|Rather than sticking to the traditional wedding script, many couples are choosing their own wedding vows, or even writing new vows from scratch. If you’re looking for something meaningful to say during the most significant part of your wedding ceremony, here are some suggestions to get you started. You can always check your choice with your registrar to be sure they are suitable.
Before you begin, there are a few rules to take into consideration. Legally, a civil ceremony cannot contain vows, readings or music that have any religious references. You’ll also need to include the statutory declarations. That is to:
“…Solemnly declare that I know not of any lawful impediment why I, (name), may not be joined in matrimony to (name)”
A few tips
Here are some examples that could help get you started and make your own.
I promise to love and respect you and to put energy into keeping our love alive. I will be there for you in good times and bad. I will help you when you need help and make space for you to be yourself. I will try to bring you happiness.
I will dedicate myself to you wholeheartedly. I will make time for you and support you in everything you do. I will help you to raise our children to become loving people, and support you in the fundamental role of parent.
I pledge my life to you. I will love, honour and respect you in happy and sad times. I promise to be faithful to only you as long as we both live.
I __, promise to love and cherish you__, for the rest of your life. I will try to bring laughter to your life, and make you happy, I will consider you in the decisions I have to make and value your opinions. Today I vow to be your husband/wife for the rest of our lives.
I will seek to always be loving unto you. I will share your joys and your sorrows and will be devoted unto you until the ultimate parting.
__, I __, take you to be my husband/wife. To have, to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish till death us do part, and this is my solemn vow.
__, today I promise to respect you always. I will share the good times and bad times with you, be a support and guide. Above all, I will love you from now until our days end.
I, ___ ___, promise to be to you, __ __, a true and loving companion. I promise to be the best husband/wife and parent that I can be and to commit myself forever to our relationship together.
Today I promise to be your husband/wife. I will be faithful and honest, loving and trustworthy. I will seek to bring you stability and order in a chaotic world. I will be your partner and friend for life.
___, in this beautiful garden I dedicate myself to you. Although our lives may change like the seasons, I will love you. As our love grows like a seed to a beautiful flower, I will love you. When the winds of doubt blow through, I will love you. We will stand together, strong, nurtured by each other’s love until the end.
If you feel that traditional wedding vows are a bit stuffy for you, why not go for a funnier, yet equally sentimental approach? For example:
I, ___, take you ___, to be my husband/wife and my Netflix partner in crime for as long as we both shall live – I even promise to watch Pretty Little Liars with you even though it’s the worst show ever made. I promise to love you even when you won’t let me play Call Of Duty and cherish you even when we can’t agree on what takeaway to get.
I promise to always leave the loo seat up. I promise to make you breakfast in bed every weekend. I promise to create a life for us of unexpected and strange adventures. I promise that I will love you forever.
I promise to care for you in sickness and in health unless it is self‐inflicted or two o’ clock in the morning: not to kick you when you are snoring, and to care for your prize collection of comic books.
I promise that I will always let you win arguments (even if I know I am right!), to always let you, to buy you flowers once a week (even if I have nothing to apologise for), and to agree to disagree on which cake is better. It’s lemon drizzle obviously, not fruit cake.
I promise not to Whatsapp my girlfriends after 8 pm, to buy only one pair of shoes a month and to accept all your bad habits because they make you as loveable as you are.
Or how about vows that are likely to make everyone reach for their hankies?
___, you are my best friend and today I take you as my life partner. I promise to laugh with you and cry with you and grow with you. I hope to make you as happy as you have made me, and to love you a little more every day. May we have many adventures and grow old together.
I, ___, promise you, ___, my soulmate, to love you for as long as I live. What I possess in this world, I give to you. I will keep you and hold you, comfort and tend you, protect you and shelter you, for all the days of my life.
___ you know me better than anyone else in this world and yet still you manage to love me. You are my best friend and one true love. There is still a part of me today that cannot believe that I’m the one who gets to marry you.”
You are my light, and you’ve shown me more love than I’ve ever known. I promise to never take our love for granted and to show you every day how much you mean to me. I vow to have the patience that love demands, to speak when words are needed and to share in the silence when they are not.
I hope these suggestions help you with your wedding vow writing. If you would like more wedding hints, tips and advice delivered directly to your inbox once a month sign up here and get a free photo checklist guide for your trouble!
You had me at Pivot Tables!
Emma and Robert met at work around five years ago when they started working on the same project. As soon as I met them at their pre-wedding consultation. I knew they were going to be the perfect couple to photograph. Laid back, chilled and more than a hint of fun is how I’d describe these two. It turns out the proposal itself was pretty similar. They were in the middle of decorating their kitchen/family room and had a wee chat about getting married on the sofa pulled out in the middle of the sofa and that was that!
Rain on your Wedding Day
Despite it being July and despite the weather being glorious in the run up to the wedding the weather on the big day was changing by the minute on all the weather apps. When I arrived at Larbert East Church is was absolutely bucketing it down.
A few minutes later and it was all blue sky and sunshine so I dashed outside to get some pictures of the churches beautiful exterior.
And took the opportunity to capture the groom as well.
Robert looked very smart in his own ‘Hunting Kerr’ tartan.
All the luck
Then it started raining again. I went outside armed with my bridal brollies to wait for the bride to arrive. Nobody wants a soggy bride, do they? But, luck was on Emma’s side because as she arrived with her dad and her son Josh the rain disappeared and the sun put his hat on again!
Besides, it’s considered lucky if it rains on your wedding day 🙂
Emma was absolutely glowing with happiness. Josh looked very smart and unbelievably tall for his 13 years! He had the very important job of walking his mum down the aisle.
Giving his mum away!
He took his job very seriously and did it with a maturity well beyond his tender years.
The first look
I’m a sucker for when the groom sees his bride for the first time and Robert didn’t let me down.
Excuse me whilst I go all gooey for a moment 🙂
It was a lovely service filled with love and laughter and some sage words of advice from their minister.
