Celebrant profile:

Denise Morton

Ceremonies performed: Weddings, Naming Ceremonies, Funerals

Hello there, I'm Denise and welcome to my profile page.

You may be reading this as you are just curious about HSS humanist ceremonies, or perhaps you are already planning a ceremony and looking for a celebrant.

As I may not be able to cover everything here, so please feel free to contact me on denise.morton@humanism.scot for further information. I would be delighted to hear from you - even if it is only to give me some feedback on my profile page.

It's probably helpful if I tell you a little about myself, how I came to be a HSS registered celebrant, and a little bit about the ceremonies that I conduct.

So here goes.

I was born in Yorkshire, but have lived for more than half of my life in Scotland. I enjoy my trips back down to Yorkshire to visit family and friends, but I love living in this part of the world.

The things that are important to me are my family, my friendships, and having something purposeful and fulfilling to do. After living for many years in Angus, I'm lucky enough now to live near the Murray coast and I like nothing better than to go walking and enjoy the fantastic scenery.

I became a HSS registered celebrant later on in my working life, but all the jobs I have done have involved working with people. I've always had a natural curiosity about people and their life stories.

I've never been a religious person, instead I've lived my life by my own set of beliefs and values, and I've tried to live my life as a decent and caring human being. When I discovered the Humanist Society Scotland, I recognised that we shared the same values and beliefs, and I joined the organisation at that point.

It was following the funeral of the son of a close friend of mine, that I fully appreciated the impact on the family, of the quality of the ceremony. My friend was extremely touched by how the humanist celebrant was able to pick up on the essence of her son, and make his ceremony a very meaningful one, that was unique to him. I know how important that was to her at the time, and in fact, still is today, many years later.

What a privilege then to be able to write and conduct ceremonies to mark some of the most significant events of people's lives, and to express the feelings and emotions, that the family might otherwise find too hard to put into words. After finding out more, I decided that, when the time was right in my life, that becoming a humanist celebrant was something that I wanted to do.

I now look back and think how fortunate I am to have accomplished this, and how grateful I am to each of the families that I work with, for sharing their lives and their stories with me.

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Wedding & Civil Partnership Ceremonies

If you are planning your wedding/civil partnership, then can I firstly congratulate you!

It is such an exciting time, and of course, you want to plan exactly the right type of ceremony for you. There is so much scope to individualise your ceremony, and I can guide you through all the possibilities.

This includes planning the structure of your ceremony, right down to deciding on the type of vows and promises that you want to make to each other.

And of course there are so many symbolic gestures which can be included, such as handfasting, making your vows over an oathing stone, lighting unity candles, jumping the broomstick, and drinking from a quaich, to name just some.

It may all seem a bit daunting, but I will give you lots of suggestions and show you examples to help you to chose what is right for you.

There isn't the space here to include all the possibilities, and to answer the questions that I've no doubt will be going through your minds, so what I like to do is to meet up with couples, either face to face, or by FaceTime/Skype if that is better for you.

This gives us a chance to have a good chat before you make a decision as to whether you want to go ahead and make a booking.

All weddings and civil partnerships are really special - I get caught up in the magic of them, and want to help you have the most beautiful and memorable day, so whatever kind of 'dream' ceremony you have in mind, get in touch and we can take it from there.

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Naming & Welcoming Ceremonies

Naming and welcoming ceremonies are so popular now. It's such a special way to welcome a wee one into your circle of family and friends, and it of course marks a very significant change in the lives of the parents. These are probably the most flexible of the humanist ceremonies, in terms of the structure and the content.

Of course, naming and welcoming ceremonies are not just for babies. A ceremony can be conducted for older children, or for several of your children together, and they are a very poignant way of welcoming an adopted child into a family, or recognising the joining together of two families. Any new beginning, such as acknowledging a new identity can be celebrated in this way.

Because every person, family and event are unique, each ceremony that I write and conduct is unique too, and is based on your own individual choices. Ceremonies cannot be too big, too small, too formal or too informal, and of course they can be held virtually anywhere. There is no right or wrong way, only your way.

I will give you all the support you need, including such things as giving you examples of parents and guide parents promises, suggestions for including symbolic gestures such as the lighting of candles, memory boxes, baby hand prints, etc. Equally I'm always delighted to include your ideas, the more unique the better!

All our ceremonies are non religious, so there will be no hymns or prayers included. What we often include is poetry, prose and music. People often have their own favourites, but don't worry, I have lots of suggestions. Regardless of how informal and light hearted a ceremony may be, there are inevitable a few poignant moments, and people often come away feeling very touched by the ceremony.

A ceremony is an opportunity to include your family and friends, should they choose to do so. They can be involved in the making of promises or commitments to the wee one, or in one of the symbolic gestures, and if you have a friend or family member who is musical, and willing to perform at the ceremony, then this can add a lovely touch to the ceremony.

It's difficult to describe here everything that can be included, so please contact me for additional information.

Having contacted me and made a decision to go ahead, I will get the date in my diary and arrange to meet up with you. I'm flexible as to where and when we meet, as I appreciate it often isn't easy with young ones at home. I will then support you along the way, and together we will plan a ceremony that suits you, and will provide you and your family with lots of wonderful memories to look back on.

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Funeral Ceremonies

My role as a funeral celebrant is to create and deliver a personalised tribute to the deceased, which celebrates the life that they lived, and honours their memory.

I begin by meeting up with the family and hearing the memories and stories of their loved one. Although this is a time of sadness, reflecting back over a life lived, usually raises a smile as well as a tear, and I gather up all this information, and begin to create a ceremony that tells the story of this special life.

Music, prose and poetry are usually included in the ceremony, and families often have a clear idea of what they want to be included. But if they don’t then I can make suggestions. There may be family members or friends who would like to read a poem themselves, or speak at the funeral, and this can be discussed at the meeting.

Once I have written up the draft ceremony, I send it to the lead family member and make sure that all the factual details are correct, and the family are happy with it. I give a copy of the ceremony to the family following the funeral, as often during the funeral, the family are distressed and not able to recall all that was said. It is a lovely record to have of that person’s life, and can become of the family history for future generations.

I feel that it is a great privilege to be asked by families to do this on their behalf, and as each of us is a unique human being, the ceremony will be a unique tribute to that person’s life.

Something that is becoming more popular now, is memorial ceremonies. Families may choose to have a private funeral (or sometimes they choose not to have a funeral at all), followed up some time later with a memorial ceremony for families and friends.

The memorial can then be held at a venue of choice, and there is no time limit to the time spent at the ceremony. If you would like more information on this, then please get in touch.

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Ceremony fees:

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