Let’s Get Married!

Massive congratulations to Zoe and Trevor who said “We Will!” on Arthur’s Seat exactly one month ago. Such a fun, relaxed ceremony with these two incredibly laid back and super lovely people.

Photographer: Brenna Nyznik

When Trevor and Zoe first got in touch to ask if I would conduct their elopement ceremony, Trevor told me,

“We’d love to be at the bar, drinking a G&T, and having a laugh, and then at some point during that drink, we’ve got married.”

Well, we may not have been at a bar (their original ceremony at the Kimpton Hotel had to be postponed due to Covid-19) but the panoramic view and the hipflask toast more than made up for it.

In a secret, intimate, simple ceremony brimming with personal touches, Zoe and Trevor declared their love for one another overlooking Edinburgh. They exchanged unscripted vows and rings with their dog, Popcorn, and two of my good friends, Brenna and Pete, as their witnesses.

Photographer: Brenna Nyznik

In lieu of the Wedding Quaich, Zoe and Trevor enjoyed their first toast – G&T of course – as husband and wife. The sun shone, and we all enjoyed listening to Let’s Get Married! by the Proclaimers, and Wedding Day by Tori Amos.

Photographer: Brenna Nyznik

At a time when life is just beginning to open up again, it was pure joy to part of this incredibly life-affirming, love-filled day. Thank you so much, Zoe and Trevor, for trusting me with your ceremony. I loved being your celebrant.

Wishing you all the very best for your future together. Here’s to all the happiness, fizz, cats, dogs, hot tubs, adventure and love that you could wish for in your many years together. Congratulations!

Photographer: Brenna Nyznik

Bringing beautiful, person-centred ceremonies to Scotland …

We are delighted to announce that we are looking to invite six new Life Celebrants to join our Agnostic Scotland Life Celebrant network this year in order to help us respond to the growing demand for Agnostic ceremonies across Scotland.

Since our Agnostic Scotland launch in November 2019, we’ve been humbled by the response from people across Scotland wishing us well, enquiring about working with us, and asking about how to support our Community Fund and join our Community Connection Gatherings.

The Wandering Wildling Photography

We are so excited to be welcoming in this new phase in the development of Agnostic Scotland, and ultimately working towards our goal of providing beautiful, person-centred, affordable ceremonies that reflect the beliefs, values and wishes of the families involved.

As one of our ambassadors says:

“In today’s Scotland, there are fewer formal rituals. But our souls still need them. Today, we need a safe space for our rites, our ceremonies. Somewhere where there are no stipulations on God. Or Gods. Or no God(s). Or on gender binaries. Or on what a family looks like. Or on what music you can and can’t sing, or play, or listen to. I am excited that Agnostic Scotland can hold those spaces, perform those rituals, celebrate those ceremonies. Everyone deserves a safe place to mark life’s milestones.”

STELLA HERVEY BIRRELL, AWARD WINNING POET AND WRITER, EAST LOTHIAN, SCOTLAND.
Raini Rowell Photography

If you are someone who has always held a deep fascination for life transitions, who loves to honour rites of passage through ritual and ceremony, who enjoys bringing individuals together in celebration, and who has a heart-centred and open-minded respect towards the many varied, sometimes contradictory, and often complicated beliefs, values and wishes of others, then becoming an Agnostic Scotland Life Celebrant could be the perfect role for you. No prior celebrancy experience is necessary, although experienced celebrants are also welcome to apply.

To find out more, please see the latest blog on our Agnostic Scotland website, or contact us to let us know if you’d like to be sent the application form on 1st June 2021. Thank you, and good luck!

Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Morris-Jones Photography

It’s such a challenging time for anyone planning a ceremony just now; having to navigate all the shifting restrictions. So, I hope it’s a perfect time to share these beautiful details from Kirsten and Grahame’s December wedding ceremony. Hopefully, reassuring others that it absolutely is possible to have a glorious wedding day, despite the global situation.

“Seems silly, doesn’t it? A wedding. Given everything that’s going on.”

“Maybe that’s the best reason to have it. Because of everything that’s going on.”

Conversation between Ginny Weasley and Harry Potter

Kirsten and Grahame had planned to marry in Florida but, like so many this past year, their plans were forced to change. That didn’t stop this adventure-loving couple from planning their ceremony in less than seven weeks, and having the most wonderfully festive and magical day.

Morris-Jones Photography

Twenty of Grahame and Kirsten’s nearest and dearest gathered at the sumptuously decorated Archerfield House. Kirsten is a Christian and a devout follower of Harry Potter, and Grahame is non-religious. So, it was a great pleasure to lead a magical and incredibly personal ceremony for them both; one that fully respected their individual and shared beliefs, values and wishes.

