Marnie Roadburg

Wedding & Civil Partnership, Naming & Welcoming and Funeral Ceremonies


After helping to organise and then attending my brother-in-law's funeral several years ago the seeds were sown for my own training as a Humanist Celebrant. Working in the voluntary and public sector for over 38 years with a range of people from all different backgrounds also influenced this decision. So when I retired from full time work I was able to follow this up and I trained to become a Celebrant in 2011. I can now say that it is one of the most rewarding and privileged kinds of work I have ever done.

When my brother-in-law died we decided that the best way to commemorate his life was to have a Humanist funeral, even though we didn't know much about how it worked. It turned out to be the perfect thing to do. The Celebrant spent a great deal of time getting to know my husband. She paid attention to what he felt and wanted for the ceremony and made every effort to capture a very personal picture of my brother-in-law, his interests, his foibles, his strengths, and his contribution to the local community. This attention to detail and knowing that the Celebrant was there totally for us has had a lasting effect on me.

Quite simply what Humanism means to me is treating others respectfully in the way that we would like to be treated ourselves. I hope that my approach to any ceremony that I do, whether it’s a funeral, wedding or naming will reflect that.

Wedding & Civil Partnership Ceremonies

Your wedding is a most special day when you make public your love and commitment to each other. The ceremony (and the party after) is the time for you to enjoy and have fun with the people who mean most to you. Hopefully it will be a day that you will always look back on as very special.

The wonderful thing about a Humanist wedding ceremony is that it is completely personal and you will want to be confident that it reflects just who you are. 

Some people know exactly what kind of ceremony they want, are comfortable writing their own vows. Others want some guidance and examples of ceremonies before deciding what they want for their own.
I usually meet with couples at least twice – initially to get to know them and discuss the type of ceremony they would like. This can also be done via skype. Then I send them lots of examples of readings, vows, and symbolic gestures. I ask couples to write or tell me their story in their own words – how and when they met, what marriage means to them and what they see as their future. I then create a first draft of their ceremony which can go back and forth as many times as required until we get it just right. Our second meeting will be to finalise things and have a rehearsal if you want.

The most important thing is that your ceremony is memorable and meaningful to you and your guests.


Naming & Welcoming Ceremonies

It's wonderful to be able to mark significant rites of passage in our lives, and the arrival of a new baby is just such a joyous occasion.  A naming ceremony can give you and the whole family the chance to celebrate this important time.  Naming ceremonies do not have to be restricted to new borns though, and I am more than pleased to conduct ceremonies for toddlers, for several children in the same family, to welcome adopted children into the family, or indeed for an older child or adult who wishes to change their given name. 

There is no set formula for a naming ceremony and I would be happy to work with you to make yours individual and unique. Naming ceremonies can be great fun and an opportunity for relatives and guests to be involved whether it’s doing a reading, leading communal singing, taking part in symbolic gestures such as candle lighting, releasing balloons, or making pledges to your child. I have lots of examples of these kinds of things that I can share with you.

I will always meet with the family, and hopefully get to know your baby or child a bit before writing the ceremony. Most people will also appoint ‘Guide Parents’ or ‘Mentors’ and I am happy to meet with them or give them examples of pledges they can make to the child being named. I will also provide a certificate for you and your child to keep as a memento and keepsake.

Funeral Ceremonies

Being a funeral Celebrant is a huge responsibility and an honour. Just like my first experience of a Humanist funeral, my aim is to always deliver a ceremony that will be meaningful to family and friends and will capture their memories of their loved one. If I can do that I will feel that I have done my job.

There is no right or wrong way to have a funeral, however everyone deserves a respectful farewell and celebration of their life. I can provide guidance and information on how others have done it, but the choice is up to you. I will spend as much time as needed meeting with family, friends and colleagues to gather information for a tribute and will always circulate a draft of the ceremony as far in advance as possible for any changes or corrections. I am also happy to be contacted at any time throughout the process.

You may not remember everything at the first meeting, so do not be afraid to come back and ask questions of the Funeral Director or me. We want to get it right for you. If you decide to have several people speak or you think a lot of people will be attending it may be beneficial to book a double slot at the crematorium so that you don't feel pressured by time. Many people have an idea of the kind of poetry or music they would like, but I am also happy to make suggestions.

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