Neil Anderson

Wedding & Civil Partnership, Naming & Welcoming and Funeral Ceremonies

About

Hi - thanks for checking out my profile and I look forward to working with you. Helping to create, craft and deliver unique and personal ceremonies is a joy and it is such a privilege and a gift to be able to assist and guide you and your family through the whole process.

I live in Newburgh, Fife and so ceremonies anywhere in Fife, Tayside, Angus, Kinross and Edinburgh are close - although I am often asked to venture further afield.

Over the years I have travelled extensively and have had a varied career in the law, in theatre, in sociology, in travel and in the environmental movement. I have been a Celebrant since 2009 and Celebrant work is undoubtedly among the most enjoyable and rewarding work I have ever done. In 2015 I became President of the European Humanist Professionals based in Antwerp.

My wife, Tricia, and I have been happily married for decades! (39 years and counting!) … and we have 2 fab grown-up sons....I conducted my elder sons's wedding in September 2017... such fun. My passions and hobbies include music, renovating old houses, organic gardening, walking, travelling, cooking (and eating!) environmental studies, writing and reading.

What humanism means to me ...
For me, humanism is integral to who I am and my place in the wider world/cosmos and is a positive approach to making sense of day to day living and about trying to live a congruent and ethical life. Respecting the environment and my fellow human travellers regardless of who they are or what they believe is an important part of my humanism. For me humanism is about what helps bring us together, what we share and what we hope for – it is not about walls and flags and tribalism and divisions. As a Humanist Celebrant it is a real gift and a privilege to be in a positon to help and guide so many people through some of the most challenging/exciting/ daunting/uplifting events of their lives >>> see some testimonials below…

Wedding & Civil Partnership Ceremonies

  
I love being part of what is one of the most joyful and important days in a person’s life…and it is such fun. I like the adventure of meeting and spending time with couples well in advance of the wedding and helping them plan their own unique ceremony. We usually meet face to face but for people who live far afield we often have our first meeting on Skype.

I have been fortunate to have seen weddings from so many angles that I have become a sort of "wedding planner"! This experience allow me to guide couples on all of the positives and the politics and the pitfalls. I encourage couples to be fully involved in shaping and crafting the ceremony and, ideally, to write part of the story themselves. Having said that I find most couples are looking for templates and suggestions so after I have met with a couple I usually prepare a draft script which we then evolve and improve together by email. I am also strong on reminders and deadlines…on the day, don’t forget the Marriage Schedule!

People fascinate me and hearing the tales and stories of two people who are in love and fully committed to each other is always life affirming. I relish the challenge of turning those tales and stories into a fluent, personal, ceremony which expresses all the couple want to say on their wedding day… and I love a good laugh – I defy anyone not to have a good laugh (and often a wee weep) at a wedding. And together… we will produce and perform the most memorable wedding ceremony.

My advice to you ...

If it all seems a bit scary and your minds are a blank at this stage – don’t worry… when we meet we will go through everything in fine detail and together we can explore a host of various ways to craft the very best ceremony possible…and with phone calls and emails keeping us in touch we’ll all have a great time.

In my role as a Celebrant I have had more cards and emails of thanks than in all of my other careers put together!!...here are a selection of some recent ones –

Hi Neil,
Just want to say thank you for Saturday. The ceremony was amazing. There were loads of compliments and everyone was really impressed with you and how you conducted the ceremony. Thank you again.
Shona
November 2017

Hello Neil,
Hope you are well, and still keeping busy with all the weddings! We are back in Shanghai now and back to normality again. The wedding seems like such a long time ago, but we do have so many fantastic memories from the day! Just wanted to say, a massive thank you for making our special day unbelievable! We loved every moment of the day, wish it could've gone slower LOL. We are both so pleased with the preparation and organisation from your side, especially doing it all from Shanghai/Scotland, we couldn't have asked for anything more. All of our family and guests had a fabulous time during the ceremony, you made it serious, yet light hearted and kept everything flowing so smoothly! You have a special talent for this, thanks for all your energy, passion and calmness, we were certainly freaking out inside, when the big moment was happening LOL. Hope to see you again soon, next time we visit Scotland. Much love Chum & Claire September 2017

