Inspirational Ceremonies

Ceremonies and celebrations mark important times in our lives. Inspirational Ceremonies will work with you to create a ceremony that recognizes and celebrates your special day in the way that you wish.
More information about humanist ceremonies from Humanists UK


‘Do not stand at my grave and weep’ by Mary Elizabeth Fry


Do not stand at my grave and weep

by Mary Elizabeth Fry


Do not stand at my grave and weep;
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you awaken in the morning hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.

This is the beautiful poem written by Mary Elizabeth Frye which was read out at Hayley’s Funeral on ITV’s Coronation Street. For other poems suitable for a humanist funeral please see my website

Hayley’s Humanist Funeral


Tonight, on Coronation Street, Hayley Cropper’s humanist funeral will be screened to millions of viewers. For many people watching, it will be the first time they have witnessed a humanist ceremony. As a humanist celebrant, my hope is that this will raise the general public’s awareness so that people realize there is a meaningful alternative to holding a traditional religious service. More importantly, they have a choice as to how they say goodbye to a loved one.

hayley funeral[1]

I have been conducting humanist ceremonies in Cumbria for the last 7 years and I am delighted that Coronation Street writers have chosen to showcase this kind of ceremony. Hayley was a much-loved character and a humanist funeral is perfect for her, as it not only reflects her individuality but also her strong values. Just as importantly, her screen family and friends will be able to say their goodbyes in a personal and meaningful way, knowing it is what she would have wanted.

What is a humanist funeral and is it appropriate for you or a loved one?

A Humanist Funeral is appropriate for anyone who wants a non-religious ceremony. There is no set format you have to follow and a ceremony can be personalised with tributes, readings and music, with family and friends being welcome to contribute as much or as little as they wish.

The only guideline that does exist is that they don’t contain any religious content such as hymns or prayers, but you can include a moment of quiet reflection to enable mourners to have a silent prayer.

What is special about humanist funerals is that they are all unique. Each one is written to reflect the individuality of the person who has died and to celebrate the life they have lived. A humanist celebrant will usually spend a couple of hours with family and friends to help them create a personal ceremony. This can include writing the tribute or eulogy.

Choosing a Humanist Celebrant

Although there has been a huge rise in the number of humanist funerals over the last few years, only a small proportion of these have been conducted by trained humanist celebrants, with many funeral directors choosing to use independent celebrants or retired clergy. The British Humanist Association (BHA) has a national network of celebrants who have undergone a rigorous selection and training programme. By requesting a humanist celebrant accredited with the BHA, you ensure that the quality of service you receive is of the highest standard.

For more information on humanist ceremonies please look at my website:

Or the HumanistsUK website

What’s in a Name? 7 top tips to create a personal Naming Ceremony


7 top tips to create a personal Naming Ceremony


A Naming Ceremony offers a meaningful alternative to a christening, if you don’t have religious beliefs, but want to celebrate your child’s arrival with family and friends. These are my 7 top tips to create a unique ceremony:

1. Tell your child’s story using pictures or words

Create a slide show, looking back at your child’s life so far: choose pictures that reflect important milestones as well as happy times spent with family and friends.

Write your child’s story: this can reflect their personality – what they enjoy and dislike doing and what they have brought into your lives as a family.

Make a Naming Book using words and pictures to record your child’s journey – photos and messages can then be added after your celebrations to create a special memento of the day.

2. Highlight the significance of your child’s name/s

Is there a specific reason why you chose them? Do they have a special meaning? And, if your child has being named after significant family members, who they are?

As a highpoint to the ceremony formally give your child their name/s.

3. Include a variety of readings and poems

These can be used at different intervals to set the tone, reflect what is important to you, introduce some humour and are an excellent way of involving friends and family members.

4. Make personal commitments/promises to your child

It is especially meaningful if you can write your own – think about what is important to you as a family and what your hopes and dreams are for your child’s future. But be realistic, rather than set goals that might be difficult to live up to, think about the environment you would like your child to grow up in.

5. Appoint the equivalent of God Parents – known as Guide Parents, Mentors or Supporting Adults

These are people who you would like to offer friendship to your child as he/she grows up and who can give you support as parents. During the ceremony explain their role and why you have chosen them. They can make a joint commitment to your child or write individual promises of their own.

6. Acknowledge significant family members, such as Grandparents

The role of grandparents is often a very special one, take time to talk about the relationship your child shares with his/her grandparents, this can include: what they are called, the things they like to do together and what they have brought into each other’s lives.

7. Include a symbolic act

These are an excellent way of breaking up your ceremony, involving different guests and also providing a special memento of the day. Ideas include: signing a naming certificate, planting a tree, lighting a candle, writing wishes for a wish tree, balloon release and making a fingerprint tree.

For more details on these please see this week’s posts on my facebook page

I hope that has helped and do get in touch if you would like to find out more about Naming Ceremonies

Wedding in Winter Wonderland


Tom and Susie’s Wedding

in Winter Wonderland
Susie and Tom and Snowmen 1

Susie and Tom wanted an outdoor adventure for their wedding celebrations.  And that is exactly what they got! Their wedding took place in January at Langdale Youth Hostel with the ceremony taking place in the hostel grounds. The hostel was cut-off following a huge snowfall the day before.  So their wedding guests had to face the elements and arrived at the hostel either on foot or by four-wheel drive. Luckily one of the groom’s main interests is ‘off-roading.’ This came in very handy as him and his friends were able to ferry family and friends to the hostel.

For me, it was a very different experience.  I am used to conducting ceremonies outdoors but not usually in the winter and it was a first in snow! However, as a fellow outdoor enthusiast, I was keen to make their wish come true. After an eventful afternoon, I wanted to make their ceremony special for them. Everyone was in good spirits and rather than the bride and groom making their entrance to music, they were greeted by the ‘Wedding March’ hummed by all their guests.

The abiding memory I have of the day is Susie and Tom making their vows to each other. They had written them separately and had kept them secret from each other. They were beautiful and it was truly a very special moment when they said them to one another for the first time.

Guests then rallied around cooking and preparing food. The electricity had gone off, so Susie and Tom ended up having their wedding breakfast by candlelight.  Luckily the power supply was restored just in time for them to enjoy an evening of music with local band, Roomful of Mirrors. A great time was had by all!

And what about the end to my day?  After being given a lift down to my car I managed to get home safely and spent a couple of hours warming myself up by my log burner. I couldn’t help thinking how lucky I am to have such an interesting and varied job!

A couple of weeks later I invested in some snow boots.  A little bit late you might be saying, but you never know…..