My introduction to humanism came as a result of the first funeral I conducted - my own mother's. She was my mum and I wanted to say goodbye to her in my own way and hopefully in a way she would have liked. It was such a genuinely moving and rewarding experience I realised then that it was something I would like to be able to do for others at some time in the future ..... when I had the time !
Discovering humanism and training as a celebrant some years later allowed me to do so.
After an early retirement from a career in Research and Development in healthcare in 2011 , I trained as a celebrant in 2012 .. and now, here I am, over seven years later, having conducted almost 500 ceremonies ( I conduct funerals and weddings ) and I was also the Area Ceremonies Officer for the West of Scotland for 5 years until I stepped down in June 2019.
LIke most celebrants, I find that conducting ceremonies is certainly amongst the most enjoyable and rewarding work I have ever done.
However, for me, conducting ceremonies is not a "job" .... it is not a "career" ( I've had one of those ) .... its is simply something I love doing and because it isn't a full time occupation ( I do try to have a life too !! ) you can be sure that I will always have lots of time to spend on your ceremony. It also means that if you haven't planned your wedding two years in advance and you find yourself thinking " who can we find to marry us this year? .... well, I might just be able to help !
I live between Howwood and Lochwinnoch in Renfrewshire, with my wife Liz and our two wonderful, gentle and friendly German Shepherds, Shuna and her "son" Ruaridh ( I actually thought of having them as my profile picture since you can actually see what I look like from my short video, but then decided against it since that Ruaridh is much better looking than me ! ) I should also add that Liz is gentle and friendly too ( most of the time !)
i am happy to conduct ceremonies mainly in the Renfrewshire, Ayrshire and Glasgow areas and I do seem to conduct quite a few weddings on the shores of Loch Lomond !
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Wedding & Civil Partnership Ceremonies
Your wedding day is one of the most significant (and hopefully happy and memorable) days of your life. If it isn't you will have spent an awful lot of money on a nice meal and a wee dance !
So as a humanist celebrant it is my genuine privilege to be a part of your special day... and I always remember that it is indeed, "your" day.
I will work with you to ensure that on your day the ceremony is everything you want it to be - it can be as conventional and formal, or as unconventional and informal as you like... but whatever you choose, it will be unique to you. You will of course be able to contribute towards the ceremony, as much as you feel comfortable with. I can provide you with sample vows, promises and readings as a guide, or perhaps to give you inspiration to write your own. Via e-mail and/or a chat on the phone, we will get to know a bit about each other, before arranging to meet to discuss your ceremony in more detail.
I will then produce a draft script which we will refine until you are happy with it.
We will agree on timescales for various elements of your ceremony, but the final version, i.e. the one which will be used on your "Big Day", will be ready around a month before your wedding for you to read through to make sure you are happy with it.
Of course, having a humanist wedding also allows you great flexibility in choosing your venue - for example, during the next few months I will be conducting wedding ceremonies on lochsides, in a distillery, in a castle and in conventional hotel settings... the only stipulation is that the venue is safe and dignified.
So ..... you have lots to think about and many decisions to make to ensure your day is special ... and I am always only a phone call or an e-mail away .....
Here are some things which have been said about my wedding ceremonies.
The most recent feedback can be found on my Facebook page - me with a Facebook page, who would ever have believed that !!
"Stuart, we can't thank you enough for putting us so much at ease after our first meeting. We loved your ideas for symbolic gestures and your suggestions for promises and vows and we are so looking forward to you conducting our ceremony".
"Thank you soooooo much for everything - more so for making our beautiful wedding ceremony so special." I take great delight now that we are back from honeymoon in still hearing everyone say how much they enjoyed the wedding ceremony and how beautiful it was. I am absolutely delighted you married us Stuart - can't imagine it being so magical without you.I hope you go on to make everyone as happy and special as you made us feel - its a gift you have and we have been privileged to have you share it with us."
"You have made my daughter the happiest bride in the world today. Our family who have travelled across the Atlantic are just " blown away!". Your ceremony was by far the best wedding any of us has ever been to ... it was so personal and intimate ..... thank you for making this a day we will never forget".
" Stuart you were ( thankfully) recommended to us by three separate sources .. now we know why so many wedding venues speak of you so highly. You gave us a truly magical ceremony which set the tone for the whole day. We can't thank you enough for making everything so special."
Naming & Welcoming Ceremonies
Please Note - I no longer conduct Naming Ceremonies.
Nobody looks forward to, or wants to, plan a funeral for a loved one. Unfortunately it is something that many of us will have to do at sometime in our lives. My role as a celebrant is to work with you to produce a ceremony which will be an appropriate tribute to your loved one and one which will celebrate their life. I will meet with you, your family (and your friends if you wish), to learn as much as I can about the person you have lost, in order that I can write a very individual and personal ceremony for them.
What people have said about my ceremonies:
"I can only thank you again for all your understanding and help to turn a day that we were all dreading into one which truly did bring back wonderful memories for all of us. Thank you so much."
"Thank you again Stuart, it really is a beautifully constructed piece and we were both very moved and also greatly appreciative of the humour within."
"We just wanted to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for such a lovely service. So many people have remarked on your ability to convey the sentiments in such a personal and caring manner and said it was the best funeral they had ever been at. Our son would have loved it... and you did him proud."
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