An amazing day with Ashton and David


I first met Ashton 10 years ago when my daughter moved into her halls of residence. I’m sure I met him that day but the two of them have remained the very best of friends (she is one of the groom maids, if that’s a word) and Ashton and I have bumped into each other on numerous occasions, including, most recently, seeing Annie Lennox (we are both her biggest fans). But it was about three years earlier, on the 19th December 2016 that I received a message from Ashton asking if I might be able to marry him and David. It took me all of two seconds to say “yes”, mainly because I was utterly speechless. What an honour. Between then and their wedding day we have met many times and used a few of them to plan their wonderful ceremony at one of my favourite venues, The Cottiers in Glasgow. The Cottiers is one of the most theatrical venues in the city and ideally suited to the marriage of the ex-President of the university Musical Theatre Society.

I guess you’ve already worked out that the ceremony was something special. We laughed and we cried, well David did, had some wonderful readings, a Hand Fasting, we shared a Quaich, Hannah sang beautifully and it was just the most emotional day imaginable. Their story was like a fairytale. It was really love at first sight, David admitted in his homework that, “from that first moment I knew he was right for me.” This photo from the ceremony captures the moment when I talked about their first date quoting from Ashton’s homework, “he arrived at my flat with a bottle of wine and a monkey onesie under his clothes, and we watched Death Becomes Her”

When David admitted that Death Becomes Her was his second favourite musical-in-a-movie after Beaches they both knew that that was the moment.

Let me finish with a reading from a book that captures a generation, that pre-dates Harry Potter, The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman. It was read by Justine and she absolutely nailed it:

I will love you forever; whatever happens. Till I die and after I die, and when I find my way out of the land of the dead, I’ll drift about forever, all my atoms, till I find you again… I’ll be looking for you, every moment, every single moment. And when we do find each other again, we’ll cling together so tight that nothing and no one’ll ever tear us apart. Every atom of me and every atom of you… We’ll live in birds and flowers and dragonflies and pine trees and in clouds and in those little specks of light you see floating in sunbeams… And when they use our atoms to make new lives, they won’t just be able to take one, they’ll have to take two, one of you and one of me.

Ashton and David sent me a note:

There was no other option for us for who should officiate on our wedding day (and not just because Brian’s daughter is one of our closest friends!) – Brian was organised, super helpful and full of great tips to help us make our ceremony meaningful. He was fantastic at keeping our guests informed as to what was happening during the ceremony itself and wove our personal stories together to create what really was an unforgettable celebration.

To Inverurie with Hayley and Ben


What a day, what a crowd! So, it was to the north, to Aberdeenshire, to the fabulous Logie Country House Hotel. It has been many years since I have conducted a wedding here and it was way outside my “usual range” before I moved to Highland Perthshire. But even from there it is a fair distance and therefore a great excuse for a weekend away.

When I arrived the family were all there, congregating in the kitchen from what I could work out. Logie is one of these venues where you hire the whole place and basically have a huge house party with a wedding in the middle. The ceremony itself is held in what would have been the stables, a very large space so they must have had loads of horses at some point. As I walked into the room for the ceremony I realised that is was going to be a big wedding, well over a hundred people from my estimate and already the kids were running about, in and out of the chairs. Everyone was up for a good time and, to be honest, the ceremony was a bit of a riot. A nice riot.

We began with a new reading to me from Sex and The City read by Natalie:

His hello was the end of her endings
Her laugh was their first step down the aisle
His hand would be hers to hold forever
His forever was as simple as her smile

He said she was what was missing
She said instantly she knew
She was a question to be answered
And his answer was ‘I do’.”

Their story was one of those “it was always meant to be” stories from Ben declaring his undying love for Hayley at the Christmas party when he hadn’t even asked her out (needless to say drink had been taken) to his wonderful, completely unexpected proposal in Monterey in California when Hayley’s reply was to laugh hysterically for thirty seconds – not exactly the response he was looking for. That proposal took place precisely two years before this, their big day. And talking about unexpected, we all met their “massive baby” Sonny, the star of the show really.

They wrote and shared their promises to each other and there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. We shared a Quaich and filled it with gin and tonic of course, stood to applaud their exit and the party began.

The two of them were good enough to drop me a note afterwards:

“The ceremony is the most important part of your day so trying to make it feel special and truly your own can be daunting. Brian was amazing from start to finish! Creating a ceremony that was unique and personal to us felt easy with his guidance and expertise. He really is a seasoned professional! I loved how Brian made an effort to involve our guests in the ceremony and so many commented on how memorable it was. If you are looking for a humanist that will give you a relaxed, fun, joyful and laughter filled ceremony that still feels unbelievably special then Brian is your man.
Thanks again Brian, you really did make our day.”

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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