Highland Humanist Weddings

Adriaan & Jet’s Humanist Wedding in Clachan Church, Loch Broom

October 25, 2014 | Author: admin | Filed under: Highland Humanist Wedding,Scottish Humanist Wedding

For their wedding, Adriaan and Jet, together with many of their guests, had travelled from the Netherlands to Clachan, near Ullapool, where they’ve got close family connections and a strong affection for the local landscape. Having considered other venues, they’d chosen the local Church of Scotland building, which itswonderfully atmospheric, with its dark box pews, theatrical pulpit […]

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For their wedding, Adriaan and Jet, together with many of their guests, had travelled from the Netherlands to Clachan, near Ullapool, where they’ve got close family connections and a strong affection for the local landscape. Having considered other venues, they’d chosen the local Church of Scotland building, which itswonderfully atmospheric, with its dark box pews, theatrical pulpit and ambient lighting.

Adriaan, Jet and I had organised the script by Skype and email, with their friend Marijke, who was my co-celebrant. It was a brilliant experience working with her, not just because she’d scripted the ceremony so well, but also because her delivery was very warm and proficient. She spoke in Dutch, and I in English, never translating from one language to the other, but rather complementing each other’s contributions. To be honest, Marijke’s English is so good that she could have delivered the whole ceremony herself… but they needed someone authorised to solemnise a marriage in Scotland, and that’s where I came in.

We met at the Church the day before the wedding, to rehearse the choreography and get to know each other, and ensure the transitions from Dutch to English would go smoothly. We decided Marijke and I would stand side by side on the pulpit, and this worked well on the day.

And on the day the weather was good, the guests were in sparkling mood, and so was the Groom – then came the magical moment when the radiant Bride entered with her gorgeous young Bridesmaids. Marijke opened the proceedings by welcoming everyone, introducing us, and explaining what would be happening – and we began with the lighting of candles, partly in memory of Jet’s mum and a close friend’s husband, and partly to symbolise the blessings that family and friends wished for Jet and Adriaan’s future. It was very touching to see the young faces of Jet and Adriaan’s children, and their young cousins too, as they stood together and lit their candles one by one in the atmospheric dark of the church. Later, the children acted as their parents’ ring-bearers, giving them the rings and watching as they put them on, which was equally touching.

At Dutch weddings, the witnesses do much more than the witnesses at Scottish weddings, and there are two for the Bride and two for the Groom. Marijke suggested asking two witnesses to give Affirmations to the choice of Adriaan and Jet to marry one another, and asking two to witness the marriage schedule, which worked very well. Another difference between the two traditions is that family members and friends are invited to speak at the wedding ceremony,  and Marijke gave an amusing and heart-warming speech about Adriaan and Jet (which I enjoyed very much, although I didn’t understand the words).

There were many special moments in addition to the ones I’ve already mentioned, but these are most vivid in my memory: the wedding singer’s lovely performances of ‘Lucky’, ‘All of You’ and ‘Beautiful Day’; Jet and Adriaan saying their words of commitment to one another; their handfasting; their drinking to one another from the Quaich; their offering it to one another’s witnesses and parents, in the spirit of love and friendship.

Congratulations and all the best for the future, Adriaan and Jet! And a big thank-you to you and Marijke!

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