When I burst into the wedding industry in 2018 full of enthusiasm and multi-coloured outfits no one seemed to know what a Celebrant was. Celebrants had in fact been around for years already by this point, Terri Shanks had been training up new Celebrants for three years and opened The Fellowship of Professional Celebrants in 2011, but using a Celebrant for your wedding ceremony was the alternative choice. Many couples, wedding suppliers and even venues still weren't quite sure what a Celebrant did.
Back in the days when Corona was just a beer and working from home seemed like a pipe dream I was spending every weekend at wedding fairs explaining to couples how a Celebrant can truly transform your wedding ceremony from something quite boring and serious, to a deeply personal, meaningful and fun experience.
And then the pandemic happened and everything changed. Couples postponing their big day were forced to have simple legal ceremonies or cancel completely and as restrictions started to ease couples looked elsewhere for someone to help then celebrate during their rescheduled reception with family and friends.
Finally, everyone knew what a Celebrant could do and having a Celebrant led ceremony started to become the new normal.
At the same time peoples lives were thrown into chaos and many people began to reassess their work / life balance and their chosen careers. People started to look for roles that offered more flexibility, more creativity and the number of people training to become a celebrant rapidly increased.
There are currently no specific qualifications needed to be a Celebrant, there are no governing bodies and no required training courses. For those who do choose to train they are often overwhelmed by the sheer number of training organisations offering courses in Wedding and Funeral Celebrancy, some set up by individuals who have barely even got their feet wet in the industry themselves.
When I registered my business on Google in 2018 there were 4 Celebrants in the Lancashire area. Now there are over 30, and that's just the ones I personally know about.
It's easier than ever to find a Celebrant to officiate your wedding ceremony. Anyone can stand up and a say words right? It can't be that difficult surely?
So if you're not fussy who stands up their during the most important day of your life then you can easily find a Celebrant by searching google or one of the online directories. But how do you choose which one is right for you?
Let me help you... by removing myself from the list.
Here's 5 Reasons why I'm probably not the right Celebrant for you.
1. You just want the ceremony over already so the party can get started.
I get it.... you want to celebrate with your family and friends, you've booked the best band, the most epic DJ and you want the drinks flowing and the dance floor packed.
But the ceremony does not have to be the boring part before the fun begins.
The ceremony is the heart of your wedding day. Your loved ones are there to witness you commit to a life together, to exchange vows, and to say I do. Without the ceremony, it's just another night out and a hell of a lot more expensive!
2. You want the ceremony to be quick and simple
If you just want to say I do with no faff then I'm not the Celebrant for you either.
I want to get to know my couples, to hear all the amazing stories of your journey as a couple so far. I want to know how you met, where you went on your first date, who made the first move, who said I love you first, and who awkwardly remained silent.
I want to get to know you.... your favourite TV shows to binge watch on a Friday night, your favourite tunes to bust a move to after a few pints. I want to meet your kids, to cuddle your doggo and to really know and understand your relationship.
I fill my ceremonies with stories about you that are guaranteed to make your guests laugh and cry in all the right places. I want to celebrate your love in all it's glory and leave all your guests raving about the best ceremony they've ever been to.
3. You don't have much budget for the ceremony, you would rather invest that money on other areas of your wedding day.
I get it, honestly. Weddings are expensive. If budget is the number one factor for you when choosing a Celebrant there are tons of folk out there alot cheaper than me.
My pricing is actually pretty standard within the industry, my fee for 2022-2024 is £795 but I know those who charge anywhere between £500-£1500.
My fee is based on my experience in the industry, my qualifications ( A degree in Creative Writing and a Diploma In Wedding Celebrancy if you're interested ) and the time and effort that goes into each and every wedding ceremony I officiate.
My fee doesn't vary depending on day of the week, time of year or the cost of your venue. I only ever take one wedding per day and every couple gets the same attention to detail, unlimited support and one of a kind wedding ceremony written exclusively for you.
4. You want something traditional
If you want something super traditional then I'm not your girl. I love couples who love to break the rules, stick two fingers up to tradition and to embrace the unique!
*Dance down the aisle together
*Sing your favourite song mid ceremony
*Toast to your married life with sambuca
*Rap your vows or serenade your fiancee with a song mid speeches
If you're just after a nice normal wedding day then you'll find so many celebrants who are a better fit for you.
5. You don't believe in marriage equality and that ALL love is equal.
Each of my couples has a unique story to tell, some of their journeys are harder than others, some are filled with romance, some are full of fun and banter. Some love stories are a whirlwind romance and some are decades long.
But every single couple I work with is equal and all forms of love are valid.
I love working with all folks who want to celebrate their love for someone else. Straight, Queer, Cis, Trans, Poly, Mono, Romantic, Platonic, and anything and everything in between.
I am a safe space and I only work with couples who share my love and respect for their fellow humans, whether you are a part of the LGBTQIA+ community yourself or an ally.
Choosing a Celebrant is one of the biggest decisions in your wedding planning journey.
They will be an integral part of your day and could end up being your biggest regret, or the best decision you ever made. So choose wisely.
So what should you look for and what should you ask any celebrants you are considering?
Have they undergone any training? How much experience do they have? Are they insured? Can you see reviews from past couples, talk to them or speak to suppliers they have worked with in the past?
How do they work? What will happen if you book them, how does the process work and what is and isn't included as a part of their offering. Some celebrants will say their goodbyes straight after the ceremony, some like myself, stick around for 3-4 hours and make sure the afternoons activities run through without a hitch. How much support on the day itself do you want?
What happens if you need to postpone or cancel your day all together? Read the terms and conditions of their contract carefully, and ensure you get wedding insurance too, just incase.
And finally ask yourself....is this a person I feel completely comfortable inviting into my life and being a part of a day you will remember forever.
If so... you might just have found the one.