Just Perfect – John Muir Grove with Victoria and Gavin

It’s Official.
I have decided that my favourite venue in May has to be the Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh and the stunning John Muir Grove. The rhododendrons and azaleas are just coming into their own, their flowers vivid and bright and the whole place is lush with spring growth.

Even last Sunday it was beautiful. The weather was dubious, it had been very showery in the morning. Showery as in stair rods showery, and my heart fell for poor Vicki. But as I drove over the rain slowed it dried up, and as I arrived I noticed the staff carrying the chairs across the path and up the hill to the John Muir Grove. Gavin had taken an executive decision to move the wedding outside and a good call it was as well.

The guys from the Apollo Strings were there, tuning up in the marquee before making their way up to the grove and there were the usual crowds of inquisitive tourists and spectators wondering what on earth was going on with all those men in kilts hanging around, beautiful women in their fancy frocks and staff wrapping seats in white and rolling out red carpets.

The ceremony that Gavin and Vicki had written was short, simple and humorous, just exactly what was required for the day because it was a bit chilly when the sun disappeared.

 Oh, and the Apollo Strings have changed their name to Capella thereby ruining one of my best gags when I ask the “appalling strings” to play while we sign the schedule. Anyone who can come up with a good line around “Capella” gets a prize.

What Do You Do If It Rains? Emma and Grant at the Botanic Gardens

I suppose one of the solutions to rain during your dream wedding is that we get wet!

It was a showery day as I travelled to the Botanic Gardens; one moment the sun was shining, the next it was chucking it down. When I arrived at the gardens I assumed that we would be going for “Plan B” and hold the ceremony in the Caledonian Hall but no, Emma had set her heart on her wedding being in the John Muir Grove and, as Grant said, it wasn’t raining that badly and it will definitely clear up for half an hour. Nearly Grant, nearly.

You can’t blame Emma, it is the most wonderful setting amongst the towering cedars, a natural arena for your perfect day. It kind of rained off and on during the ceremony and, as you can see from the photos, the team at the Botanic Gardens have umbrellas galore. Emma and her Dad arrived in a drizzle and my heart sank but it cleared and we managed the rest of the ceremony in the comparative dry (i.e. a light drizzle) until, of course, it came to signing the Wedding Schedule. At that point, as the rain really started to come down, I decided to cut our losses and moved the signing to the warmth of the marquee next to the Hall. I think I got a round of applause when I told the guests my plan.

I reflected as I drove home with my kilt and jacket quietly steaming and the car windows misting up that it would be wedding that no one there would ever forget and stories would be told for years to come.

I think bedraggled is the description I am looking for

The luckiest bride in the world – Lindsay & Gregor at the Botanic Gardens

This is the John Muir Grove at the Edinburgh Botanic Gardens one of the most special and spectacular wedding venues in the east – as long as it doesn’t rain. The Botanic Gardens have just completed a major refurbishment of their indoor venues and the Caledonian Hall, where Lindsay and Gregor held their wedding dinner, is grand, fairly formal and perfect with all your guests around the single long table. It was rather strange to have people wandering around close to your chosen wedding situation because, of course, they don’t close the Gardens so people drift by and watch your ceremony, from a distance to be honest, generally with their mouth open because the setting is just breathtaking. The grove is formed by a stand of giant Redwood trees and surrounded by rhododendrons in bloom at this time of year and by acers that will be spectacular in the autumn.

It had been raining every day for five days before their wedding but in her texts to me Lindsay was adamant that she was having her wedding outside in the grove. “It will be fine Brian, don’t worry.” She was correct, it was sunny but not very warm if I am honest. Their ceremony was beautiful. They had hired Keith Murray a classical guitarist to play as the guests arrived and during the signing of the schedule but his principal duty was to play “Wild Mountain Thyme” as Lindsay entered. Well, not so much entered as strolled around a winding path, past all the azaleas in bloom, led by her bridesmaids. Just wonderful. Lindsay and Gregor had written their own ceremony and chosen the music and the readings and this is one I would like to share. It was read beautifully by Robin, Lindsay’s brother:

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The Promise
Eileen Rafter

The sun danced on the sea with a sparkling smile,
As two lovers sat quietly, alone for a while.
Then he turned and said, with a casual air
(Though he blushed from his chin to the tips of his hair),
“I think I might like to get married to you”

“Well then, she said, “Well there’s a thought,
But what if we can’t promise to be all that we ought,
If I’m late yet again, when we plan to go out.
For I know I can’t promise, I’ll learn to ignore
Dirty socks and damp towels strewn all over the floor.

So if we can’t vow to be all that we should
I’m not sure what to do, though the idea’s quite good”.
But he gently smiled and tilted his head
Till his lips met her ear and softly he said

“I promise, to weave my dreams into your own,
That wherever you breathe will be my hearts home.
I promise, that whether with rags or with gold I am blessed
Your smile is the jewel I will treasure the best.

Do you think then, my love, we should marry – do you?”
“Yes” she said smiling “I do”.