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Special Days in

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Debbie Merritt

Independent Family Celebrant

Funeral Celebrant

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Types of ceremony

Below is an overview of the types of ceremony I offer.

I can offer each type with different individual faith biases, mixed faith bias, or no faith bias. So for example I have done no faith Baby Welcoming and Naming ceremonies, mixed Spiritualist and Pagan wedding blessings, Pagan handfastings, and end of life celebrations.

As each ceremony is unique to the client I am happy to include (within reason!) whatever will make the ceremony special to you.

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Baby Naming and Welcoming

During this ceremony, the baby/child would be given his/her name, and be welcomed to the gathering of friends and family. This is a joyous ceremony, and I do understand that babies and small children often have last minute emergencies, so I am very relaxed about time. Also often included is collecting blessing tokens from the assembled family and friends as the baby is welcomed to the gathering. Those who wish can give their own blessing in words to the baby/child and its parents.

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Wedding Blessing

As you might expect this tends to be an extension of a registry office wedding. It is, if you like, the icing on the cake!

There are no restrictions on what, or how much music you would like. As many of your guests who would like to be involved in taking a part, can be involved. We can bias it towards a faith or not, as stated before. Aspects of handfasting (See below)can be incorporated into this ceremony too.



Considered Pagan by some, and traditional by others. Traditionally a handfasting lasts for a year and a day. At that point the couple can choose to stay together or not, and part with no hard feelings. Obviously things often arenít as cut and dried as that.

For a Pagan this ceremony is their marriage, and a couple will renew their handfasting yearly. What a lovely way to celebrate your anniversary!

Again we would bias the ceremony to whichever Pagan path is required.

End of Life Celebrations

For these ceremonies the requests and beliefs of the family, and of the deceased are paramount, I am sensitive to the needs of the family and will create a celebration of the life of the loved one. One thing to remember is that a crematorium service is time limited to less than half an hour ( this does vary), but you can, for an extra payment, book extra time should you wish to. However we find that mostly a choice of a short(ish) crematorium service followed by a later Ash Scattering ceremony works very well, as the latter ceremony is much more relaxed, and many people can share their memories together. We would not be allowed to conduct a ceremony in a Church Cemetary, but there are many beautiful woodland burial sites now, where we can conduct ceremonies with no time limitations.

Ideally I will meet with people as they prepare for their death. This may seem morbid to some, but the one thing sure in life is that at some point we will die. By preparing our wishes in advance we can take much stress away from our loved ones at a difficult and emotional time. It is important to consider such things as how, if we are able, to depart from this life, what type of funeral you would want, who you would like to take the service, where you would want to be buried or your ashes scattered, and much more. By meeting with you, and your family if you wish, I can help you to look at these decisions in a calm and practical way. If you prefer I can email you a document that will give you some ideas and suggestions. You can also visit the Dying Matters website for more information . Debbie is a member of the Dying Matters Coalition, and of the Natural Death Society, supporting the Natural Death Centre,

Your funeral directors are also a good source of local information, and can help with such things as offering payment plans and advising about local facilities for burials and cremations, as well as information about local celebrants.

It is not essential to use a funeral director, although if you do they will take away a lot of the small details that it is easy to forget. Many people arrange their own funerals and we are happy to discuss this with you, or you can find more information on various websites on the internet.

Other Rites of Passage

Renewal of vows - for a special wedding anniversary or handfasting.

Partings - for divorces/ end of relationships. Sometimes this is symbolically incorporated into a wedding blessing or handfasting ceremony.

Croning -  becoming the wise woman. For women who have passed through the menopause.

Eldering - for retirement, or achieving a life change.

Home blessings - for your new home!

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