Dear Neil
Just a note to say thank you again for making our ceremony so special and memorable. It really was just perfect and was everything we wanted it to be. Thank you also for keeping us right on the run up to the big day with all the paperwork etc.…we wouldn’t have had a clue. All the best, Louise and Jamie. July 2017

To Neil
Thank you so much for composing and carrying out our beautiful ceremony. It was everything we dreamed of and more. Many of our guests had never been to a humanist wedding before and they loved how personal it was, we did too. Thank you for everything you did on the day and for making us feel relaxed, we were so nervous. Everything was perfect. Thank you. Lots of love. Mr and Mrs McIntosh. June 2017

To Neil
We just wanted to say a huge thank you for being our celebrant at our wedding. You immediately put the room at ease and provided us with a relaxed ceremony which made it truly memorable. Many of our guests complimented us on it and how much it related to us. Thank you for making it so special
Christine and Robbie – June 2017

“Hi Neil, myself and Claire would just like to thank you for the perfect ceremony! We are so delighted we chose you and couldn't be happier. We have your card and 110% will be recommending you. Everyone couldn't believe how good the ceremony was. When our photos arrive we will send some down to you. Thank you again for everything and all the best for the future. Scott and Claire

“Dear Neil,
Thank you very much for all of your time and skills in being our Celebrant for our wedding. We both enjoyed the ceremony SO much and feel that you understood us and our humour to a T. So many of our guests came up to us later and said it was the best ceremony they had ever been to – many of them never having been to a humanist ceremony before. Mums and Dads both enjoyed it too. We really cannot thank you enough for being such an important part of our special day.
Best wishes Stuart and Shonagh

“Good afternoon Neil,
I just wanted to thank you so much for the marvellous wedding ceremony you conducted for our daughter Hayley and Richie last Friday. It was very personal, moving and also amusing and so many of our guests have commented on how much they enjoyed it. We were all delighted to see them so happy and relaxed. I know that the father and brother of the bride also really appreciated your guidance about the music and running order too. Thanks again.
With best wishes
Alyson”

“Neil,
Thank you so very much for being our celebrant for our wedding. We cannot thank you enough for helping us to have our perfect ceremony, which would not have happened without your guidance, patience and support. THANK YOU! We wish you the very best and brightest of futures – keep in touch.
Jo and Stefan”

“To Neil
Thank you very much for conducting our ceremony at the wedding – it went so quickly, but we thought it was perfect and exactly how we had hoped! Everyone commented on how good it was and loved how personal it was. We had a really great day and hope you enjoyed the ceremony too.
Thanks again for giving us a great start in our married life – we are very excited about our future together!
All the best
Sohyla and Alasdair”

“Dear Neil,
Hamish and I want to thank you for being our celebrant. You really made our ceremony so special. It was so personal and really brought out who Hamish and I really are. We could not have been happier with how it all went.
From our first meeting on Skype to you welcoming us in your home – you made us feel so special and comfortable.
Our wedding was perfect and our ceremony magical and wonderful. Thank you for being a part of it and for everything you did to make it so lovely.
All the best xx
Kristen and Hamish”

Naming & Welcoming Ceremonies

Naming or Welcoming Ceremonies are such fun! Kids running about – some of them aged over 40 – friends getting together, families congregating >>> big or small, a Naming Ceremony is a fantastic opportunity to bring people together to celebrate a new birth, a growing family, an adoption, or, even a change of name.

One of my very favourite things about a Naming Ceremony is the chance it gives to be creative, even wacky, and to involve some or all of the guests in art, music or just plain laughing.

There is no strict format to follow and so this allows the freedom to involve others, whether they be grandparents, siblings, guide parents or even the entire guest list...

Readings, poetry, sand mixing, singing, music, tree planting, handprints, wish lists - there are so many things you can do to make your child's Ceremony meaningful and memorable and unique.

