I like to think I am a man of many talents, however, blogging isn’t something I’ve ever done before…but I’ll give it a go.
I was looking forward to my initial meeting with Nick and Hannah, the first couple I had the pleasant duty of pronouncing husband and wife. We met at their home and my opening line to them was “What do you want and expect from the wedding ceremony.” If you ask that question first, it allows you to then formulate your questioning afterwards. After a lovely meeting with them both I returned home and got started on their script the very next day. It was important to me to get started right away whilst I remembered all the small details we spoke about. After a couple of emails back and forth we all agreed on a finished copy and the ceremony was to be around 20 minutes long.
A couple of days prior to the ceremony I made a call to Nick to remind him to pick up the Marriage Schedule, however there was no answer. I made sure to call the bride Hannah too but again, no answer. I sent an email off to the couple just to be on the safe side. Of course, brides and grooms are very busy in the week leading up to the wedding so this wasn’t uncommon, however, the Marriage Schedule is one of the most important things and without it we can’t have a legal ceremony so I was nervous. I did get an email back to say they had picked up the schedule, so I could stop sweating!
The day of the ceremony came round fast and I set off from Fort William to Renfrew with my wife Jan, who always comes long, even if it just to help with the driving. Although we have been married for nearly 10 years ourselves, I still enjoy having her with me, sharing in my experiences.
It was a beautiful sunny afternoon when we arrived at Renfrew Town Hall. I introduced myself to the staff and was shown to the inside of the hall where the ceremony was to take place. It has recently been refurbished and it looked beautiful. It was bright and airy and set up very nicely.
I did a practice run through of the ceremony in the hall so I could gauge the acoustics and shortly afterwards guests started to arrive. I made sure I introduced myself to as many as possible. It’s not uncommon at this point for the Groom and Ushers to be at preoccupied at this time, calming nerves at the bar!
Nick and Hannah had their friend Dave who had flown all the way from Australia entertain the guests with a few tunes on the guitar prior to the ceremony beginning.
The staff had told the photographer that the bride would be arriving at the rear doors, but due to the ongoing roadworks, Hannah appeared at the front door. The photographer would have given Mo Farrah a run for his money as he raced round to catch her coming out of the car.
I called the room to order and escorted the groom and the best man to front of the room to await the bride’s arrival. Shortly afterwards, with everyone on their feet, Hannah made her entrance. She was a beautiful bride, and the love between this couple was so evident, especially as their eyes met whilst she was walking down the aisle.
I felt so small standing there. Hannah was at least 4 inches taller than me, Anthony, Nick’s brother was taller again and Nick, a basketball player for Scotland was taller again. I almost ended up with a crick in my neck from looking up at them! Despite their height, they were still shaking, but after a few wee words between us and a laugh, the nerves seemed to settle.
As I was speaking, it gave me great pleasure, to be able to make eye contact with members of the gathered friends and family, there were smiles and there were tears around the hall, for which, although a legally solemn ceremony, was a very happy and emotional occasion.
The friends and family gathered were very vocal when I asked them to pledge their lifelong friendship and support to Hannah and Nick, they were very loud in their applause when it came to the kiss, and equally as loud with their applause when, my heart full of happiness I introduced the couple to everyone for the very first time as husband and wife.
Dave played again whilst everyone made their way downstairs to have a glass of fizz and canapes.
I had one last job to do at this point, I passed over the signed marriage schedule and sneaked past the queue of well-wishers. I shook both Hannah and Nick warmly by the hand, Nick thanked me very much for the ceremony, and Hannah added her own thanks and to tell me it was perfect, just exactly what they wanted. If you can make the bride happy, then you have done well.
My job was done! I felt so happy especially hearing from the bride and groom in such a positive way.
We left Renfrew and headed over to Airdrie to meet up with another couple, whose twins had been born 4 weeks earlier and who had booked me for their naming ceremony, but that is for another day….
“Billy did exactly what we wanted, he was brilliant.”
By Billy Ward