Well a couple of months on from our amazing day and we thought it might be useful to put down our thoughts about the wedding and how we organised it.
We had been living together for 16 years in South-West London when we finally decided that we should get married. We also agreed that it should take place either in, or not too far, from Edinburgh as we both love the city and John originally came from Scotland.
We started organising our wedding at the beginning of 2017 and our first step was finding a celebrant. As we are both non-religious and same sex the obvious route was a standard civil ceremony, but we fairly quickly realised that we wanted something more personal and meaningful. So when we found out about the Fuze Foundation they seemed perfect, as their humanist view of the world chimed with the way we look at the world and our fellow man. We quickly heard back from the Foundation with possible options and decided that we wanted Mo to be our celebrant. Almost straightaway, and in fact throughout the planning and the wedding itself, we realised that this was the best decision we made – other than of course getting married!
As we didn’t know so much about possible wedding venues in the area we got some great suggestions of possible venues from Mo. Mo also suggested a company that we could hire our kilts from. So the next step was to head north of the border to look at options and hopefully find a venue for our big day.
On arrival in Edinburgh we had a great introductory meeting with Mo, so she could find out a bit more about us. She also explained about humanist weddings, and elements that could be included in them and provided information on the Fuze Foundation. The meeting helped answer the questions we had. Mo even gave us her thoughts on the places that we had lined up to visit and told us that she was actually getting married herself that weekend! The trip went very well and we really covered a fairly wide area from Tayside, Fife, Kinross, Edinburgh and East Lothian. We decided on the Greywalls Hotel for the venue and settled on the date and also ordered our kilts. So we travelled back to London feeling pleased with ourselves about what we had achieved on a flying visit.
Over the coming months we discussed the content on the wedding ceremony with Mo. Mo also provided advice on possible options for a photographer and someone to make our cake. We then had another short trip up to Scotland in May when we handed in our wedding application to the registrar. We also met Mo, and later with our photographer at the Greywalls Hotel, so that we could discuss our plans for the ceremony in the setting of where it would take place. It was also great, as our photographer Roslyn was able to do a trial shoot with us to see what worked well. We also settled on a local florist in North Berwick for our wedding flowers and where we would get our cake from. Another great trip where we achieved all that we wanted to do and had the added advantage of having glorious sunshine!
As we approached our big day over the coming weeks we finalised arrangements with Mo for the script for the wedding ceremony, including selecting the music. We also discussed the logistics of getting our family up to Scotland with John’s elderly parents flying up from near Southampton and Myoungil’s mum coming from Korea. John’s sister and nieces flew in from New Zealand and Chicago, so although it was a small wedding of just sixteen of us there was a lot of travel involved.
The next time we travelled to Scotland was for the wedding. Once again when everyone arrived at the hotel the day before the wedding it was glorious weather and the gardens at Greywalls looked stunning, as did the house. But before they arrived we put little gifts in each of the guests rooms at the hotel, which seemed to be appreciated. We had a welcome dinner at a pub in the next village, which was a great way to get everyone in the mood.
The big day had arrived! We both woke up and had to pinch ourselves that this was our day after all the work and build up. It was then all a bit of a blur trying to get the final things sorted like going to get our hair cut and finalising the speech. Despite it being overcast we made the decision to proceed with an outside wedding, as the forecast was that it wasn’t due to rain until later in the day. Mo sent some reassuring messages, as John was getting particularly nervous – she drew on her own recent experience about the importance of enjoying the day and having fun. Well the fun really started when our two groomsmen Derek and Yung joined us in our room for all of us to put our kilts on – we had so many laughs trying to work out where all the different elements of the highland dress went, as none of us had ever worn a kilt before. Roslyn, our photographer, came up to take some pictures of the process, which were great to look at after the event. We then met with Mo who demonstrated how the handfasting worked, as it was something that we wanted to make sure we got right. More calm and reassuring words from Mo and we were ready to roll slightly earlier than planned.
The ceremony itself was beautifully done by Mo and she had set up the table for the ceremony in such a lovely way, with flowers and also the traditional Korean marriage ducks. It is amazing how emotional weddings can be and John started to feel the effects, but Myoungil said some reassuring words. The whole ceremony worked beautifully, from the readings that we had to the handfasting and finishing off with drinking from the quaich. The latter provided some laughs for the guests as Myoungil quite clearly didn’t like the taste of the whisky being used in the quaich.
When the ceremony was over the consensus was that it was a beautiful and well thought through ceremony. John’s mum said to Mo about how lovely the ceremony and clearly a lot of thought had gone into it – well we know Mo was quite modest in her reply, but honestly Mo you gave us so much of the text and the structure and all the suggestions of the wonderful elements to work into the ceremony.
After a couple of months, as we prepare for a wedding party with all our friends in London, we have been looking back at the lovely photographs from Roslyn and it is great to see on the pictures the happiness in the faces of our friends and loved ones. As John’s mum said to Mo it was great to see so much love when there is so much badness in the world.
We are now settled back into our life in London and have so many happy memories, which will never go away. Three weeks ago we realised another dream when we adopted an elderly Jack Russell terrier from Battersea Dogs Home, who has settled into life with us just fine. So 2017 is a year we will look back on with fond thoughts and happy memories.
John and Myoung-il