Humanist weddings are about creating meaning. That’s what most appealed to Elaine and Ali who said in their ceremony that when they started their preparations for their wedding, they felt at times overwhelmed by traditional expectations.
Known for being one another’s shadows, Ali and Elaine have always done things together, and it just didn’t feel right to plan so many things that involved them being apart.
Not long after they first met, Ali drew a vision of a dress which he kept in his wallet. On the day when she was due to choose the most important dress she would ever ever wear, Elaine felt she was missing her guiding light, so she defied tradition and convention and asked Ali to help her choose it.
The unbreakable bond between them is engraved inside each of their wedding rings; a gentle reminder of the promises that they made in front of their friends and families at Orocco Pier.
They met when Elaine was reluctantly persuaded to take a Saturday job as a waitress in Ali’s family’s business, The Letterbox Bistro, in Balerno. At her interview she was greeted by a handsome, happy Ali dressed in his chef’s whites and they got to chatting; not so much about the job as telling stories of their travels to Australia and India, but she soon signed on and over the following months, there were many late night discussions over beers and cheeseboards.
Ali was subjected to a thorough interrogation by Elaine’s Dad, but it didn’t work out quite the way Angus had planned. One Saturday night, Elaine turned up at 2am with Ali in tow, despite strict instructions not to do so, only to meet Gus in his dressing gown. After giving them a stern frown, the three of them polished off a bottle of Famous Grouse together. Ali says he is now wiser and knows where to find the good bottles…
Like the 25-year-old Balvenie he was gifted, but which Angus kept under lock and key until the big day…
I really liked how Ali and Elaine involved their family and friends, and James, Margaret and Sharon took my place to share some advice on marriage.
James relayed the heartfelt words of Ali’s Grandma & Grandad, Gus and Jess; Elaine’s mum Margaret spoke words of her own, and Ali’s mum Sharon did the same.
We can’t talk about Ali and Elaine without mentioning another Jess – Jess the collie, who has become an irreplaceable part of their family! She’s joined them on many adventures, and their biggest ever adventure just wouldn’t have been the same without her.
What made their wedding extra special to me was that Elaine and Ali took the time to write their own vows, which they kept secret until the day.
Like all the best secret vows, they didn’t rhyme, but they echoed each other, and it was all the more moving, both for them and for all the guests.
Maid of honour Megha handed Ali’s ring to Elaine
While Ali’s brother in law Chris gave him the ring he put on Elaine’s finger. We call this moment ‘the exchange of rings’ for a reason, and I liked how Ali and Elaine thought about that aspect too.
I love it when a photographer steps behind me for the moment when I pronounce the couple as married! Matt Smith captured the moment so well, as he did everything else about the day.
After we signed the Marriage Schedule with Walter and Angus as witnesses,
We did a rather special handfasting ceremony.
It was while they were staying at Crieff Hydro to celebrate Elaine’s 30th birthday that they stumbled across a kilt maker and commissioned some very special ribbons with four tartans – Black Watch, Henderson, Anderson and Bruce – to represent each branch of the two families.
And after a few well-chosen words from me, Elaine and Ali headed off with Matt and all their guests to enjoy a bit of early spring sunshine.
I was delighted to get this note from Ali when he sent me these great photos by Matt Smith.
“Thank you again so much for marrying us!”
“The day was incredible and the ceremony was exactly what we wanted and more.”
“The feedback from the guests was so humbling and everyone commented on how well you did the ceremony. “
Thank you so much for your kind words, Ali and Elaine! May you have many, many more adventures – and keep doing things your way – just like your ceremony!
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