Today is Day of the Dead.
We’ve chosen this date to put an offer out to the world.
We are offering celebrant services, free of charge, to conduct a funeral or memorial service to around 15 families living in and based around Glasgow.
We are living through extraordinary times where the rituals associated with the cycle of life are being turned on their head. This pandemic has robbed many families of the chance to properly mourn the loss of a loved one, making the anguish and pain of that loss even more difficult.
We want to help.
The value of a funeral or memorial service has never been stronger, or more needed, and is an important part of remembrance and recovery. The role of the celebrant is critical. They can help in the planning of the funeral or memorial service, set its tone, and bring richness and meaning to the stories of the life being celebrated.
We invite couples who pay for a wedding celebrant and families who pay for a funeral celebrant, to donate to help other families who may struggle to meet the costs. It is through these small acts of kindness that this funeral fund has been kick-started and this offer made possible.
Dependent on Covid restrictions at the time of the funeral or memorial, we will provide a celebrant to lead the funeral or memorial, either in person or through Zoom for a wider group to attend. Those who attend will also have the chance to donate, if they choose, to help other families who are struggling to meet costs.
Go to the donations page of our charity A Quiet Revolution to find out how to apply or how to donate.
When I met Donald and Maureen to prepare for their wedding I knew that they were a special couple. I felt elated just having spent a couple of hours with them. They were married in a field in Pollok Park surrounded by their friends and family and I have never witnessed anything so joyous. I felt I was part of something quite magic and my conclusion is that they were in fact all fairies and elves and I dreamt the whole thing!! I wish Donald and Maureen years and years of magic and happiness.
These tips come from a recent ceremony I performed. Here I am taking inspiration from Cat and Cameron’s wedding on 26th July 2019 at Houstoun House, Uphall. Here i am marrying them...
Tip 1. Have a piper. Or go big.
Why have a piper when you can have a whole marching band? What an entrance! Do it your way.
Tip 2. Buttonhole Tip
Buttonhole corsage for the Mums? But isn’t it going to pull at her dress? Not if there’s a magnetic attachment to fit it to her fabulous purse! Absolutely inspired.
Tip 3. Ribbons.
FAQ: How big should my hand fasting ribbons be? Anything goes, but these beauties are particularly pleasing to the eye taken from the clans, the family tartans a Hunting Robertson Tartan and an ancient Henderson Tartan. And yes, it does match the purse.
More tips coming next time! Thanks for reading.
Each wedding that I officiate at brings me great happiness but the wedding of Kate and Stephen was a whole different experience. This was because I had known the bride since the day she was born. Her Mum and I were close friends and had had our daughters at the same time. Our daughters became friends too.
The wedding day was a little surreal for me as I couldn't quite believe that this beautiful girl in front of me was the same little girl who had been part of my family for so long.
Every happiness to you both.
Alex and I just wanted to say thank you for our amazing ceremony! It was so emotional, funny and loving! We couldn't have wished for anything else.
For many of our guests it was their first time at a humanist ceremony and every single one of them absolutely loved it! They all said it was very us, and that it was lovely to be at wedding that was all about the couple and their loved ones.
We really can't thank you enough! And we thought you'd like to see the picture of me nearly taking Alex's finger off!
Sharlene and Alex McKeeman
I’ve just conducted a wonderful wedding in Devon for Lou and Sarah.
There were kilts, there was fizz, there were fascinators. There was storytelling. There were tears and laughter. There was Buckfast and Tequila to toast the couple. There was a first dance. And I was home long before the last dance.
Lou identifies as gender fluid and it was really important for both to feel understood, valued and supported in their ceremony.
They came to me after they’d had a disappointing meeting with a Registrar who didn’t really ‘get’ them. We sat down to plan together to create the wedding they wanted. Like every other couple I support, my aim is to help the pair design a ceremony that respects and honours who they are. I want to help them have a wedding that reflects their values.
