The weather could have been better but the venue was still splendid. Set in the rolling hills of the Scottish Borders, The Cornhill House Hotel is modelled on a French chateau and obviously very popular with the locals. Nick’s family were from Canada and had flown in early to explore Scotland and hire kilts! A day and a wedding that was not without its challenges.
If you are from outside the European Community and you want to get married in Scotland you will need the correct visa when you enter or you will need to get permission to get married from the home Secretary. I explained this to Nick when we met in January but, what with the change of government and the usual bureaucracy, it took an age. Two weeks before the wedding I had a frantic Lucy on the phone asking what we should do as Nick’s permission hadn’t arrived yet. All the arrangements had been made, hotel paid for and Nick’s family had booked all their flights. Our only option was to make the wedding ceremony non-legal, but as close to real thing as we could make it, and they would have to have a civil ceremony when his permission came through. Thankfully, one week before the wedding, I had a phone call on my mobile from an ecstatic Lucy and the wedding could go ahead as planned. I suppose I should have been expecting the unexpected…
It was a dreich day, grey and raining heavily when I arrived at Cornhill House. I had dropped my wife, Wendy, off in Biggar to do some shopping (great pies!) confidently telling her that I would be about an hour and a half at the most. I did a walk through with Nick and his Best Men and waited for bride to arrive. It was at this point that the wedding organiser came through to the marquee and told me that there was a big accident on the M74 and that half the guests, and more importantly the piper, were going to be late. “No problem, I’m not going anywhere,” I lied, thinking that my wife would be struggling to fill her time in Biggar as it was. Forty five minutes later I heard the strangled strains of a set of pipes being warmed-up (is that what you do to bagpipes?) so I scraped Nick off the roof of the marquee – he was actually quite calm – the guests entered, the piper played and the bridal party entered. Lucy sent me a note:
“Brian Hawkins was our celebrant for our wedding this year. Brian elequently conveyed my husband and my feelings towards each other and marriage, both professionally and considerately. We were very impressed with the ceremony and his very approachable manner. lucy and nick”
The shops in Biggar all close after lunch on a Saturday and it was a despondent and very wet Wendy that I collected from the bus shelter one hour later than I promised.