Jackie Grant

Wedding & Civil Partnership, Naming & Welcoming and Funeral Ceremonies


It has been my pleasure and my privilege to conduct Humanist ceremonies for nearly ten years. Each ceremony, whether it be a funeral, wedding, naming, is personally crafted and unique.
Please visit my Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/celebrantjackiegrant/
to get a sense of the my style, and the range and variety of wedding and naming ceremonies that I conduct.

Many people are Humanists without knowing the term. This was certainly my experience. I gave up on religion as a teenager...but was never really happy to call myself an atheist...it only said what I didn’t believe. So it was a joy for me to discover Humanism, to state positively what values are important to me.

I worked for a number of years with the local authority in Edinburgh, managing the delivery of social work services to children and families. Social work values of respect, empathy and non-discriminatory practice fit comfortably within Humanist ethics.

My family is important to me, both near and far, and spanning different beliefs and cultures. I think it is important that family and friends come together to celebrate significant life events and achievements. This motivates me as a celebrant: there is a clear need for people to have access to a ceremony that reflects their beliefs and preferences. Humanist ceremonies provide an important choice.

I particularly value the Humanist view that what unites us as human beings is more important than what divides us. Humanism is inclusive and embraces the core values of many religions. Humanists believe we can live good and worthwhile lives guided by compassion and reason rather than religion. We have just this one life, it is precious, and we must use it well.

Wedding & Civil Partnership Ceremonies

Firstly, a note about Coronavirus:

With Government restrictions on social gatherings, and the Registrar General is issuing Wedding Schedules only in very exceptional circumstances. Sadly very few weddings can take place in these difficult times, and many couples have been obliged to postpone their wedding plans. You may have a provisional booking with a venue for later this year or next. If you are locked down with time out from your usual busy lives, then you may wish to plan for happier times. Whether or not you have a date or a venue, please do contact me if you wish to discuss booking me as your wedding celebrant.
My role as a Wedding Celebrant:

Your wedding is a very special day when you make a public declaration of your love and commitment to each other. For me it is an honour and a pleasure to conduct the ceremony that brings you together legally married as partners for life. The Humanist Society Scotland campaigned for equal marriage and I am proud that since 31st December 2014, we can end a ceremony with my declaring you married as husband and wife, or wife and wife,or husband and husband.

Every couple has a different story, different priorities, different budget. So I do ceremonies in luxury hotels and castles, in romantic rural lcations, on beaches and in private gardens. Some weddings are large with hundred or more guests, others are very small with just the witnesses and a few very special friends.

Weddings at the luxury venues, castles and hotels need to be booked a year or more in advance (though you may get a good deal on a week-day or in the winter). It's good to book your celebrant at the same time as your venue and I'm proud to be a celebrant recommended by Heritage Portfolio (/www.heritageportfolio.co.uk) who do the events management and catering for a number of iconic venues around Edinburgh including Mansfield Traquair, Signet Library, the College of Physicians/ Surgeons and more.

Smaller and less formal venues can often be booked at short notice. It may be that all you need is the consent of the person who owns the land. I am happy to take bookings at short notice so long as you have time to get your marriage schedule from the Registrar. Please get in touch and check my availability.

What is important is that I hear from you what you want in your ceremony. If you know just what you want, then I will make it happen for you; if you are looking for advice and guidance, then I have lots of ideas and resources we can draw on. I will help you to choose the different elements of your ceremony... poetry, music, symbolic gestures and of course your personal vows... so together we construct a ceremony that is totally personal and unique and everything that you hoped and dreamed it would be.

I always charge the fee recommended by HSS and advertised on their website.
I live close to the centre of Edinburgh and meet with couples usually in my own home.
If you are at a distance we can use FaceTime, WhatsApp Video, Zoom or just talk on the phone. I am happy to meet before taking a booking to talk you through the process and answer any questions.