Emma had managed to hold it together throughout the ceremony but as she got to the church doors and saw her scouts standing in the rain to give their Leader a salute of honour the tears started flowing.
Sun shine and smiles
The poor scouts might have been waiting in the rain but the sun came back out right when I needed it for the group photos and pictures of Emma and Robert in the charming church gardens.
All the guests were keen to get their pictures of the happy couple as well so I turned the camera on them as I love getting shots of the ‘paps’ as well!
Time for cake
Emma and Robert decided a laid back reception back at their house was in keeping with their personalities and style.
Emma made the tasty looking wedding cake and vanilla and chocolate cupcakes herself. The Secret Chefs did their catering for them. It smelt and looked delicious as it was being put out.A perfect solution to ensure you are not stuck in the kitchen on your wedding day…
Because Emma and Robert were having their reception at home I was keen to have a bit of fun and knew they would be up for it. I had this vision of an image of them doing something really mundane and domestic whilst in their fancy wedding gear! The guests all looked a bit alarmed when I started asking Emma where the rubber gloves were!!! They quickly headed outside to the marquee!
I LOVE the resulting images we captured with this one being my favourite. They were such good sports 🙂
Congratulations again Mr and Mrs Kerr. It was a real honour to capture your big day for you.
Aside from your wedding photos and that sliver of wedding cake for your first anniversary, there are only so many ways you can memorialise your nuptials after the fact. Enter alternative wedding guest books. Traditionally, couples have set up designated sign-in stations for friends and family to write sweet notes of congratulations, but standard guest books tend to get sidelined to a bookshelf or exiled into a lowly storage box (not the best way to reminisce on your big day). Now, though, couples are personalising this wedding detail by transforming it into a fun activity that makes it memorable for not only the couple but also the guests.
This blog post aims to bring you some alternative ideas to the guest book to help you think about personalising your own wedding.
- Globe-trotting couples, let your nearest and dearest make their marks on your own little world. Consider getting guests to leave messages on an old globe or get a blank one for the occasion.
- Cheese! Ditch the guest note route completely; instead, encourage wedding attendees to cosy up for the camera and leave their marks with a Polaroid selfie. Set up a station just for the task, and prepare for an overload of hilarious selfies.
- Cheers! Get guests to leave messages on corks that you can make into a pinboard or heart shape. Or better yet get a massive bottle of wine or fizz and ask guests to leave a message in metallic markers. You can drink on your first anniversary and keep the bottle as a cute reminder.
- Shadow boxes that guests can fill with pre-cut timber shapes once they’ve written their message are becoming more and more popular.
- Timber! Love games? How about getting guests to leave messages on a Jenga set for a truly personalised games night.
- Music fans! Ask guests to write their messages on an old vinyl record that you can then frame.
- Bucket list. Ask guests to leave suggestions in a, well, bucket, for adventures the pair of you can carry out in your lifetime together.
- Eco-friendly. Ask guests to sign a terracotta or earthenware pot that you can then fill with succulents of other plants as a lasting reminder.
- Signing Frame. Make your guests messages part of your decor. Put a picture in the middle from your engagement shoot, if you had one. Or of the two of you and replace after the wedding with one of your favourite wedding images. (a group shot would be perfect!). Guests sign all around the photograph mount. Many wedding photographers including myself offer this type of product.
It is easy to get carried away and offer lots of options to guests. But that can be overwhelming for guests and you end up with lots of partially completed items. My advice is to pick one that suits your theme and you as a couple and really go for it!
Steve Wright’s Sunday Love Songs
As I was bombing along the M9 on my way to shoot the bridal prep of my second wedding in three days I was happily singing along to the Love Songs Show on Radio 2 (yes Radio 2 sorry, not sorry). The perfect radio station choice for a wedding day 🙂
Swipe Right for Love
Whilst my choice of radio station might not be very modern, the way Kirsty and John met was. They met on that well known dating app and met up for drinks on a Thursday night in 2016. By the Friday night Kirsty had practically moved into John’s house and on the Saturday John met Kirsty’s parents! (Sounds a bit like a Craig David Song – showing my age again!!). Kirsty’s Dad discovered that he already knew John from the drinking establishment they both frequented so that was one seal of approval gained.
When you know, you know and soon they discovered they were going to be parents and their son Leighton arrived 🙂 Shortly after he was born the couple were shopping in the Gyle and John said, ‘lets look at rings’, and that was that! Let the wedding planning commence!
All systems go
When I arrived at the Leonardo Hotel at 10am Helen and Angie from City Brides Edinburgh had already set up their chairs and supplies at the hotel room window and were ready for hair and make up action. I can honestly say I have never seen so many eyeshadow pallets lined up on one windowsill! The girls worked their magic on a four (nearly five) year old flower girl, two bridesmaids, the mother of the bride and of course the bride as well as finding time to chat to us all, sing along to songs and offer advice to the mother of the bride’s sister! They were amazing.
When there is so much going on in a hotel room I like to turn the pictures into black and white to keep them simple. I love how Kirsty looks like a Film Noir star in this picture.
Easy like Sunday mornings
Meanwhile the Groom, John and his Best Man Pete were having a far more relaxed time of it. Having got ready at home, John and Pete were enjoying a nice relaxing pint at the bar when I barged in and hassled them outside for some photos.
They had scrubbed up well in their kilts from Eight Yards kilt hire.
Leighton had a matching kilt and was his Daddy’s mini me.
Talk about stealing the show.
Kirsty walked down the aisle on the arm of her very proud dad George. They were piped down the aisle to the beautiful sound of Highland Cathedral. Kirsty and John had opted for a Humanist ceremony and had written their own vows which was a sweet and tender touch to the proceedings.
Leighton was sat with Granny Linda, who was resplendent in her pink and grey Mother of the Bride outfit from Catwalk in Falkirk.
But he wanted in on whatever Mummy and Daddy were doing! I think it’s lovely that one day he is going to be able to look back at the pictures and know that he was there to share in his parents special day.
