Gillian and Steven met when they were in their early twenties, and in her homework Gillian told me how she remembered their first date. She chose the venue (a cinema) and the film, Blade 2, a Wesley Snipes Vampire Horror romp because she was trying to be cool and impress Steven, who looked very cool in a lovely soft cream jumper that she only discovered much later he’d borrowed from a friend for the evening!
Nine years, two houses and one baby boy later, they finally tied the knot at the beautiful Gean House at Tullibody, an early 20th Century Arts & Crafts mansion house in the style of Lutyens, complete with a grand hall, a minstrels gallery and Japanese gardens.
Keen students of tradition will note something ‘wrong’ with this picture. Gillian is standing on my right, where the groom usually goes. But in a humanist ceremony, there’s no right or wrong about where the couple choose to stand. For me, what’s more important is to remember where the close family members should go. No – not on the same side as their loved one, but the opposite one, because that’s where they get the best view.
Gillian’s friend Nicola gave us a passage from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin that she chose specially for them and which she kept secret until the day, which was lovely but perhaps the quirkiest surprise of the day was the music.
No – not the piper, although they did have one, but a massed band of Ukeleles! Gillian’s Aunty Kate and other members of Smut (AKA The Scottish Multicoloured Ukulele Troupe) turned out in force to play a song for Steven which was kept a secret until the day itself.
Steven and Gillian wrote their own vows, and exchanged rings which were brought to us by their little boy Aaron, before signing the marriage schedule to the sound of “Songbird” by Oasis and “The Bucket” by The Kings of Leon, which worked surprisingly well on massed ukeleles as you can hear from this clip on YouTube
As Gillian wrote when they got back from their Venetian honeymoon, “We had so many compliments on how much guests enjoyed the ceremony and how they liked you. The ukuele troupe were a big hit too and we feel lucky we had the freedom to have personal details like the ukes because the ceremony was Humanist.”
It must have been good – a few months later, Steven’s dad Dougie got in touch, and now I’m looking forward to conducting his marriage to Muriel next year at the Wallace Monument!
Thanks Gillian, Steven, Aaron, Michael Macari of Polarberry Photography, and everyone else whose contributions made the day such a great success.