Morris-Jones Photography

During the ceremony, they both shared some words with each other that they had written in secret, before exchanging rings as a symbol of their loving and binding commitments.

Their wee boy stole the show by dancing around the room, and we all witnessed Grahame and Kirsten make their Unbreakable Vows to one another. It was perfect.

Huge congratulations to you both, Mr and Mrs Newman. I’m so excited for you and wish you a magical future together. Enjoy your Florida honeymoon when it comes!

Heartfelt thank you to the lovely Dionne at Morris-Jones Photography for sharing these stunning photos.

A Big Love In

Happy New Year, Everyone. I hope 2021 brings you great happiness and good health, and a positive shift from the uncertain times we’ve all been facing this past year.

This seems a perfect time to share, with their kind permission, details of Natalie and Lucy’s gorgeous ceremony on 20th December 2020 and these glorious photographs by Ian Linton.

Lucy and Natalie brilliantly navigated the shifting sands of a global pandemic, despite the challenges they faced. I hope their story will help reassure others that a change in plans can sometimes simply mean a different kind of wonderful.

Ian Linton Photography

When we met to plan their ceremony, Natalie told me:

“Our wedding is about love… it is about celebrating our love with the people we love, and with all the people who love us… it’s a big love in…” 

And that’s exactly how it was; the light, beautiful Sun Room at Newhall Estate was brimming with joy, tenderness, laughter and love.

Ian Linton Photography

Originally, Lucy and Natalie’s plans had been to make their commitments to each other in a large gathering, at the height of spring, with all their family and friends present as witnesses. However, when lockdown hit they were forced to postpone. Seven months later, it became obvious that a large gathering would still not be possible.

They were determined to not let a global pandemic interfere with their wish to get married this year but it was also really important to Natalie and Lucy to include their wider friends and family. As Lucy had said when we first met:

“We both feel so lucky to have found each other. Our ceremony is about thanking everyone for all the love and support they have given us along the way.”

Ian Linton Photography

So, a plan was made to have two ceremonies. The first would be an intimate Marriage ceremony with just eleven of their close family and friends. The second would be a first anniversary ceremony and party with all the people they love.

Their December ceremony was absolutely heartwarming. Natalie and Lucy walked down the aisle together to ‘All I want for Christmas is you’ by Mariah Carey.

Ian Linton Photography

A musician friend recorded a beautiful song especially for their wedding, which we listened to during the ceremony. Natalie’s twin sister gave a brilliant and entertaining insight into how these two fantastic people found each other.

Ian Linton Photography

I shared, on their behalf, some secret thoughts and words that Lucy and Natalie had written for each other. They exchanged joint vows and rings as a symbol of their loving and binding commitments.

We heard a recording, during the signing of the Marriage Schedule, of wonderful music created especially for the day by Lucy’s brother and nephew.

After such an emotional and logistical rollercoaster of a year, it made my heart sing to declare Natalie and Lucy legally married.

.Ian Linton Photography

Natalie and Lucy, huge congratulations! Thank you for being so fun and lovely. I’m already looking forward to celebrating with you, and your family and friends, this time next year. Wishing you so much love and happiness for all your many years together.

Ian Linton Photography

Thanks also to Jack at Newhall Estate for being so welcoming. And great to catch up with Ian Linton Photography. Thank you for these epic photos.

The pursuit of happiness …

Beth has a joyful heart, beating a dance I want to get swept up in every day.

Rachel is my best friend. She brings so much happiness in my life. I can’t wait to explore the world with her by my side.

Rachel & Beth

When Rachel proposed to Beth in the middle of a darkwave goth gig two months into their relationship she was being serious. These two creative, funny, kind, and – by their own admission – eccentric souls had an instant connection and knew that they wanted to share their lives together.

Photo by Jono (Paul Johnson)

So, it was wonderful that, after a year of planning and what felt like endless shifting sands (due to the global pandemic), Rachel and Beth were finally able to go ahead with their Civil Life Partnership ceremony. On a crisp, clear autumnal day, a close circle of their family and friends gathered by St. Anthony’s Chapel on Arthur’s Seat in the heart of Edinburgh.

Photo by Paul Johnson (Jono)

Beth’s family joined us on Zoom and, during the ceremony, we heard some words from Beth’s mum and maid-of-honour, all the way from Australia.

In a personal and emotional exchange of vows, Rachel and Beth made their promises to each other overlooking the city that means so much to them both. There wasn’t a dry eye on the hill.

