Catherine and Alastair’s Humanist Wedding at The Scottish Cafe at The National Galleries of Scotland


Catherine and Alastair’s story proves that distance is no obstacle to romance. 


They fell in love even before they met in person for the first time, when Catherine flew over from Quebec, and Alastair gave her a whirlwind tour that took in gigs and ceilidhs, family meetings and the very special Isle of Jura. By the end, Catherine had fallen in love with Scotland too.
Getting a visa wasn’t a cakewalk but when it finally came through, they celebrated with a ‘Famous Canadians/Scots’ fancy dress party where Alastair came as a mythical
Québécois lumberjack, and Catherine dressed up as Dolly The Sheep. 
Their ceremony was joyous. Both their mothers spoke: Lyne,
Catherine’s mother, read an excerpt from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis
de Bernieres, and Alastair’s mother Gay read from The Prophet, by Khalil Gibran. Then Catherine and Alastair did a very brave thing: they shared some of the reasons they love each other.


  After a pause for contemplation, they spoke their vows in both French and English, and exchanged rings.


While we signed the Marriage Schedule, we were treated to a great acoustic version of the David Bowie classic, Heroes, performed by Andy & Gabrielle, the best man and bridesmaid. They chose to ask their mums to be witnesses, but they kept that a secret so it was a wee surprise for them both on the day.
‘We had a wonderful wedding day and are so glad we chose a Humanist ceremony’ wrote Alastair and Catherine when they sent me these photos taken by their friend, the Canadian photographer and comedienne Genevieve Cytko. 
‘Having the freedom to design our own ceremony (under your invaluable guidance!) 
allowed us to make it so personal and special to us’. 
‘Everything that we said and did really meant something to us 
and we loved having Andy and Gabrielle
playing and singing while we signed the register with our mums. 
Being able to add a bit of French into the ceremony was great too 
and an added bonus that you were able to speak it. 
All our friends and family really enjoyed the ceremony. 
We think a few even said it was the best wedding ceremony they’d ever been to! 
If we hear of anyone else planning to get married, 
we will definitely recommend Humanism to them 
and we won’t hesitate to suggest you as a celebrant too. 
All the best, Alastair and Catherine’.
As you can see, The Scottish Cafe at The National Galleries of Scotland is a great place to marry because you have all of Edinburgh’s top sites right in front of you. The cafe is run by the wonderful Carina and Victor Contini, so the food is great too. You can check that out here, or just pop in for a coffee or dinner.
As I type, Edinburgh’s Winter Festival is in full flow. The German Market is going on above, and there’s open-air skating in the Princes Street Gardens, so it’s an ideal time to visit!
Once again, thank you, Catherine and Alastair, for choosing to work with me: I loved the warmth and sincerity of your ceremony, and I wish you both every happiness in the years to come!


  1. Gabrielle Marois left a comment on December 14, 2015 at 3:17 pm

    Thank you for that great article! It was a wonderful ceremony and a pleasure to meet you Tim!

  2. Tim Maguire, Registered Celebrant, Caledonian Humanist Association left a comment on December 14, 2015 at 4:12 pm

    Merci, Gabrielle! x

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