If you’re planning to get married in Scotland, whether it’s an elopement or a small wedding you are thinking of, you may have done some research on the legalities and seen references to Humanist weddings. These are very common, but, it’s not the only option open to you. If you are a spiritual couple, or very connected to nature or rituals of any kind, and/or if one or other of you has any religious beliefs, then an Interfaith ceremony might be much better suited to you.
I asked my friend and Skye interfaith celebrant – Rev. Jo Royle – to write a blog post about what an interfaith ceremony invovles so, grab a cuppa and have a read. If you want to know more, Jo’s details are at the end of the article. And yes she does go barefoot because she loves to ground herself. She’s cool!
Standing atop a cliff with the stunning scenery of the Isle of Skye laid out beneath you.
Feeling the earth, beneath your feet.
Taking a breath, allowing it to bring you into the moment.
It’s your wedding day! Your elopement in the wilds of Skye.
Just the two of you, accompanied by Jo your celebrant, Lynne your photographer and Al, your piper.
A quiet, intimate, meaningful ceremony – just as you’d planned. You have your tissues at the ready!
Your wedding, your way – words and rituals honouring you, your relationship, your spirit, your beliefs and your deep connection to nature.
You’ve chosen your elopement ceremony location with Lynne. She was right when she said she knows the best spots, the best time for the light and how to avoid swarms of tourists… its beautiful here! There’s something magical about the light… and you’ve hardly seen a soul.
As you arrive, you walk around to feel into the exact spot for the ceremony. Here!
Unpacking your handfasting cord, rings, quaich and whisky, you make sure your vows are tucked into a pocket.
“Are you ready?” You both nod.
Your celebrant, Jo, offers a ‘secret ingredient’ harvested on this isle… which catapults you even more into the present, your whole body awakens, to enable you to truly experience your ceremony.
And with a nod from Jo to your piper, he begins to play… your ceremony begins!
You hear the words “you are welcome” and feel those words land in your body, knowing you are welcome, in all you bring, in all you are.
Welcoming in the elements… the earth beneath your feet; the air, the wind buffeting your bodies, the water (at least in your imagination let’s see the water in the lochs and the sea, the burns and the rivers and not falling from the sky!); and the fire, wholeheartedly calling in the sun!
With Jo’s words to you and your beloved, you remember how you met one another… what attracted you to each other… how your relationship developed and grew into what it is today. You catch one another’s eye and smile as Jo shares a little of what you love about each another and you recognize the words and sentiments you’ve shared with her over the months you’ve been working together… your words reflected back to you.
There are smiles and laughter. And deeper more intimate moments.
The words of your favourite poem, which feels so fitting just here in the ceremony.
Meaningful words about the symbolism of the colours you’ve chosen for your handfasting cord and as you look down at your hands, being blessed, you’re struck by how the hands of your love have journeyed with you, and all the ways in which they’ve supported you and held you… and all the ways they’re yet to hold you. You are handfast… binding you together, tight enough to hold you together and loose enough that you may move freely.
Jo reminds you to pause, to take a breath, to come back into the moment. And you notice with each part of the ceremony, with each ritual, you’re heading towards the climatic exchange of vows.
Facing one another, looking into each other’s eyes, there’s a sense of opening and deepening as you prepare to exchange your vows. Vows you’ve deliberated over, vows written over and over, to get the words and the sentiments just right.
And as you speak your vows to one another, you feel an intense connection, the world seems to disappear leaving just the two of you… standing together… speaking the truth of your promises with tears in your eyes. Committing to each other, to your love and to your everlasting togetherness, witnessed by all that’s been called in… the elements, nature and the Presence of Love herself!
Guided by Jo through the exchange of your legal vows and rings and the signing, you hear her say “I now pronounce you married” and the world comes flooding back in as you realize, “I’m married. I’m actually married!”
Sealing your vows with a kiss… and then another… and perhaps another… as Lynne captures the moment, like all the others she’s captured throughout your ceremony.
But your ceremony’s not yet complete.
You splash whisky into two cups, representing your individual lives until this point… and together pour them into the quaich, the loving cup. The mingling representing your joining in union. And each taking a handle of the quaich you guide it to your mouths… grateful for the warmth and grounding of the peaty whisky. You offer a splash to the earth, to this ancient land of Skye.
And with a thanking of all we called in, you receive Jo’s words of blessing on your future together and again you smile as you recognise the hopes and dreams you shared with Jo in the months leading up to your ceremony.
As you refill your quaich for another wee dram and receive congratulations from Jo and Lynne, Al plays the pipes for a final time to close and you think about all your ceremony has brought and perhaps all it is yet to bring…
You breathe into this new place, having crossed the threshold of marriage. And the awareness of it keeps landing in you in an ever deeper way, like the waves lapping the shore beneath, “we’re married, we’re married, we’re married!”
Throughout your ceremony, you’d not even noticed Lynne, the photo ninja! Whilst you were deep in the ceremony she was documenting your elopement story, the ceremony with its rituals, your loving gazes and emotions. Unbeknownst to you she has captured the magic of every moment! Phew! No posing for photos!
And after a while, with gentle goodbyes to Jo and Al and with hugs and promises to keep in touch, Lynne whisks you off for more photos in Skye’s iconic landscape. Always chatting, making you feel at ease, sharing stories and making your elopement a truly beautiful day to remember.
~ Rev Jo Royle
Jo is simply wonderful! She made the whole process of planning our elopment and handfasting simple and easy, creating the stress free day that we wanted. Jo took the time to learn who we were and that came across perfectly in the ceremony she wrote for us. We had an absolute magical day and we owe a lot of that to Jo! Thank you so much again!! ❤️
Tanya & Matt, May 2023
If you want Jo to bring a wee bit of magic to your day, you can connect with her…