Mary Wallace

Wedding & Civil Partnership, Naming & Welcoming and Funeral Ceremonies

About

Thanks for looking at my profile! I've been a celebrant of the Humanist Society Scotland since 1999 and an authorised legal wedding celebrant since 2005.

I’m based in Doune near Stirling and I'm happy to travel throughout the central belt to conduct ceremonies.

I am happily married with two grown up children and in my spare time I enjoy all sorts of things including walking my dog (a rescued ex racing greyhound), learning French and German (I’m rubbish at both but I’m a tryer!) and ballroom dancing (ditto!).

Prior to becoming a celebrant I was a University Lecturer, but my work with the Humanist Society is undoubtedly the most enjoyable and rewarding work I have ever done.

For me, humanism isn't just about not believing in god – it’s also about believing in a lot of positive things, including living a good and ethical life, looking after the world in which we live and respecting everyone regardless of who they are or what they believe. Humanism is basically about what we all have in common as human beings and the things that bring us all together in life, rather than the things that divide us.

My approach to planning and conducting ceremonies is generally relaxed, friendly and informal (although I can ‘do’ formal when required of course!). I’ll do everything I can to help to make your humanist ceremony really special and personal for you. And if you have any questions (big ones, wee ones, sensible ones or daft ones) please don’t hesitate to ask!

Wedding & Civil Partnership Ceremonies

The first thing to say is that I absolutely LOVE being a wedding celebrant and I honestly believe that it’s the best job in the world! I love everything about weddings and even when I’m not planning, writing or conducting a marriage ceremony, you’ll often catch me watching ‘Say Yes to the Dress’ or ‘Don’t Tell the Bride’!

This work is an absolute joy and I love every aspect of it, from meeting with couples to plan the ceremony, to drafting it and then conducting it on the big day. I feel very lucky and privileged to help couples to create unique, meaningful and memorable wedding ceremonies.

If you decide to book me for your wedding, I’ll arrange to meet with you around 6 months beforehand (unless you’d like to meet earlier or later than that of course) and I find that a meeting of around 1.5-2 hours at that point is ideal. That gives us time to get to know one another and to chat about what is important in celebrating your big day. I can also advise on the choice of music, readings, vows and any symbolic gestures you might want to include. And by the way, I can send you plenty of ideas, samples and examples to help you to choose. After our meeting, I’ll then draft the ceremony so that you can make amendments to it. I find that most couples prefer me to draft the ceremony for them because writing the whole thing yourself can be more than a little daunting! But it’s also important that you add your own touches to it of course and I always encourage you to make amendments and additions.

Whether you want your wedding to be traditional or modern, serious or fun, I'm here to help! I see my job as guiding you through everything and helping you to express your love and commitment to each other. I can also help with all sorts of practical things on the day too by the way (I’m a great putter on of button holes and lighter of candles; I often bring my own iPod and sound dock to play your music for you and I give out tissues by the box load!). It's very important that you and your guests find the ceremony to be sincere and meaningful, but also that you all enjoy it too. So I can hopefully help to calm any nerves, diffuse any tension, mop up any tears and above all, make you all smile and laugh!

You can find a lot more information on my wedding blog, together with pictures and video clips of weddings I've conducted.

Naming & Welcoming Ceremonies

Although I don’t currently have the time to conduct many naming ceremonies, I always try my very best to be available for couples I’ve previously married who then go on to have a family. It’s just lovely to hear from them after the wedding and to find out that they’ve had a baby! Having said that I marry a lot of couples who already have children of course and I often include elements of a baby naming ceremony in the wedding ceremony.

As a mum myself, I know how much joy children can bring and it is a great privilege and a real pleasure to be able to help families to celebrate the arrival of a new baby into the world. I really enjoy being part of such a happy occasion and being able to put so many feelings of love and joy into words on your behalf.

My approach is relaxed and informal and it’s very important to meet with you as a family to get to know you (and the wee one(s)!) so that I can help to make the ceremony really personal. My job is to talk through the options with you, so that you can decide how you would like to celebrate. I can help in all sorts of ways by giving advice about choosing poetry and music, about the role of any guide parents (the non-religious equivalent of god parents) and about any symbolic gestures you might want to include (examples could be lighting a candle, planting a tree or signing a naming certificate).

By the way, after we’ve met, I always draft the ceremony for you so that you can make amendments and additions to it. Most couples find this a lot easier than attempting to write their own ceremony!

Funeral Ceremonies

At the moment, because of other commitments, I am unable to conduct funerals regularly, but I will always try my very best to conduct them for anyone local to my area or anyone I know.

I think I can safely say that conducting funerals is by far the most important work I have ever done. Helping families to say goodbye, but also to celebrate the life of their loved one, is an amazing privilege and I always feel honoured to be asked to do so.

My role, in helping you to plan the ceremony, is to listen, to empathise and to respond to your needs as a family. As well as coming to terms with the sadness of your loss, it is also important to focus on your happy memories too. The funeral is an opportunity to reflect on both of these things and my job is to pay tribute to your loved one on your behalf so that the ceremony becomes a real celebration of their life.

The funeral should help you to grieve and to say goodbye in a way to that feels right for you, but also enabling you to focus on the things about your loved one that make you smile too.

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