Against the clock
I like to not keep my brides and grooms away from their guests too long for the formal pictures. After all it is their day I am capturing, not a portfolio building exercise for me. That said, throw in a 21 month old who is ready for a nap and those time scales get even shorter!
We had planned to go into the meadows across the road from the hotel for some dreamy shots amongst the long grasses. But… after heavy rain the day before, Kirsty’s heels were not up for it and I didn’t want her beautiful dress to ruin. So we ended up at the side of the road….
But I don’t think you can tell from this picture, can you? I think it still looks like the beautiful long grass shot I envisaged.
Capturing Kirsty, John and Leighton as naturally as possible was the aim of the game and I love the shots I got of them walking with Leighton.
Be still my heart! What a gorgeous little family.
The Bridal Party
It’s not a wedding without photos of the bridal party and this group didn’t disappoint.
I loved the bridesmaids and flower girls navy dresses.
After the speeches and a three course meal it was time for the evening guests to start arriving.
The cake was cut and Kirsty and John took to the dance floor to dance to Ed Sheeran’s Perfect as their first dance as husband and wife.
It was a great song choice as these two are perfect for each other and it was the perfect day.
Congratulations Mr and Mrs McRitchie xoxo
The Cow Shed – Bucket List Location
I’m sure I’m not the only photographer that has a bucket list of locations they are desperate to photograph weddings at? Culzean Castle was one of my bucket list locations and I was lucky enough to shoot there last year. The Cow Shed at Crail is another. I love the fact that the barn is a blank canvas so each couple stamps their own individual look on it. As you can imagine I was delighted when Kerrie and Dominic got in touch last year looking for a photographer to capture their June 2019 wedding at the Cow Shed. Mini fist pumps all round!!!
Seven year itch?
Kerrie and Dom met seven years ago whilst out on the town in Manchester where they both live. Six months later Dom moves in with Kerrie and the rest, as they say, is history. And how about this for a proposal? Dom proposed to Kerrie on Bonfire night at Niagra Falls!
Although the couple and their two dogs live in Manchester, Kerrie is originally from St. Andrews. The East Neuk of Fife has become a special place for them so that is where they planned their wedding 🙂
An irregular choice
Kerrie, her five bridesmaids and her mum and stepdad all got ready at Kilconquhar Castle Estate. I love it when I get to capture the bridal prep as it is just like getting ready for a night out with your girlfriends – but with prettier dresses!
Three of Kerrie’s maids were cousins, two of which had traveled over from Canada for the event. One was her soon to be sister-in-law and her maid of honour was her best friend. When I arrived at 10am Kerry from Pretty You hair and make up had been on the case since 8am. You could feel the love and support in the room and Kerrie’s Stepdad Ron was keeping us all entertained with his tall tales.
Kerrie’s dress was a dreamy confection of lace and tulle from Morilee
Normally I have to get creative in a hotel room and hand the wedding dress on curtain poles or headboards but the sun was out on the estate and there were trees just outside the lodge they were all in. There were bunnies playing on that lawn behind the dress but they ran away when I started shooting!
But it was Kerrie’s shoes from Irregular Choice that stole the show for me.
Aren’t they just amazing? I love the fact that she chose somthing so original and fun.
Once everybody was ready we had time for some pictures before I headed off to the church to find the groom. Don’t they look stunning? I loved the bouquets filled with peonies and roses as well as wildflowers.
Get me to the church on time
St Andrews in the June sunshine is busy, St Andrews on graduation day is mobbed! But the air was full of jubilation and celebration and you couldn’t help getting swept up in it all.
St. James Church is a small Roman Catholic church on the seashore.
The inside providing a cool, reflective and calm space from the June sunshine.
As the guests started arriving to the sounds of the piper I tracked down the groom and his crew for some photos.
The bride was bang on time and affter a short but beautiful service the guests piled onto the coaches Kerrie & Dom had provided leaving us some time alone for formal photos in the churches gorgeous gardens.
Like a lot of couples they weren’t keen on having their pictures taken so I kept it nice and relaxed and got them doing lots of stuff to take their minds off the fact that I was shooting them. It was great for them to have some time alone before the reception as well. If you ignore the giant third wheel in their face with a camera that is!
Off to the farm
After a couple of wrong turns in my trusty mini I made it to the Cow Shed and the smell of the BBQ they were having as the wedding breakfast wafted to greet me (yum).
Kerrie and Dom had decorated the barn so beautifully it was like every barn wedding you ever imagined on Pinterest and more!
I set about capturing all the details but not before I’d captured the group shots and the bridal party.
Apart from the bride and groom (obvs.) and his sister and brother-in-law all of the other bridesmaids and groomsmen were coupled up with other people outside the bridal party but I didn’t let that get in the way of a great photo opportunity and made them all pair up and stare into each others eyes!
Kerrie and Dom had organised mini golf out on the lawn. When they told me about that at their pre-wedding consultation I just knew I had to use that for some of the bridal party shots.
Luckily they humoured me 🙂
Breakfast at Tiffany’s
The meal was excellent and the speeches both touching and entertaining where the guests learned that one of the bridal party had once spent the night in police custody! Luckily there was no criminal record!!
As the guests enjoyed the early evening sunshine and the vista across to the North Sea the main barn was trasnformed so they could dance the night away.
The couple took to the floor to dance their first dance to Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Deep Blue Something. Pretty soon the guests started filling the dance floor to join the happy couple.
Congratulations Mr & Mrs Parker xoxo
It doesn’t matter whether you are the Groom, Best Man, Father of the Bride, Bride, Bridesmaid or anyone else at the wedding that has decided (or been asked) to give a speech. Writing the speech is often a daunting task because of the importance of the occasion, the pressure to be both poignant and funny and, of course, general fears about getting up to speak in front of a large, attentive group.
This article is all about practical steps to take to make sure your speech is awesome! And if you aren’t making a speech at the wedding – be sure to share with those that are.
Top Tips for Writing a Meaningful Speech
Follow this approach and I guarantee you won’t be sitting at your kitchen table at 2 am with balls of crumpled up paper all around you.
