Candace and Luis’s Humanist Wedding at the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh

Mighty oaks from little acorns grow but they’ve got nothing on the Sequoiadendron giganteum or giant redwood.

This baby grew from a seed planted by Candace and Luis whose wedding I celebrated last year.

The John Muir Grove at the Botanic Garden in Edinburgh is a natural cathedral formed by six of these huge trees that were planted in the 1920’s and are now more than 400 feet high. It’s a staggering thought that they could live for more than three thousand years, and that one day they could stand more than twice as high. The grove made the perfect setting for the marriage of Candace and Luis.

A free-spirited pair, their ceremony was as radical and original as they are. Delivered by me in Spanish and English, with contributions from most of the guests, it was a suitably free-form celebration of love between ‘a bleak poet and a gothic musician who create love poems on the fridge’. They even created a booklet that gave people all the text of the ceremony as well as some of their favourite poems, which was a beautiful idea.

Some of the text wasn’t in the ceremony itself. I loved the way they talked in the introduction about what marriage means to them.

We imagine that marriage is a guarantor 
of the happiness we’re enjoying with someone.
That it will make permanent what might otherwise be fleeting.
But in truth, our desperate urge to make things permanent 
will only lead to unhappiness,
because a marriage is a journey, not a pause button.
Happiness is transient.
Marriage should be permanent.
We have agreed never to divorce because we believe 
that going through the hard stuff
will add value to our experience in life, and with each other.
With all this in mind, cheers to you and to our happy day!

At the end of the ceremony, they planted several tiny seeds of giant redwoods that could live for more than three thousand years and sent me not just these lovely words, but my very own tiny tree.

Hopefully with the spring and summer sun the dear little sequoia will grow strong and lively. 
We hope that you are well: we speak about you so much, and we had such a great experience (plus we are the poster couple for happily married). Thank you – it was an amazing day. And it’s a beautiful life.
My thanks to you too, Candace y Luis: I hope you remain very much in love!

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