Photo by Paul Johnson (Jono)

They sealed their Life Partnership Vows with a Handfasting, the gold and white ribbons symbolising the brightness of the day. It was glorious.

Photos by Paul Johnson (Jono)

Beth and Rachel, thank you for trusting me with your ceremony. I absolutely loved being your celebrant. Wishing you so much love and all the witchy happiness you could wish for in your lives together.

Photo by Jono (Paul Johnson)

Thank you to friend of the family, Jono (Paul Johnson), for the gorgeous photos.

I love you more than I did yesterday …

Charlotte and Andrew’s Wedding at the stunning Colstoun House was a day of love, togetherness, family and friends.

Simons Studio Wedding Photography

With their beautiful rescue dog, Goose, and an intimate circle of their closest family and friends, Andrew and Charlotte gathered in the gloriously autumnal Colstoun polytunnel.

Simons Studio Wedding Photography

Their wider circle of family and friends joined the celebrations on Zoom. We successfully managed to shrink the geographical distances so that everyone felt an important and connected part of the ceremony.

Simons Studio Wedding Photography

Two friends described, over Zoom, the hilarious story of how Charlotte and Andrew first met (it was all thanks to a pair of size 9 trainers).

Then Charlotte and Andrew shared the secret reasons why they love one another, to much laughter and happy tears.

They exchanged personal ‘toasts to each other’ that they had written especially for their ceremony.

Simons Studio Wedding Photography

Then shared joint vows before exchanging wedding rings.

I love you more than I did yesterday.

Simons Studio Wedding Photography

A friend read, in Gaelic, an Irish poem she had written for Charlotte and Andrew. And the gathering cheered as the newly-married couple made their way into the sunshine.

Simons Studio Wedding Photography

Plans might not have unfolded according to Charlotte and Andrew’s original wishes (given all that is going on in the world) but everything about this vibrant, joyful, love-filled day was perfect.

Charlotte and Andrew, wishing you so many heartfelt congratulations. Thank you so much for trusting me with your ceremony. I’ve loved every minute of being your celebrant.

A shout out to the folk behind the scenes:

Wonderful to meet Simon from Simon’s Studio Photography – thank you for sharing these stunning photos.

Bride’s hair by Belle Bridal Hair and Beauty, and makeup by Rachel Doran.

Always a great pleasure to be celebranting at Colstoun, two fields from home. Thank you for a beautiful day!

A tale as old as time …

We will stay together through tears & laughter, because that’s what they call happily ever after.

Ashley & Tom
North Hold Photography

What an honour it was to be part of Ashley and Tom’s fairytale wedding at the sumptuous Prestonfield House in October. The sun shone, the leaves glowed with autumnal light, and the day was magical.

In an intimate ceremony with their close family as witnesses, Tom and Ashley shared the secret reasons why they love one another, and exchanged personal vows and rings. It was a ceremony filled with laughter and happy tears, made even more poignant by months of shifting plans and uncertainty leading up to their wedding date.

North Hold Photography

Ashley and Tom, I’m so delighted for you that you were able to go ahead with your plans despite all that is going on in the world just now. What a beautiful day! Thank you for inviting me to be your celebrant. Wishing you both so much love in the years to come with many more magical moments and fairytale adventures in your lives together.

North Hold Photography

Thanks also to Mark at North Hold Photography for these stunning photos, and Matt at Willoughby Films for Tom and Ashley’s awesome highlight film, and Alan, Kirsty, Cameron and the always-so-welcoming events team at Prestonfield House. It was a great pleasure spending time with you all.

The trees wave and the flowers bloom…

“The sun shines not on us but in us. The rivers flow not past, but through us. Thrilling, tingling, vibrating every fibre and cell of the substance of our bodies, making them glide and sing. The trees wave and the flowers bloom in our bodies as well as our souls, and every bird song, wind song, and tremendous storm song of the rocks in the heart of the mountains is our song, our very own, and sings our love.”

John Muir
John Sinclair Wedding Photography

Gorgeous fun at Yellowcraig Beach in East Lothian. Nicholas and Catherine exchanged vows and rings overlooking Fidra Lighthouse and the Bass Rock with their close family as their witnesses. It was the perfect place for these two individuals who have a passion for nature, the countryside and the coast to choose to celebrate their wedding.

John Sinclair Wedding Photography

The small group of Catherine and Nicholas’s close family represented several different beliefs and denominations. And so it was wonderful to be able to lead a ceremony that fully respected their individual beliefs, values and wishes. 

