Amanda and Dougie at Inglewood Manor

Amanda and Dougie at Inglewood Manor

Amanda and Dougie are a great couple who wanted a non-traditional ceremony, a re-imagining of the traditional ceremony format. Blending English and Celtic wedding traditions. As we got to know each other and talked about their dream wedding, I could see them beginning to get excited when the reaslisation dawned that their vision could become a reality and together we began to create a ceremony that celebrated their love and commitment to each other in ways that meant the most to them.

A Thoughtful Surprise

Waiting to marry the love of his life, proudly dressed in his traditional Scottish kilt and patiently waiting for his bride to appear when the strains of a Scottish piper playing The Skye Boat Song reaches his ears, as if he wasn’t emotional enough! Dougie had no idea that Amanda had booked a piper, in she walked on her dad’s arm, radiating happiness and stunning in a beautiful traditional wedding dress with veil.

Honouring a Proud Dad

Then it was Dad’s turn to be blown away and more than a little emotional, as Amanda had taken the opportunity, through me, to tell her Dad just how much he meant to her, “Amanda says that her dad Brian has been a solid, strong presence in her life, a wonderful Dad who is fun to be with, he looks after her when she is in need of support”. Lovely for him to hear and not a dry eye in the house.

Honouring Loved Ones

Wedding days are emotional occasions anyway and even more emotional when those we love cannot be with us for whatever reason. When parents are no longer with us, the emotion can feel extremely raw and it was very important to Dougie that we include his parents in some way. One way to honour people and to feel their presence is to light a candle, its flame casting a warm glow throughout the ceremony, symbolic of their presence and warming us with their love. It was a touching and beautiful way to remember the light that they brought to his life and to help him to feel that they were with him in spirit on his special day.  

A Beautiful Poem

Amanda’s Son Tom, proudly read an adaptation of Corinthians 13:4-8 for Amanda and Dougie on behalf of his family. Love is patient, Love is kind, it does not envy,   it does not boast,  it is not proud, it does not dishonour others,  it is not self-seeking,  it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs, Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth, It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails 

A Romantic Proposal

Everyone enjoyed listening to their story, especially the part where Dougie proposed. ‘In December last year the couple went on holiday to Iceland, and Dougie had been making plans… one of the places that he took her to was the Iceberg Lagoon, a magical place with a black volcanic beach that was scattered with chunks of ice that had broken from the glaciers. It was spectacular, the ice glinting against the black sand looked like diamonds in the night sky, ethereal and so beautiful.  Amanda sat on a piece of ice that had been sculpted by the lapping waves into the shape of a toadstool. It was the perfect moment, despite his nerves and the cold he got down on one knee in the wet volcanic sand and proposed, of course between her excited giggles it was most definitely a yes! Amanda says that it was an amazing feeling and what a place to be proposed to’. 

Unique Vows and Rings

When it comes to the most important part of the ceremony, the vows and promises that we make to each other  can be just as unique as the rest of your ceremony and you don’t have to both say them in the same way, Dougie said his to Amanda in the form of a poem. A Red, Red Rose by Robert Burns, spoken softly with his Scottish accent was just perfection. Amanda wrote her own and spoke them to Dougie and hers were also meaningful, beautiful and heartfelt.  The rings had extra special meaning as Amanda’s has been made out of her Grandmas wedding and Engagement rings and Dougies has been made from his mother’s gold and some of Amanda’s. They each hold precious memories and echoes of each family’s heritage, their blending not only serves as a reminder of those they love but also the promise of a bright future and the merging of two families.  

The Ties That Bind

Dougie and Amanda wanted to honour their spiritual and ancestral roots. Both have Scottish and Irish ancestry, include English into the mix and we had the opportunity to craft a ceremony that inluded everyone’s heritage. Their cultural traditions were of the utmost importance, so we had the traditional English format for the ceremony, Rings, vows etc, blending with Celtic Customs in the handfasting and bagpipes. Their wedding stationery, which they had designed to include an English white rose, a Scottish thistle and some Irish shamrock, you don’t get much more inclusive than that… Amanda and Dougies handfasting fabric was the Scott family tartan. They joined hands and with their hands, their hearts…  looking into each others eyes, palm against palm, in a beautiful representation of their love and strength, I could almost feel them holding their breath, and holding my breath with them.

This was the moment that meant so much, the moment in which their hearts, already joined, became as one…  spoken words of love, commitment and devotion, souls joined for all time and beyond… their ceremony ended with cheers and congratultations as the piper piped them out to what else but Flower of Scotland.

Hi Liz, I’ve got a few comments for you from our guests, everyone thought the wedding was amazing !! They especially loved the service which had everyone in floods of tears! They loved “ our story “ part of the service and of course the beautiful hand fasting. Most people were unsure when I told them we were having a celebrant to conduct our service, even Dougie, but after they had seen it for themselves everyone said what a wonderful truly meaningful service it was, that was very personal and moving. My favourite part was Dougie reading his poem/vows and the hand fasting. Dougie of course enjoyed the piper which was the hardest secret I’ve ever kept.
I can’t thank you enough for conducting our service it was more than I could of ever imagined, and were both still over the moon with the whole beautiful day xxx
Amanda and Dougie Scott

Wedding Testimonial

Thank you

To Amanda and Dougie for being easy to work with, for opening their hearts and sharing their innermost dreams,

To Mark Lloyd – Pure Pictures for the fab photo’s

To Phil McConnell – Bag Piper

The team at Inglewood Manor for just being great

Liz Thompson is a Family Celebrant based in Manchester in the UK and working across the North West of England, Liz creates unique and personal ceremonies and services for life events such as Weddings, Civil Partnerships, Baby naming, Vow Renewal and many more. 

