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‘What is a celebrant, and why should I choose one?’

Hello, and welcome to my very first blog post!

It made sense for me to start with the most burning question of all:

What is a celebrant, and why should I choose one?’

I am often asked this question – indeed, someone I met recently was very surprised when I said that no, I wasn’t going to start singing in public any time soon! Another person thought that I was advertising myself as a ‘plus one’ – in similar vein to Dermot Mulroney’s character in ‘The Wedding Date’!! (Erm…that will be no…my fees would be WAY higher!)

The official description of an independent celebrant is ‘a person who performs or officiates ceremonies’. I trained with Civil Ceremonies UK and can, indeed, ‘officiate’ at many different types of ceremony, including wedding celebration ceremonies, funeral and memorial services, naming ceremonies, vow renewals and any kind of civil ceremony. I also offer a script writing service, for those of you who know what you want to say, but maybe need a little help finding exactly the right words for the occasion.

With a celebrant led ceremony, you can choose your location and your style freely, with none of the legal restrictions to worry about. For example, your wedding celebration ceremony is unique to you – there are no limitations on wording, time, location or who is included in your service – you choose! This results in a beautifully bespoke service that showcases your journey together, both as individuals and as a couple.

How can a celebrant help you?

The most important part of my job is to meet and get to know you as a couple or as a family. Since the advent of Covid, much of this has been done on Zoom, which has been a fantastic addition to our ‘celebrant toolkit’! However, much as I love this new (to me!) ‘instant meet’ technology, there is still something to be said about a face to face meeting, where we can really start to connect and learn more about each other. So, once you have decided to book me, I will always suggest an ‘in-person’ meet up as soon as possible afterwards.

During our meetings, I will ask you questions about yourself, your partner, your child/children or your loved one, depending on the type of ceremony we are conducting. Your story is the key to a great ceremony, and whatever you tell me will be the start of ‘the book of you’, which will be shared with your family and friends on the day.

My job is to create your service, lead your ceremony and engage your guests – so the more you share with me, the more I will have to work with to do this. You are in control of every stage of the process and can edit any part of the script, at any point, right up to the printing stage.

Your ceremony can include anything at all – the world is your lobster! (Those of you old enough to remember George Cole’s character ‘Arthur Daley’ in Minder, will be familiar with this misquote 😊)

Whether you wish to include religious or spiritual content, cultural or traditional rituals, or merely wish to have a quiet, intimate low-key affair in your back garden, a celebrant can accommodate all of these things and more!

For funerals, memorials or celebrations of life, your service can be tailored exactly how you wish it to be, to best reflect the needs of the family and those of the deceased. I am more than happy to discuss your preferences with you, and have a wealth of readings, music choices and poetry that may support your planning at this emotional time. You may, of course, already know what you want included, and your choices are always respected.

I only ever book one ceremony per day, so for that day, I am completely at your disposal! I will meet you and any of your suppliers at your venue in plenty of time, so that you can relax in the knowledge that everything will go off without a hitch. I am, of course, always happy to lend a hand with any of those unforeseen ‘on the day’ tasks and have been known to greet guests with trays of drinks, fasten dresses, rearrange veils and hold shaking hands – this is all part of my job on the day, to ensure that you can enjoy it.

The short answer to the initial question:

An independent celebrant:

· Will conduct a bespoke, dignified ceremony

· Is inclusive and flexible, catering to everyone’s needs

· Is a great listener, and is able to turn your thoughts into the perfect script, reflecting your uniqueness

· Engages your guests by delivering your story in a dignified, respectful but ultimately original way

· Is guided by you at all stages in the process and there for you at the most important times – let’s work together to make it ‘Your day, your way’!

PLEASE NOTE: Current legislation in England means that a Celebrant Wedding Ceremony is not a legally binding ceremony. For a couple to legalise their marriage, they must book an appointment to visit their local register office to register their marriage. The couple will not need to say their vows or exchange their wedding rings when signing the marriage register. There is NO LEGAL REQUIREMENT for the registrar to attend the couple’s wedding venue or be present at Celebrant Ceremony.

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