I also enjoy preparing a certificate of the event to be signed by the parents and also, if appropriate guide parents… and while the ceremony should be fun and relaxed there is an element of gravitas at the point where all of the guests join in the official naming of the wee one/s… yes, you can have a double ceremony and even combine a Naming Ceremony with a Wedding Ceremony…all up to you!

If you are considering a Naming Ceremony the best way forward is to drop me an email or give me a ring and we can talk things through and then arrange to meet up either at my home or yours or somewhere in between!

Funeral Ceremonies

Conducting a funeral is a real privilege and a huge responsibility. It is such a rewarding thing to be able to do and, paradoxically, it is life affirming. Every time I am asked to help a family through what is often a really difficult time I feel honoured to be invited into their lives.


Given that I seldom know the families I am helping in advance it is crucial that I put people at their ease as much as possible and so I usually travel to visit the family at their home – where they feel most relaxed. In helping the family plan the funeral and also come to terms with all that entails my approach is to listen, ask questions, empathise and to respond to the family’s needs in ways with which we all feel comfortable. We are celebrating a life and so as well dealing with the sadness of loss it is important we don’t lose sight of the happy and amusing memories and stories.

Helping you to grieve in your own way and to begin to say goodbye in a way that feels right for you is my aim - and if I get it right for you then that is almost reward enough. If I can make you and your fellow mourners smile and even laugh that is a bonus – it all helps in the grieving process.

The period before the funeral can be an emotional roller coaster – and so it is often best to stay busy and occupied; there is a lot to do and think about and I always make myself available to families so that they can call me if they have any queries or worries in the lead up to the ceremony. It’s a great cliché that life is not a dress rehearsal and this is certainly the case for a funeral and so it is vital to have the ceremony you really want for your loved one – you only get one chance to say a formal goodbye, so together we have to make it special.



Some recent testimonials…

Dear Neil,
I wanted to write to say thank you for preparing and giving such an excellent tribute at my father's funeral. Everybody said that it had been a lovely, well thought out service that did justice to his full life. I couldn't ask for more than that! Many thanks neil. J - London Jan 2016

Hi Neil,
Just wanted to say thanks ever so much for conducting the service at my Dad's funeral. Although it was a bit of a blur for myself and family, all the mourners commented on how articulate you were.
Your words reflected exactly how my Dad was. It was exactly as he would have wanted, a celebration of his life and he would have been so happy that you made everyone smile.
Still hard to believe you got all that information from us all rambling on and on a few days beforehand. It is also nice to have a copy to look back on in years to come.
Thanks again
Catherine R. Perth - Jan 2016

Dear Neil,
We all want to say thank you to yourself for leading in The Celebration of D's life. Tuesday was the very worst day of our lives but listening to you was very healing.
Some of our friends have never been to a Humanist Funeral Service before and said how lovely it was and they would in the future future prefer this service from themselves.
Kind Regards, L,A,F and D.

“Dear Neil,
My Dad and I want to thank you for conducting my Mum’s funeral service last week. After meeting you, we felt reassured that her service would be in safe hands. And it really was. You gave us the dignified and personal tribute we had hoped for and you pitched it absolutely right for my Mum.
We are sincerely grateful for your calm and gentle expertise and the comfort we gained from the service being done so well.

With heartfelt thanks
Susan and Bert”

“Dear Neil,
I just wanted to send you a quick email on behalf of my mum and all the family to thank you for all you done yesterday at my dads service. We all appreciate your kind words about my dad and he would have been very proud. Thank you again.

Kind regards
Ashley”

“Neil,
Please accept the heartfelt thanks of S. and myself for the thoughtful and very professional way in which you prepared for and conducted R’s funeral. You have made a frankly unimaginable time a bit more bearable.
With best wishes.
P.”

“Hi Neil,
My family and I would like to thank you for mums service. It was the perfect way for us to say goodbye and she would have loved it.
Thank you.
Julia”

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