Ailsa & Thomas’s Humanist Wedding at Ravensheugh Log Cabin

“It was an absolutely perfect day”, said Ailsa when she sent me these photos by Julia Graham, and she’s right – it really was, in every sense.

The glorious sunshine, the wonderful location, and – off shore and out of shot – the hundreds and thousands of gannets, their white wings glinting in the light as they soared and dived into the waters around the Bass Rock.

Like so many couples this summer, Ailsa and Thomas had planned to marry in 2020, but we all know what happened then…

Unusually in these days of swiping right, Thomas and Ailsa met in the early days of high school. The first time they both remember is in 5th year chemistry, when seated near each other they started to talk more but it was mostly Ailsa telling Thomas that the colour change was green to blue not orange-y brown to brown-y brown…

It wasn’t long afterwards that Thomas went on a kayaking trip along the east coast and spent a night camped just below at the bottom of this very headland. During the evening, he came up for a nosey at the cabin, but little did he know that he would one day return… 

Ravensheugh Log Cabin was built in 1960 by the 12th Earl of Haddington, to remind his wife of her native Canada. It’s as log-cabinny as they get, and I was touched to see that although the roof has recently been replaced, it’s still as irregularly shaped as the original. With the fabulous beach stretching below and the iconic Bass Rock in the background, it’s a magical setting for a wedding.

Ailsa and Thomas love an adventure, so I wasn’t surprised to learn that Thomas proposed in the flat iron mountains of Colorado. It was February and despite the fact that the Park Ranger advised against it, it’s just possible he didn’t realise how much snow and ice they’d have to wade through and scramble over in the cause of romance…

It was entirely worth it for the view, the moment, and the special place they will remember forever more. 

Initially they set a date a little over a year away but the world had slightly different ideas. It was a life changing two years for almost everyone but after two postponements, Thomas and Ailsa were delighted to have everyone they love with them to share their special day.

Ailsa’s Auntie Audrey gave us a reading before Thomas’s auntie Margaret started the handfasting.

The ribbons they chose were taken from the material used to make Ailsa’s wedding dress and the Lamb tartan, chosen because it was Thomas’ late grandpa’s surname. Sadly he passed away not long before the wedding, so they decided to take his name not just for sentimental reasons, but for a practical one as well; Lamb is much easier to spell than either Golightly or Hardwick! 

As Ailsa’s brother Ross completed it, I spoke the words they had written about the meaning of marriage. “Marriage means being part of a team, being in something bigger than both of you and dealing with everything that entails. It means growing together and learning more about life as you go. Your marriage means that there will always be someone in your corner, to help you make things happen, that alone, you could not. You have a best friend for life, to laugh with, to cry with, and importantly, to dance all night with. Seal these thoughts and sentiments into your knot.”

We took a moment for silent contemplation before Thomas and Ailsa spoke their very personal vows to one another and exchanged rings.

Then Thomas’ dad Nick gave us a passage from Jerome K Jerome’s classic novel, 3 Men in a Boat

And we signed the all-important Marriage Schedule – not an easy thing when there’s a breeze that could catch it and blow it all the way to Denmark!

It was a very moving ceremony and I was delighted to get these words from Ailsa and Thomas the other day, along with these great photos by Julia Graham – this is her Instagram page.

It was an absolutely perfect day. After so much planning, it was just amazing to spend the day with our loved ones in the sunshine. 

Reminiscing and looking back on the photos brings us such a warm glow inside. 

The pictures of everyone smiling and socialising and dancing will never fail to make us smile. For so many special moments, it was worth the wait. 

Thank you so much for conducting our ceremony. Your words and presentation hit all the right notes and really fit in with the atmosphere of the day. We’ve had so many people passing on their compliments, mentioning that the ceremony was personal, intimate and just so us.

Thank you for helping us make it such a wonderful day. 

Ailsa and Thomas  – it was my pleasure! Thank you for choosing me as your celebrant, and once again, I wish you both every happiness in the weeks and months and years to come!

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