George Caldow

Wedding & Civil Partnership, Naming & Welcoming and Funeral Ceremonies

About

Don’t panic! Don’t panic! Not quite what you wanted to see but perhaps quite truthful. The thought of being in control of the wording of your ceremony and responsible for its content can be quite daunting. Don’t worry! I am an experienced Celebrant who will work with you to design the ceremony which reflects both your wishes and personalities. This means the ceremony can be quite traditional or a bit more off relaxed and informal. We work together, and I am always available to assist you. For wedding couples, I have an extensive collection of suitable materials or as one couple put it, after inadvertently pressing the print button – a rain forest! Most of my ceremonies have quite a bit of fun as well as the solemn formal vows which must be said – sorry no ‘I do’ anymore. I love the more informal ceremonies and venues but that’s just my personality. I work well with photographers as they are recording your special day and a picture means so much more than just a photo.

I have been conducting ceremonies since 2009 and there is more information on my personal website www.georgecaldow.co.uk which includes a 2.5-minute video on weddings. I limit the amount of ceremonies I do as I believe you cannot make each one individual if you are doing two or more a day, so one a day and a maximum of six per month. I also have a blog, which I need to update but designing the next ceremony takes precedence.

What Humanism means to me?

Like many,I came to realise I was a Humanist, through my experiences of life. I have never believed in any divine being. I believe, it is not the shell or label which defines a person but their inner self and actions. Thus, the moral and ethical values of the Humanist movement fit my own philosophy.

Wedding & Civil Partnership Ceremonies

Whilst it is a privilege to be asked to be involved in a couple’s special day, I do stress that the ‘legal’ parts are just as important as choosing the right flowers. So, do submit the appropriate forms on time! I am here to guide you through the whole process.

I suggest we begin designing your ceremony at least six months before the actual date. This means we have the time to work on it, before other pressures of the wedding come into play. The ceremony itself should reflect your wishes and personalities so it can be quite traditional or a bit more relaxed. It is about your love for each other. You set the tone. I assist you to design the ceremony that is right for you, not for your family who may have other beliefs. I have conducted many such ceremonies and the response has been, it ‘was so personal’ or ‘so inclusive’. You can then bask in the warm glow of love from your guests as they are blown away by your ceremony.

My piece of advice for after your wedding is simple. Remember that the courtship doesn’t end with marriage. When each allows the other to continue growing, your dreams will be achieved.

Naming & Welcoming Ceremonies

A Naming is an opportunity to show off your latest arrival by bringing all the family and friends, who will, in the years ahead, be ones to help guide your child. It is a great occasion to cement family ties and have a good party.

The ceremony is about the love for the child and their future. It is full of fun and laughter (especially if other children are there behaving - well, like children). We work together to design the ceremony from the materials I provide and/or with those from you and your family.

The ceremony will be remembered for years to come so let’s make it fun but not embarrassing, meaningful and truthful (vows and pledges).

My favourite piece of poetry for naming which has more meaning now whenever my grandchildren leave is this.

Handprints
Sometimes I might upset you
Because I am so small
And always leave my fingerprints
On furniture and walls
But every day I grow a bit
And soon I'll be so tall
That all those little fingerprints
Shall be so hard to recall
So here's a special handprint
Just so that you can say
This is how my fingers looked
When I placed them here today

Funeral Ceremonies

Death is a part of life and instead of being sorrowful, we should celebrate that life, remember them in their character, their stories and the memories they have left behind.

The family visit is often a stressful occasion, but families will relax when I tell them, we shall have laughter and perhaps tears, as these are part of our lives, as we recall the life of the deceased. Adding in the idiosyncrasies and foibles, humorous stories gives everyone a new sense of knowing the deceased. Their death is why we are there, but it does not define their life so let’s celebrate that!

It can be challenging especially when the person has an illness such as dementia which totally changed their personality. Remembering the person rather than the illness which deprived them of that person is perhaps the best gift of all as many families discover their 'real' parent again.

Whilst there are no bible readings nor hymns, we play the music that meant so much to the deceased, not funeral dirges. I have had some that I could not classify as music to quite a few comedy ones. The choice is yours.

Some of the responses I have had at my funerals have been, ‘at least we knew who’s funeral we were at’ to ‘dad would have loved that’!

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