I remember the day I first met Fiona. It was about four or five years ago, cold, wet, and windy. My mate Bill and I were just coming down the ridge line of Scald Law in the Pentland Hills, when we met Fiona on the way up.
The reason I remember it so well is that she was taking her boss, Susie, out to do her first day’s training for her attempt to hold the world’s highest ever Burns Supper on Mount Kilimanjaro. Now I’d met Susie once or twice before, and while she’d always been very charming and extremely elegant, I hadn’t for a moment imagined that she’d be a hill-walker too, so the encounter stayed in my mind longer than it otherwise might.
Anyway, four or five years passed before I met Fiona again, and remembering the context of our first meeting, I wasn’t at all surprised when she & Steve told me they wanted to marry ‘en plein air’ at the wonderful Jupiter Artland.
It was very much a family affair. Fiona’s brother Euan piped her in; Steve’s sister Heather read us ‘the most beautiful love poem of all time’, by Hera Lindsay Bird, and Steve and Fiona spoke the vows they had written themselves directly to one another. their friend Rusty gave us a rendition of Higher Love and the whole ceremony finished with a song that Steve often plays on his guitar to Fiona, First Day of My Life, but this time it was given by Danny and Theresa.
When Fiona and Steve sent me these photographs, I was very struck by what they said about their homework. If you’ve read this piece on the way I work, you’ll know that I see it as a crucial part of your preparation, because I want your ceremony to be a true representation of your reasons for marrying one another, so I was really pleased to read their thoughts.
“Having met with Tim and been told about the ‘homework’ we weren’t really sure what it would be like to actually do it. We each did our homework separately then came together one night over a bottle of red and had the loveliest evening discussing our ‘homework’ – our story, the reasons we care so much about each other and our thoughts on marriage. It was a truly special night, involving a lot of laughs and the odd tear.
“We didn’t actually realise we’d then have to use the homework to write our wedding ceremony. We had obviously misunderstood and thought that Tim would use our homework to write the ceremony. Our first reaction was, ‘not another thing to do for the wedding’ but looking back I think writing our own wedding ceremony made it the truly special day it was as we got to express our love in our own way and in our own words.
“The ceremony itself was incredible. Tim has a way of putting you at ease and making the proceedings seem like the most natural thing in the world. Having our friends play music for the ceremony made it really personal for us and it was amazing to share the day with so many of the most important people in our lives. The ceremony took place in the most beautiful outdoor setting and was filled with laughter and love – exactly as we wanted”.
I know that homework doesn’t sound like a lot of fun. But don’t take my word for it. Take Fiona and Steve’s – it is!
Thanks so much to you both for asking me to conduct your ceremony, Steve and Fiona, and I wish you many more happy years walking and running the hills!
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