It’s been legal in Scotland for almost a decade now, but Equal Marriage is not something we should take for granted. I’ve seen so many programmes recently about what life was like for gay people only a few decades ago – from George Michael: Outed to Banjo Beale talking about growing up gay in Australia in Designing the Hebrides – that I’ll never forget how lucky we are that the vast majority of people agree that Love is Love.
Danny and David came up with lots of original and imaginative ideas for their ceremony, but for me, the most powerful came just after I introduced myself. As I told the guests, “I want to share something Danny wrote about what marriage means to him.”
Danny had written about how growing up as a closeted gay catholic in the 1990s, marriage was not something he ever saw as an option for his future. However, societal changes have proved these childhood fears wrong and that along with his acceptance of self, Danny had found in David a man he wants to spend his life with. He added, “I think gay relationships are still not seen as legitimate in the eyes of a significant portion of society. I often feel that as gay men our relationships don’t get the same respect as those of our heterosexual counterparts. Therefore, for me, being able to call David ‘my husband’ is very important”.
How do you follow that? Well, with a love story of course, but this was a love story with a difference because although Danny and David wrote it in their own words, they weren’t sure they could tell it without crying, and they wanted to save that for the vows! So instead, they invited two guest stars to play them in ‘The Story of Us’ and here’s the script – complete with stage directions.
DAVID: It’s my pleasure to introduce Suzi Morrice who will be reading the part of Professor David John Stevenson [Suzi comes to stand beside David]
DANNY: And reading the part of Mr Danny Hunter, please welcome Eve Gerald [Eve comes to stand beside Danny]
The story they told was long, romantic and gloriously witty, involving dating apps, 5AM gluten-free baking sessions, train station assignations, kisses in airport carparks, visits to Northern Ireland and American roadtrips in a Mustang convertible. I loved every word, and Suzi and Eve delivered their parts brilliantly. Eventually Danny left London for life ‘In a Big Country’, donated most of David’s possessions to the charity shop and they then spent the next four years restoring, recreating and redecorating their new home while buying ever-bigger Christmas trees for the bay window and failing to adopt any of the neighbourhood cats.
Year Five saw a proposal at Prestonfield House; as David wrote, and Suzi said, “I had reserved the private dining room for two, which was in a romantic turret or, as Danny pointed out, above the staff door to the kitchen. When dinner was finished, and tea had just been served I went down on one knee handing him my proposal that I had commissioned as a letterpress print. Danny was a little confused, but he said yes, and then had himself a nice celebratory cup of tea.”
Danny’s brother, Andy gave us what’s becoming a very popular reading these days; ‘All I Know About Love’ by Neil Gaiman
and then, before Danny and David exchanged the vows they had kept secret from each other until that moment, I asked the guests to try to guess who’d said what about why they love each other. That was a lot of fun!
I said that David and Danny decided they’d keep the tears for the vows, and they did.
They weren’t alone…
I stepped aside to allow them to speak the words from their heart directly to one another, which gave photographer Caro Weiss the perfect spot to capture the moment.
The joy in the room was almost tangible.
As you can see from Caro’s gorgeous shots.
Danny and David’s mums, Mo and Caroline, joined us to sign the Marriage Schedule as we listened to some lovely music played by Siannie Moodie and Nick the Fiddler.
The families were further woven together by Danny and David’s sisters, Jenny and Sarah, who used the Hunter and the Holyrood tartans to bind them together in a handfasting,
then Sarah completed the formal part of the day with a reading of ‘He and I’ by the New Zealand poet and novelist, Lang Leav
When words run dry,
he does not try,
nor do I.
We are on par
He just is,
I just am
and we just are.
I think you can see how much it meant to Danny and David to be able to call each other, “my husband” so I was delighted when David sent me these words a few months after their wedding.
It feels brilliant to be married – especially after waiting for two extra years! We had exactly the day we had hoped for – and the ceremony is something we will remember forever.
Thank you for guiding us through the creation of it – we are very glad we chose you to be our celebrant.
We both know that we will enjoy revisiting it in the years to come, and our vows are something that we have already enjoyed rereading as we reflect on everything we did and felt on the day.
Thanks, also, for planting the tree for us – that is a lovely gesture and we hope it will grow tall and strong as we grow together. We will have passed it at a distance en route to our honeymoon at Kyle House, up near Tongue.
It was a real pleasure to be a part of your marriage, David and Danny. I hope that you will continue to revisit your vows in the years to come, and I hope that you’ll also come back and revisit this story on your wedding anniversaries as well. Thank you both from the bottom of my heart for choosing to work with me – and thanks as always to the wonderful Caro Weiss for her beautiful photos. Thanks too – and massive congratulations – to the team at Timberyard who won their first Michelin Star just a few months ago. As they say in France, “Il vaut le detour”!