Friday, October 26, 2012

Unusual wedding poetry - Ogden Nash

Ogden knew when to keep schtum!

To keep your marriage brimming
With love in the loving cup
Whenever you're wrong, admit it;
Whenever you're right, shut up.

Ogden Nash certainly knew a thing or two about relationships! The verse above, although named A Word to Husbands, applies to both people in the relationship! This has been a reading at a couple of my weddings and although short, it creates quite an impact.

Here's another of my favourite Ogden Nash poems. It sprung to mind when I met one of my wedding couples who told me that what kept them together wasn't that they liked the same things but that they disliked the same things, which they felt was more important! The way such a positive sentiment is presented agains a sea of negativity is quite refreshing and unexpectedly moving.


More than a catbird hates a cat,
Or a criminal hates a clue,
Or the Axis hates the United States,
That’s how much I love you.

I love you more than a duck can swim,
And more than a grapefruit squirts,
I love you more than gin rummy is a bore,
And more than a toothache hurts.

As a shipwrecked sailor hates the sea,
Or a juggler hates a shove,
As a hostess detests unexpected guests,
That’s how much you I love.

I love you more than a wasp can sting,
And more than a subway jerks,
I love you as much as a beggar needs a crutch,
And more than a hangnail irks.

I swear to you by the stars above,
And below, if such there be,
As the High Court loathes perjurious oaths,
That’s how much you’re loved by me.

(Ogden Nash)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Singing in a humanist ceremony

Dean Martin, he knows a good singalong song!
When I meet wedding couples there's one element of the wedding they usually have very strong feelings about: singing! Many are adamant that the thought of communal signing is cringeworthy, whereas others feel that a sing song will add to the joy of the ceremony and give everyone a way to contribute.

My own personal opinion is that I like singing but only when it's done in an (almost) foolproof way. So if you like the idea of communal singing at your ceremony here are some things to consider.

Is the song easy to sing? You'd be amazed at how many popular songs aren't designed for communal singing. Hymns are composed for this purpose but pop music rarely is. One song that many couples ask about which is a no-no is Here Comes The Sun by The Beatles, it just doesn't work as the melody of the verse is too weird. If you can imagine singing a song on a football terrace chances are it will work for your wedding. You're looking for an easy melody and steady rhythm.

Is it a song everyone knows? You can't pick anything obscure and a song for everyone to sing has to cross the generational divide too.

Are your guests enthusiastic types? You have to be up for a bit of fun for a singalong and there has to be plenty of you to make a good sound. Nine out of ten times I usually make sure the guests are standing to sing. I never suggest they just sing along 'if they feel like it'.

What are you going to sing along to? Most people play the original song nice and loud and we sing to that but if someone has a guitar or plays the piano that works well providing they lead the singing too.

One effective compromise is that a singer or little choir sing the verse and everyone else joins in on the chorus. This happened at a recent wedding where a group of the bride and groom's friends sang Happy Together by The Turtles and we all joined in for the easy parts. It was even done with no backing music at all.

At another ceremony all the guests had come up from England where legal Humanist weddings aren't legal yet, so as the marriage was in an old ruined chapel they were all expecting something churchy. So as not to spoil the surprise the guests were handed sealed envelopes with song lyrics in them on arrival and I instructed them to open them just before we fired up the music to sing It Must Be Love by Madness. It worked really well and the guests couldn't have been happier.

Here are some songs that have been fun to sing:

Madness, It Must Be Love
The Turtles, Happy Together
Dean Martin, That's Amore
The Proclaimers, 500 Miles
John Denver, Annie's Song
The Beatles, When I'm 64

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wedding at The Vu in Bathgate

I've been really keen to write a blog post about The Vu in Bathgate, as I often conduct ceremonies there. The Vu is pretty much a purpose-built wedding venue. It has an awesome setting and is a great location for couples from across the central belt. Many venues like this provide a complete wedding package but I find that couples use their imaginations to make their celebrations really beautiful and personal. As you can see, Amanda and Drew got married on a lovely bright day. Their wedding was so pretty and they looked absolutely gorgeous!

I was incredibly envious of the glamorous bridesmaids, their dresses were to die for! Amanda and Drew had many wonderful friends supporting them on the day and it was lovely to express in the ceremony what these special people mean to them.

I love the snapshots couples send me of when they're signing their paperwork. As they've just said their vows and I've pronounced them to be husband and wife their faces always have a look of joy and relief. I, however, look a little bit 'Here's Johnny!' in this picture!

Drew and Amanda very kindly sent me these lovely words about their ceremony:

"Amanda and I would sincerely like to thank you for your ceremony on our Wedding Day. You were fantastic from start to finish. From our initial meeting you put us at ease and the day itself went better than we'd ever hoped.  Family and friends were also full of praise for your ceremony.  It was so personal and exactly as we'd wanted!"

Monday, October 8, 2012

A partnership of equals

You might expect me to be crying into my cornflakes upon seeing this article in the Daily Mail this morning, but far from it. As a mother of a daughter I'm always interested in changing attitudes towards women and what we consider to be positive feminine attributes. A survey of the Girl Guiding association found that whilst girls still value marriage only one in five thought it was the definition of success whereas three in five thought success was about being confident and independent. This is great news for a Humanist celebrant!

I have never in my seven years of conducting legal Humanist weddings heard a couple tell me they feel they 'ought' to get married. Humanists see marriage as a positive choice and a partnership of equals. We also respect that couples are together because they love one another but they can have quite different reasons for choosing to get married.

A partnership of two confident and independent people is an admirable one in my book. The men I admire are the ones who value strong women and respect their opinions and personalities. I seem to be marrying a lot of couples in their mid to late 20s who have been together for ten years or more. They know they don't have to get married and I'm always keen to stress in the ceremony that the wedding isn't just about the future but also a celebration of what's already been a very successful relationship.

If women no longer feel marriage is the be all and end all then there might be fewer weddings but it might also mean that if they do get married they'll choose a ceremony that reflects their choice and their own views on marriage. It will also mean that the majority of women will marry when they feel fulfilled by themselves as well as their partner and that's great news for men too!