessing', was a fitting choice from their adopted continent.

Now you will feel no rain,
for each of you will be shelter for the other.
Now you will feel no cold,
for each of you will be warmth to the other.
Now there will be no loneliness,
for each of you will be companion to the other.
Now you are two persons,
but there is only one life before you.
May beauty surround you both in the journey ahead
and through all the years,
May happiness be your companion
and your days together be good and long upon the earth.

Treat yourselves and each other with respect,
and remind yourselves often of what brought you together.
Give the highest priority to the tenderness,
gentleness and kindness that your connection deserves.
When frustration, difficulties and fear
assail your relationship,
as they threaten all relationships at one time or another,
remember to focus on what is right between you,
not only the part which seems wrong.
In this way, you can ride out the storms
when clouds hide the face of the sun in your lives
remembering that even if you lose sight of it,
for a moment the sun is still there.
And if each of you takes responsibility
for the quality of your life together,
it will be marked by abundance and delight.

Their second reading, the charming 'A Lovely Love Story’ by Edward Monkton was chosen because when they first read it, it reminded them of each other!

One of the unique features of Julia and Ross's wedding was the Steel Drum Band playing on the balcony overlooking the main vault where the ceremony took place. It really is possible to bring some Caribbean sunshine into the candlelit Caves on a cold December day!

A big thank you to Julia and Ross for sharing these shots taken by their very talented brother-in-law Will Patterson at Luco Photography.
“ Fiona - a massive thanks for doing such an amazing job of the ceremony and helping to make our day so special. We have had so many comments about how much people enjoyed it. Even our parents, who had never been to a Humanist ceremony before said how much they loved it and how personal it was. You also made the run up to the wedding very easy for us, especially planning from afar in such a short space of time!"

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Elspeth and Cameron's Wedding at Carberry Tower

The magnificent Carberry Tower was swathed in rich autumnal colours on Elspeth and Cameron’s wedding day in early November. 

The couple, who are both passionate about nature and the outdoors, had their ceremony in the Ceilidh Hall overlooking the grounds with the autumnal styling of fruit, flowers and leaves creating a spectacular backdrop. 

Harp music complemented the tranquil atmosphere of the occasion.

For Elspeth and Cameron, marriage is about sharing life’s adventures with your best friend and building a home together. Knowing the person you love will always be with you for the rest of your lives; to laugh with you during the happy times and support you when times are hard. Marriage is the greatest form of commitment and a special bond only two people in love can share.

Sara and Louise shared a moving passage from ‘The Velveteen Rabbit’ by Margery Williams:

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but Really loves you, then you become Real."

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get all loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

"I suppose you are real?" said the Rabbit. And he wished he had not said it, for he thought the Skin Horse might be sensitive.

But the Skin Horse only smiled.

"Someone made me Real," he said. "That was a great many years ago; but once you are Real you can't become unreal again. It lasts for always."

A big thank you to Elspeth and Cameron for sharing these stunning shots by Blue Sky Photography. Congratulations and best wishes for the future!

“Fiona, just want to say how lovely the ceremony was and it couldn't have gone better or been more appropriate and certainly was a reflection on who we are. We had a lot of complements from the guests who said it was one of the nicest ceremonies they had been to and it felt very personal. It was great to have you as part of our team!”

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Aileen and Andrew's Wedding at Kirknewton Stables

Aileen and Andrew chose Kirknewton Stables as the venue for their marriage ceremony because they loved the gardens and the light, airy indoor space, and wanted a relaxed and intimate atmosphere for their closest family and friends.

The relaxed ambience of the setting was complemented perfectly by guitarist, Cameron Murray, playing 'Edelweiss', 'Mo Ghile Mear', 'Inisheer Air' and 'Wonderful World'.

Friends and family got involved in the ceremony with Andrew’s friend Paul giving a surprise reading, and Fiona - Aileen’s sister and Bridesmaid - sharing these lovely words by Victor Hugo:

You can give without loving, but you can never love without giving. The great acts of love are done by those who are habitually performing small acts of kindness. We pardon to the extent that we love. Love is knowing that even when you are alone, you will never be lonely again. The great happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved. Loved for ourselves, and even loved in spite of ourselves.

Aileen and Andrew, many thanks for sharing your beautiful wedding photos, taken by photographer Nadin Dunnigan.

