Welcome to this site which is designed to help you to plan a Humanist Ceremony in France and to introduce you to Leslie Mitchell, a Humanist Celebrant who lives in France. These pages will also give you information about the various Ceremonies he is able to write and to conduct. There’s information about Humanist Weddings, Namings and Funerals. You might also like to have a little more information about the principles which lie behind all my ceremonies.
Leslie Mitchell lives in the Limousin in France and is available to compose and conduct Funerals, Wedding Ceremonies, and Namings in France.
Please use the menu at the top of the page to search for the type of ceremony you are looking for.
Leslie is a Registered Celebrant of the Humanist Society Scotland. His experience as a celebrant goes back more than a decade. Ceremonies are unique and personalised to your own needs and ideas. They can be conducted in either French or English and of course in a mixture of both languages as appropriate. You can contact Leslie on +33 (0)5 55 60 87 07 or +33 (0)6 14 27 39 46 for or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
“Today I marry my friend;
The one I have laughed with and cried with,
The one I have learned from and shared with,
The one I have chosen to support,
encourage and give myself to, through all the days,
Given us to share,
Today I marry the one I love.”
Bertrand Russell – Humanist philosopher
Although I’m authorised to conduct legal weddings in Scotland, in France every couple must be married by State authorities (usually the Maire). This means that usually there will be a short ceremony at the Town Hall (Mairie) conducted by the Mayor. Then of course they are free to celebrate their marriage in a Humanist (or a religious) ceremony.
I’ve been a celebrant for more than a decade now – it’s one of my life’s great joys. I love being with people at an important moment in their lives.
My approach to weddings
Depending on the balance of the guests I can conduct ceremonies in ether French or English, or in a mixture of both – so that no contingent is left in the dark as the ceremony progresses!
I see myself as a helper and as a guide as far as preparing the ceremony is concerned. I provide a range of material and send out templates and guides to all the couples I’m working with. So there’s as much (or as little) help as you need to build a ceremony that’s memorable, happy and comfortable – it’s your day!
What I love most about conducting weddings
Let’s be honest, weddings can sometimes be a bit stressful, so if I can put you and your guests at ease then we’re half way to a successful ceremony. In this way everyone can relax and really appreciate and enjoy what’s happening.
My advice to you
As far as preparing the ceremony is concerned you should feel free to say what you want and what you feel comfortable with. You should be true to yourselves, hopefully romantic and down-to-earth all at the same time!
Choice of wedding music
Pick something that really reflects your experience, your wishes and your ideas that’s the important thing. There’s no need to stick with the traditional choices if other music means more to you as a couple. If you need help or ideas, I can supply both.
My most unusual location for a wedding to date?
Nothing too outlandish, but how about village hall, castle, a ruined church, motor-cruiser, the top deck of a sailing ship and an old abbey on an island and of course, a five-star hotel!
“…….a sketch in words that everyone present can recognise as a true likeness of someone they knew and loved”
Bereavement can be bewildering as well as upsetting and devastating. So to be bereaved abroad even if you’ve been living in France for many years can be even more difficult and pressurised. Funeral ceremony choices are rather limited and tend to be restricted either to a religious church funeral conducted by a local priest or “Obsèques Civiles” that is a non-religious ceremony conducted by the family or, if you’re fortunate, by a member of the funeral director’s team.
In the UK there is a long tradition of Humanist funerals which have gathered an excellent reputation because of their focus on the life of the person who has died and because the care, sensitivity and experience of the Humanist Celebrant.
The British Humanist Association (in England and Wales) and the Humanist Society of Scotland provide high quality professional training for all their celebrants who are carefully selected and undergo frequent review and assessment.
In France, there are one or two Humanist Celebrants who are available to conduct Humanist funeral ceremonies.
A Humanist funeral ceremony places the life of the deceased at the centre and I will spend time with you learning about your loved one’s life and personality and about the memories you would like to share. I will then weave these together to tell the story, as a celebration of your loved one’s life.
All funerals are all personal and unique and usually include readings, poems and music; I will help you with these decisions and will be able to make suggestions if you need them.
I recognise that amongst those attending a funeral there may be people of faith and although I don’t include acts of worship such as singing hymns and prayers there is usually a period of quiet reflection where those in attendance can choose to remember your loved one in a way that is right for them and their beliefs.
Funerals may be painful, but they’re also a wonderful opportunity for families to pay tribute to a loved one. It’s a great privilege to prepare a suitable and appropriate ceremony to say farewell to a unique and special individual. Music, readings and the tribute all combine to form a fitting funeral. Grieving, humour and honest reflection all play an important part. As I see it, my most important task is to draw a sketch in words that everyone present can recognise as a true likeness of someone they knew and loved.
It’s good for families and friends to gather to welcome a new child to his family and circle of friends as well as the community. It’s also a great time to reflect on the delights and demands not only of parenthood, but what it means to be part of a wider family and a network of friends and neighbours.
One of my most memorable was working with a family to devise a welcoming ceremony for a little girl, who after months of waiting and form filling was finally legally adopted. She was a delightful seven year old who knew exactly what the ceremony was all about. Of course she already had a first name, so she chose an extra, middle name to celebrate the occasion!