Julie-Anne & Andy’s Humanist Wedding at Fingask Castle

There’s something rather magical about Fingask Castle. Its fantastic gardens have an air of Alice in Wonderland meets ‘The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe’ while the house is an artistic treasure trove, covered with paintings from many periods so I’m always delighted to be asked to conduct a wedding there.

Initially Julie-Anne and Andy planned to have their ceremony in the house, but the weather smiled on us, so everything was set up in the garden before I arrived.

Their story began back in 2014 when they first met online. It seems that Julie-Anne got there just in time to make the first move, as Andy was days from cancelling his account. Little did he know that a simple message of “Hey, how are you?” would lead to us all standing here today.

Their first date in a restaurant in Huntly left Julie-Anne with a glow of happiness that her mother spotted when she returned home: she instantly knew there was something special in the air!

This was a very special wedding for me, as Julie-Anne and Andy were the very first people to buy (and review!) my book, so of course I was really looking forward to see what they’d learned from it.

I was pleased they agreed that the best place for them to stand was diagonally opposite their families, which gave them the best view, and they were joined there by Julie-Anne’s childhood friends, Jemima, Emma and Marlene and Andy’s groomsmen, Piers, Craig and his brother Ruairidh.

Another idea they took was telling each other and all their guests the reasons they love one another and why they want to be married.It takes courage to do that and they did it really well!

When it came to the vows, they spoke them directly to one another, with prompt cards that I held for them. I don’t think Julie-Anne needed hers at all! 

The great thing about Vow Cards is that the guests can’t see them: only you can.

Finally, after they’d exchanged rings and we’d signed the Marriage Schedule, we had a handfasting. I tied the knot, while Jemma and Kirsty read a poem called ‘Wedding Day’ by Rowena Edlin- White

Now comes the knitting, the tying, entwining into one,
Mysterious involvement of two, whole, separate people
Into something altogether strange and changing, new and lovely.
Nothing can be, we will never be, the same again:
Not merged into each other irrevocably, but rather
From now on we go the same way, in the same direction,
Agreeing not to leave each other lonely, or discouraged, or behind.
I will do my best to keep my promises 
to treasure you and keep you warm;
And we will make our wide bed beneath the bright
And ragged quilt of all the yesterdays that make us who we are,
The strengths and frailties we each bring to this marriage,
And we will be rich indeed.

Along with these great photos by Calum Riddell, Julie-Anne and Andy were kind enough to take the time to look back on the whole process and send me these thoughts. 

Although we’ve only been married for nearly two months, we already feel that we can look back on our wedding day as one of the most special days of our lives. We have been overwhelmed by the compliments we have received from our guests about just how wonderful it was, and it was an honour to be joined by so many people from all over the world.

Tim brought our wedding to life and allowed us to share our day with our family. When we reminisce about our day we can remember seeing our guests and each other in our eyes because we were facing our family. Our words were spoken directly to one another along with our promises we made together are in our hearts. 

We really enjoyed reading ‘We Do’. It was a fantastic little book which taught us that almost nothing was impossible for our wedding, whilst gently nudging the important aspects that make it a legal ceremony. 

It was nice to be able to reach for the book when we needed rather than having to use the internet all the time. We just love the pictures in it as well.

Well if there’s ever a second edition, Julie-Anne, you’ll be in it for sure! I’m so glad that WE DO! was as helpful as I hoped, but more importantly, I’m just delighted that you had the day you wanted because you created such a beautiful and moving ceremony – in your own words and thoughts. 

Don’t lose touch!

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