Caroline & Rick’s Humanist Wedding at the Edinburgh Grand

Nobody set out to get married during lockdown, but that’s what Caroline and Rick did in November of last year. I was tickled by their first email – “Appreciate you might be fully booked, as I’ve never seen anyone so heavily recommended on EGG!

Their story was a very contemporary one. They met online, as almost everyone does these days, but when Rick left the country for a month after a promising first date, things fizzled out – only to be reignited by their mutual geekiness when they met on a coding course!

Given that their first holiday was in Amsterdam where Rick declared his love, it’s no huge surprise that they now live just a stone’s throw away from ‘the dingiest of brown bars’ in which his declaration was made!

In March 2020, they set off to live and learn about a new country and culture, visit more of Europe and meet new people.  Just one week later though, the whole world closed down. Surprisingly, spending all of their time together in Den Haag proved to be the making of them, and they now cite the 18 months of lockdown as one of the happiest times of their lives.

Inevitably, given the ever-changing restrictions and the still raging pandemic, they chose to have a very intimate celebration with only their closest family and friends. Almost everyone who was meant to be there managed to make it – apart, sadly from Rick’s brother Jon, who’d contracted the virus, so his role as best man was taken by their dad, Willie.

Caroline’s sister-in-law Hannah read us a Native American Wedding Blessing and Rick’s sister, Rebecca read Wilfred Arlan Petersen’s poem The Art of a Good Marriage, which reflected everyone’s thoughts. 

In a nice twist, Caroline and Rick had reached out to all the guests – apart from their energetic and entertaining nephews Fraser and Harry who were the page boys – and asked them for their answers to the question, “What does marriage mean to you?” They got quite a diverse range of replies!

“realising that you’ve met the person you want to share the rest of your life with”  

“Uniting as a team and just enjoying each other’s company”  

“Sharing core values of trust, respect and aspirations for the future” 

“ Enjoying happy times and friendship together and supporting each other” 

And not forgetting the inheritance and capital gains tax advantages…”

 As Caroline wrote when she sent me these lovely photos by Sinead Firman, “We had such a brilliant day. I was slightly hesitant about the super small wedding when we were planning it but I can honestly say that it was perfect!”

We got to have proper conversations with all our guests and as so many of us live abroad, it was great to have proper catch-ups in a very special setting. While we didn’t go wild with the creativity of the ceremony we really loved the readings which added a personal touch to the ceremony being read by my sister in law Hannah, and Rick’s sister Bex confidently stepping in at the last minute. 

I’ve sent you some photos. The last one is when Harry (our nephew who at the time was just 3 days away from his 4th birthday) made a dramatic sigh when you asked the question “what is marriage?” 

I hope you’ll tell Harry that he has perfect comic timing – I will watch his career with interest!

This was my first wedding at the Edinburgh Grand. The former HQ of the old Royal Bank of Scotland is an imposing neo-classical pile on St. Andrews Square and it’s very much not a dedicated wedding venue. That said, it’s got lots of interesting spaces, not least their rooftop Penthouse Suite with its panoramic views.

I’m sure Sinead Firman must have taken a few frames of Rick and Caroline with this stunning backdrop too.

Thank you so much, Caroline and Rick for choosing me as your celebrant; it was a joy to be part of your day, and I hope that we can all learn from the way you both responded to all the challenges that the past two years gave you. Something tells me that we’re all going to need your resilience, optimism and courage in the weeks and months to come!

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