Introduce yourself to the crowd
Start by letting everyone in the bridal party and crowd know who you are. Tell them your name, role in the wedding and relation to the people getting married. Not everyone will have met you, and they’ll want to know how you’re connected with the couple and why you’ve been asked to give a speech.
- Saying your name and briefly summarising your history with the bride or groom will be enough. Don’t talk about yourself too much. Remember, the focus of your speech is the married couple.
Open with a joke
Start by telling a joke or recalling a humorous anecdote to loosen up the crowd (and yourself). Humour is very disarming, so getting everyone laughing right off the bat can help dispel some of the nerves of giving a speech. It will also get everyone to like you and make your speech more memorable if everyone is having fun.
- Use jokes judiciously to break the initial tension and keep the crowd relaxed. Try not to let your speech turn into a stand-up comedy routine.
- Keep your humorous stories and remarks appropriate. There will be people of all ages in your audience, including children.
- Funny stories might include a funny story about the bride and groom’s meeting, or an anecdote about one of them as a child.
Share memories of the couple
Recall some of your fondest experiences with the couple of the hour. If you’ve been chosen as the best man or maid of honour, chances are you have a long history with the bride or groom. Relating a special memory or inside joke will spark an emotional resonance that touches everyone listening.
- Sharing unique memories or stories is much more effective than simply complimenting the bride or groom because it is a more personal touch.
Offer advice or well wishes for the future
Shift the focus of the speech to the newlyweds and their future together. Address the bride and groom directly. Wish them health, happiness, and prosperity. If you want, you can include a short parable or quote to help illustrate the piece of wisdom you’re giving.
- If you decide to use a quote for this segment of the speech, make sure it is short, relevant and not a cliche.
Thank everyone in attendance
Bring the speech to a close by thanking the bride and groom, their parents, friends and family, everyone in attendance and even the staff setting up and catering the reception. Be gracious and make everyone feel like they’re part of a wonderfully special occasion. Ask that everyone enjoy themselves and share in the bliss of the new bride and groom.
- Acknowledging the people who helped make the wedding festivities possible will make you appear humble, as well as making them feel appreciated.
- Express your gratitude in a couple of sentences. There’s no need to go on and on thanking every person individually by name.
Making sure you’re prepared
Write your speech well in advance
Make sure your speech is written out and ready to be memorised two to three weeks ahead of the time you’re expected to deliver it. Being asked to give a wedding speech is being entrusted with a big responsibility, so you should take it seriously. The sooner you get the speech written, the more time you’ll have to study it so that when the times comes reciting it will feel like second nature.[
- Treat your speech like you would a school assignment. Compose several drafts, check it for errors and have a friend proofread it to make sure it sounds good.
Know when you’re expected to deliver the speech
Check with the wedding planner or couple to find out when you’ll be giving your speech. Typically, speeches and toasts are reserved for the reception once everyone is seated and has begun eating and drinking, but weddings can follow very different formats. Be clear about your entrance cues and proper use of the sound and projection equipment on hand. Not knowing for certain when you’re going on can make your nerves much worse.
- Familiarise yourself with the order of presentation if multiple speeches are to be given.
- Don’t spend the entire ceremony fretting over your speech. If you’re sufficiently prepared, you won’t need to give it a second thought until it’s time for you to deliver it.
Practice, Practice, Practice
After your speech is written, recite it off the page. Then, try to recite it without looking. Then, recite it from memory while you’re showering, driving or doing your laundry. Practice your speech until you couldn’t forget it if you tried. That way, if you find yourself overwhelmed by anxiety once you’re in front of an audience, you’ll have your reflective memory to fall back on.
- Know your speech word for word, but try not to sound like you’re simply reciting it from memory. Pace yourself and give every passage emphasis, emotion and clarity.
Bring your notes with you
Even though you should aim to commit your speech to memory entirely, it’s still a good idea to bring your notes with you to the wedding. If you have a lapse and get stuck, your notes can help you get back on track smoothly. If you don’t end up using them, you’ll at least have all your bases covered. Better safe than sorry.
- Put your entire speech on a couple of note cards rather than several large sheets of paper. Not only will this look better, but it will also help you keep your speech at the appropriate length.
- Only look at your notes if you draw a blank or forget the next part. This will allow you to keep your eyes up and engage your audience. Even the most riveting speech will be a bore if the person giving it is reading off a note card the whole time.
Giving the Speech
Maintain your composure
Do your best to keep your cool once it’s your turn to give your speech. Public speaking is a little awkward for everybody, but if you’re well prepared and stick to what you’ve rehearsed, you’ll be just fine. Remember, you’re surrounded by friends and family, and they all want to have a good time and see you succeed.
- Take a few slow, deep breaths. Think about what you’re saying and shut out all other distractions. Imagine that you’re giving your speech to one person instead of a room full of people.
- Have a drink or two if it helps your nerves. Just don’t have too many—you want to be focused and clear-headed when it’s time for you to take the floor. Not on the floor!
Keep it short and sweet
Try to limit your speech to somewhere between 2-5 minutes. While there is no mandatory length for a wedding speech, it’s best not to ramble on and on. Your speech should be long enough to draw your listeners in and get them emotionally invested, but not so long that they start to get bored. Hit the high points and let the crowd get back to socialising.
- It’s perfectly okay to give a short speech. Simply say a few kind words, raise a toast and hand back the microphone.
- Speak slowly and deliberately. It’s easy to start chattering too fast when you’re nervous. By talking slower than you feel like you need to, you’ll probably be going at just the right speed.
- People who are underprepared or extremely anxious tend to talk aimlessly. Avoid this by sticking to what you’ve written and look to the crowd for cues about when their attention is evaporating.
Speak from the heart. Let everyone around you know that you mean what you say, and emphasise how much your relationship with the bride or groom means to you. This is your chance to pay tribute to your friendship and show your gratitude for being asked to take part in the ceremonies. Allow your emotion to guide your words, not your desire to get the speech over with as quickly as possible.
