Highland Humanist Weddings

Jill & Michael’s Humanist Wedding at Achnagairn House

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

Jill and Michael were at Uni together. In fact, in their first year they lived in the same Halls – and they saw each other on their first day, when two sets of slightly worried parents dropped their ‘children’ off at those rather squalid Halls. I loved the story they related, which included this unforgettable […]

Brand new Mr & Mrs!

Brand new Mr & Mrs!

Jill and Michael were at Uni together. In fact, in their first year they lived in the same Halls – and they saw each other on their first day, when two sets of slightly worried parents dropped their ‘children’ off at those rather squalid Halls. I loved the story they related, which included this unforgettable paragraph: Jill next saw Michael a few days later, on the evening of his 19th birthday, and the image will stick with her for life: she saw a figure dressed in a child’s Spongebob Squarepants t-shirt, with beer being poured through a funnel into his mouth (and all down his front), and a mop of shaggy teenage boy hair – yes, an unforgettable impression was made! Despite this, though, a friendship slowly formed, and eventually, a few years later, friendship turned into ‘something more’.

I also loved the reading by James from ‘A Natural History of Love’ by Diane Ackerman: What a small word we use for an idea so immense and powerful… It has altered the flow of history, calmed monsters, kindled works of art, cheered the forlorn, turned tough guys to mush, consoled the enslaved, driven strong women mad, glorified the humble, fuelled national scandals, bankrupted robber barons, and made mincemeat of kings… How can love’s spaciousness be conveyed in the narrow confines of one syllable? Love is an ancient delirium, a desire older than civilization, with taproots stretching deep into dark and mysterious days… The heart is a living museum. In each of its galleries, no matter how narrow or dimly lit, preserved forever like wondrous diatoms, are our moments of loving and being loved.

As for the second reading, I knew it already and was very glad that between them they’d chosen it and Hannah was their reader. It’s by a Native American thinker with the wonderful name of Oriah Mountain Dreamer, and it’s too long to reproduce here, but it begins: It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living – I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing. It doesn’t interest me how old you are – I want to know if you will risk looking a fool for love, for your dreams, for the adventure of being alive.

Another special moment was when Michael and Jill hand fasted – or ‘tied the knot’. This is an ancient tradition practised in a variety of cultures around the world, and in Scotland the derivation of the word handfasting lies in the Old Norse, meaning striking a bargain or making a vow. For centuries, before church and state decided marriage must be sanctified, if a couple stated their mutual commitment while handfasted, this was accepted as marriage by their community – in fact it was only in 1939 that the formal legitimacy of handfasting ceased to be recognised in Scotland! Nowadays it’s still a powerful symbol of the binding of two hearts and minds, and of the linking of the couple’s families through their marriage.

Soon, Jill and Michael were stating their vows and giving one another wedding rings, and Sophie was playing another beautiful piece on the clarsach while we signed and witnessed the marriage schedule and Jill and Michael lit their marriage candle (using tapers to take the flames from their individual candles to light the third one together).

We ended the ceremony with everyone standing to recite a well-wishing together, then the Bridal Party was piped out and the celebrations began… But before that Michael and Jill drank to one another from a Quaich. Why? Well, as I said to their guests, this is the story associated with marriage: The years of our lives are as a cup of whisky poured out for us to drink. The cup of life contains within it the sweetness of happiness, joy, hope and delight. This same cup, at times, holds the bitterness of sorrow, grief and despair. Those who drink deeply of life invite the full range of experiences into their being. As you drink from this cup, you acknowledge to one another that your lives, until this moment separate, have become one vessel into which all your sorrows and joys, all your hopes and fears, will be poured, and from which you will receive mutual sustenance. May the cup of your lives be full to running over! And many days may you sit at the same table and eat and drink together. 

And I’ll say it again: Michael & Jill, may the cup of your lives be full to running over!

No comments as yet.

Anonymous - Gravatar

No comments have yet been made to this posting.

Leave A Comment

All fields marked with "*" are required.