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.

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!

With Ann and John in Glasgow


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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!

 

 

With Carol and Kieran at The Parsonage


One of the great joys about my job as a celebrant is the variety of the couples I work with and the different ways they put their ceremonies together. Each ceremony is different, each is unique because, well, each couple is different and unique, especially each of their stories about how they met. This was so true in the case of Carol and Kieran. Their stroy was not just unique it was, well … this is how I introduced it during the ceremony, “As you can imagine their homework had a certain whiff of the surreal about it, a hint of the absurd and a couple of tablespoonful’s of just plain, not self raising, weirdness!” As you can see from their guest’s reaction their stories were hilarious.

But what made it even more special was that they had written most of the ceremony themselves including their promises to one another:

“You’re about to make promises to each other that you intend to keep. You’re going to vow to take care of each other, to stand up for one another, and find happiness in the other. There’s a simple premise to each of these promises: you’re vowing to be there. You’re teaming up and saying to the other, “Every experience I am going to have, I want you to be a part of.

“Will you, Kieran, keep Carol as your favourite person – to laugh with her, go on adventures with her, support her through life’s tough moments, be proud of her, grow old with her, and give her all the affection and love you give the fish?

Kieran: I will.

“and will you, Carol, keep Kieran as your favourite person – to laugh with him, go on adventures with him, support him through life’s tough moments, be proud of him, grow old with him, and give him all the affection and love you give the cats?

Carol: I will.

Will you, Kieran and Carol, be each other’s partners from this day forward? Will you bring out the best in one another, share your happiest moments together, and love each other absolutely – for the rest of this lifetime and for whatever may come next?

Carol and Kieran: We will.

Oh, and let me share one other thing from their sparkling ceremony. It’s a poem called Your Personal Penguin by Sandra Boynton:

“I like you a lot
You’re funny and kind
So let me explain
What I have in mind.

I want to be Your Personal Penguin
I want to walk right by your side
I want to be Your Personal Penguin
I want to travel with you far and wide

Wherever you go, I’ll go there too
Here and there and everywhere
And always with you
I want to be Your Personal Penguin
From now on.

Now lots of other penguins seem to do fine
In a universe of nothing but ice
But if I could be yours and you could be mine
A cozy little world would be twice as nice”

It was read at the ceremony by Karen O’Driscoll who, I will be honest, absolutely nailed it.

Carol  was kind enough to send me the following:

““When we first went to meet Brian to talk about our ceremony we knew he was the right man for the job straight away. We wanted a light, relaxed and humorous ceremony and he didn’t disappoint! All our guests, some of whom had not experienced a Humanist ceremony before, couldn’t stop complimenting Brian and the ceremony. He made the whole process easy and stress free from start to finish”

Thank you my dear, a pleasure.

Married by the guy down the pub – Zsofia and Phill


In my job, you get asked to all sorts of different weddings. Phill and Zsofi approached me in the pub we frequent because they were looking for something entirely unique, informal and without all the, eh, shall we call in razzmatazz of a “typical” wedding. As they said to me, they just fancied going off and being married by the guy in the pub! Theirs was a small, intimate affair at lunchtime in the garden of a restaurant in Linlithgow with a few of their close family and friends. I should share with you all that it was not a warm and balmy as the photos make it appear and Zsofia, in her gorgeous dress, was the bravest woman in the world.

Zsofia is from Hungary and we were joined for the day by some of her family and really close friends. Phill is from Scotland and he wanted a touch of Scotland in the ceremony so we performed a Hand Fasting. My Hungarian is non-existant  but I did manage the odd phrase in the story of their romance because Zsofia shared the most romantic of Phill’s proposal: “The ring was already on my finger for a long time, I know it is strange to say, but I felt it so real. I had a secret wish and the answer for that was Phill… When he asked me “Hozzám jössz?” (Will you marry me?), there was only one possible answer: Igen! (Yes!)”

First Wedding of 2017 with Gavin and Emma


The weather was kind and the drive beautiful as I made my way north to the Huntingtower Hotel outside Perth. There was a tangible buzz around the place when I arrived and even before the ceremony began I could tell people were up for a good time and ready for a laugh. Which is just as well because my goodness, did we have a laugh although I don’t think Emma always approved.

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But I was pleased with the response from the assembled family and friends because I knew what was in store for them at the end – we shared a Quaich. Well, when I say we shared a Quaich it was more like cocktail time. The Best Man brought the Quaich forward, Emma’s Dad added the gin; Gavin’s Dad, the tonic and Emma’s Step-Dad squeezed the lime. Gavin and Emma shared their Quaich and the Dads finished it off. What a hoot.

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