Almost all my recent weddings at Broxmouth Park have taken place outside, under the huge cedar of Lebanon that was planted by Queen Victoria when she popped in on a Scottish trip in 1878, and it all looked very promising when I was down there for Andy and Cheryl’s rehearsal the day before their wedding: it really was absolutely baking hot!
The local nickname for Dunbar is ‘Sunny Dunny’ because it enjoys more hours of sunlight than anywhere in the country, but this is Scotland,and I think you know where this story is going now, don’t you?
It’s agonising when your best-laid plans gang agley, especially when you’ve been looking forward to your big day for more than a year, but fortunately Broxmouth Park was built around a very beautiful house with lots of elegant interior spaces, so Simon and his team can cope with whatever the weather throws at them.
In the end, we all squeezed into the dining room, where pianist and singer Catherine Ward started the ceremony with a rendition of the Fleetwood Mac classic, ‘Songbird’ for the entrance of the bridal party.
Cheryl and Andy’s story had a strong East Lothian theme, thank not least to their shared love of golf, and after I’d told it, Cheryl’s friend Jessica gave us a reading of Wendy Cope’s poem, ‘A Vow’. You can find it along with some other great suggestions here
Andy and Cheryl dropped me a line the other day with these excellent photos taken by the talented Hamish Irvine who despite his name isn’t a local lad: he’s based in Leeds and London.
“We chose a humanist ceremony for a number of reasons. Firstly, we really liked the idea of having a non-religious ceremony that had some meaning and substance – too often civil ceremonies are short and almost procedural.
Having the flexibility to create our own ceremony was also really important to us.
We wanted the whole day to be a fun, informal but very personal celebration and a humanist ceremony allowed us to do that.
Finally, the humanist ethos of seeking happiness and allowing others to do the same is very much how we like to live our lives – not too seriously, having respect for others and making the most of life.
One of the many nice personal touches I loved was that Andy and Cheryl give the guests a lyric sheet so they could join Catherine to sing the Beatles’ perfect wedding song, ‘All You Need is Love’
I also love this ‘reverse two-shot’ where you can see the expressions on the guests’ faces as Cheryl and Andy kissed for the first time as man and wife.
Looking back on the day now, we’re delighted we chose a humanist ceremony and all of the effort that went into writing the ceremony was definitely worth it!
It was great being able to share our story in a personal way with our guests using plenty of humour. We also really liked being able to incorporate our love of different music into the ceremony.
When we tried to explain to our families what the ceremony would entail, they seemed a little unsure(!) but the feedback from our guests has been brilliantly positive, with many of them commenting that it was one of the best ceremonies they have been to – so happy, full of joy and laughter and a perfect start to the day.
Of course you played a huge role in making the ceremony such a success, guiding us through the drafting process by FaceTime and over email and then in the rehearsal on the Friday (which definitely helped to ease some of the nerves on the day!).
The day surpassed our expectations, we had the most fantastic time and thank you for helping to make it as special as it was!”
Thank you so much, Andy and Cheryl. The reason I started this blog almost ten years ago was to allow people to get a sense of what it is that makes humanist weddings different, and I don’t think I could have asked for a better anniversary present than your very cogent analysis: I really do appreciate it, and I am sure your words and pictures will inspire a whole new generation of happy humanist couples!
PS – of course the sun came out almost as soon as the ceremony came to an end! Thanks again to Cheryl and Andy, and to Hamish Irvine for these wonderful images.