Highland Humanist Weddings

Chris & Mary’s Humanist Wedding at Pitcalzean House

March 11, 2011 | Author: admin | Filed under: Scottish Humanist Wedding

Still in the grip of winter, the Highlands might seem a grim place for a January wedding – especially for a couple who wanted to tie the knot outside. When I met Chris and Mary for a run-through the day before, it was a bright, calm day, with clear views of the Cromarty Firth and the […]

Still in the grip of winter, the Highlands might seem a grim place for a January wedding – especially for a couple who wanted to tie the knot outside. When I met Chris and Mary for a run-through the day before, it was a bright, calm day, with clear views of the Cromarty Firth and the Black Isle, but we discussed the indoor options anyway.

They were staying in Pitcalzean House, East Ross-shire, with their close family and friends. They’d all travelled from the south of England and from Edinburgh, and were still arriving, and there was an atmosphere of merriment and excitement – not just amongst the children. Festive things were being unpacked and prepared, and there were shushings as we approached the kitchen, and hasty rustlings of paper as secret things were hidden away.

When we’d first made contact many months before, Mary had told me about Abbey, Chris’s 10-year-old daughter from a previous relationship. ‘She’s been asking her Daddy to ask me to marry him since the first time we went on holiday together when she was six, so I’m quite comfortable she’s happy!’ Isn’t that lovely? It’s great when the adults in children’s lives have such good relationships with them, even when there are complexities and problems behind the scenes. On their wedding day, Chris and Mary wanted Abbey to feel important, and they wanted her to know she was an essential part of their new family unit, so when we’d first met we’d discussed this.

It had rained a lot in the night, but  the sun was out by the time I parked at the top of the drive, and the lawn wasn’t too soggy for wedding shoes. Mary was late – 45 minutes late –  I’m sure it was because she helped everyone else before she got ready herself, because that’s what she’s like. When I told Chris how stunning she looked, he started to cry, and that set his mother off, and Mary’s mother, and I don’t know who else – and this was before the Bride had even arrived!

As well as being a Bridesmaid, leading the Bridal party across the lawn to the circle in which we stood, Abbey was in charge of circulating the rings for the wedding band warming, and she performed both roles very seriously and well. Also, she knew I was going to ask her if she’d affirm her daddy’s choice to spend the rest of his life with Mary, and she listened and said yes. What a joy the whole occasion was! Everyone loves being with a bride and groom who are so happy in each other’s love and friendship, and it’s extra special when they share such love and warmth with their family and friends.

After the ceremony and the signing, I enjoyed a chat with Chris’s dad, who’s a Minister in Edinburgh. Some church folk assume humanists are anti-religious, but he’s not one of them, and it was great to talk to him and his wife about all sorts of things, including education. There are open-minded people of all faiths and none – this shouldn’t be a surprise! I like this photo of the Minister taking on the important responsibility of posting the schedule through the Registrar’s letter box:

posting schedule

Afterwards, Mary & Chris wrote to say, ‘Meeting Penelope was fabulous as she listened to what our marriage meant to us & what we wanted for us and our family & friends during the ceremony, rather than prescribing it to us. Penelope took into account that our family and friends come from different backgrounds with different faiths, no faiths, beliefs and sexualities to ensure everyone felt included and could enjoy our special day with us with no barriers or feelings of exclusion.  A big thank you to Penelope and the Humanist Society as a whole!’
And thank you, Mary, Chris & Abbey – I loved every minute of your Big Day!
http://www.pitcalzeanhouse.co.uk/location.asp

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