- Take a moment to speak to the bride and/or groom directly.
- It’s normal to get a little choked up! As long as you can finish your speech, there’s no need to worry. It may even be flattering, as it will show the people you’re talking about how much you truly care.
Finish with a Toast
When you’ve concluded your speech, ask everyone to raise a glass to honour the newlyweds. Say a few quick words wishing them the best in the future. Have everyone drink, then invite them to stick around and have fun celebrating together. Most importantly, have fun yourself!
Cutting it fine
When I met Hazel and John for their wedding photography consultation it was less than a month to go and they still didn’t have their wedding venue confirmed! Through no fault of their own, I hasten to add. They had their heart set on Inchcolm Abbey on Inchcolm Island, one of Scotland’s best-kept secrets. But, renovations to its pier were taking longer than expected and it was going to be touch and go if it would be ready in time for their mid-May wedding. Historic Scotland was doing everything they could including reserving a plan B at the beautiful Aberdour Castle.
Finally with less than a week to go Hazel got the call that it would be ready. Their dream venue was a go!
Hazels and John met about 5 years ago at work John proposed to Hazel at her birthday meal, or so they told me…according to the registrar he proposed from the back of his works van! I think I’m going to stick to my version of events as it’s more romantic.
What could possibly go wrong now?
The day of their wedding the sun was in full force and all seemed to be going well until I arrived at Hawes Pier in South Queensferry to find it jam-packed full of fire engines. What the heck? Turned out to be nothing to worry about but a routine exercise for one of the big oil tankers. Phew! I think the bride had the same panic as me when she turned up and saw all the commotion.
Then the captain of the Maid of the Forth ferry that was taking us all the island advised that there had been a gas leak at the island in the early hours of the morning and staff had been frantically setting up Aberdour Castle just in case but luckily it was all fixed in time!
The ferry looked beautiful complete with white ribbons on the front and the bride was hidden away in the captain’s office before all the rest of the guests boarded.
Once the ferry got the all clear to start the 30-minute journey to Inchcolm island I could see the bride visibly relax. Finally, it was all coming together 🙂
Hazel looked stunning in an elegant fit and flare dress and with a hand-tied bouquet.
Once my sea legs were working there were only so many pictures I could take of the guests before they got fed up with me so I set about getting creative with the rings and the ‘nautical’ version of ‘tying the knot’.
Then Incholm Island came into view and wow! Stunning in the May sunshine.
It was a very intimate ceremony held in the atmospheric Chapter House room. Hazel’s daughter Isla was her bridesmaid and they said their vows in front of close family and friends.
The natural light flooding into the room was a dream come true for any photographer 🙂
Zac the couples young son had a very important role as Ring Security.
In his mini-me version of Dad John’s kilt, he looked totally adorable. His ring briefcase came in very handy for storing his toy cars in too, once he has dispensed with the rings!
Photo opportunities galore
Before the ferry returned to take us all back to the mainland there was ample opportunity to capture some memories.
The Abbey, the gardens and even the small beach made for excellent photographs.
Although I think the Forth was a wee bit cold judging by Isla’s face when she tried paddling!
Seal of Approval
All too soon it was time to head back to the mainland. On the journey back we were treated to sunbathing seals.
Then it was time to disembark and for the new Mr and Mrs Bell to enjoy a lovely meal with their guests at The Hawes Inn.
Looking for the perfect wedding reading for your ceremony? This blog is focused on beautiful passages about love for your wedding readings, invitations and vows.
Finding readings which aren’t cheesy and which resonate with you and your other half is no mean feat.
If you and your partner aren’t religious, it can be even harder to find readings which will work for your ceremony, vows and invitations.
You’ll want to find something which makes you feel calm and content and which clarifies what love and marriage mean to you. After all, words take on a whole new meaning when they’re spoken in your wedding ceremony.
Top Tips for Choosing Your Wedding Readings
- Get inspired and enjoy the process of hunting for your perfect reading. There is so much out there, so don’t rush your decision!
- Consider who will be giving your readings. You’ll want to tailor your readings to the person who’ll be giving them – if it’s your best man, don’t go for something too serious, and if it’s your mum who tends to cry, choose something brief.
- Make your readings personal. You need to choose something which will resonate with you and your new husband or wife.
- Keep them short and sweet. You don’t want your family dozing off in the ceremony!
- Discuss with your officiant – they’ll be able to advise what kind of readings are best.
Popular Religious Wedding Readings
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’ “
“And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”
“Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labour: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?”
Readings from Books & Plays
100 years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
“Madly in love after so many years … they enjoyed the miracle of loving each other as much at the table as in bed, and they grew to be so happy that even when they were two worn-out old people they kept on blooming like little children and playing together like dogs.”
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres
“When you fall in love, it is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake, and then it subsides. And when it subsides, you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots are to become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the desire to mate every second of the day. It is not lying awake at night imagining that he is kissing every part of your body. No … don’t blush. I am telling you some truths. For that is just being in love; which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over, when being in love has burned away. Doesn’t sound very exciting, does it? But it is!”
Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand
“She is a mortal danger to all men. She is beautiful without knowing it, and possesses charms that she’s not even aware of. She is like a trap set by nature – a sweet perfumed rose in whose petals Cupid lurks in ambush! Anyone who has seen her smile has known perfection. She instills grace in every common thing and divinity in every careless gesture. Venus in her shell was never so lovely, and Diana in the forest never so graceful as my Lady when she strides through Paris!”
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
“She was more than human to me. She was a Fairy, a Sylph, I don’t know what she was – anything that no one ever saw, and everything that everybody ever wanted. I was swallowed up in an abyss of love in an instant. There was no pausing on the brink; no looking down, or looking back; I was gone, headlong, before I had sense to say a word to her.”
