Choosing a Celebrant!

You’ve all heard of the famous British proverb ‘horses for courses’? Well, we may not be 4-legged, but the saying does go for celebrants too! Different celebrants are suited to different types and styles of ceremonies, and finding your match is key to achieving the ceremony your heart desires.

Religion or Faith

Irrespective of whether you are organising a wedding, a baby naming or a funeral ceremony, the first place to start is to decide whether you want any religion included in your ceremony. If you want even the merest hint of faith in your ceremony, then a Humanist celebrant is probably not for you. 

Independent celebrants on the other hand can do both non-religious and religious ceremonies. Of course all independent celebrants, like myself, all sit somewhere along the spectrum and have their limits! Some may be very comfortable creating a ceremony that reflects your level of faith/religion so that’s a question you would need to ask up front. On the other extreme you have those that feel uncomfortable with it and would prefer not to create and deliver ceremonies with any religious content. That doesn’t make them a humanist by the way…. that’s a subject for a whole other post! Most independent celebrants are happy to sit somewhere in the middle of that spectrum and include the Lord’s Prayer in a funeral ceremony or reflect a faith symbolically in a wedding ceremony. I do fall into this middle ground space in case you were wondering…..

Your Style

Moving on from religion, the next thing to ask yourself is what type of ceremony are you looking for? If a wedding, what’s your bag? Is it a boho festival type wedding in a field? A classy high end semi formal in a beautiful country house hotel? Or a relaxed, fun wedding in a purpose-built wedding barn somewhere? Or maybe on a beach? Or even abroad? Anything is possible now. But think……. How do you want your day to flow? How do you want your celebration to make people feel? How do you want to feel? My advice is to throw the rule book out of the window and really focus on the vibe and the memories you want to create.

Likewise with funerals. What would best reflect the life of the deceased? Do you want to truly celebrate the life lost? Do you mind some funny stories and quirky music in your ceremony? Or would you prefer to keep it traditional? Or maybe a blend of both?

The Celebrant’s Style

So, your next task it to try to identify the celebrant that can deliver the ceremony that’s right for you. Some specialise in boho festival type ceremonies for example. Some love the pagan rituals so specialise in that kind of ceremony. Some prefer traditional based funerals whereas some prefer to really celebrate the life that has passed.

Celebrants all have a preferred style of ceremony. For example, I’m not your woman for a boho type wedding. There are far better celebrants than me out there that specialise in those! I can incorporate pagan rituals such as hand fasting in my ceremonies, but any further right on the pagan spectrum and that not me either! I’m also happy to blend some tradition into a funeral ceremony as long as the main focus is really on celebrating the life that has passed.

The First Date!

The majority of celebrants will be happy to chat with you about what kind of ceremony you are looking for, and from that discussion both parties can decide whether the other is a person they want to work with. In my coaching practice, we call this a ‘chemistry session’ (aka a first date!) Do we think we can get on? Is this celebrant understanding what my deepest desires are? Do I like their values and approach? And a good celebrant should also be considering whether they are best placed to work with your deepest desires. Most well-trained celebrants won’t have templated ceremonies that they slot a new name into; they work with you to design a bespoke ceremony. So, as a celebrant, I need to be asking myself whether what you want is up my street! That chemistry call should work for both parties.

My advice to you is, be clear about your preferred style of ceremony and the vibe and memories you want to create. Then get researching the web for local celebrants. Their approach should be clear in their text; are they a humanist or an independent celebrant? What does their website tell you about their style? And then nothing beats picking the phone up and chatting to them.

We don’t bite, honest! And you may just find yourself with a new professional friend who can support you in achieving your vision!