Judi & Chris’s humanist wedding at Carlowrie Castle

“The wedding lit a new fire for us as a couple and family.” That was the phrase that jumped out at me from the email Judi sent me along with these great photos by Natalie Martin.

Nobody needs to get married these days, and as I wrote in The Scotsman a few years ago, “by the end of last century marriage had become so unpopular in the UK that there were more families living outside the bonds of wedlock than within.”

And when, like Chris and Judi, you’ve been together for almost a decade and you already have two children, why would you choose to get married at all? Particularly after the last two years of the pandemic. Like their ceremony, which they wrote, the following story is in their words. I hope it inspires you!

So, Chris and I booked our wedding and one week later the whole of the UK went into lockdown. We thought, “oh this will be over in 3 months” but how wrong were we? The date was originally for Saturday 13th March 2021. That’s a significant date for us because we became official as a couple on the 13th March, but we made the wise decision to re book for March the following year just to be on the safe side.

This was hard for me to take as my parents are older, and the thought of losing someone and not having them be there for my special day really worried me. My mum actually suffered a really bad stroke in February 2021 and she would not have been able to make the wedding had it been March 2021.  

Fast forward another year, and it’s March 2022. The weather has no idea what it’s doing, and we have snow and storms on the week leading up to the wedding. Covid is still about too, but things had relaxed – slightly. I was panicking that suppliers would pull out due to covid or important family and friends would get it or even worse – myself or Chris!! 

After 2 years of planning, the most important day was finally here. Saturday the 19th of March. The sun is shining and only a couple of guests have pulled out – due to Covid. 

I decided that morning that I was going to enjoy this day which we had so carefully planned and which we had made so personal to us. 

With Chris and I being event managers it’s hard not to get caught up in the running of the day and dealing with the suppliers, but Carlowrie Castle took care of absolutely everything and put me at ease. Everyone turned up and provided the best service possible. 

Tim really made an impact on our guests by explaining to them how a humanist ceremony proceeds. A lot of them were from England and they’d never been to a humanist ceremony or experienced anything of the kind that we created together with Tim. 

I personally have never experienced such emotion and love in a wedding ceremony. From the moment it started to the end of the quick 20mins that we wanted it to be. We didn’t want lots of talking, but just important personal gestures from the ones we love to the ones we love. 

Chris and I have been together for 9 years. We have children, we have a house, we already have everything a married couple could wish for. But on that day, the love felt like we had only been together for a couple of months.

The wedding lit a new fire for us as a couple and family. 

My children got to experience their mum and dad declaring their love and the fact we are now a completed family. 

It was truly remarkable and definitely worth the wait. I wouldn’t change a thing and we are still on cloud nine. 

Thank you Tim for making us at ease and for bringing out love and emotions we didn’t even know we had in us.

Inspired? I know I am! I do love getting messages like this, but what made Judi and Chris’s wedding even more touching was that I learned shortly beforehand that once upon a time, some years before her dancing career took her south of the border, Judi used to dance with my great friend and frequent colleague, Pipe Major John Rae, better known to one and all as The Pickled Piper, pictured here on the steps outside Carlowrie reading my book!

He was on duty that day as well, and I know it meant a great deal to him to play Judi down the aisle.

So many of my couples decide to ‘reverse into marriage‘ as I call it. I can never know exactly what it means to all of them, but I hope that if you’re in that position and wondering whether or not it’s worth all the fuss, the story of Judi and Chris will set a fire under you too!

Thank you again, Judi and Chris, for allowing me to share your story, and thanks too to Natalie Martin, whose very distinctive work is well worth a look – you can see more of what she does and why on her website.

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