Celebrant profile:

Gary Smith

Ceremonies performed: Weddings, Naming Ceremonies, Funerals

I have been a Celebrant with the Humanist Society of Scotland for 20 years now. For 16 years of that time I also worked as a Project Manager in Drug Discovery and Cancer Research.

My Celebrant work is so special to me. I am married to my stunning wife Jackie, the real reason why I am organised and happy, and I have two grown-up sons. My hobbies are important to me and include writing, photography, film, music, and all aspects of technology. I am a self-confessed geek.

I often get asked what humanism means to me.

It is, and I am a simple person, about living a happy life not controlled by supernatural entities (yes, I mean gods or spirits). It is also, importantly, about respecting the world, the individual and, of course, yourself. It is, for me, about the things that make us human beings and the things that bring us together in life, rather than those that divide us. It is common sense in words and actions. My outlook on life, a life I love, and I have been told this comes across in all my ceremonies, is to be happy and try to make others happy simply. One close family I have been involved with through a funeral, a wedding, and a naming ceremony still call me the "Happy Humanist". This is a name I wear proudly.

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Wedding & Civil Partnership Ceremonies

Still, after over 1000 ceremonies, it is amazing to be a small part of each couple’s special day. It is both uplifting and a great honour to help brides, grooms or guests be involved in creating a ceremony that is for them special and personal.

I have married couples from all over the globe in venues all over Scotland.

I have even been invited to help couples celebrate their marriage in other countries. Each day, each ceremony is unique.

If you are reading this, you may already know there is much flexibility about your ceremony's content, structure and style.  Some people want to celebrate their big day uniquely, others quite formal and traditional; others prefer something more relaxed and light-hearted.
 
I can help you plan every ceremony aspect (music, readings, your vows, and any symbolic gestures). Together, we can capture an important day in your history and involve your families and friends in as many ways as you want.      
  



I will review the legal aspects with you when we meet, and there is more information on our website.

After we have talked I will pass on example ceremonies, vows, symbolic gestures (ring exchange, handfasting, etc.), poetry, prose etc. All the bits that make your ceremony and the words within, unique and special to you both. 

I always respect a couple's wishes, and I try to help take away any wedding stresses I can and, above all else, assist in making the day as special as possible.

I also know that along the way, it will be a happy and unforgettable experience.

I have been privileged to meet so many wonderful people.

Couples have the freedom to create a ceremony. I have seen and done most things in marriage ceremonies, but I still get blown away by the creativity some couples bring or the simple acts of kindness and love they allow me to be part of.

Ask yourself the question, "Why are we getting married?” From the answer to that point, the ceremony will grow.

There is one piece of wedding poetry that I love, but there are so many to choose from.

This gets my big softy heart melting.

For the kindness in your eyes and the warmth in your voice.

For the honesty of your words and the silence of your smile

For how we’re similar and those in which we’re worlds apart.

For the openness of your understanding and the acceptance of your heart;

For the tenderness of your touch and the strength of your commitment;

For your sense of humour and your seriousness of purpose;

For a thousand small reasons, and one most important of all:

Simply because you are you.

In all of creation, you are the one whom I cherish most,

The one with whom I hope to share my life

Its joys, its sorrows, its accomplishments, its challenges

While building our dreams together and growing every day

In the love that makes us one.

If you asked me what was my favourite piece of wedding music…………. the skirl of the pipes or a well-sung ballad can make the moment.

I have married couples in back gardens, in castles, in keeps, in sheds, in restaurants, in pubs and clubs, in parks, in gazebos, in tents, in the North sea up to my knees, on hills and mountains, in gales, rain, snow and sunshine……..from just the couple and two random witnesses to hundreds and hundreds of guests and well-wishers.

Every one unique.

Be Happy.

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Naming & Welcoming Ceremonies

Naming ceremonies are becoming more and more popular, and I love them.

Why? What better way to celebrate a new life, a new bud on the family tree. The coming together of family and friends to welcome with joy a new addition is amazing. Joy is something to be shared and each naming ceremony can do just that. We each have a responsibility in life to help children to develop and no matter how minor a role we take, it is still important that we teach them respect, love, understanding and happiness.

There is creativity around a naming ceremony; symbolic gestures, words, sentiments that are different from other ceremonies.

I love children. We usually share the same hairstyle (I am bald), the same sense of wonder about the world around us, and the same inquisitive nature.

I don’t have grandchildren at the moment, so maybe this is me loving the chance to embrace the happiness that is a new life.

I help plan every aspect of the naming day, I have lots of experience and therefore I can pass on advice and ideas.

Remember, you are creating a special day in your family’s social history and the ceremony we write will be read by your son(s)/daughter(s) when they are old enough. Names, events and stories are important to capture and tell your future child.

Be Happy.

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Funeral Ceremonies

My approach to Funerals.

I joined the HSS to conduct funerals. From my own experiences and those of my family and friends, I felt strongly that families were being let down in my area by the lack of available celebrants and possibly an understanding of what Humanism is. In these last 15+ years, it has been a rewarding experience as I have helped, in a small way, many families through the difficult times following the death of a loved one. It is a privilege to celebrate a person's life, a real privilege. If I can help the families capture their loved ones life in a tribute, in the words we write together, what better way can I help my fellow human being.

If you are reading this because you are in need of a Funeral Celebrant, my advice is... be there for each other. Talk and also share your memories. If we meet then it can help if you write some words down beforehand, gather around family members and friends and above all else take time yourself to remember your loved one.

As a society, we have gathered together a collection of funeral poetry for all tastes. Sometimes families have their own favourites, poems or prose or words from special songs. I will help guide you through the process of choosing something fitting to be played at the right point in a tribute.

Like poetry, music is a personal taste. I am always warmed by how some people’s lives are inextricably linked to music.

Crematoria will provide an organist if you wish. The Funeral Director is the one who will arrange this.

You, the family and friends of those who have died, are the ones who create the ceremony with the words, the emotions, given to me. I only help write and say the words.

Be Happy.

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Ceremony fees:

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