Edward & Lauren’s Humanist Wedding Blessing at Dalhousie Castle

It took Edward & Lauren three attempts to get married in Scotland over the course of three years and I probably don’t need to tell you why, but as we say in Scots, “what’s fur ye’ll no gin by ye”, so I was delighted when the three of us and ace lensman Neil Thomas Douglas finally got together at Dalhousie Castle.

It truly was the most intimate ceremony I have ever conducted. No family, no guests, no bridal party, not even a wedding co-ordinator. It was just them, me, Neil, and Bonnie the barn owl, but perhaps because it was so stripped down, it was all the more powerful.

Lauren and Edward live in the USA, and although they had originally hoped to get legally married here in Scotland, the virus forced them to change their plans. By the time we met, they had been through the legal process of marriage in a courthouse in South Carolina, but they still wanted to create a ceremony that was meaningful to them, using their LoveWork as the basis of what they were going to say on the day.

I really love what Lauren said about the meaning of marriage, and with her permission, I’m sharing some of her words here.

Marriage is a pretty extreme vow. Even a rash one. You’re promising to do something with no real idea of what it entails. Really, you can’t know until you’ve done it.

That’s terrifying. Vows are inherently terrifying. They’re appointments with one’s future self – and we’re always [somewhat reasonably] worried that we may be someone different in the future, and that the appointment would be dreadful to keep.

But vows are also exhilarating. To make a serious, even extreme, vow is to make an expression to the greatness, the magnitude of a great moment or feeling and to demand to be taken seriously, both by oneself and by others.

It’s exhilarating because there’s a sense of pleasure in it. There’s a pleasure in binding oneself with a vow that those who decline to do so cannot understand. It’s not unlike jumping off a bridge or other high place and into a river – the pleasure, the rush, and the thrill comes after one’s feet have left the surface of the Earth and one cannot turn back.”

See what I mean? That’s powerful stuff!

I was delighted when Edward sent me a link to Neil’s photos and said, “I must say, the ceremony felt quite meaningful. I think the process of really sitting down and thinking through what marriage means, and what it’s about, and what you want to accomplish from or through it, distilling all that down and putting it into words, and then finally speaking them to each other is very powerful. 

It also compels one to reflect, which is something some of us (like myself) often struggle to do. 

We appreciate all your help and guidance throughout this 3 year long process, and your excellent work on the 25th.”

It was a real pleasure, Edward. If humanism means anything, it means thinking for yourself and creating meaning by doing so and you two absolutely did that! It was well worth the wait, so thank you once again, not only for choosing to work with me, but also for being prepared to share your insights into the whole process.

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