Highland Humanist Weddings

Nikki & Matt’s Humanist Wedding on Achmelvich Beach, Assynt

November 4, 2014 | Author: admin | Filed under: Highland Humanist Wedding,Humanist Beach Wedding,Scottish Humanist Wedding

I was driving to Assynt, half-listening to the radio, when a particular wedding request caught my attention. Yes, the DJ had definitely mentioned Lochinver – could there be another beach wedding there on the same day as Matt and Nikki’s, in the middle of the week? And then he said their names, joking that their […]

Matt & Nikki

Matt & Nikki

I was driving to Assynt, half-listening to the radio, when a particular wedding request caught my attention. Yes, the DJ had definitely mentioned Lochinver – could there be another beach wedding there on the same day as Matt and Nikki’s, in the middle of the week? And then he said their names, joking that their combined surnames sounded like a breed of dog, and I laughed, knowing that Matt and Nikki wouldn’t mind because they love dogs! The DJ also advised having a supply of plastic macs for the guests, what with the weather we were having…

It was true. Recently, October had turned autumnal and we’d endured three days of unrelenting rain, and then wind and rain, so we’d be wise to make sure our plan B was a good one. And we did.  But on the Big Day, at about 7am, the rain stopped (up till then, I’d heard it pattering on the roof of my campervan every time I’d woken). By the time I got to the beach car park in Achmelvich, the sun had been out for a hours, the sky was blue, and the clouds were high enough to enhance the landscape instead of darkening it.

Matt and Nikki’s families and friends had come all the way from Hampshire and were staying for the week. Most of them had never been to the Highlands before, and I always hope the weather will clear for first time visitors, so they’ll see how magnificent and beautiful the landscape is. The main party was staying at Glencanisp Lodge, but Suilven was just a rumour – he hadn’t shown his face until then – but of course everyone’s even more appreciative when a clear day follows a few driech ones.

We walked down to the beach, everyone dressed for the cold. Dogs (some of them in fleece jackets) raced around, playing, digging holes, getting on well with one another. There was a wonderful array of boots, and hats as well, some of them hand-knitted. People played a bit of rugby, while others drew hearts and wrote good luck messages in the sand. I asked Matt where he and Nikki wanted us to stand, and made a few lines to mark the spot. And then we saw Nikki walking down to join us, so we gathered together informally, with the guests in a horseshoe shape facing the sea, and Nikki & Matt standing together in front of them, with me to one side. And their dog enthusiastically digging a hole!

For readings, Matt and Nikki chose two short extracts from a writer I like a lot, Edward Monkton. Kim read, ‘In that still and settled place there’s nobody but you, You’re where I breathe my oxygen, You’re where I see my view, And when the world feels full of noise, My heart knows what to do, It finds that still and settled place, And dances there with you. Beautiful. They also included Vivian Green’s ‘Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass…it’s about learning to dance in the rain,’ and said it’s the philosophy they try to live by.

We asked everyone to warm the wedding rings, passing them round so each guest could hold them while making a silent wish for Nikki and Matt – and what special rings they were! Nikki had designed and made Matt’s ring, and her own was made especially for her, to match her platinum ring. The beautiful little wooden box in which both rings were placed was made specially too, by one of the guests.

Another special moment was their ‘Three Things I Love’ (kept secret from one another until then), one of which was that Matt makes the best mashed potato ever and it’s Nikki’s favourite food! And then there were their promises, which they read to each other together before stating their vows and giving one another the rings: I love you with all my heart and I promise to be by your side always – to share the joy and laughter as well as the peace and companionship of being together. I will be there to support you through both the good times and the bad times. I will be your partner, your lover, your best friend and your soul mate. You are my whole world and with you I am complete.

For the end of their ceremony, Nikki and Matt chose a short but perfectly-formed reading from A.A Milne. Christopher Robin is saying goodbye to Pooh Bear: If ever there is tomorrow we’re not together…there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart… I’ll always be with you. Then we applauded the new husband and wife, and it was time for more games on the beach, and for prosecco and the Lochinver larder pies that Nikki and Matt had ordered for us – delicious! But the wind was getting up and it was cold, so everyone posed for a group photo before walking up the wet path and back to the car park.

What a wonderful occasion – a beautiful ceremony on a beautiful day! Good luck for the future, Matt and Nikki!

And here are some photos from my journey back to Ullapool through Assynt.

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