Sharon and James’s Humanist Wedding at Edinburgh Castle


Weddings don’t get more intimate than this…

James and Sharon hail from British Columbia, and they contacted me in March of this year about their wedding at the Castle in May. My first concern was that they might not have enough time to get the Home Office to approve their visa, but luckily, the wheels of bureaucracy moved quickly and smoothly and we had all the required paperwork.
They chose to have a morning ceremony so they could have a proper ‘wedding breakfast’ afterwards, and when I joined them on the roof of the Gatehouse, they were already being photographed by Luke Bennett
Their only guests were also their witnesses: James’s parents, Janet and Gus, who’ve been married for more than fifty years – sadly Sharon’s mother Jenny who’s 93 wasn’t able to make the journey to be with them, but she sent us some words which I read on her behalf.
One of the joys of a really intimate ceremony is that they are less formal, so we were able to take advantage of the space and light that the Gatehouse affords. The marriage chamber isn’t a big room, and as it was built for defence rather than the view, it can be quite a tricky space for photography.
The first call I made was to move Sharon and James from the fireplace (where couples usually stand) over towards the south window, which gave Luke a strong light source to play with. 

Both Gus and Janet spoke, before James and Sharon spoke the traditional vows, and I pronounced them man and wife. Janet wrote some deeply moving words about how she and Gus have kept love alive for more than fifty years of married life.

‘Marriage isn’t painless: it can be agony. But you grow and you learn and eventually – if you are lucky and you stick with it – you have something special. We are at that place, and we are so thankful.’

Sharon’s mum wasn’t the only missing person at the wedding. She and James had only just lost their companion of many years, Milo, a little black and white Japanese Chin, so it was lovely to get this message from them the other day.
Looking back we have nothing but the best memories of the whole thing. It was just absolutely amazing. It does feel like a long time has passed! A few days ago we adopted two Shih Tzu/ Havanese mix dogs from a rescue home. These two brothers are the missing piece of our family and we now feel like we have all we want in our lives! Sharon and I just want to thank you again for such a wonderful ceremony. 

I was also very pleased to get these very atmospheric shots from Luke, who said, “It was a pleasure to work alongside you because you’re so aware of the needs of a photographer in terms of light and angles to create the most beautiful photographs. 

“James and Sharon’s wedding was a wonderful, heart warming, intimate celebration of love.”

You’re so right, Luke! Thanks again for the photos – it was a pleasure working with you and I hope we get to do that again soon!

This was one of the snaps I grabbed of Luke at work at the Castle – you can see a few more from the day on my Instagram feed.

And thanks again, Sharon and James – I wish you and your new canine companions many years of happiness together!


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