Nicola & Ross’s Humanist Wedding at Carlowrie Castle

You know those times you meet someone new and realise your paths have almost crossed many times before? Well that’s how Ross and Nicola felt on their first date, when they discovered how many friends and family members they had in common.

It turned out that not only had Nicola gone to the same high school as Ross’ sister-in-law, Debbie, but she’d also worked as a teacher alongside Lorraine, who’s married to his cousin. Those connections reassured her that Ross was ‘all right’ and they continued dating.

Ross’s daughter, Hallé, was only three at the time. She was (and still is) a real Daddy’s girl but she warmly accepted Nicola into her life. Their relationship blossomed; Nicola and Ross moved in together and became their own little family. I love this portrait, which was taken in the garden outside Carlowrie Castle.

Just under four years later, Ross proposed when they were at a family celebration in Aberfeldy. Demonstrating his creative flair, he’d painstakingly carved and sanded an engagement ring from a tree in the garden of their first home together. Better still, he’d even carved a diamond from a piece of stone taken from the rough cast.  Nicola was relieved to discover that was why he’d spent so much time hiding away!

When the time came for them to speak the vows they’d written themselves, they chose to promise the same things, apart from their last lines.

Ross promised Nicola that he will always have a supply of jelly babies to hand, whereas Nicola promised to leave him in peace when he’s watching Match of the Day! 

Once we’d signed the Marriage Schedule with Scott and Tracey as our witnesses, Ross and Nicola performed a handfasting, using the MacDonald tartan, which links to her mother’s side, while Ross chose the Baird tartan to represent his family name. 

As Nicola wrote, when she sent me these great photos by Gavin Duncan, “We both felt quite overwhelmed at the prospect of writing our own ceremony. 

Perhaps that was just because it was so important to us and I certainly have a tendency to overthink everything, but I have never been so lost for words! Ross found it easier!”  

But having gone through the process and brainstormed the tasks you set us, I can honestly say it definitely made the ceremony more meaningful to us on the day.  

We had a wonderful time celebrating with our closest family and friends. The day flew by, but it was everything we had hoped it would be. 

You have a lovely warm manner and a strong presence in front of an audience, which makes you very easy to listen to.  I received a number of positive comments from guests saying they enjoyed the ceremony, especially noting how personal it was to us.

I love that you have planted a tree for us and that you do this for all the couples you marry; it’s such a lovely gesture.

Thank you for making our day so special!

I’ll take the compliment, Nicola, but it was you and Ross who made your day so special, by creating your beautiful ceremony. I just had the joy and privilege of delivering it! Thanks again for choosing me as your celebrant – and I must say my thanks also go to Gavin Duncan who did such a fine job of capturing your day! You can see his own blog about it here too.

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