Sofi & William’s Humanist Wedding at Prestonfield House

How do you write a wedding ceremony when half your audience don’t speak English?

That was the least of the challenges facing Sofi and William when they decided to get married in June 2021, slap bang in the middle of the pandemic. Sofi comes from Mexico, so sadly that was where half of the guests had to remain, but the upside was that they all got to join us via Zoom – and for once, nobody complained that the meeting went on too long!

I love conducting weddings in foreign languages, not least because when you’re going to say the most important words you’ve ever said, you need to speak them en el lenguaje de tu corazón – it even sounds better in Spanish!

For all the obvious reasons, William and Sofi had a tiny guest list, so we all fitted in perfectly to Prestonfield’s intimate Leather Room. There’s a Spanish connection here too; not long after the house was built, in 1687 the room was panelled with gilded 17th-century leather from Cordoba, and it still looks amazing.

There’s no one way to deliver a multi-lingual ceremony, but my preference is to use both languages interchangeably so that everyone can listen to the bits they understand, and read the ones they don’t. It keeps the story moving along and it’s not unlike watching a movie with subtitles which we’ve all got used to in recent years.

If Sofi’s friends Andrea & Fani had been able to join us, they would have told us the story of how Sofi and William met in Aberdeen, but because they couldn’t do that, Sofi read their contributions for us instead.

William did the same, on behalf of Mansur and Redha.

In a nice reversal of roles, when they spoke about the reasons they love one another, William and Sofi swapped languages; he spoke in Spanish and she spoke in English, which was lovely.

After speaking their vows to one another, exchanging rings and having that all-important first kiss, William and Sofi ceded the floor to their mums, Marithe and Christine who – in another clever and original twist – shared some words and thoughts they’d kept secret until that very moment.

And that – apart from the signing of the Marriage Schedule – was pretty much that!

I was very touched to get this message from Sofi a few months ago.

Our wedding was beautiful, in every sense of the word! Our families loved the place, the atmosphere, and the ceremony! 

Our friends, who were on the Zoom call, loved that the ceremony was conducted in Spanish and English, and they appreciated that you spoke both languages. 

Besides, they all thought you were charming and that it was very kind of you to allow us to have a bilingual ceremony, so everyone could understand. 

We are extremely pleased that we chose to have a humanist ceremony, because having to write it ourselves meant we had to really think about what we were going to say beforehand and talk to one another about it, and those were very fun conversations.

That’s why the ceremony felt so personal, intimate and memorable! Thanks so much Tim! 

Prestonfield House has beautiful grounds, with peacocks and even Highland Cattle, but Sofi and William didn’t dally there for long…

Instead, with their photographer Graeme Wilson, they decided to take a hike – literally – up the steep slope of Salisbury Crags just a few minutes away from the hotel.

There aren’t many cities that can boast an extinct volcano as part of their attractions!

They timed their journey well. It wasn’t long before the sun sank into the western sky, and William and Sofi got to enjoy their mountain top all to themselves.

What a stunning shot, and such a great way to end a perfect day!

Thanks Graeme – your photos are lovely, and thank you, Sofi and William, for allowing me to be a part of your very imaginative, thoughtful, intimate and yet international wedding. ¡Fue una alegría absoluta!

  1. The Heart of the Matter - Tim Maguire left a comment on February 13, 2022 at 5:37 pm

    […] might invite them to speak their words themselves, as Sofi and William did, or you might do what Struan and Ami did, and put their words into envelopes, number them and […]

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