We are all used to the emotion and happiness that is around in huge quantities at our ceremonies, but if you can imagine multiplying that good feeling by a factor of 100, then you may be close to how I felt in January this year when I had the ultimate pleasure of conducting my daughter’s wedding in our back garden.

My wife Jan and I had for a while been looking for a solution as to a place to sit and enjoy the afternoon sun, and I came up with the idea of building a solid gazebo with Perspex roof and decking to put furniture on. When I built it, holding a wedding ceremony there was never further from my mind.

When Tracy and Adam asked me to conduct their ceremony, I was absolutely delighted. We set about writing the script, and as it was going to be the legal ceremony only, to be followed a few months later by the affirmation Ceremony, the script was very easy to put together.
I did my usual, printing it out, reading through it a few times and we were all set for the day. Tracy had asked her 7 year old son Ronnie to walk her down the aisle, (which happened to be a red carpet) and as witnesses they chose Adam’s mum and my wife Jan.

So the ceremony was very intimate and with only 6, I had the joy of not only conducting the ceremony, but made the cake and cooked the meal for us afterwards. Well I always like to be busy and Tracy always likes to get the most out of me.

We gathered in the gazebo, and I clicked the iphone with the music on and Tracy and Ronnie made their way up the red carpet. Tracy looked radiant in her ivory coloured strapless wedding dress and Ronnie was in full highland dress and even borrowed a sghian dhubh from his papa. Ronnie gave his mum a kiss on the cheek and then shook Adam’s hand and stepped back to join his two nanas.

The smiles from the bride and groom as they joined hands were wider than the mouth of the River Clyde. I faded the music and then opened my folder. Obviously I was full of pride looking at my youngest child getting married, but what happened next was totally unexpected.

I read the first line of the script. I managed to say ‘Welcome to you all to our prize winning garden for this very happy occasion when Tracy and Adam will be joined in marriage’. I opened my mouth to carry on, but the emotion of it all got to me and I had to stop for a few seconds to gather myself together and get composed to continue.

As I was doing this, Ronnie helped by saying “For goodness sake Papa, pull yourself together and get on with it.” This brought a smile to my face and I did manage to pull myself together and continued with the ceremony. There were a few wobbles on the way, where I almost lost it again, but managed to get there eventually.

After some photos we all went indoors and enjoyed a very tasty steak dinner.

This ceremony was without doubt my most emotional, but also filled me with immense pride and will be a day never to be forgotten by any of us.

by Billy Ward