Dangerous Liaisons by Choderlos de Laclos
“Now, I’m not going to deny that I was aware of your beauty. But the point is, this has nothing to do with your beauty. As I got to know you, I began to realise that beauty was the least of your qualities. I became fascinated by your goodness. I was drawn in by it. I didn’t understand what was happening to me. And it was only when I began to feel actual, physical pain every time you left the room that it finally dawned on me: I was in love, for the first time in my life. I knew it was hopeless, but that didn’t matter to me. And it’s not that I want to have you. All I want is to deserve you. Tell me what to do. Show me how to behave. I’ll do anything you say.”
The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
“It has made me better loving you … it has made me wiser, and easier, and brighter. I used to want a great many things before, and to be angry that I did not have them. Theoretically, I was satisfied. I flattered myself that I had limited my wants. But I was subject to irritation; I used to have morbid sterile hateful fits of hunger, of desire. Now I really am satisfied, because I can’t think of anything better.”
The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman
“I will love you forever; whatever happens. Till I die and after I die, and when I find my way out of the land of the dead, I’ll drift about forever, all my atoms, till i find you again… I’ll be looking for you, every moment, every single moment. And when we do find each other again, we’ll cling together so tight that nothing and no one’ll ever tear us apart. Every atom of me and every atom of you… we’ll live in birds and flowers and dragonflies and pine trees and in clouds and in those little specks of light you see floating in sunbeams… and when they use our atoms to make new lives, they won’t just be able to take one, they’ll have to take two, one of you and one of me, we’ll be joined so tight…”
The Bridge Across Forever by Richard Bach
“A soul mate is someone who has locks that fit our keys, and keys to fit our locks. When we feel safe enough to open the locks, our truest selves step out and we can be completely and honestly who we are; we can be loved for who we are and not for who we’re pretending to be. Each unveils the best part of the other. No matter what else goes wrong around us, with that one person we’re safe in our own paradise. Our soul mate is someone who shares our deepest longings, our sense of direction. When we’re two balloons, and together our direction is up, chances are we’ve found the right person. Our soul mate is the one who makes life come to life.”
Wedding Readings from Poems
Untitled by R.M Drake
You will be the clouds
and I will be the sky.
You will be the ocean
and I will be the shore.
You will be the trees
and I will be the wind.
Whatever we are, you and I
will always collide.
Buried Light by Beau Taplin
Home is not where
you are from
It is where
Some of us
travel the whole
world to find it.
find it in a person.
A Vow by Wendy Cope
I cannot promise to never be angry;
I cannot promise always to be kind.
You know what you are taking on, my darling
It’s only at the start that love is blind.
And yet I’m still the one you want to be with
And you’re the one for me – of that I’m sure.
You are my closest friend, my favourite person,
The lover and the home I’ve waited for.
I cannot promise that I will deserve you
From this day on. I Hope to pass the test.
I love you and I want to make you happy.
I promise I will do my very best.
Scaffolding by Seamus Heaney
Masons, when they start upon a building,
Are careful to test out the scaffolding;
Make sure that planks won’t slip at busy points,
Secure all ladders, tighten bolted joints.
And yet all this comes down when the job’s done
Showing off walls of sure and solid stone.
So if, my dear, there sometimes seem to be
Old bridges breaking between you and me
Never fear. We may let the scaffolds fall
Confident that we have built our wall.
I Promise You by Myriah
I can’t promise you
That dark clouds
Will never hover
Over our lives Or that the future
Will bring us many rainbows.
I can’t promise you that
Tomorrow will be perfect
Or that our lives will be easy.
I can promise you my everlasting
Devotion, my loyalty, my respect,
And my unconditional love for a lifetime .
I can promise you that
I’ll always be here for you,
To listen and to hold your hand,
And I’ll do my best to make you happy,
And make you feel loved.
I can promise you that
I can see you through a crisis
And pray with you,
Dream with you,
Build with you,
And always cheer you on
And encourage you.
I can promise you that
I’ll willingly be your protector,
Your adviser, your counselor,
Your friend, your family,
I promise you.
Love by Roy Croft
I love you
Not only for what you are,
But for what I am
When I am with you.
I love you,
Not only for what
You have made of yourself,
But for what
You are making of me.
I love you
For the part of me
That you bring out;
I love you
For putting your hand
Into my heaped-up heart
And passing over
All the foolish, weak things
That you can’t help
Dimly seeing there,
And for drawing out
Into the light
All the beautiful belongings
That no one else had looked
Quite far enough to find.
Readings from Songs
Better Together by Jack Johnson
Love is the answer, at least for most of the questions in my heart.
Like: “Why are we here?”, “And where do we go?”,
“And how come it’s so hard?”
It’s not always easy,
And sometimes life can be deceiving
I’ll tell you one thing:
It’s always better when we’re together.
My Love is Your Love by Whitney Houston
If tomorrow is judgement day,
And I’m standing on the front line,
And the Lord asks me what I did with my life,
I will say I spent it with you.
Purify Me by India Arie
Easy like a Sunday morning,
Like an angel calling,
He taking me all in,
I’m embracing him with my skin,
Like a glimmer of light,
Like a vision of life,
And he’s so perfect I couldn’t picture him if I tried.
I Choose You by Sara Bareilles
There was a time when I would have believed them
If they told me that you could not come true
Just love’s illusion
But then you found me
And everything changed
And I believe in something again.
My whole heart
Will be yours forever
This is a beautiful start
To a lifelong love letter
Tell the world that we finally got it all right
I choose you
I will become yours and you will become mine
I choose you
I choose you
We are not perfect we’ll learn from our mistakes
And as long as it takes I will prove my love to you
I am not scared of the elements I am under-prepared,
But I am willing
And even better
I get to be the other half of you.
I Love You Because by Jim Reeves
I love you because you understand, dear
Every single thing I try to do
You’re always there to lend a helping hand, dear
I love you most of all because you’re you
No matter what the world may say about me
I know your love will always see me through
I love you for the way you never doubt me
But most of all I love you ‘cause you’re you
I love you because my heart is lighter
Every time I’m walking by your side
I love you because the future’s brighter
The door to happiness opened wide.
