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Celebrant Frequently Asked Questions

What is a celebrant?

 

Let’s jump in with the first and most important question. A celebrant is someone who hosts ceremonies or rituals marking some of life’s most important moments. These typically include wedding ceremonies, naming ceremonies and funeral ceremonies, and now also include commitment ceremonies, trans naming ceremonies, renewal of vows and even coming of age ceremonies. Traditionally weddings took place in a place of worship and were conducted by religious leaders. More recently, people who don’t consider themselves religious are looking at alternative options, and the growing array of celebrants out there means people can find a celebrant that perfectly matches their needs and values.

 

Is there a difference between a celebrant and officiant? 

 

There is no difference between the terms celebrant and officiant - they are the same thing. The term officiant is used more frequently in the USA.


 

Can a celebrant legally marry us?

 

This depends on where you are. The way it currently stands, is that in England and Wales celebrants cannot legally marry people - outside a church, only a registrar can. What most people opt for, is a smaller legal ceremony in a registry office, and a bigger celebrant-led ceremony. In Scotland, celebrants can legally marry people.

 

Celebrants within England and Wales are pushing for law reform to bring legal recognition to celebrant-led weddings. You can find more information here from the Association of Independent Celebrants.

 

How do I become a celebrant?

 

There are many ways to train to be a celebrant in the UK. My recommendation would be to get as much information on as many different courses as you can while speaking to people who are working as celebrants and who have done the courses and try to make a decision based on which one feels right for you. 

 

Usually training involves a series of face to face or online training seminars, which will prepare you for the planning and delivery of a ceremony. Some courses only focus on one type of ceremony (eg. just weddings) while others combine two or more. For most, no specific previous experience is needed, but being somewhat comfortable speaking in front of groups is a good starting point obviously!

 

Some of the most popular and recognised training courses in the UK are with The Celebrants Collective, The Association of Modern Celebrancy, The Association of Independent Celebrants and Humanist UK.

 

If you are interested in becoming a celebrant, particularly a celebrant in the UK, please do get in touch and I will be happy to advise and give you information from my own perspective and experience.

 

Do you do funerals?

 

While I mainly focus on weddings, yes, I also do funerals. If you would like to plan a celebration of life for your loved one with me, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

 

Do you do naming ceremonies?

 

Yes, I do naming ceremonies for babies and young children. 

 

I also do trans naming ceremonies.

 

I am interested in becoming a celebrant, can I pick your brains?

 

Absolutely, just get in touch and arrange a call!

 

I have been asked to be a celebrant for a friend’s wedding, can you give me some tips?

 

This is a really common question I get, and the answer is yes - I am happy to give you tips and guidelines on how to put together a ceremony through my Introduction to Celebrancy workshop. Get in touch for more information.

 

How does your process work for weddings?

 

Planning a wedding ceremony from scratch, in a way that is meaningful and unique to you can be overwhelming at the start. So, I have put together a tried and tested process to make it as easy as possible for you.

 

Once I have checked my availability for your date(s) we would start with a video call (free of charge), to first work out if we’re the right fit. It is so important for you to find a celebrant that feels right for you, but also for me to also work with people that feel aligned with me and my values.

 

After this initial call, if we decide to work together I would send over a contract and once you’ve agreed to it and paid the deposit (50%) I would confirm the date for your big day.

 

The next step would be for us to have a ‘get to know you’ meeting - this is my opportunity to really learn who you are and what you are about so I can craft the perfect ceremony for you. I have a set of questions that we will work through in a relaxed interview style. Ideally, this meeting would be face to face over a tea, coffee, beer or glass of wine.

 

After this meeting, I will send you an information pack filled with ceremony ideas. These are only suggestions, and the beauty of a ceremony like this is that it is entirely up to - we can write brand new rituals and traditions if you wish.

 

Once you’ve made some final decisions on your ceremony, we will have a planning meeting (usually online) to talk through the finer details and make a ceremony plan.

 

I will then go away and write your script, pouring in all the ideas, creativity, love and vibrancy that has come out of our process, following the ceremony plan we’ve made together.

 

A few weeks before your big day, I will send over your first draft for you to read and make any suggestions. This is your chance to make sure the script is exactly how you want it - please be honest at this stage! I can take feedback, criticisms, critiques, suggestions and ideas and make the changes you need. The most important thing to me is that you are happy with the words being shared.

 

Once we have the final draft, the last (but certainly not least) thing to do is to deliver it on the day, exactly how we’ve planned it. In most cases, I also request a brief rehearsal meeting the night before, with anyone involved in the ceremony. This is particularly important if there is handfasting involved, and is to ensure that everyone knows what they are doing, and everything runs smoothly on the day.   


 

A few weeks after the ceremony, I will reach out and ask for a review and any photos you’re happy for me to use on my socials. This really helps me know if I’ve done a good job, and also helps me promote myself so I can connect with other people like you!

In addition to this, I can also offer Vow Writing Workshops, or be your MC and/or wedding DJ for the evening at an additional cost. Check out these other packages here.

 

My partner and I are queer, how do you ensure our wedding is inclusive and representative of our love?

 

Weddings and marriage have traditionally been something queer people have struggled to see themselves a part of for obvious reasons. As a queer person growing up in Catholic Ireland, I could never see myself in the ceremonies I experienced growing up and believed I would never get married. Now, luckily, as more and more people are seeking ceremonies that step away from the tradition, there is exciting space for queer people to celebrate their love exactly how they want.

 

As a married, queer person, I will ensure we craft a ceremony that is inclusive and representative of you, your love and your chosen family. In my ceremonies, I consider the language I use (particularly gendered language), the ceremonies and rituals we use, and the traditions I choose to incorporate (as often these are rooted in misogyny and/or heteronormativity). 

 

Do you carry out polyamorous/non-monogamous ceremonies?

 

Yes! 

 

As a non-monogamous person myself, I am also particularly attuned and sensitive to alternative relationship styles and can help you plan and craft a ceremony for you, your partners, your metamours, your polycule and even your best friends! 

 

Don’t hesitate to get in touch, to discuss how we can celebrate your love in all its forms!

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