Q. My husband-to-be and I met on a group hill walk. We would love to have our ceremony on the hill where we met. Is that even possible?
A. Yes! As a Civil Celebrant, I can conduct a ceremony anywhere – I am not tied to licensed premises. As long as we’re not talking about K2…..!
Q. I would love to be able to speak at my wedding ceremony, but am very, very shy. Do I need to speak at all?
A. You only need to say “I do”. I am happy to read out your vows along with the rest of the ceremony. You are totally free to say as much – or as little – as you are happy with.
Q. I am so looking forward to the big day, but am very anxious. I am terrified that I stumble over my words. Even worse, what if I clam up?
A. This wouldn’t be a problem. I will have a copy of everything you are meant to say, and can take over if necessary. Sometimes knowing this in itself is enough to calm people’s nerves.
Q. I am not religious by any means, but I love the song, Morning Has Broken. Can I have this played at my wedding?
A. Of course. You can have as many religious or spiritual elements to your ceremony as you’d like; your ceremony – your way!
Q. My husband-to-be and myself are massive fans of Star Wars, and we would love to have a Star Wars theme to our wedding. Would you be prepared to wear a costume?
A. I will wear whatever you think is suitable, as long as it is comfortable and not too revealing! Obviously if there is something that I have to purchase or rent, then that cost may be passed onto you (although this will be agreed with you up front). As a rule of thumb, I wear clothes that are smart and professional, and don’t detract from the bridal party or the ceremony itself.
Q. I would like to have my sisters read some poems, and my Aunty to sing. Will there be enough time during the ceremony for this?
A. Yes – unless your venue has a time restriction. Otherwise, it’s up to you how long your ceremony lasts, and how many other people you have involved.
Q. My Mum loves the hymn, Amazing Grace. Can she have this played at her funeral?
A. Of course. You can have as many religious or spiritual elements to the service as you would like.
Q. My Father wants a ‘direct cremation’. He then wants his ashes scattered in the sea or in our local river. Could you help with this?
A. Yes – you can have a ceremony whenever you want, wherever you want. However you will need to investigate if you need appropriate permission to scatter his ashes if you choose the river option. There are currently no permissions required to scatter ashes at sea.
Q. I would like to write my own eulogy – with help. I quite like the idea of filming myself reading it out, and having it shown at my funeral. I think this would take the pressure off my family too. Can you do this?
A. Yes. I think this is a lovely way to make sure you have said all you want to say. We can compose it together, and then I will record you. You will then get a paper copy, and your recording on a format such as a pen drive.
Q. My husband and I have just come through a terrible time. He had an affair and, although it was hell, we have dealt with it and are stronger than ever before. It feels right to cement this new period of our relationship with some kind of acknowledgement. Someone mentioned renewing our vows and we love the idea. However I would like an intimate ceremony, not another wedding-type ceremony.
A. You have been through a lot and the fact that you came through it together is testament to you both. Your vow renewal ceremony can be as intimate as you wish. It is absolutely your ceremony – your way.
Q. My wife and I were married many years ago when we were very young. I’m afraid our parents took over the planning of the wedding, and unfortunately the day wasn’t as we wished – by a long chalk; family that neither of us had met, in a venue we didn’t like. We are heading towards our Silver Anniversary and I would love for us to renew our vows – on our terms, with the guests that we want, at a venue we choose. We have had many lovely family holidays in Stonehaven and would love to have a small ceremony on the beach – weather permitting. Would this be possible?
A. Absolutely! I don’t need a licensed premises to carry out any kind of ceremony. What a wonderful opportunity to finally get the wedding you deserve, surrounded by the people you know and love. I would be delighted to conduct your ceremony for you both.
Q. We have recently moved and had a baby – what a year! We are considering having a naming ceremony and inviting all our new neighbours. Is this something you could facilitate, and is there any kind of interactive element to the ceremony, to allow us to fully engage with our new friends?
A. You have been busy! Yes, I can certainly help. What a wonderful way to introduce your family to your community! I have many activities that we could use to encourage engagement, most of which are great fun.
Q. I have recently completed my gender reassignment. It has been a very difficult and challenging few years to say the least, and I finally feel free from the person I was before. I want to mark the start of my new life – I need to celebrate the person I was always meant to be.
A. Congratulations! You should celebrate the person you are now. A naming ceremony is the perfect way to introduce yourself to the world, and say goodbye to the person you were. What a wonderful thing to do. I would be delighted to help you do that.
Q. After a lengthy adoption process, we are now proud parents of two beautiful girls. They are 8 and 10 years old. We would like to have an official ceremony to change their names to ours, to affirm our dedication to them as parents, and to officially welcome them to our extended family. They would be thrilled! Is this something you could do for us?
A. Absolutely! What a wonderful way to reinforce to the girls that they are family now. And what a fabulous event for your extended family to take part in! I would be happy to help facilitate that.
Q. Our beloved elderly dog is nearing the end of her life. We will be heartbroken when she goes, but would like to have a ceremony of some kind to celebrate her life, as she is a huge part of our life. We would like to scatter her ashes in the woods nearby our house – her favourite place. Is this something you could do?
A. Yes. As an avid animal lover, I totally understand the need to celebrate a much loved pet’s life. I would be happy to conduct a ceremony at the scattering of her ashes. You will need to check that to see if permissions are needed or not for scattering ashes in the wood, however.
Q. My beautiful cat Barney died last Summer. I have his ashes in a small urn but just haven’t been able to do anything with them. I feel I am ready to do something now to celebrate his life. Would you be able to do something for him? I think it would give me closure.
A. Of course I can help. After all, having a funeral service is more for the loved ones left behind, rather than the one who has passed on. I think it would be a fitting tribute to Barney who gave you so much joy and companionship. I also think it would indeed help you to move on.