Saturday, 11 March 2017

Ain't No Mountain High Enough

I was up early today. 5.45 to be precise, because I was off to Blackford Hill to conduct a wedding for Carrie and Raj, in front of around seventy friends. 

It was very moving, not least because when I was talking about why we were all there on that hilltop, I remembered it was because Carrie's friend Louise had married Stuart on top of Ben Vorlich, back in December 2012.

The weather was a bit different then. Deep snow, and wind chill factor of minus 15 degrees meant that Stu couldn't actually put the ring on Louise's finger because her hands had swollen so much in the cold!

And then I remembered that Stu and Lou had got in touch because they'd seen a story about Jo and Rob's wedding on Buachaille Etive Mhor the previous year. 

That was pretty special because they were mountaineers, and they'd climbed all the way to the summit with their best man and bridesmaid.

As part of their ceremony, they chose to do a hand fasting, which of course they did with the rope they'd used to climb the hill. It was pretty cool, because they really know how important it is to tie the knot correctly!

I like the idea that every ceremony I do is connected to another, in some way. I wonder who'll next ask me to climb a mountain on account of this?

You know how to find me...

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Cat and Euan's Humanist Wedding at Knochraich Farm

When a photographer marries a musician, you know you're going to have a great day!

I'd first met Cat and Euan separately. 

Cat played with the Cairn String Quartet when I first met her on a freezing cold day in the Royal Botanic Gardens, and Euan had been the photographer of choice at more than one wedding I'd conducted, so I was dead chuffed they chose to work with me.

There were many unusual things about the day, not least that it was the first time I've married a couple who shared a surname. 
I loved how they told that story.

When they first met, Fiona said, 
"hah, you're both called Robertson: you guys should get married!" 
Cue some uncomfortable shuffling.

Cat's boyfriend arrived 5 minutes later.

They decided to have their wedding at a place I'd never been: Knockraich Farm, where Katy Roberts produces her award-winning yoghurt. It was going to be an outdoor wedding.

But it was October, so they decorated one of the byres in case.

In the event, it was a bit of both. 

We were in an' oot twice, 
before we finally decided that staying dry was probably a good idea.

 The beautiful music came from a very special quartet of friends, along with Amie, who gave us a reading from a letter that Johnny Cash wrote to his wife on her birthday.

Cat was accompanied by her gorgeous wee flower girl, Natasha. Euan was supported by his cousin Iain who'd flown over from Minnesota, and we all somehow managed to squeeze into the byre.

It was a very individual ceremony.

Cat and Euan told their story (OK, I did that bit). 

Then we talked about why they love each other and what they hope to achieve in their marriage, before they spoke vows they had written but kept secret from one another until the day.

Euan sent me a lovely note not long afterwards (and long, long, long before these photos.)

Firstly, a thank you for being so accommodating and helpful in the mayhem that was my decision making process at the beginning of the service. 

Both Cat & myself had our hearts set on outside, which is what made the decision difficult. 

As it turned out, it was a perfect start to the day and was a major talking point as we joined friends for a drink last night. 

Apologies for the hassle that it caused, but huge thanks for making it flow around me. 

(Editorial note: it was no hassle at all, Euan: on the contrary, it just made it all the more fun!)

Further to that, thank you for being our celebrant for the day. It was difficult to take it all in, but your manner & humour seems to have made an impression on many of our guests, and of course on both of us. 

It flashed by, as I’ve been told it would, but the laughs and tears during the service will stay with me I’m sure. 

I hope you will (or have) enjoy(ed) your ‘Hoppy Ever After’ beer, 

and I’ll be sure to send over some of our many, many photographs when they appear.

Well here they are and they are excellent! Please give it up for Nikki LeadbetterZoe AlexandraJen Owens,Lindsay Parker, and Neil Thomas Douglas who'd been saving up a roll of 1980's Ektachrome stock for this very day... 

My only regret was that I couldn't stay longer: It was clearly going to be one of those great parties!

Big thanks to the four feisty fiddlers, and of course the five fabulous photographers, without whom this would have been very, very different, but most of all, my thanks go to you, Cat and Euan: I wish you both every happiness!

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Laura and Graham's Humanist Wedding at Orocco Pier

Laura (14) met Graham (15) while on holiday with their parents in Estartit, in Spain. 

Graham thought Laura had the fuzziest hair he’d ever seen, and a very beautiful smile. Laura was wearing braces at the time, which made her very self-conscious, so she spent most of her time hiding her beautiful smile behind her hands.    

They had a wee kiss, and the young lovers spent months commuting from Bo'Ness to Kirkaldy by bus, train and Shanks's Pony before Graham was eventually allowed to sleep over (in a sleeping bag on top of the covers!)

Young love eventually faded, and there was a 12 year intermission before the wonder of Facebook brought them back together again in the summer of 2013. 

By then, Laura had her beautiful daughter, Roni, and it was Roni who told Laura and Graham that she wanted to have a new life together, as a family, in a forever home.

Two years passed and on Christmas Day 2015, Laura got Graham out of the shower by saying, "I need to tell you something". Baby Sneddon was on his way.

Not only was it Christmas Day, but the plan was to take Roni to Nana's house over in Fife before heading for the Maternity Ward. 

Laura's waters had broken, so she asked the dreaded question, "what if the baby has to be delivered in Fife?"

Graham looked at her and said, "if I have to make you a mankini out of duct tape to keep the baby in there till we get back over this bloody bridge, then I'll pull over and strap you in now!"

Laura saw the funny side, thinking Graham was kidding. 

He wasn't.

It was such a joyful wedding!

On the day, Roni scattered rose petals down the aisle as Dillan ran wild and - as his parents predicted - stole the show.

Laura and Graham sent me this photo today, along with this note.

"We just wanted to say thank you for our beautiful wedding ceremony, conducted by yourself. We have had nothing but praise in regards to how you told our story, and how relaxed and meaningful the day was. 

Everything went amazing and we could not have asked for a better humanist, or gentleman, to share our day with. So again from my husband Graham and I, sincerely thank you.We wish you all the best for the future".

The pleasure was all mine, Graham and Laura! Thanks for the kind words and thanks to Iris Photography for this great photo!