A Very French Ocassion with Jennifer and Louis


This is my new home – Perthshire. On the left is Schiehallion and on the right is Loch Tummel taken from the door of our venue for today Craiganour Lodge where it was Jennifer and Louis’s big day. It was Wendy from Utopia Scotland who got touch with me to help Jennifer and Louis from France have their dream wedding in Scotland.The two of them proved to be great fun and we had quite a giggle over Skype as we put they ceremony together, mainly laughing at my appalling French.

Craganour Lodge is one of many highland lodges scattered around this part of the country. Usually part of a large estate they are used chiefly for hunting and fishing parties. But they are not used all the time and they do make the most amazing intimate wedding venue.

As you can see the venue dictates a much more relaxed and informal approach to a wedding especially when you consider that there were only a dozen or so guests. The ceremony itself was a blend of Scottish and French. We shared two delicious poems in French, read by their best friends, we had a Hand Fasting and the Louis cried and sobbed his way through his beautiful French promises. I will share Jennie’s with you here:

“Je te promets de t’aimer, de veiller sur toi et de t’offrir chaque jour le meilleur de moi-même. Je te promets de t’offrir ce quotidien créatif et amoureux dont on rêve ensemble et de continuer à vivre et à voyager de façon imprévisible. Je te promets de continuer à te surprendre comme tu aimes si bien, parce que ton bonheur est important pour moi.”

The star of the show and of course my new best friend was Jennie’s gorgeous daughter Valentine, a little charmer. It was difficult to say goodbye after such an emotional day. To be honest, I still miss them all.

Olivia and Ryan – The Wedding Of The Year


From my new base in Highland Perthshire I can tell already that I am going to be working with some amazing people at some amazing venues. Big call out to Emma @timelesswhite for organising this amazing extravaganza.

The bride and groom’s photo shoot was before the ceremony

Olivia and Ryan both came from the USA and they lived in Chicago so all of the preparation was done via Skype and email. As I arrived at the amazing Inverlochy Castle I could see them in one of the fields with the Craig and Eva getting their photos done. Photos before the ceremony? All will become clear.

To say that Ryan loves Scotland would be an understatement, he owns three kilts, which is two more than me, though obviously he only wears one at a time. At Olivia’s insistence, sorry suggestion, the wedding ceremony was to be held outside at sunset in November – in Scotland! Was she mad?

No. she was just incredibly lucky.

The ceremony was beautiful if a bit chilly around the knees. We shared a Quiche including the grooms superb choice of whisky but the best bit in the whole ceremony was a gag played on Ryan by Olivia. It is so American that I don’t really understand it but all the guests fell out of their seats laughing, so it went well. Anyway, Olivia had Ryan’s ring made especially with gem stones inside the band and she chose the gemstones to symbolise key aspects of Ryan’s life and their marriage. I introduced it innocently as follows: “On the inside it has four sets of gemstones: The first is a sapphire surrounded by two peridots (her birthstone surrounded by his birthstone) to symbolize his love surrounding her, then a peridot surrounded by two sapphires to symbolize her love surrounding him , then a diamond surrounded by two sapphires to symbolize Scotland and this amazing wedding day and finally, a burnt orange stone set beside a maroon ruby to symbolize the combining of your alma matters into one household as you begin your marriage ” The joke was that burnt orange is the colour of Olivia’s school her alma matar, a rival to Ryan’s and he HATES and I mean HATES it and all that it symbolises. And that’s true, as I read this out I thought he was going to have a stroke! I got a standing ovation when I said “only joking” – it’s all in the timing.

Emma and I had decided that not would be far too cold to sign the paperwork outside so we retired to the dining room to sign the schedule.

An amazing day with an amazing couple and their families, just joyful.

Katie and Craig at Comrie Croft


You may have noticed that I haven’t posted anything for ages. That’s because in May I moved right to the other end of the country, to Aberfeldy. I thought this would be an appropriate post to begin my new life as this is going to be one of my local venues from now on – the glorious Comrie Croft.

©Fraser Stewart

Family and friends had joined them from all over the world because the two of them had travelled when they first met and had spent time in Asia and Australia, proving their love for one another touring the latter in a camper van. As I said during the ceremony “if that isn’t true love I don’t know what is”.

©Fraser Stewart

The sun shone and we had a right laugh as you can see. I suspect that the party afterwards would have been a complete riot. We had a Hand Fasting and we shared a Quaich but I must admit that the highlight was a reading that I hadn’t heard before (as a reading) and Holly, who read it, completely nailed Leonard Cohen’s Dance Me To The End Of Love. I share only two verses here – go look it up:

Dance me to the wedding now,
dance me on and on Dance me very tenderly and dance me very long
We’re both of us beneath our love, we’re both of us above
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the end of love

Dance me to the children who are asking to be born
Dance me through the curtains that our kisses have outworn
Raise a tent of shelter now, though every thread is torn
Dance me to the end of love

We cheered and clapped the happy couple.

©Fraser Stewart

A Very Aussie Occasion at Bachilton Barn


I do find it strange when the first time you meet a couple is at their wedding but sometimes it’s just not possible to meet-up beforehand so everything is planned over Skype. As Catriona and Hok live on The Gold Coast in Australia there were many Skype calls and many emails as we put their ceremony together. But the day arrived and I scuttled down the road to Bachilton Barn on a slightly breezy day, as you can see. I arrived early secure in the knowledge that I would recognise Catriona (the one in the fancy white dress!) but Hok? Fortunately he dashed across and introduced himself and then all his groomsmen.

