Janet Donnelly

Wedding & Civil Partnership, Naming & Welcoming and Funeral Ceremonies


I never used to believe people who said that they looked forward to going to work every day and that's because until 2009 I treated work as a means to an end or rather a means to a salary. Then I became a celebrant and now I understand what those people meant. Every day brings a new opportunity to meet people with wonderful stories to tell and I consider myself privileged to be invited into their lives to help them put together a unique and personal ceremony - whether it's a wedding, a naming or a funeral. I have lived near Elgin in Moray for about twenty years and I love the fact that I live right by the sea – fulfilling a lifelong ambition. For me, humanism is all about people and the way that we interact and affect one another’s lives. Life, family and friends are the most precious possessions that we have and they should be nurtured carefully and enjoyed to the full for as long as we are lucky enough to have them.

You’ll find more information about me on my website:

Wedding & Civil Partnership Ceremonies

Conducting weddings is one of the greatest joys of my life. You will probably already have your own vision of what you want your ceremony to be and I'd love to work together with you to make that vision a reality.

I never lose sight of the fact that this is your wedding and not mine and I'm happy to work at your pace, taking your ideas and inspiration on board. Your wedding ceremony will be unique to you and you can have as much input into designing it as you want.

Some couples are very 'hands on' with very specific ideas about what they want whereas some are happy to leave it to me to come up with something that I think 'fits' them and then we tweak it until we are all happy with it. Most couples choose something in between and I'll be there at every stage to give advice, inspiration and suggestions. My job is to give you the ceremony that you want. The only non-negotiable parts of the ceremony are the legal declarations but these are quite brief and I will make sure that they are included.

I have a passion for hill walking and relish any opportunity to travel to places that are a bit off the beaten track - especially our wild and remote island destinations. In 2016 I stayed on St Kilda for a few days and the following year I explored Canna and Eigg. This year it was Rum and Mull and next year I'm hoping for a return trip to Rum as well as a trip to Coll and Tiree. Of course Orkney, Harris, Lewis and Skye are always up there at the top of anyone's 'bucket list' and one day I hope to go to Shetland too! I live in hope that one day I'll get to do a wedding at Sandwood Bay in the far northwest of Sutherland so if that's your dream too, I'd love to chat about how we can make it happen!

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Naming & Welcoming Ceremonies

The arrival of a baby is a huge event in a parent's life and it is lovely to be involved in a happy occasion such as a naming ceremony. The important thing to me is to meet the parents and of course the new arrival (s) and get a feel of what kind of ceremony would suit them best. A naming doesn't have to be a formal affair, it can be a celebration and a welcoming too. Quite often a naming ceremony happens when the 'baby' is not really a baby anymore and so the actual 'naming' part is less of an element. Once we have met and discussed what form the ceremony will take, I'll draft a ceremony and then we can work on it together to tweak it so that it is absolutely perfect. Things to consider are music, poetry, readings and whether or not you want to include 'guide parents' who are the non religious equivalent of godparents. There is no such thing as a standard ceremony, what's important is that it suits you and your family. It is great to be able to take the pressure off mum and dad at a time when they are inevitably a bit frazzled and to be a part of a happy family. My advice to you is to go with the flow, don't worry if it doesn't all go exactly to plan. When babies and young children are involved anything can happen and it frequently does!

Funeral Ceremonies

The death of a loved one is something that we are all going to have to face at one time or another. A humanist funeral should be more than just a farewell to somebody - it should be a celebration of their life and a tribute to their achievements. My part in this is to work with the family to really find out what made the person tick and to compose a funeral ceremony that reflects the honest realities of their life. Each ceremony is unique and that is the key. There is no standard that must be followed, for me being flexible means that the family get the ceremony that is right for them.

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