Our Words – Bex

I have always been fascinated by humanist ceremonies.  And you know what?  I almost wish I’d had one.

This post by Bex of The Olive Dragonfly will have you all grinning.  I know it will, because the joy in Bex’s writing is infectious.  The photographs won’t hurt either (look at that last one!  House wallpaper-worthy alert!).  All photos taken by the talented Matt Wagster.    Bex talks about the words she and Nik used during their ceremony, where they came from, what they means to them.  It’s fascinating reading for anyone toying with the idea of a humanist celebration.  I defy you not to have a village-idiot grin on your face by the end of this.  Happy Tuesday, readers.  Over to you, Bex:


As you already know from my Any Other Photo, I was extremely excited to marry Nik!  After all of my planning, this was the moment I got to see it all come together and marry my person for evermore.  The person who understands me, even when I am ‘in a wedding frenzy’ and knows how important the little details are to me (which by now you may also know) – even more so after tears one night in bed worrying if we were in fact even compatible all because of M&Ms!!!  He’s so minimalist, and I just love things!  I’m a very visual person and love having pretty things around our home (with some clutter control by Nik) and wanted the same for our wedding.  I really loved the image I had in my head of our huge apothecary jar filled with the little green and white sweets with our names and wedding date on but Nik wasn’t convinced and this triggered the most ridiculous thoughts that if we couldn’t even agree on M&Ms and decor at our wedding, how would we manage to live together forever?


Luckily, he talked me down from my elbow (he doesn’t like it when I get propped up on my elbow in bed, mid rant) and a few days later we sat down to do our ‘homework’ set by our Humanist celebrant, Tim….

“Separately, using one side of the paper only, and no conferring, I want you to:

1. Write the story of you – from when you first met and everything that’s happened since. Remember it doesn’t have to be War and Peace. Keep it simple, keep it truthful, and use your own voice. 
2. Write down ten things about your partner that made you not just fall in love, (which as it says in Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, ‘any fool can do’), but that made you decide that you want to spend the rest of your lives together.
3. Finally, I want you to write down ten things that marriage means to you or that you want to achieve in your marriage. 
BTW, ten is an arbitrary number. If you can only think of four great reasons, that will do. If you can only think of four hundred and four, that’ll do too, but bear in mind we’re aiming for a ceremony that lasts around thirty minutes and that brevity is the soul of wit…”
I was pleasantly surprised by what Nik had written, we ended up laughing and having a wonderful night and there were a few happy tears from me.  We had both written about the big, obvious things and the little things that matter as well.  If there was ever any doubt that we would make it, I wasn’t worried any more, if the big things match up – that’s the most important thing.  Plus anyone who can talk me down mid rant and calm me enough to go to sleep is definitely a keeper!
We could include as much or as little of what we had written as we wanted in our ceremony and we included most of it.  It helped us keep our wedding personal and unique and hopefully made for an interesting, funny, heartfelt and thoughtful ceremony our guests enjoyed just as much as us!



Our celebrant read out some of our thoughts and feelings for us but there were a few things we wanted to say to each other in front of our guests.  You can hear some of the words in our wonderful highlights film below by Cherry Tree Films but here are some more I’d like to share with you…

What I said:

To this day, I’m still discovering how thoughtful and considerate you are.  You are my calming influence and you help keep me sane.  You know I’m mad and love me anyway so I can completely be myself, hyper or otherwise and I love you most for that.  Also, for the fact that when I can’t choose between two dishes in a restaurant, you order the other one so I still get to try both!

You are my wonderful support when I’m being ‘emotional’ and you make me laugh every day.  I love the random names you call me (biscuit is my personal favourite) and that you have learned to dive so you can join in with one of my many hobbies!  You have taught me to be more patient, although it may not always seem like that and even though you won’t always let me be right, I know that the cuddles will still be there!


What Nik said:

I love that we understand each other and our little quirks.  We laugh together all the time and you are very funny.  You are a bit mad but I am too and we are compatible opposites.  I love your energy, excitement and emotions, you are my beautiful girl.  You love PLANNING which is great because then I don’t have to do it but we still end up having amazing parties or holidays and this wedding is a fantastic example of your attention to detail and organization skills (not to mention list making!)

I love you and I imagine us together always.


Our Vows to each other:

I will continue to support and encourage you in all you choose to do and endeavour to make you as happy as you have made me.  I will laugh and cry with you and share all that I am.  Above all, I promise to love you forever, I will respect and cherish you always and provide cuddles for evermore.

Nik’s Dad was the first to congratulate us as he came up to give his reading just after we exchanged rings. (ed: anyone else weeping here?)

We had three readings – two poems (Scaffolding by Seamus Heaney, Wedding Day by Rowena Edlin-White) and song lyrics (I love you because by Johnny Cash).  All of these were chosen for the words and until we started looking for readings, we hadn’t known any of them.