The ceremony was outside and we survived the wind but I do remember that keeping Catriona’s veil secure was a challenge. We even had a song and all sang Stand By Me, which was great. Their stories were hilarious but the best bit was when they read their promises to each other. Promises that they had kept secret until that moment. Not a dry eye in the house.

To end Lisa came forward and read the delightful Realistic Wedding Poem:

Marriage is a journey, and not just a destination
That goes far beyond this wedding, this public celebration.
This is just the beginning of a path we’ll travel together
With obstacles to overcome, and possible storms to weather.

One day we’ll sit side by side, hands withered and bent
Thinking back over the years, the good times we have spent.
We’ll remember the laughs. We’ll recall special places
And look far beyond the greyed hair and softly lined faces.

So let’s take it all in and cherish each day
No matter what happens, no matter what’s thrown our way.
We’re both realistic. Every day won’t be a dream
But we’re in this together, because we make a cracking team!

A Wedding On The Beach with Craig and Lisa


 

One shouldn’t laugh but it is amazing how often it is the groom that breaks down during the important bits in the ceremony.

I had not conducted a wedding at the Glen Golf Club, I had played golf there so I was a bit confused as to where the ceremony might be held. Imagine my surprise when I arrived to find the seats set up on the sandy beach opposite the clubhouse. They were so lucky. It was a lovely day, a bit breezy so not easy projecting into the wind but even in September in Scotland, it could rain.

Theirs was a lovely story of slowly falling love having met at work. The trigger to the romance was an email sent to Lisa from Craig. I think he may have been drinking because this is the email as I read it out at the ceremony:

Sat 25/03/2006 02:18 To: xxxxxxhtwin@hotmail.com

yo u im a buit pssed but i have to confesss i like u. i tthink u r really nicd and was wondetrin if ud be up 4 goin 4 a dink sometime. txt me 077xxx9960

thik thats t. cya late xxxxx

Lisa’s replied by text to the number and Craig replied: “who is this?”. Lisa was more than a bit upset but they did meet up for a date and so the romance was born.

So, we laughed, Craig cried, we hugged, Craig’s nephew entertained us on the guitar and a great time was had.

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Yes, It Is Glamis Castle! Maxine and Tracy’s Big Day


What an absolute delight! It was a truly gorgeous, wonderful day when Tracy and Maxine got married at one of the most beautiful venues in Scotland. The two of them were great fun to work with, we had an absolute ball.

Their ceremony was in the tiny basement that only holds around 50 people so intimate was the word for it and their friends and family were very much a part of their big day. Tracy’s brother Mark began proceedings with a reading by Mark Twain:

‘A Marriage’

This will be the mightiest day in the history of our lives,
For it makes of two fractional lives a whole,
It gives to two purposeless lives a work,
And doubles the strength of each to perform it.
It gives to two questioning natures a reason for living,
And something to live for;
It will give a new gladness to the sunshine,
A new fragrance to the flowers,
A new beauty to the earth,
And a new mystery to life.

Their ceremony was hilarious with more puns per line than I ever thought possible. They then presented their respective mothers-in-law to-be with flowers before exchanging their pledges to one another. There honestly wasn’t a dry eye in the room and I have to share them with you all:

Maxine:

“The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows,
But you can be my wingman anytime.
When I first saw your face, I thought the sun rose in your eyes.
I knew I’d found that somewhere, over the rainbow,
Where blue birds fly and dreams really do come true.
No measure of time with you would be long enough,
But let’s start with forever.
Come what may, I will love you until my dying day.”

Tracy:

“To me you are perfect.
I felt it early on, this was the beginning of something special.
I’ll always remember that text you sent.
“I like your fire, but keep a handle on those flames,” it read.
You know I have a tendency to get over excited.
But you were my destiny and I felt the force.
I love you more than I have ever found a way to say.
I love you, and that’s the beginning and end of everything.”

Aren’t they wonderful? Oh, you may wonder what Tracy is doing with a cardboard cutout Elvis. Well, theirs was an Elvis themed reception so the King had to appear at the castle as well, didn’t he?

Thanks for the message Maxine and Tracy, “Working with Brian was so easy, his guidance in helping us to create our perfect ceremony was invaluable and as a result, we ended up with something very personal and unique to us. All the guests commented on how lovely and intimate the ceremony was, some even said it was the best wedding ceremony they had ever attended which meant so much to us. Brian’s warmth, fun, and easy going nature made us feel so relaxed on the day and the nerves soon went – we enjoyed every moment of it and our only wish is that we could do it all over again!”

With Ann and John in Glasgow


CHP-327

 

 

It does make a change for me to conduct a wedding at a city centre hotel, so frequently am I out driving through the countryside searching for a castle in the mist. The Blytheswood Square Hotel is very grand and a wedding there is always special. I managed to park, there never seems to be a problem at the weekend, got organised, rehearsed the Band Warming where we pass the couple’s rings around their guests and then John and I waited patiently for the lovely Ann to arrive.

 

Theirs was a classic wedding ceremony and we began, as I said, with a Band Warming. There were three readings and they asked me to deliver one of them, which I am always delighted to do and then they opted for a Hand Fasting as they exchanged their vows. Very Scottish.

I will leave you with the hilarious poem that young Luke read out and that had everyone in stitches:

I promise to love you

When your jokes are not funny

I promise to love you

When you have no money

 

I promise to love you

When you’re sick and all snotty

I promise to love you

When you’re angry and grotty

 

I promise to love you

When you’re drunk and unruly

I promise to love you 

When you’re hung over and drooly

 

And I promise to love you

When you drive me round the bend 

I promise to love you

Because you are my best friend

 

What a superstar!