Fool For You by John Butler Trio
So I stepped up to the plate to a place I thought I’d never be
So I’m thanking you today because of you I am now me
Cold days them dark and blue when ran was our only friend
For all that we’ve been through and will go through again
For that I say,
I will come and I will stand
and I will live my life beside you
I’m a proud, a proud man, but all the same I’m
I’m just a fool, I’m a fool for you
I’m a fool, I’m a fool for you.
Readings from Films & TV
Carrie’s Poem – A Wedding Reading (Sex & The City)
“His hello was the end of her endings,
Her laugh was their first step down the aisle,
His hand would be hers to hold forever,
His forever was as simple as her smile.
He said she was what was missing,
She said instantly she knew,
She was a question to be answered,
And his answer was ‘I do’.”
“I am nothing special; just a common man with common thoughts, and I’ve led a common life. There are no monuments dedicated to me and my name will soon be forgotten. But in one respect I have succeeded as gloriously as anyone who’s ever lived: I’ve loved another with all my heart and soul; and to me, this has always been enough.”
The Wedding Singer
“I want to make you smile whenever you’re sad,
carry you around when your arthritis is bad.
All I want to do is grow old with you.
I’ll get your medicine when your tummy aches,
Build you a fire if the furnace breaks,
Oh it could be so nice, growing old with you.
I’ll miss you,
Give you my coat when you are cold,
Even let you hold the remote control.
So let me do the dishes in our kitchen sink,
Put you to bed if you’ve had too much to drink,
I could be the man who grows old with you,
I want to grow old with you.”
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
“When I say, ‘I love you,’ it’s not because I want you or because I can’t have you. It has nothing to do with me. I love what you are, what you do, how you try. I’ve seen your kindness and your strength. I’ve seen the best and the worst of you. And I understand with perfect clarity exactly what you are. You’re a hell of a woman. You’re the one.”
“Today’s the day my life begins. All my life I’ve been just me. Just a smart mouth kid. Today I become a man. Today I become a husband. Today I become accountable to someone other than myself. Today I become accountable to you. To our future. To all the possibilities that a marriage has to offer. Together, no matter what happens, I’ll be ready. For anything. For everything. To take on life, to take on love. To take on possibility and responsibility. Today Izzie Stevens, our life together begins. And I for one can’t wait.”
When Harry Met Sally
“I love that after I spend a day with you,
I can still smell your perfume on my clothes.
And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night.
And it’s not because it’s New Year’s Eve.
I came here tonight because when you realise you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody,
You want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”
“It is a love based on giving and receiving. As well as having and sharing, And the love that they give and have is shared and received. And through this having and sharing and receiving, we too can share and love and have and receive… When I think of the love that these two givers and receivers share, I cannot help but envy the lifetime ahead of having and loving and giving and… And then I can’t think of a good word for right here.”
Readings from Children’s Books
Your Personal Penguin by Sandra Boynton
I like you a lot
You’re funny and kind
So let me explain
What I have in mind.
I want to be Your Personal Penguin
I want to walk right by your side
I want to be Your Personal Penguin
I want to travel with you far and wide.
Wherever you go, I’ll go there too
Here and there and ev’rywhere
And always with you.
I want to be Your Personal Penguin
From now on.
Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne
“If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day, so I never have to live without you. It’s so much more friendly with two.”
This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen
“No relationship is perfect, ever. There are always some ways you have to bend, to compromise, to give something up in order to gain something greater… The love we have for each other is bigger than these small differences. And that’s the key. It’s like a big pie chart, and the love in a relationship has to be the biggest piece. Love can make up for a lot.”
Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne
“If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together… there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart… I’ll always be with you.”
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
“She is more important than all the hundreds of you other roses: because it is she that I have watered; because it is she that I have put under the glass globe; because it is she that I have sheltered behind the screen; because it is for her that I have killed the caterpillars; because it is she that I have listened to, when she grumbled, or boasted, or even sometimes when she said nothing. Because she is my rose.”
The Little Yellow Leaf by Carin Berger
“And then, high up on an icy branch, a scarlet flash, one more leaf, holding tight. ‘You’re here,’ cried the little yellow leaf. ‘I am,’ said the little scarlet leaf. ‘Like me,’ said the little yellow leaf. Neither spoke. Finally… ‘Will you?’ asked the little scarlet leaf. ‘I will,’ said the little yellow leaf. And, one two three, they let go, and soared…”
I hope that something there resonated with you or that it at least gave you some more inspiration about where to look.
As a photographer, I love a great confetti shot! It always results in fantastic expressions on the couples face. Be it joy, excitement or even terror!
Where does ‘Confetti’ come from?
The confetti run is a great wedding tradition that injects an extra shot of energy into your day whereby your loving guests get to launch objects at your face. Come to think of it, wedding confetti is a bit of a strange custom.
More than just a fun moment for guests to toss confetti in the air, the tradition of the confetti toss actually originates from Italy when throwing petals or rice at the happy couple was to do with the aim of bringing prosperity and fertility.
Always check beforehand your venues stance on confetti. Some don’t allow non-biodegradable confetti and some don’t allow you to throw anything that lands on the ground at all. Fear not. Below are some cool ideas for every scenario!
Rice or Bird Seed
Rice is the original and traditional form of confetti. In more recent years, however, it was discovered this can be quite damaging for birds to eat… So it’s now better to swap rice for bird seed on your big day. Imagine the cute packets of bird seed you could make up for your guests to throw. Be warned though…it gets EVERYWHERE.
Whether fresh or dry, flower petals make for a bold confetti statement, especially if you have a certain colour, or many colours, in mind. Opt to match them to your wedding flowers, or go the other way and make them multi-coloured for a joyful look. For the ultimate eco confetti consider dried lavender seeds. Not only will the wind whisk them away they will smell great too!
If your wedding has an autumnal theme or is full of foliage, you might want to consider having small leaves as your confetti. This option is more environmentally friendly than paper and cheaper than petals, while still enjoying a similar effect.
