The C Word

Things I have been pondering …….

I realise many of you may have will have questions about your upcoming ceremonies whether they be Wedding Ceremonies, Naming Ceremonies or Vow Renewals especially in the light of the announcement on 23rd March. For some you will find the decisions are out of your hands and for others you’ll feel confused By the inconsistent advice and the decisions that need to be made.

Please try not to worry. It’s important to stay calm so that preparations and decisions can be made that are right, and safe, for you, your family and friends.

A lot of what is going on is out-with our control and this feeling of lack of control can really exacerbate anxiety.

Please note: The National Records of Scotland, at present are not accepting applications for any marriage schedules. Therefore marriage ceremonies cannot be performed. Keep an eye here for marriage schedule updates.

Take a breath, pause and plan.

Try using an acronym like BRAIN to help get things into perspective:






Get together with your partner, consult wider family members, friends and even guests if you like, write these headings down and start listing, brain storming, just get everything out there using:

What are the Benefits of carrying on as planned? To you, to others.

What are the Risks? Think of your guests, ages, travel, numbers of guests,  finances etc.

The Alternatives – talk to each other about all the available options.  Have you spoken to your service providers about potential alternative dates , if not do so. Making a Plan B (& even C) is probably wise and may put your mind at rest.

What is your Instinct, your gut feeling?  Tune in to it, trust it.

If you go through all of the above and just want to pause and change Nothing at the moment that’s fine too. 

You can wait and see what unfolds and revisit your list, notes and discussion at anytime. Maybe starting again, adding and subtracting aspects previously considered and newly discovered or advised by Government. Reflect and re-schedule if necessary. If you want to discuss options for a Plan B date let me know.

You have each other, that is the main thing right now. Remember why you are planning all of this in the first place – because of love and trust.

What if you have to, or decide to, postpone your ceremony?

There will be no charge to reschedule the date of your ceremony. I have plenty flexibility this year and next.  If I am not available then one of my Agnostic Scotland Life Celebrants colleagues may be. Pencil in a Plan B date as soon as possible.

Would you have to pay anything extra to change your date?

No, no extra charge to hold another date. Your deposit/fee would be transferred to the new date.

What if I, your Marriage Celebrant, become ill or have to cocoon at home at the time of your ceremony?

I have already discussed this with my Agnostic Scotland colleagues and we will endeavour to cover each other’s ceremonies in case of illness. Your back up Celebrant would have access to your final ceremony script and they would make contact with you to say hello and talk through anything with you prior to the ceremony. 

We know that currently, with the support of the Registrars, we can obtain emergency discretion for a change of Celebrant, as long as that celebrant is a member of a recognised belief body, if required. We will stay in touch with the National Records of Scotland for further advice in regard to the effect of the pandemic on marriage ceremonies for 2020.

Current Guidance

The National Records of Scotland, at present are not accepting applications for any marriage schedules. Therefore marriage ceremonies cannot be performed. Keep an eye here for marriage schedule updates.

For WHO advice re: social distancing and more click here and from NHS Scotland here

Whenever you hold your ceremony what if important guests can’t make it to your ceremony due to restrictions on numbers, travel restrictions or illness?

Have a cry – then get creative.

Film your ceremony

Live stream your ceremony

Use WhatsApp video call

Invite a Tribute/blessing from the guests who can’t make it 

Suggest your guests pre-record an audio or film piece to add to your ceremony or speeches

You could represent the person using symbolism – wear something of theirs or something that you feel represents/includes them

Portobello Beach

Other wedding suppliers

Talk to them. Ask about back up plan and discuss options. Communication is key. This can help get things in perspective, help feelings of helplessness and anxiety and also allow you to feel and connect with the support that is out there.

What you can do to support yourself and keep safe and healthy

Eat well, get plenty sleep, stay at home, wash your hands, access your usual exercise regime, get fresh air, minimise Social Media – wash your hands –  and ask for support and help. Talk things through with your nearest and dearest. Use BRAIN. Keep yourself informed with all the latest advice, health and otherwise, from Government. Reach out to others. 

Sara Shakeel

Am I keeping myself safe?

Yes, I am. I love hugs, kisses and shaking hands but am saving that for a later date. I’m washing my hands, staying at home, eating well, getting plenty of sleep and fresh air, washing my hands and leaning into my Celebrant community for support. I am keeping myself up to date with all the latest advice too from the Government and the Ceremony sector. It must be acknowledge that keeping myself safe may also mean my advice to you would be to postpone or go ahead but with only you two and immediate family members maintaining suitable distance. This is something I will discuss with each couple.

I am also acutely aware of the need to support other Celebrants and small businesses at this time as well as my local community, neighbours and friends.

Reflect and reschedule if need be – don’t cancel LOVE
If you do decide to postpone let’s think of a way you can celebrate or mark your original date. Make an event, a ritual for just the two of you, make it positive and that way it will become part of your story, part of your ceremony and part of your wedding day.

Baba Ram Dass

We’ll get through this – together x

Say my name ….and every colour illuminates

I was baptised. I find it hard to understand why or how this came about as my family were, and are, not religious in any way but I suppose it just came down to tradition. That was the 1960’s and by the time my own daughters were born it was something we didn’t even consider. We had family gatherings and parties instead. We celebrated. A blend of the traditional baptism and secular celebration is happening today in the form of naming ceremonies.

Naming ceremonies could be seen as the modern day version of christening or baptism. They can be carried out by a Registrar or Celebrant. Secular, family focussed and personalised, naming ceremonies are a celebration, a meaningful celebration which can have as much or as little tradition, culture and symbolism as the family want. The family are in control of the content and wording of the readings which are underpinned by the love, hope, wishes and promises for their child’s, or children’s, future. Friends may be asked to become a Sparent or Odd Parent and take on the role of supporting adult for the growing child. Celebrations such as this are a way of making an announcement or a statement of intent for the child but in a beautifully creative, relevant way that suits a wide range of families.

Jonas Bendiksen

As a midwife I have been privileged to be present at the most amazing naming ceremonies. The birth. The ceremony of birth and the beautiful moments of a mother meeting her baby for the first time. Holding space for the parents to fall in love with their baby, begin their new relationships and give the baby a name.

When I facilitated ante natal classes we would discuss names and naming, I would ask everyone present to share their names, nicknames and a little of the story behind their name. It was a great ice breaker. We would discuss the fading traditions around naming. In regard to their own babies, most couples would have lists of names but some couldn’t agree. Some knew the sex of the baby and had already given he or she a name but didn’t want to share the name, some were happy to share and some even had the name tattooed. Saying that, sexing scans can be wrong. I, and many of my colleagues have been at births where the expected gender has been the opposite. No scans are 100% accurate. There are lots of things to consider when choosing a name but you’ll know if it’s right when you meet your baby. I had three names for a girl and one for a boy when my first daughter was born. My first words as I met her were ‘It’s Innes!!’

The Midwife
Loren Entz

In Scotland you have 3 weeks from the date of birth to register the birth, so plenty time for choosing names. Just make sure the Registrar spells your chosen name correctly. My brother says his daughter Poppy almost ended up having Poopy on her birth certificate.