Barbara and Michael’s Humanist Wedding at The Caves

Do you know the song, ‘The Book of Love’? Peter Gabriel’s version is here* and the lyrics were an important inspiration to Michael and Barbara when they created their ceremony in far-off Chicago.

The book of love is long and boring

And written very long ago

It’s full of flowers and heart-shaped boxes

And things we’re all too young to know

They chose to tell their ten-year story through a number of books: Book One was entitled, ‘Boy Meets Girl and All Those Clichés’but before I go into that, it’s worth talking about our journey to their big day. 

When they first got in touch, in December 2017, Barbara wrote,

We are both American, currently living in Chicago, so we’ll have to do most of our communicating via emails and Skype. If that sounds odd (why are two Americans who aren’t even in Edinburgh, getting married in Edinburgh?!), you aren’t alone in those queries- a few of my family members are asking the same thing! 😉 

The background is that we came to Edinburgh to do a Master’s last year (we left at the end of August, sadly) and just fell in love with both the city and all of magical Scotland so much that we wanted to get married there and share the places we grew to love so much with all of our family and friends. 

Keep in mind we got engaged in April and just now finally booked this about two weeks ago….so it was a big decision we mulled over long and hard. But ultimately, Scotland was in our hearts and we are really excited about getting married there. Now we just need to find the right person to help us do it! 🙂 

So we Skyped, and we got on, and after just less than a year, we all got together again on Thanksgiving Day in the middle of rainy November, at one of my favourite places in Edinburgh’s historic Cowgate, the legendary Caves.

Michael and Barbara put in a lot of work to ensure that their ceremony was imaginative, inclusive and emotionally powerful. 

It was also a lot of fun!

Their friends Whitney and Nick both spoke, as did Michael: he ever read out what Barbara had decided she wasn’t going to say after all, which got a big laugh, and then, after a pause for quiet contemplation, I asked the guests to make some promises to them before they spoke their vows directly to one another.

My old friends Dom and Robbie from Duke Photography were invisibly on hand, making sure that every moment was captured from every possible angle.

Barbara and Michael’s mothers joined us on stage to sign the marriage schedule, and then the happy couple drank from a quaich, an idea unfamiliar to most of the guests who’d flown thousands of miles to be with them on the most important day of their lives.

Finally, Michael and Barbara’s wrists were bound together in a hand fasting ceremony before they made their way off-stage to join their families and friends.

It was a really joyous ceremony, and I loved what they said about it in their review on the Scottish Wedding Directory.

Our ceremony was incredibly unique and 100% true to my husband and I, which was the most important thing for us, and we could not have done it without Tim’s help. 

Honestly, so many people have told us it was the best ceremony they’d ever attended, which was awesome to hear- but even more important than that, it felt like US. 

Even better, along with these great photos, they sent me this lovely personal message.

Thank you so much for everything. I really could write for days about how happy we were with everything, how many compliments we’ve gotten on the ceremony (and on you!) and beyond, but as we are still both tired and processing all the love and beauty, but for now I just have to send you some big love and a big thank you. 

It sure looks like one hell of a party, and I am sure that it will stay in my memory for a long, long time. Thank you once again Michael and Barbara for choosing to work with me, for creating such a great ceremony and for sharing these excellent images from Robbie and Dom. Keep dancing!

*Although I love Peter Gabriel’s version of the Book of Love, it’s important to say that the song was originally written by Stephin Merritt, and you can see him performing it here

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