I did with them what I do with any couple… I sit and listen to their stories. I ask questions about what matters. I want to know who they are, how they tick, what their ‘voice’ is. I want to use their words. I want to create moments that have meaning for them.
3 simple things stood out when I started planning with Sarah and Lou.
I’ve been carrying out ceremonies since before the law made it possible for same sex couples to marry legally. I identify somewhere on the spectrum of LGBTQ+ so it matters very much to me that this change in the law happened. And it’s been my privilege to marry couples of all genders.
Whatever a couple needs, I promise to do my best to help them craft a ceremony that feels right for them. That respects their choices. That is unique.
I will always stand up for their right to love.
"We barely have words to express what a contribution you made to our special day (and performing under pressure due to lateness!)
"Your ceremony was beyond special for us, full of our personality, and fitted us so well.
"We had SO many comments on how much it felt like us, how it helped people to know our story, that people learned new traditions and how great you were. Also an appreciation for the LGBTQ+ family too!
"It really was absolutely beautiful. A huge thank you from Lou and I.
Sarah and Lou"
In Scotland, Humanist celebrants can carry out the whole legal ceremony and we can do it anywhere – up a hill, on a sandy beach, in a garden.
These pictures are from Brian and Emma’s wedding on the banks of Loch Lomond this summer.
England are still waiting for progress. In England, a Registrar has to do the legal bit and they can only do that in a structure… a building.
This isn’t a problem.
For a wedding in England recently in the garden of a country estate, we split the ceremony in two. Halfway through, the couple disappeared with witnesses into a glass house to sign the paperwork then we carried on.
The other option is for the couple and witnesses to visit to the Registrar’s office the day before and sign the paperwork. Guests then attend the Big Day the next day – for all intents and purposes, this is The Wedding Day… identifiable by the cars, fizz, ceremony, cake cutting, speeches, food, toasts, dancing and general merriment.
So whether you want to be married under a tree on the solstice or up a hill in midwinter or in a lavender field in Provence, we’ve done it before, we know how it works… talk to us. We can always find a way to help you get what you want.
I had the privilege of officiating at a wedding last month which was so very different from any other.
The Bride was from a Jewish background and the Groom had been born and brought up in Botswana. Both wanted their cultures to be evident in their wedding celebrations and what a day it turned out to be. The wedding was in the beautiful setting of Loch Ken in Galloway and the weather was kind, allowing the couple to marry on the beach.
There was an African band playing on the beach and beautiful African paintings and decorations. The couple married under a 'canopy' and when I pronounced them husband and wife, they stamped on glasses as is the Jewish tradition.
I learned so much that day and was buzzing with excitement for hours.
To top it all, the couple's lovely big friendly lurcher had the wedding rings secured in a pocket on his coat. The Bride did have to entice him over with a dog treat hidden in her wedding dress but he seemed very happy to be the ring bearer.
Wishing every happiness to Joanna and Ben.
“Thank you for such a perfect day. We are actually married now!!!”
I have had a great start to 2018 with weddings already and now I am looking forward to the other 11 couples I am lucky enough to marry this year.
What are the chances that someone I meet at BAAD tomorrow will want me to marry them?
I have prepared some useful tips on creating your own personal vows, including a Helpsheet, so at the very least I am hoping some of the tips I have mean there are some more meaningful vows out there.
Hopefully see you tomorrow.
My wife wasn't too impressed when she was delivered a padlock on the morning of our wedding.
Some of the things she said can't be repeated here. She thought I was giving her a lock for her bike.
Of course, I was giving her something much more meaningful than that, but I hadn't explained it very well.
On honeymoon I was able to tell her the story of the love locks, and she eventually decided she loved the idea. Let this be a cautionary tale for all grooms to be - whatever you plan to give your fiancee the morning of the wedding, let the gift speak clearly for itself - or be accompanied by a picture or text that sufficiently explains it!
Text: By James Oakley
Images: James Oakley & Library Photo
The A Quiet Revolution blog features updates from the celebrants of A Quiet Revolution and their friends.