Signing the register

Just married

However, we chose our first dance song based on the lyrics and what it meant to us.  I have always been a fan of Pink and it was the first gig we went to see together at the SECC.  We had an amazing time and I will always remember the final song, it was a simply amazing performance and we both loved it.  The lyrics were just perfect for our wedding day, especially the last few lines…

Pink – Glitter In The Air

Have you ever fed a lover with just your hands?

Close your eyes and trust it
Just trust it

Have you ever thrown a fist full of glitter in the air?
Have you ever looked fear in the face and said, “I just don’t care”?

It’s only half past the point of no return
The tip of the iceberg
The sun before the burn
The thunder before the lightning
The breath before the phrase
Have you ever felt this way?

Have you ever hated yourself for staring at the phone?
Your whole life waiting on the ring to prove you’re not alone

Have you ever been touched so gently you had to cry?

Have you ever invited a stranger to come inside?

It’s only half past the point of oblivion
The hourglass on the table
The walk before the run
The breath before the kiss

And the fear before the flames
Have you ever felt this way?

La la la la
La la la la

There you are
Sitting in the garden
Clutching my coffee
Calling me sugar
You called me sugar

Have you ever wished for an endless night?
Lassoed the moon and the stars
And pulled that rope tight

Have you ever held your breath
And asked yourself, will it ever get better than tonight?



I have always felt emotional when listening to it, especially at the bit where she sings about being called ‘Sugar’.  I always thought it was as if she’d never been treated like that before and called sweet nicknames.

One of my best, most favourite memories from our whole day, was when we were dancing (we had a dance choreographed) and it got to the ‘calling me sugar’ bit.  I had always imagined us spinning around to that, looking at each other.  Our dance teacher incorporated that for us and as we danced in front of everyone and started spinning, they all started to clap and cheer.  We hadn’t expected that reaction at all and both grinned hugely.  It meant so much to us.


And just for a Tuesday morning treat….here’s the video of Becky and Nikhil’s day provided by the incredible Cherry Tree Films.  It’s a corker, folks.  AOW Official Warning – do not hit Play until you have tissues at the ready…

As well as being a dentist, Bex takes beautiful photographs.  Would you like to win one for your wall?  We have competition that will let you do just that…it closes at midnight tomorrow…get entering, readers!

Categories: Marriage, Wedding Planning, Wedding Reports
34 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Posted March 13, 2012 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    Oh Bex *sniff sniff* This is lovely xxx

  2. Posted March 13, 2012 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    Oh I love Scaffolding. It was one of our potential poems. Lovely to read on the way to work this morning.

  3. Posted March 13, 2012 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    My favourite bit was about ordering in a restaurant, love that!

    • Posted March 13, 2012 at 8:44 am | Permalink

      Me too! We wanted something funny in there and it did make everyone chuckle – plus it’s true!! One of his best traits ;) I do love food!!

  4. Posted March 13, 2012 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    Tears at breakfast!

  5. Posted March 13, 2012 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    Crying into my porridge! It started at ” you are my beautiful girl” and I kept sniffling helplessly from that point onwards. Beautiful.

    Ps: How many dentists can write like THAT and take pictures like THAT?! Mad talented, Bex.

    K x

    • Posted March 13, 2012 at 8:46 am | Permalink

      :D Thank you! Get really nervous about my writing compared to the amazing posts on this here blog!! Chuffed to bits you all like it :)

      • Posted March 13, 2012 at 10:36 am | Permalink

        You write wonderfully, never be worried about that!!

        I’m waiting to watch the video until I’m home (or until everyone else has left the lab) so that I don’t embarrass myself by weeping :-p

        K xx

  6. Posted March 13, 2012 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    Such beautiful vows, they’re so honest. Not stuffy at all.
    I love all the words from your wedding, actually a bit jealous of them.

    I think every couple should have to do wedding homework.

    Can’t watch the video on my phone but very excited to see it later. Gorgeous post, all your photos are so beautiful. X

  7. Mahj
    Posted March 13, 2012 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    Waaaaaaaaaaaa! I desperately want to watch the video but the stupid work computer won’t let me. Damn you firewall!
    Bex, I totally didn’t know you were a dentist!


    • Posted March 13, 2012 at 8:41 am | Permalink

      Yup, I keep it on the QT on my own blog as I don’t want patients finding it if they google me! (It does mention my boudoir shoot after all!) Hence not using my surname either! (Except on my photo site – just hope they don’t link it all up together!! ;) )

  8. Posted March 13, 2012 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    Gorgeous! I wish we’d had a humanist ceremony.


    • Posted March 13, 2012 at 8:39 am | Permalink

      I wish they were legal everywhere, we’re lucky up in Scotland! :)

      • Posted March 13, 2012 at 9:33 am | Permalink

        Me too. I’d like one but I don’t want to have 2 separate ceremonies so I’m going to have to just try and make our civil ceremony as personal as possible instead.

  9. Zan
    Posted March 13, 2012 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    Oh that’s just so lovely! Am having a bit of a teary moment over my cup of tea now!