John Sinclair Wedding Photography

The sun shone, there was plenty of wind to keep the barefoot bride’s wee nephew happy as his kite flew high in the sky, and the newlyweds toasted this most momentous of ‘outings’ with a fabulous Orcadian tradition.

Ordinarily, in an Orcadian wedding, the couple would take a first sip from the Wedding Cog and then offer it around the gathering to anyone who wishes to partake, in a sunwise direction. Today, the sharing of drinks was saved for the party – planned as soon as restrictions ease. Instead, Nicholas and Catherine took their first sip as newlyweds, facing the sun, to honour the beginning of this next stage of their journey together. It was glorious.

John Sinclair Wedding Photography

Heartfelt congratulations Catherine and Nicholas. It was my great pleasure to be with you as your Marriage Celebrant. May you have many wonderful adventures in the years to come with endless slow travel missions, plenty of ‘outings’ and all the happiness you could wish for.

John Sinclair Wedding Photography

“You are my harbour where I return …”

I had the great honour of being Magdalena and Struan’s wedding celebrant on a blustery day in August. These two creative, wonderful souls were married on the shores of Dunsapie Loch in the heart of Edinburgh – overlooking the city where their love had blossomed.

Photo by Bernadeta Kupiec

Their ceremony was gorgeous, emotional, unique and joyful. An intimate circle of Magdalena and Struan’s dearest friends and family gathered together to witness their loving commitments. Struan’s mum wove everyone into the gathering with resonant notes from her two gorgeous singing bowls, and everyone was invited to send a blessing, thought or prayer to the couple.

Photo by Bernadeta Kupiec

Struan and Magdalena exchanged beautiful personal vows that they had written for each other. It was an incredibly moving moment for this couple who have been through so much together, and who finally – after months of shifting plans – were able to go ahead with their ceremony.

I found home within your eyes.

You are my harbour, where I return.

I promise to be your pillar when your world is shaken,

And your beacon when the light of our life is dim. 

Photo by Bernadeta Kupiec

They tied their own perfect handfasting knot, the coloured ribbons symbolising the coming together of two countries – Scotland and Poland – as well as two people.

Photo by Bernadeta Kupiec

Promises were sealed with a sip of whisky from the Quaich and everyone toasted the newlyweds with a swig from their miniature whisky bottles. The ceremony closed to an ebullient chorus of “Na Zdrowie!” and “Slàinte mhath!” A glorious day!

Photo by Bernadeta Kupiec

Struan and Magdalena, it was my great honour to be with you in that beautifully windswept and glorious place to witness and celebrate your marriage to one another. In the words of your wedding toast:

I wish you health, happiness, love and life.

Thank you for sharing your stunning photos. And thank you to the lovely and super-talented, Bernadeta Kupiec, for doing such an amazing job in capturing the feel of the day.

Photo by Bernadeta Kupiec

The key to a happy life…

“Andy and Gillian believe the key to a happy life together is understanding that happiness comes from inner peace. The happiness we create as individuals enhances the life of those close to us. For Gillian and Andy, the key to a happy life is kindness – in words and actions. It is patience, communication, compassion, gratitude for life – for each other and the simple things. It is about being present and making time for one another, supporting each other through the good times and bad, giving each other space for individuality and independence. And most of all, the key to a happy life is laughing together always.”

I haven’t stopped smiling since today’s ceremony. Gillian and Andy exchanged vows overlooking the sea, surrounded by stunning flowers, with their closest family as witnesses. This generous, sunset-chasing, sea-faring, adventure-loving couple had already postponed their wedding plans a couple of times, and yet today’s ceremony felt as though it was always meant to be. The sun shone (despite the yellow warnings for rain), tears flowed, laughter rippled, and love bloomed.

Marriage promises were sealed with a bespoke handfasting ritual, and a shared drink from a gorgeous handmade quaich. Andy chose a drop of golden Cornish rum and Gillian a drop of Scotland’s finest whisky – a potent mix to honour their shared heritage – the perfect first toast as husband and wife.

They then hoisted their very own flag to mark the next stage in their journey of life.

Wishing you many years of love and laughter and a thousand blessings in your life together, Gillian and Andy. I am so happy that your long-awaited ceremony was everything you had hoped it would be. To use one of your Granny T’s much-loved expressions, “Love wins the day!”

It was a great pleasure to also meet Holly and Phil from Belle and Beaux Fine Art Wedding Photography, Ally from Piece of Time Wedding Films, and enjoy the gorgeous singing by Katie Wills Music, and stunning flowers by Aoife at Feather Glass Florals🌿🌺

It felt SO great to be back celebranting after a five month ‘lockdown’ pause!