At approximately 3 months before your ceremony I hope to meet with you and will then prepare a draft script, which we can amend until you confirm it is just right for you.
If you wish, I will meet you again shortly before the big day either for a brief recap or a formal rehearsal at the wedding venue.
My aim is that when it comes to your big day you can be cofident and relaxed...and enjoy!

If you have not done so already, do look at my Facebook page: Jackie Grant Humanist Celebrant, https://www.facebook.com/celebrantjackiegrant/ .

Naming & Welcoming Ceremonies

For so many parents there is nothing more joyous than bringing a new child into the family. It is this sense of joy and wonder that we celebrate and share as we introduce a new child to our friends and family. A naming ceremony is a structured occasion where we welcome a child into our world, formally state his or her name, and acknowledge friends and family who will be important as the child grows.

Your child is unique and so is the naming ceremony. I will meet with you at a venue of your choosing, usually your home or mine. If you are at a distance we can use FaceTime, WhatsApp Video, Zoom or just talk on the phone. I will design and deliver a Naming ceremony for your child based on a discussion of your thoughts, hopes and wishes.
A naming ceremony isn't just for new born babies. It can happen at any stage in the child's life. An older child may have a naming ceremony alongside a younger brother or sister. A ceremony of welcoming and recognition may be held for a child who has joined a family by adoption or foster care. Such a ceremony may be useful for children and parents who come together to form a new family, or as a secular Coming of Age ceremony. The ceremony should be fun and flexible, often involving other children.

My ceremonies typically include readings and music and parents’ promises or pledges to the child, and these may extend to friends and family making a public statement of their well-wishing, or a promise to support the child and the parents. You may also sign a Naming certificate and include symbolic gestures like thumb prints or a Well-wishing Tree. As always, your choice and what feels right for you.

Funeral Ceremonies

A note about Coronavirus: Funerals, Memorial Services and Advance Funeral Wishes.

We are in very troubling times. Mourning a death and making arrangements for a funeral is invariably sad and often difficult, but much more so just now with all the complications caused by Covid-19. In Edinburgh the crematoriums are still open but observing Government restrictions on social gatherings and distancing, they are limiting numbers to less than 10 mourners present. No hugs, no handshakes.

The restrictions are necessary but distressing for so may families. The Government and funeral directors advise against delaying the funeral in the hope of better times to come. The Crematoriums are seeking to help families by offering live-streaming of ceremonies. Another option is a small funeral service now with plans for a large memorial service when the Lockdown is lifeted.

At the start of the Lockdown I conducted a funeral ceremony at Mortonhall with just 5 mourners and a live video stream. I reget that for personal and family reasons I cannot conduct any more funeral services at this time. But please do get in touch if you wish to discuss planning a Memorial Service at a later date.

This pandemic also makes us all more aware of our own mortality. As a Humanist Celebrant I will work with you if you wish to give thought to your funeral, the type of ceremony you would like and how you would like their life to be celebrated. During the Lockdown I am happy to speak with you by phone, FaceTime, WhatsApp to explore options and we can record your wishes on the HSS Advance Funeral Wishes form. I do not charge for this service.
My role as a Funeral celebrant:

At a Humanist funeral we come together to celebrate a life, to mourn the passing, to say our farewells and to offer what support and consolation we can to the family.

Each human being is unique, so each ceremony is unique. My task as a funeral celebrant is to work with you to create a funeral ceremony that pays respect and reflects the personality of the person who has died. It should be a ceremony that they would appreciate, and a ceremony that leaves you feeling comforted that you have given them the best possible farewell.

I will meet you and your family before the funeral at a venue of your choosing, usually your home. I will suggest how we might use readings and music to give structure to the ceremony and will hear your memories in order to prepare the tribute. The circumstances of a death vary widely. It may be tragic and unexpected or after a long illness; shockingly premature or after a long life well-lived. This is often a difficult and distressing time; relationships may be complicated. Many family members report that coming together to share memories is helpful in coming to terms with the loss.

After our meeting I will share the draft script with you to ensure it is accurate but more importantly to ensure the tone is right and that it reflects your wishes.

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