Another popular activity with guests (especially younger ones), is asking guests to blow bubbles during your exit. Do be careful which bubble brands you provide though as some bubble detergents can stain fabric. Keep your distance!
A perfect option for an evening wedding, have guests surround you and your partner with sparklers for a magical photo moment.
Bear with me here, I haven’t lost the plot. If you don’t want confetti but still want a playful exit photo, consider having guests throw beach balls around as your photos are taken. It’s a great way for guests to have fun, especially if enjoying a beach or summer wedding. Too weird? How about glittery pom poms or helium balloons in your colour scheme instead?
Again if you don’t want (or can’t have) anything thrown at your wedding consider lengths of ribbon tied to sticks that guests can twirl at you as you exit. Would look beautiful in the photos.
Yep, as well as a tasty snack popcorn, can be used as confetti. Great if you are having a movie-themed wedding.
One rule to remember if you want epic confetti photos is the more the better, no matter what kind of confetti you use. So go big or go home!
Ask any couple planning a wedding or married for ages what their biggest bugbear is/was most will say without hesitation, getting people to RSVP to the wedding invite!
Getting wedding guests to RSVP on time, and tracking them down when they don’t, can be an incredibly frustrating process. Couples often find that a third of their invitees haven’t replied to their invitation. This isn’t just an inconvenience, it can be costly if you have to change catering numbers at the last minute, or if you have to order extra favours just in case they all decide to come.
In this blog, I am focussing on tips that will help increase your response rate.
Give them Time
Etiquette says that invitations should be sent eight weeks before the wedding. That gives four to five weeks to respond, so you can make your RSVP date three to four weeks before the wedding. The timing is crucial—if you give guests more time than that, it’s likely the invitation will get put aside in the “things to deal with later” pile. If it doesn’t seem urgent that they RSVP, they won’t. But less time than that won’t give you time to track down the delinquent guests, or time to give a final number to your caterer by their deadline.
The advice is slightly different for a destination wedding. Send a save-the-date about nine months earlier, allowing people to start clearing holiday time from work and looking for travel deals. Send your wedding invitations about four and a half months before your destination wedding, and ask for a response two months before the wedding. That allows guests to look for travel deals during the window that experts say is best—two to four months before a trip. If you’re paying for guests’ hotel and/or airfare, you’ll need to send out a destination wedding save-the-date so you can get their travel information.
S-P-E-L-L it out
Believe it or not, some guests may not know what RSVP means and they may not know what is required when they read “RSVP by May 6.” Instead, you could use one of these sentences:
“The favour of a reply is requested by May 6”
“Please respond by May 6.”
Make the RSVP DATE the most Prominent
Some guests believe they only need to reply if they’re going to attend, or they don’t realise that the reply date is serious. Make the reply date really stand out on your invitation and response card (if using).
Give lots of Options
Some etiquette experts say that weddings are too important to use online RSVPs, but it’s now the 21st century. If it allows more people the ability to respond, so be it. You could use a wedding website like Getting Married, an email address, or even a telephone number for texts and audio messages for an informal wedding. Of course, you won’t have the joy of receiving the RSVPs in the mail (and really it can be one of the most fun parts of wedding planning). But, you might get just as loving notes by emails or online forms.
Offer guests an off-line option just in case some don’t have regular online access. If you can afford it, send response cards along with a self-addressed stamped envelope, and at the bottom write something like.
“You may also RSVP by email to mmouse@gmail. com or at our wedding website www.jackandduncanwedding.co. uk.”
If you prefer to save money and paper, you can instead write at the bottom of your invitations.
“RSVP at our wedding website www.JaneandJohnwedding.co. uk or to the bride’s mother at 0123456789. Kindly respond by May 14th.”
As the RSVPs hopefully start to roll in, make sure they are captured in one place so that you know both who has and who has not RSVPed, as well what the responses are.
If you are sending paper RSVP cards in your invitations, number each one lightly on the back in pencil. Mark down what number card goes with what guest or household on your spreadsheet/RSVP list. You’d be amazed at the number of cards that are returned without a name on them, and this will make things so much easier to track!
Your guests are interesting, fun people—but this means they are busy too. Although you are thinking about your wedding day and night, they are not, and there is nothing wrong with that. Many of your guests will need a gentle reminder that the RSVP deadline is coming up. Email is a great way to reach out to them.
There’s no shame in casually asking guests if they got the invitation. You can even say, “I hope you’re coming. We can’t wait to get your RSVP card back”. Sometimes close friends weirdly think that they don’t have to reply because you’ll know they’ll be there. Just mentioning it can help get you those responses. Sometimes even very close friends have conflicts and won’t be there. Don’t count your guests until they’ve RSVP’d.
Divide and Conquer
Don’t feel like you and your partner have to do all the heavy lifting. Ask your bridal party to help with some of the gentle follow up. You shoud definitely ask your parents to help chase up extended family members or people that they have invited.
Don’t wait until three days before your catering numbers are due to start calling everyone in a panic. Add some calendar invites to remind yourself when to send the first gentle reminder and when to start picking up the phone and dialling. Another sanity-saver is to build in some buffer for the unexpected yay or nay. Expect one or two guests to drop out at the last minute and one or two others to call at last minute and ask whether they can still come. If you are mentally and logistically prepared for this to happen, it will be less stressful when it does!
If in doubt – be Funny
Maybe if your guests are eager to show you how funny they are in response, it might motivate them to send it in. But don’t make it too elaborate or confusing—being intimidating rarely elicits the right response.
I’ve seen cool RSVP cards that have asked for a dance song choice for example that can be fun (and makes sure the dance floor stays busy).
This also made me laugh…
In the end, you probably still won’t have all of your wedding guests RSVP on time. But hopefully, using these tips will increase the percentage so you’ll have less work tracking down the dawdlers.
JB Moments Photography is not paid for any endorsements or affiliated to any of the companies/services suggested. She has just seen them work in real life. All views are her own.