    I too can’t watch the video at the moment (work comp) but will be checking it out later :)

  10. Esme
    Posted March 13, 2012 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    Tears and a Mahj style ‘sh*t eating’ grin. So lovely Bex, you totally had me at the photo hugging your Dad. And yey for Humanist ceremonies!!

    Thanks so much for including the ‘homework’ from your celebrant. Even though I’m already married, I’ve been thinking about doing something like this and it sounds like a great starting point.

    How about AOW marriage preparation classes, girls? You’ve had some good stuff on here!


  11. Sandra C
    Posted March 13, 2012 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    Oh, I’m crying at work! How beautiful and heartfelt. As it should be. Amazing sentiment. Off to the ladies now!!

  12. Fee
    Posted March 13, 2012 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    I love love love that picture of you and Nik’s dad – it made me all teary!

    It sounds like an amazing ceremony.

    • Posted March 13, 2012 at 10:49 am | Permalink

      It was a close contender for AOP! :)

  13. Alison
    Posted March 13, 2012 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    I love this post so I’m going to comment for the first time! We had a humanist ceremony at our wedding last October and it was the best thing we did. So many of our guests commented on how lovely and heartfelt it was. We did things slightly differently with our celebrant, Mary Wallace (who’s the loveliest lady and has her own website dedicated to all things wedding!). We met up with her and she asked us how we met and what we’re like together and wrote the service based on that. Then….(this is the awesome bit) she asked us to secretly write three reasons why we love each other and e-mail them to her and she read them out during the service!!! Yeah, not a dry in the house at that point! I’m tearing up thinking about it now actually, was so special and lovely. Really made us focus on what all the fuss and stress was all about.

    p.s. loving the Pollokshields Burgh Hall pics – my wee sister is getting married there in May 2013 and it looks amazing!

    • Posted March 13, 2012 at 10:51 am | Permalink

      Welcome, Alison! I can’t believe it was all so secret…I’m have cried my mascara right off!
      Hope you comment more often! x

  14. Carly
    Posted March 13, 2012 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    It’s always the dad stuff that makes me teary! Hearing the emotion in your dads voice during his speech set me off! I’ve toyed with the idea of writing our vows but I seem to get a but of a block and finding the right balance between heartfelt and a total slush fest is so hard, but you got it bang on.

  15. Amanda
    Posted March 13, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    Oooh, I especially love that last photo – that’s the one I’d have on the wall if it were me.

  16. Katie
    Posted March 13, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    I can’t watch the film, as I’m at work, but Wowsers. Great post! I love everything about this wedding. I love the dancing photos, and swishiness of your dress. Oh, it’s all just divine. Can’t wait to watch the film later. xx

  17. Becca
    Posted March 13, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    Alison, we’re going to need to see your AOP.

    We’re having a humanist wedding too, I can’t wait to write our own vows. To be honest we’re having a problem finding a decent humanist celebrant. All Cambridge / Nottinghamshire / Lincolnshire / Rutland / Northamptonshire recommendations welcome. We’re getting around the legal bit with my insane legal knowledge…or rather we’re having the legal bit inside for five minutes when everyone is sipping their champagne. My cousin did it that way and no one even noticed. We wanted to avoid doing it the day before because of people who say things like “but you’re already married” and “two weddings – bit excessive isn’t it”. STUPID PEOPLE.

    You can sign a petition somewhere to legalise humanist weddings in the UK. Anna is a spy and has contacts at the Government, I’m sure she will get.it.done.James.Bond.style.

    • Esme
      Posted March 13, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

      Yes people are stupid when it comes to the ‘two weddings’ thing – we had so much of that.

      Re: the celebrant. Is there no-one you know who could do it for you? Like a family friend?

  18. Posted March 13, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    Bex, I’m a bit teary reading this, Johnny Cash song as a reading – too wonderful. Also loved the part in Nik’s words about you two being “compatible opposites”.


    • Posted March 13, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

      I agree – that Johnny cash song is just perfect as a reading.

  19. Posted March 13, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    Only just seen this, but spookily enough I went hunting for your film earlier and it was sooo beautiful. I love humanist ceremonies but I have never seen one as personal as this, I love it!! And as a lover of food I adore Nik’s line about ordering in restaurants. What a thoughtful, handsome, loveable gentleman! Xxx

    Ps Becca have you thought of asking a friend or member of your family to conduct your ceremony?

  20. Jenny
    Posted March 13, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    Great post, Bex! Love hearing more about your day! Also, the video is fab. You’re both so smiling, it’s lovely. I really like the music, what is it?


  21. Jenny
    Posted March 13, 2012 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    Dammit, meant smiley!

    Also, I love your dress, Bex, it’s so different and suited you perfectly!

  22. Posted March 13, 2012 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

    Finally got to see the video- amazing music!

    So much hugging in such a short video- Love it!!

    Looks like a beautiful day x

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