Saturday the 21st June 2014 was the Solstice… the longest day; a waymarker in the year as the cycle of life turns. And it was a landmark for me too. My first Humanist Marriage Ceremony as a Fuze Foundation Marriage Officer.

The event took place under a grand old oak tree in the grounds of the delightful Gargunnock House, where Chopin once played the grand piano and where Jane and Richard signed their Marriage Schedule.

“It was an excitement and utter delight from start to finish,” bride Jane said. “Barbara made it easy for us to shape the day… listening first to get a feel for what we wanted, offering inspiring ideas, creating a ceremony that was lively, lovely and full of meaning for us.”

As all Fuze Marriage Officers do, I started with a ‘Couple’s Meeting’ with Jane and Richard to understand what they wanted from their Big Day. My job is to make it personal, meaningful, easy – and fun. Theirs, to enjoy the process.

Legal vows, witnesses and signing the Marriage Schedule are the only fixed requirements to make the ceremony legal. Otherwise, it’s pretty much up for grabs. Without giving away too much about their private day, Jane and Richard’s ceremony featured family, friends, a field, an oak tree, Celtic charms on cords, kilts, cowboy boots, bean tins, wild flowers, well-wishing, wind chimes, a poem, a quaich, Ardbeg whisky, a Celtic blessing, a few tears and a lot of joy and laughter.

“We were both moved by the experience,” Jane said. “We’ve laughed and cried telling our story, hearing it back, seeing our plans come to life. It’s been a much more emotional and meaningful experience than I’d imagined. It’s really cemented our long-standing relationship in a surprising and delightful way.”

For me as a Marriage Officer, working with the back-up of a whole team of experienced Marriage Officers made a massive difference … (Fuze would never leave a ‘rookie’ unsupported.) So much knowledge and experience to pull on. My mentors Morag Webster and Victoria Bisland were invaluable.

And the Solstice passed, I’m not worried about the nights drawing in. I have my first Big Gay Wedding ceremony next week. What a joyful job.

By Barbara Chalmers