Hayley & Jamie’s Humanist Wedding at Melville Castle

How many different types of brides are there? I’ve seen lists with up to 17, but this one from Great British Life is pretty good.

Type One is… ‘The Perfectionist’ and when I read the first sentence – “You have drawn up spreadsheets upon spreadsheets to ensure your big day goes without a hitch” – I couldn’t help thinking of Hayley because she is the Queen of Spreadsheets!

Even before she got in touch, Hayley had done her research. She knew two couples I’d married, Caitlin & Andrew and Louise & Ryan, and when she said, “the role of the celebrant is really important to us”, I knew we were going to do great things together and their wedding was a proper celebration right from the kickoff.

I love it when the guests applaud when the bride comes into the room; it really sets the atmosphere!

Jamie and Hayley began by introducing their wedding party – groomsmen Murray, Calum and the two Stuarts were matched by bridesmaids Holli, Natalie, Lisa, Rachel and flower-girl Ruby, but they also took the time not only to acknowledge the love and support of their parents, Heather & Drew and Nicola & Kenny, but also to give a special mention to Hayley’s Grandma Joyce, which was a lovely thoughtful way to start.

I told their story, which started as teenagers mooning aimlessly around Musselburgh to a very poignant proposal in the chapel of Falkland Palace. Hayley has gone there every year to light a candle in memory of her Grandad Gerald, who helped run the chapel.

It wasn’t just his place of worship but it was also where his vigil and funeral mass took place, so when Jamie got down on one knee and said, “I know this is a place of sad memories for you, but I want to make it a place of happy ones as well”, Hayley could hardly see him through her tears. She was so moved, Jamie had to ask the question twice!  

They had two readings; the first, from Hayley’s brother and groomsman, Calum, spoke to Jamie’s passion for golf, while the other, from one of Hayley’s lifelong school friends, Joanna Jenkins, emphasised the importance of friends, and then they asked Maid of Honour Holli and Best Man Stuart to ask them some questions that put them on the spot.

This is a variation on the ‘Guest Vows‘ that I’ve written about many times, and it’s always great fun!

Among other things, Stuart asked, “Jamie, do you promise to stay dedicated to Hayley, and put as much time and effort into your relationship as you do into your golf?” While Holli asked, “Hayley, do you promise never to turn down a gherkin out of Jamie’s McDonald’s burger, so he doesn’t have to eat them?”

I then asked all the guests the usual ‘Guest Vow’ questions, and after a moment of silent contemplation announced by a ‘Candle Ceremony‘ that Hayley and Jamie were ready to make their promises to one another and I really liked how – after all the funny and very personal promises they’d already made – they chose to use the time-honoured form of words.

I was very touched to get this lovely email not long after they got back from their honeymoon. As Hayley said, “As soon as we got engaged we both agreed there was only one person for the job and contacted you straight away. We’re so grateful you were available as the feeling we have looking back and remembering it was everything we were looking for. 

You have such a positive energy and aura which rubs off on anyone in the room, and you made us feel very at ease. Like you said, all of our guests have just raved about how personal it was and different to most other ones they have seen. The whole process of our LoveWork has brought us even closer, and we were delighted to be able to share that with our loved ones and involve our closest at various points throughout the ceremony thanks to your advice and guidance. I have been told by my friends though that they could see me mouthing along to the words because I knew it line for line!! (Let’s see if Lee keeps that in the video!!)

Hayley & Jamie’s Wedding from Lee Richardson on Vimeo.

When I said Hayley was the Queen of Spreadsheets, I wasn’t joking. That image above? It’s a template she’s shared with me to pass on to any brides who’d find it useful, and as she wrote, “I don’t know how I’m going to fill the wedding organising gap in my life now! Honestly having everything written down made the actual day so much more enjoyable, Microsoft Excel was my best friend! I handed over all the information in a binder to my bridesmaids which meant on the morning of I was the most relaxed I’ve ever been in my life!

I’ve attached a couple of examples of my budget tracker, hair & make up timeline etc that I made myself, but everyone will of course have their own style. I also used a free wedding website for all the RSVPs, dietary requirements and song requests which I could easily download along side my table plans and send to the venue. Hope some of that can be useful to at least one other bride in the future! 😊

I hope it will too, Hayley – and thank you for sending me that template. I hope that anyone who asks for it tells me how useful it when they’re looking back on their own perfect day!

We will definitely be recommending you to all our engaged friends and hope to see you at some point again in the future. Thank you so so much for helping us and conducting the most perfect ceremony we could ever ask for!!

Meaningful, personal – and of course planned to perfection – I loved being a part of Jamie and Hayley’s wedding! My thanks go to them for their kind words and – as so often – to two of my favourite colleagues, Derek Christie on stills, and Lee Richardson on moving pictures.

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