In Scotland, it’s easy to take humanist weddings for granted. The idea that “we’re a’ Jock Tamson’s Bairns” – that we’re all the same under the skin – isn’t universal, and the story of Komi and Gordon’s long struggle to get married reminded me of just how privileged we are.
Gordon and Komi met in Malaysia, where they both worked for the United Nations and the start of their relationship taught them they came from very different cultures…
Gordon grew up in Glasgow, so he can be direct when he believes he’s right, and he can be sharp-tongued in arguments. Komi is more Asian, calm, and unwilling to engage (which as Gordon said, made him look a right wally). But where for him, 5 minutes later it’s over, with Komi it would hang in the air, so it took them some time to adapt.
They really embraced all the possibilities that a humanist wedding offers both to acknowledge that and also to show that there are many more things that unite than divide us. I absolutely loved their wedding so I was delighted to get this email that confirmed that they did too!
As they wrote, “We had a great wedding! It was everything we could want – fun, lighthearted, but with some emotion and feel and personalisation to it.
We wouldn’t have known how to structure our own wedding if it wasn’t for your guidance from the time we spoke to you till the wedding was over, and for this, thank you!
Wondering what that card was for? Rather than tell the guests why they love each other, Gordon and Komi decided to ASK them. They chose several of the reasons they’d given in their LoveWork and asked the audience to guess who said what.
Yes: it was Gordon who said, “Marriage means that no matter what happens, we commit. I once told you, ‘I would live in a tent in a field to be with you, if that is what it takes’. No easy way out when the going gets tough.”
No – that was Komi! “Marriage means sharing a bond that no one else has. That bond I have with you is something no one else can or will understand and can take away from us.”
Komi said, “When I first started googling for humanists, yours was the first name that came up on the second page of Google. Me being me, I researched and researched you till I was quite satisfied that I wanted to talk to you haha!
I typically will research more options but from that first email that you sent to our first call, I knew I wanted you as our humanist, and Gordon who initially fell off the chair over your price, was also sold after that first call.
We knew you were gonna be thorough, fun, and capable – essentially everything we wanted. After the wedding, people came up to us to tell us what an amazing ceremony it was and our family and friends around the world also texted us to tell us that it was very unique.
To be honest, growing up in Malaysia, there is no such thing as a humanist wedding. What we both always wanted was a non-denominational, non-religious ceremony but done our way, and we were well guided by you.
We both really enjoyed doing the Lovework. It actually brought us to tears – we both heard what each other had written and to recall how we met and what made our hearts skip a beat…it just made us both treasure our love even more. Being in Malaysia – where the law does not take too kindly to expats marrying locals – we’ve faced our fair share of challenges. At some point, even our then office the UN went to speak to the National Registration Department but were met with a flat NO.
The pandemic too put a stop to whatever marriage plans we had but it was also during the pandemic that we realised, you know what, nothing will stop us anymore, and so we started the process to marry in the UK and have it recognised by the Malaysian Government via the Malaysian High Commission in London.
When we finally met you in person at our rehearsal, we knew we were in good hands. Both families and our friends and family at our wedding had only good things to say about how well you conducted the ceremony.
I (Komi) appreciated that you popped downstairs to the holding room to see me and put me at ease and I (Gordon) appreciated that you took me aside just before the wedding and essentially said to let you now take over and conduct the ceremony.
Our wedding ceremony was everything we wanted. You read us so well that the three sample ceremonies you sent us served as good reference points – we referred to those three and knew what we wanted from then on!
So, from the both of us, we are honoured that you married us – we couldn’t have asked for a better person to do it, so, thank you very much! Thank you too for planting a tree in our name!
Gordon and Komi’s fabulous photos were shot by someone I’d never worked with before, the Glasgow-based photographer David Grant Simpson. I think he really captured the mood of the day brilliantly, and you can see more of his very distinctive work here.
It was my first visit to Sloan’s, in the Argyll Arcade, which is the oldest bar in the city and whose lovely ballroom was the perfect setting for the ceremony.
I almost forgot that Komi and Gordon decided to have a civil wedding ceremony down in the Scottish Borders after the blessing ceremony that I conducted. Although I am authorised to conduct legal marriage, it’s entirely within a couple’s choice to do that, and I’m delighted they enjoyed it too.
One day I hope to take up their invitation to visit Malaysia again; it would be lovely to have the chance to say, “terima kasih banyak, Komi dan Gordon; ia benar-benar satu penghormatan untuk menjalankan perkahwinan anda!”