“Fiona, we just wanted to send our thanks to you for helping us make our wedding day so special. Everything went exactly as we had hoped and so many of our family and friends commented on what a lovely ceremony it was! Thank you for all your help along the way.”

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Cara and Scott's Wedding at Orocco Pier

Orocco Pier is a stylish venue in the heart of South Queensferry, with superb views of the iconic Forth Bridge. Cara and Scott chose to get married here as Scott lived in South Queensferry as a child and even went to nursery in the hall opposite! Also, with Cara being a near Northumbrian neighbour and spending many childhood holidays over the border, it seemed the perfect choice for them both.

Cara and Scott wanted everyone to get involved and enjoy their wedding ceremony. And it certainly was fun - we all sang along to ‘Your Song’ by Elton John and ‘Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher’ by Jackie Wilson!

There were also two lovely readings by family members - Cara's mum Ellie read ‘What is Love’ by Susan Polis-Schutz, and Scott’s sister Laura read 'A Red, Red Rose' by Robert Burns.

Cara and Scott had a traditional Handfasting while they exchanged their vows, and chose ribbons in two symbolic colours - red to symbolise the flag of Northumberland, the county where Cara grew up and still feels a strong connection to, and blue representing Scott’s homeland in the form of the Saltire. These colours also remind them of the setting for their marriage with the blue of the water and the red of the Forth Bridge joining together to create something truly special.

Cara, I join my life with yours today
Without hesitation and with an open and trusting heart
Whatever we may encounter
Let us encounter it together
Take this ring and with it my commitment
To be the best husband I can be

Mr and Mrs Somerville - thank you for sharing these great shots by Karolina Kotkiewicz.  

Congratulations and good wishes to both of you!


Friday, 11 April 2014

Sharon and Stuart's Wedding at Edinburgh City Chambers

Sharon and Stuart's ceremony took place in the European Room at the City Chambers - a beautiful location, full of character and steeped in history.

They chose a Humanist ceremony to reflect who they are as people and how they live their lives together, allowing them the freedom to express their feelings towards each other in their own words and highlight what is important to them in the presence of their friends and family. 

Stuart proposed to Sharon at the top of the Scott Monument - or as he calls it “the big pointy thing”! It was very romantic and Stuart took a bottle of champagne. Going up the winding steps, however, was a hard slog, and they were stopped by Japanese tourists who wanted them both in their photos. And of course, getting back down after the champagne was interesting......!

Sharon and Stuart both love going to see live music gigs – even though this means Sharon has to tolerate all of Stuart’s 80’s bands! Sharon walked down the aisle to 'The Book of Love' by Peter Gabriel and the happy couple made their exit to 'Ho Hey' by The Lumineers.

From this day forward.

May the road rise to meet you

May the wind be always at your back

May the warm rays of sun fall upon your home

And may the hand of a friend always be near.

May green be the grass you walk on,

May blue be the skies above you,

May pure be the joys that surround you,

May true be the hearts that love you.
(Traditional Irish Blessing)

Congratulations Sharon and Stuart, and thank you for sharing these great shots by Amanda Mackinnon.

"Thank you Fiona for helping to make our big day extra special".

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Clare and Gavin's Wedding at The Royal Botanic Garden

The Botanics are a lovely part of Edinburgh and as Gavin and Clare were keen to get married outside, it was the perfect location. The gardens are beautiful and the giant redwoods that we were standing under during the ceremony were a little reminder of the good times Clare and Gavin had while living in Canada.


Clare and Gavin exchanged wedding rings during the ceremony, but before they did so, they passed the rings among their families and friends, each holding the rings briefly and offering a silent thought or well wishing for the marriage.

One of the readings chosen by Clare and Gavin reflected their love of Canada and the great outdoors - a Native American Wedding Blessing, read by Gavin’s friend Kevin.

May the sun

Bring you energy by day.

May the moon

Softly restore you by night.

May the rain

Wash away your worries,

And the breeze

Blow new strength into your being.

And all of the days of your lives

May you walk gently through the world

And know its beauty.

 Fiona played the violin beautifully in the rain!

Many thanks to Clare and Gavin for sharing these lovely photos by photographer George Lammie.

"Fiona, thanks very much for all your help on the day and sorry for making you stand out in the rain! We had a fantastic time and were so pleased that we did manage to squeeze in the ceremony outside between the showers, it was exactly as we had hoped. Thanks for guiding us through the process and helping us put the ceremony together as we wanted."