Gillian Stewart

Ceremonies performed: Weddings, Naming Ceremonies, Funerals

Hi there, I'm Gillian, and thank you for visiting my profile - welcome!

NB - Please note that my availability for 2022 is limited to January, February, November and December.

So you might want to know a...

I met Hugh when I was sweet sixteen 🙂 and we got married in 1981. We enjoy a variety of leisure activities like walking, gardening, reading and watching movies and box sets, and sampling wine! We visit my brothers and their families in Kent and Brisbane as often as we can, and in between we enjoy holidays in and around Scotland, and occasionally some winter sun in the Canaries.

I became a celebrant in 2005, after many years working in Council nurseries and a spell running a private cooperative nursery with 2 other women, who have remained great friends. Latterly I was part of the Care Team at Rachel House Children’s Hospice in Kinross, during which I completed a COSCA qualification in person-centred counselling.

After 8 years caring for children with life-limiting conditions I knew it was time for a change, but felt that I wanted to do something equally worthwhile and rewarding. So I was absolutely delighted when I was selected for funeral training by the Humanist Society. The following year I was registered to conduct legal weddings, and I'm also trained in naming ceremonies.

I had what you could describe as a typical upbringing in the 60's and 70's, I joined the Brownies and was a Guide, I went to Sunday School and we were married in church, but religion never really made sense to me. So it was wonderful to discover humanism and find a philosophy that aligned so closely with my own values and outlook on life. I’ve always viewed humanism as simply about being human. By that I mean that in understanding that we only have one life to live I want to make mine the best it can be, by living life to the full while treating others the way that I would like to be treated, and respecting their opinions and right to choose.

I absolutely love being a celebrant, and feel so privileged when I’m asked to play a part in celebrating the important events that take place in people’s lives. The time that I spend with couples planning their wedding, or the arrival of a new member of the family, and with families who have lost a loved one, is incredibly rewarding and fulfilling. I find myself constantly inspired by the ideas that couples have for their wedding ceremonies, in awe of the unique and diverse lives that people have led, and excited for the wee ones who are just beginning their life’s journey. Every ceremony is different, so no two days are the same, and because of the richness and variety of experiences this brings, I can see myself being a celebrant for a very long time to come!

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Check My Availability

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Wedding & Civil Partnership Ceremonies

NB - Please note that I am unable to take any more bookings for weddings during the months of July and August this year (2021).

I love conducting wedding ceremonies! From the initial contact that I have with a ...

When a couple contacts me initially, either via the website or by email or phone, I give them the option of meeting me first before they go ahead with a booking. Most choose to meet, so I can answer any questions or concerns they have. More importantly it gives us both the chance to see if we are compatible, and whether I’m the right celebrant for them. Lots of couples come to my home, but I’m happy to see them wherever they're most comfortable.

Once their booking has been confirmed I'll send them some files of information – various poems and readings, examples of vows and different symbolic gestures such as handfasting, which is really popular. Then after they’ve had the chance to read over everything and explore their options we arrange to meet up again, which gives us the opportunity to get to know each other better and discuss the various options for their wedding ceremony. It’s always great fun and there’s usually plenty of laughter, especially when they find out that they can include a surprise for each other, or their guests, in the ceremony!

I always encourage couples to write their own story and tell me about their journey so far, and what their hopes and dreams are for the future. I love reading these, and guests often comment on how lovely it's been finding out a bit more about the couple.

I then use all of the information that the couple have given me to compile their ceremony and send it to them. The first draft is a basic structure, which gives them the chance to see how everything fits together, then I'll add their story and gradually fill in the gaps to complete the picture. Every couple is free to make changes/additions as we're going along, so it's very much a collaborative process.

We then meet again to finalize everything, and to make sure that they're completely happy with what I'm going to be saying on their behalf. If the wedding is booked 2 or more years in advance we may have more meetings. The important thing for me is maintaining contact with my couples so that they know I'm always there for help, advice and support.

It’s really important that every wedding truly reflects a couple's personalities and the things that are important to them, and that’s why each one is different, because every couple is unique.

When it comes to the day itself, a big part of my role is to make sure that the couple are able to relax and enjoy themselves. There's plenty of laughter, which helps the couple, and their wedding party, to relax and hopefully release some nerves! And of course there are happy tears too - I always have tissues in my folder for those!

When a couple send me a card afterwards to say that both they and their guests enjoyed the ceremony it really means so much to know that I’ve played a small part in that.

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Naming & Welcoming Ceremonies

Conducting any type of ceremony gives me a great deal of satisfaction, but having trained as a Nursery Nurse I have to say that I have a particular soft spot for naming ceremonies! They’re always chaos, but such gre...

Families come in all shapes and sizes, and I really enjoy meeting up with the parent/s, and of course the baby or child whose arrival we’ll be celebrating, and any siblings they have – and if I’m really lucky, I get to have a wee cuddle!

It’s a huge privilege spending time getting to know a family and finding out about their experience, from pregnancy to the birth and what baby’s arrival has meant to them – more often than not a few sleepless nights!

But seriously, the joy that a child brings to a family is such a wonderful thing to see, especially if the journey has been a difficult one.

As with all of our ceremonies there are lots of options available to really personalize the celebration; from deciding whether they want to have guide-parents to picking poetry and symbolic gestures, to signing a special naming certificate as a memento – there’s lots to think about. But I’m there to guide the parent/s through everything and on the day to try and ensure that everything runs smoothly – no mean feat I can tell you!

I hope I get to conduct many more naming ceremonies in the years ahead, and of course it’s always extra special if it’s for a baby of a couple who I’ve married, and even more so when it's baby number 2 or even 3! One of the things on my bucket list is to be a celebrant long enough that I'm able to conduct a wedding ceremony for one of the children I've named :-)!

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Funeral Ceremonies

Please be aware that I am no longer available to conduct funeral ceremonies.

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