Jami & Scott’s Humanist Elopement at Neidpath Castle

“Can there be anything more beautiful than young love?”

And the answer is given: “Yes, there is a more beautiful thing. Old love.”

These lines come from a reading I don’t hear often enough at weddings. It’s called The Beauty of Love and like the more familiar one where Pelagia’s father talks about love in Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, it talks about a love between two people who have shared their life’s journey to the end. I’m not surprised that John Paul Lusk of Leven Films chose to allow us to hear Jami and Scott sharing it in his beautifully atmospheric Highlights trailer. I do hope you’ll listen to it because the emotion of the moment is electric!

The Beauty of Love was the perfect choice for Jami and Scott because they’d made the hardest journey of all. They married young but divorced after three years and married other people.

I don’t believe anyone enters marriage ‘lightly or selfishly’, but the statistics are worth noting. Here as in the USA, almost half of all first marriages end in divorce. What’s more surprising is that only 6% of couples who divorce choose to remarry, which makes Jami and Scott’s story all the more inspiring.

It took them 21 years to find one another again, and as they told me in their LoveWork, “We call this time the “in between”, and it is bittersweet because we lost what feels like a lifetime as well as the opportunity to have children together.  However, we grew and found ourselves and did a lot of healing which ultimately allows us to be together whole today.

When they first contacted me through Lisa Bauer who coordinates many weddings in Scotland from her base in New York, they’d already decided on a few things. They wanted to marry in a romantic castle and incorporate two time-honoured symbolic gestures; a handfasting and the quaich ceremony.

As Jami wrote, “Because we did get married before in a very “ordinary” way at a banquet hall with a traditional cookie cutter ceremony and 100 of our closest friends and family in attendance, and because we knew that having this second chance was incredibly rare and special, we wanted our ceremony to be equally rare and special.  

I was a little concerned that eloping could feel somewhat anticlimactic or even a bit sad since we wouldn’t have our loved ones there to celebrate with us.  Scott didn’t share that concern.  He knew it would be even more special because it was just the two of us.

Given that we reconnected later in life (48 and 52 when we got back together; 50 and 54 when we remarried), our financial circumstances were also markedly different than they had been in our 20’s.  So we were blessed to be able to add any and all bells and whistles we wanted to mark the occasion in fun and magical ways. 

You don’t need to be a Harry Potter fan to find owls magical, and it was lovely to work with Anna, Sophie and ‘Plop’ the barn owl once again.

It would have been amazing and special in any case, but it really was incredible to be able to flit off to a castle in Scotland complete with a proper piper and lovely, talented artisans to celebrate with us and help memorialise the day.

They certainly did that… alongside me, Jami and Scott were serenaded by the award-winning Alexandra Violinist and my trusty friend John Rae, AKA the Pickled Piper. The mediaeval setting of Neidpath Castle (which is a 14th century tower house) was sensitively dressed by A Curious Arrangement, Daria of Wedding Artwork made a live painting and of course these fabulous photos were taken by the talented Justyna Maria.

Because Jami and Scott were marrying without guests, they didn’t need to tell their story or talk about why they were choosing to marry, but they undertook the LoveWork project in good heart. Again, Jami said, “Writing our own ceremony was definitely daunting…even though we got off easy given it was just the two of us requiring no need for a lot of background or set up.

It can be quite hard to put the things that live in one’s heart into words. The easy path would have definitely been those generic, traditional vows that we exchanged before, and I’d be lying if I said we didn’t have those thoughts a few times during the writing process 🙂  

We are both so glad that we did it this way though because we really got to think about and express what we mean to each other and what we want out of marriage this time around.  

We have no illusions that marriage will always be easy.  I think having those very personal promises to fall back on will help reframe challenges and conflicts as they inevitably arise.  There are very specific reasons we chose each other, and our lovework and vows will always help us remember that.

One of the examples you sent included lovely vows from Lauren that really resonated with me in that we are on the exact opposite end of the spectrum.  She said,  “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.”  

Well, we actually have done it before…with each other!  So we definitely knew what we were getting into. 

Some could argue that marrying the same person twice indicates insanity.  We like to think that we learned from the mistakes of those two clueless kids and know how to do it right this time, and maybe we are just a wee bit insane in the best possible way.  🙂

When it was time for the Quaich ceremony, Jami and Scott opted for champagne – a very sensible choice I always think because the first thing you’ll be offered when you’ve just got married is another glass of champagne! Sandy from Neidpath poured it and John offered the first drink from the quaich to Jami.

We hadn’t quite finished though; there was a handfasting to be done, and Jami and Scott wove their own cords which they brought with them all the way from the USA.

There’s something very special about being part of such an intimate ceremony. The emotional power is even greater when it comes down to just the two of you, creating your future in your own words.

John Paul’s film, and Justyna’s images capture that perfectly. I was really looking forward to hearing Jami and Scott’s thoughts about the whole process of creating their ceremony, and I’m delighted they gave me the opportunity to share their inspiring story.

I’m also delighted that they said, “We loved the experience you helped us create and will remember it for a lifetime!  Thank you for everything!!

It was my pleasure, Jami and Scott. Long may old love trump young love, and I hope you’ll keep remembering those beautiful promises you made as you continue your journey on the same path.

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