Marilyn Jackson

Ceremonies performed: Weddings, Naming Ceremonies, Funerals

To help you decide if I'm right for you, check out my short video by clicking on my name above. Ceremonies can be traditional, quirky, funny, touching, romantic, down-to-earth - whatever suits you two best. Your Big Day should be the way you want, unique and memorable.

To me, Humanism isn't just the negative of not believing in a god. It is about living a good and ethical life, respecting other people in all their diversity and making a contribution to society. Humanist ceremonies are a very personal way to celebrate life's important milestones and it's great that more and more people are having them.

I discovered Humanism and the joined Society in 1991 (in those pre-Facebook days it was from a poster in the library!) and realised that I'd been a humanist since my teens, without having a name for what I believed. While national Treasurer, I proposed that our celebrants donate 10% of their fees to the Society which, as ceremonies have hugely increased, has helped us to grow and fund more education and campaigning work.

In 2008, after 34+ years of working with councillors for the City of Edinburgh Council, I took voluntary redundancy and trained as a celebrant. I have also done a variety of voluntary work, including health promotion, political campaigning, telephone helplines and fundraising.

Feedback from ceremonies has all been very positive and it's great that so many couples get in touch saying "you conducted my brother/friend/mother's wedding .... " This is the most rewarding work I have ever done and I love it!

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Wedding & Civil Partnership Ceremonies

My husband and I had a humanist ceremony in 2003 (before they were legal, so we had to have the civil ceremony too) and it was a wonderful experience.

With guidance from our celebrant, we really enjoyed writing the story of how we met, choosing poems, writing our vows and involving my son, step-children and best friend. It is lovely to have your guests say how much they liked your ceremony and know that you and your partner helped to write it!

That is the approach that I take to working with couples to plan the centre of their special day. I have a Facebook page at Marilyn Jackson Humanist Celebrant and I'm more than happy to speak with you by phone or in person before you book.  You can see some photos from recent weddings on my Facebook - Marilyn Jackson Humanist Celebrant.

In all cases, I like to meet couples (or Zoom if you are far away) as soon as possible (even if your date is over a year away) rather than waiting to just a few months before the wedding. That gives us more time to get to know each other and to make sure your ceremony is just right.  I will provide lots of examples to help you either choose or write important parts of the ceremony. It is nice to include a "story" of your relationship and I will give you example stories that other, real, couples have written.

I not only take a photo when we meet for your file but also on your wedding day, as I like to keep photos of all my lovely couples!

I have now conducted over 600 weddings and each one was different, just as every couple is different.   Big or small, formal or relaxed, indoors or outdoors, I love them all.

As an active campaigner for equal marriage, I was delighted to officiate at one of Scotland’s first legal same sex marriages on Hogmanay 2014 and I still get a lump in my throat at the end of these ceremonies. Marriage is life-changing for everyone but perhaps even more so for those who never thought it would be possible. In 2016 I married my nephew to his now husband and was pleased I managed not to cry during the ceremony!

My favourite wedding? It has to be when I married my son to his wonderful wife in September 2022!!

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Naming & Welcoming Ceremonies

The arrival of a new baby is a joyous occasion and naming ceremonies provide a way for everyone to celebrate with more than just a family party.

 As there is no legal requirement in a naming ceremony you can choose the words and readings that suit you and your family. Your ceremony can be relaxed or formal, simple or involving lots of family, you can hold it indoors or outdoors ...

Ceremonies can also be held for older children, several children, on adoption, for an adult changing their name, a gender reassignment, or can be included in a wedding (at no extra charge to the wedding fee!)

I will work with you to build a very individual ceremony, providing you with lots of examples of poetry, parent and guide-parent promises, symbolic gestures etc to help you choose/write parts of the ceremony. It is nice to include your child's "story" - which starts before birth - and can send you examples of these from other namings.

Naming ceremonies are joyous and fun!

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Funeral Ceremonies

It is a privilege to meet with families and use their reminiscences to write a fitting tribute to their loved ones and to deliver a ceremony that centres on celebrating the life that was. Everyone's life is important and there is always a story to tell - indeed, I "meet" the most fascinating people after they have died.

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