Lorna & Thomas’s Humanist Wedding at Newhall Estate

The rain is rippling down the window of my study as I write this, and your reaction – naturally – is “what a miserable day for a wedding!”

Au contraire… one thing I’ve learned from my eighteen years as a humanist celebrant is that the weather doesn’t matter a bit!

Just over a year ago, I had the pleasure of marrying Lorna and Thomas on a day just like today, and – as you’ll read and see – nothing could wipe the smiles off their faces.

Every so often, a bride takes the time to tell the whole story in her own words, so I’m going to borrow a virtual umbrella and step out of the way, to give Lorna the floor…

For us, finding the perfect celebrant was harder than finding the perfect venue.

After hours of trailing through Instagram and chatting to celebrants at wedding fairs, we came across Tim. 

The first thing that really drew us to him was his manner and the way he told the couple’s story like he’d known them for years.

Another thing we noticed was how he jumped out of the way for the first kiss which was a bonus! 

Tim was so warm and friendly during our first Zoom call. While running through his presentation, it felt more like a chat with friends than a “sales pitch” which we had experienced before. 

Our chat hadn’t even finished before we were certain we wanted to work with Tim & there were two defining moments that have stayed with us. 

The first was when Tim was chatting about the ceremonies he had performed before and he said to us that for him “love is love”. This  showed us his support/acceptance to all kinds of love which was so important to us. 

The other one was that he was happy not only to allow time for silent private prayer but also to allow someone to give a religious reading. That was important to us, as we have family members with very strong faiths. 

I can’t remember exactly what he said, but it was along the lines of although humanists don’t believe in a god, they share many values with people of faith so in the spirit of those shared values, he would be delighted to invite someone to give a reading. This showed his empathy, compassion and acceptance of others which aligned to our values. 

The thought of writing our whole ceremony was in all honesty a bit daunting. Although, the first steps was for us to write our “LoveWork” which ended up being the core of the ceremony. 

It was great to take the time out and write our story, detail why we loved one another & actually want to get married after being together for so long. 

In the madness of wedding planning, you can quite easily lose the reason why you are doing it, when trying to juggle everything that comes with a wedding. 

Taking Tim’s advice, we shared our homework with each other after a lovely dinner at home with a couple of drinks.

From there, we created our ceremony, pulling elements from both our stories and the reasons why we were getting married. 

The guidance Tim provided was invaluable especially as he shared previous ceremonies with us as a guide. We decided since our ceremony was based from our homework, we wanted our vows/promises to be a surprise for the other person on the day itself. 

Tim took the time to support us through the process, and he gave us suggestions for things we might want to change even during the week running up to the wedding, which we really appreciated. 

If couples were in any doubt if they should do a rehearsal before the wedding, we would say 100% do it. It was wonderful to meet Tim in person before the day & actually get to chat away before playing such a major part in our lives. 

It was also great to know what to do on the day and just chat through our questions and thoughts. When I shared with Tim about my nerves of walking down the aisle he instantly put me at ease telling me that, the moment of walking down the aisle was not about the bride.

It was in fact my father’s; as he said, it would be a moment that my dad had  thought about ever since I was little, and from that moment my nerves completely disappeared. 

On our wedding day, Tim was as lovely as ever. He gave the bridal party a last briefing of how things would go, and he kindly spoke to our family members who were doing readings to put them at ease. 

The way Tim told our story and conducted our ceremony was exactly what we had wished for. 

It was like he had known us for years and had great delight telling all of our guests about our love for one another.

He calmed our nerves when we fluffed our lines, brought humour into our story where he could and even jumped out of the shot for our first kiss!

The feedback from our wedding guests was that it’s the best wedding that they have been to because of how personal our ceremony was – and  how Tim delivered it for us.

Another beautiful touch which we loved – and which came as a complete surprise – was that he’d kindly planted a tree to celebrate our marriage as part of a restoration project for the Caledonian Forest

Tim – we honestly cannot thank you enough for making our wedding the dream that we had always hoped for. Your professionalism, kindness and friendship will stay with us always!  Please don’t be a stranger. 

I won’t be, Lorna and Thomas! Thank you so much for your kind words, which mean the world to me.

Thanks also for making the important point about religious content in humanist ceremonies. At Celebrate People, we’re proud to take a person-centred approach.  Your wedding ceremony is about what life and love mean to you, and it’s our privilege to help express that. As you rightly said, humanists share many values with people of faith so it is in the spirit of those shared values that we welcome contributions from people of all faiths – and of course, from people of none!

Thank you too, for sharing these wonderful shots from my old friend Marc Millar and remember –

Everywhere you go, always take the weather, the weather with you!

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