As Humanist Celebrants we get asked to conduct ceremonies in some fantastic places and venues. We all have our favorites and I am not alone in that.
In September 2014, I was delighted to conduct a Humanist Marriage Ceremony for Pamela and John Paul at New Lanark Mills in Lanarkshire. It was obviously a special day for the happy couple who were their with all their friends and family to celebrate their marriage, but it was a special day for me too. A year and a day after my own wedding, I was back at New Lanark Mills. To say it was a little surreal is an understatement, but it was amazing to help someone else create special memories of a stunning location!
New Lanark Mills was founded in 1786 by David Dale, who built cotton mills and housing for the mill workers. The old mills were built there as they took advantage of the water power provided by the river Clyde’s only waterfalls.
New Lanark became a successful business and an epitome of Utopian socialism as well as an early example of a planned settlement. It became an important milestone in the historic development of urban planning.
The mills operated until 1968 when they were abandoned. After a period of severe decline, the New Lanark Conservation Trust, now the New Lanark Trust, was founded in 1974 and prevented the demolition of the village and the historically important buildings.
By 2006, most of the buildings had been restored to their former glory and it is now one of only five UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Scotland. The village has a working museum, shops and a three star hotel, amongst other facilities.
One of the many options for a wedding ceremony is to use the Musician’s room in the museum. It is a room flooded with natural light, even on the gloomiest day, and over looks the river Clyde.
Pamela and John-Paul chose to include a few symbolic gestures in their ceremony and decided on a traditional handfasting before they exchanged their vows and after they were married, they decided to drink that ever famous, all important iconic Scottish drink, Irn-Bru, from the Quiach. This was of much amusement to the the guests and thankfully, none was dribbled down the bride’s dress.
So I wonder where next September will take me, maybe back to New Lanark or maybe to another place to help create special memories.
Thanks to Mr & Mrs Joyce and I wish you every happiness in your future together.