Jackie and Mike’s Story

Jackie and Mike’s Story

Opening the Circle

On a cold January evening a group of family and friends gathered to witness the affirmation of a very special bond. From the moment people began to arrive it was clear that there was a lot of love in the room for Jackie and Mike who had contacted me a couple of months previously to discuss a ceremony to bless their relationship. This was no ordinary couple, both a little bit crazy and crazy in love.

Love and life

They are not the archetypal lovey dovey kind of couple, theirs is a light hearted jokey kind of relationship but don’t let that mislead you, this is a love story of the most profound kind, they have been together for a long time, enjoying life and each other’s company but life has a habit of throwing us a curveball at times and they found themselves thrown into a nightmare when Jackie was diagnosed with breast cancer which led to them wanting a ceremony to celebrate their love and commitment to each other witnessed by their nearest and dearest.

The Ties that bind

She is the level headed one in the relationship, he has in Jackie’s words ‘a warped sense of humour, she’s right there!  His humour is sometimes a front for the love that he feels and even though he tries not to be ‘soppy’ his love just shines through. When we met we talked through their ideas and it became apparent that a traditional ceremony wasn’t for them. Their mutual love of nature, countryside and animals led to a conversation about old customs and rituals, they soon decided that a handfasting ceremony was perfect for them. We talked about their relationship, what it means to them and what the handfasting would bring to them. They wanted the ceremony to be fun and lighthearted, perfect for them and their positive outlook.

Feathers and Bells

Royal blue because it fits with them both. Aquamarine because Aquamarine has spiritual energy, and encourages communication to be more loving, and heart based. I used gold thread, which is symbolic of the golden thread of love and devotion that Jackie and Mike have given to each other throughout their time together. I sewed in charms, bells in remembrance of Mike’s beard when he first met Jackie  in Jilly’s Rockworld he had a fu manchu with bells on, a branch for their love of nature,  a butterfly for Mike’s tattoo and also because the symbolism of a butterfly is about acceptance and change in our lives.  A cat, cos they love em! A love sign and some hearts for obvious reasons. Some aqua gemstones for love, and fire opals for soothing, clearing and protection and finally some purple gemstones because it’s Jackie’s favourite colour and I finished it off with cobalt feathers, we won’t mention Owls! 😉 but we will mention wolves, you only needed to look around her house to see that she she loved them!

Closing the Circle

As their ceremony came to an end we joined together in saying vows to the couple, vows of love and support and the strength to hold them through the good times and the bad, finishing with the obligatory wind up from Mike, it was too good an opportunity to miss… Their handfast is framed with the copy of the ceremony and will remain in an unbroken circle for as long as love will last, then it was time to celebrate and have fun, something that they are both really good at! They are a great couple, Jackie is doing well, she is an amazing lady with so much determination, we are still in touch and I’m so happy that they will be going on a holiday of a lifetime and a much deserved break.

Thanks Liz, the ceremony was so beautiful, the laughter really lifted Jackie’s spirits and I know made me cry, thank you so much, everybody said how much they loved it, so gald you helped us celebrate our special day, Mike.

It was a really good night. Everyone enjoyed themselves, Mike and I were the last to leave and we got home about 11:45, thanks again for a brilliant ceremony, Jackie xxx

Jackie and Mike


All of that was back in 2016 and at that point Jackie wasn’t expected to live beyond six months but she proved the doctor wrong, always a strong woman, a warrior, she never let her illness define her. She lived life, had the holidays with Mike, spent time with her family doing all of the things we do with those we love, including her pets. Her family knew she was never one for a fuss and treated her no differently, no one was safe from the family banter that was a big part of their lives, even in the hospice laughter rang out and chaos reigned. As time went on, it was becoming obvious that Jackie was struggling to stay with us, she was as always surrounded by her family who were holding her in their love as she slipped peacefully away the day before her 54th birthday.

Her funeral as you might have already guessed, was a real celebration of her life, she had been a biker and was escorted on her final journey by the biker community, everyone wore purple, tears flowed, laughter rang out,  I read a beautiful poem written by her daughter, we played the music that was the soundtrack to Jackie and Mike’s handfasting, we even did the hokey cokey! – long story… family placed Flowers on her coffin and to end I read the same poem that I had read for their handfasting, followed by the final piece of music, A long, long, way to go by led Zeppelin. 


I carry your heart with me (I carry it in) 

By EE Cummings 


i carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart) 

I am never without it 

(anywhere I go you go, my dear;  

and whatever is done by only me  

is your doing, my darling) 


I fear no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) 

I want no world (for beautiful, you are my world, my true) 

and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant 

and whatever a sun will always sing is you 


here is the deepest secret nobody knows 

(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud 

and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; 

(which grows higher than soul can hope or mind can hide) 

and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart 


I carry your heart  

(i carry it in my heart) 

Jackie’s Last Ride

Images kindly shared by Jackie’s partner Mike 

Liz Thompson is a Family Celebrant based in Manchester in the UK and working across the North West of England, Liz creates unique and personal ceremonies and services for life events such as Weddings, Civil Partnerships, Baby naming, Vow Renewal and many more.