Why did I train to be a professional Celebrant?

Susan Foxall Ceremonies

So, why did I train to be a professional Celebrant? It might sound a bit corny but, the answer is that I wanted to make a difference!

I wanted to show couples that it isn’t a straight choice between Church and Register Office – that there are many inspiring ways to create your bespoke ceremony and truly own it, making their ceremony all about them as a couple; allowing them to say the words they have chosen themselves on this very special day, instead of being told what to say with a ‘template one size fits all script’.

It all began about 5 years ago when I read an article in a glossy mag while sitting at the hospital fracture clinic with my arm in plaster! Leafing through the magazine I came across one of those articles that’s entitled ‘don’t tell me I can’t start a new business in my 50s’ – I read about a Celebrant I now know and respect who did just that – re-trained in order to make a difference. I contacted this lady, who was very helpful and lovely, and we chatted about training organisations and the life of a Celebrant – needless to say I was hooked and went about my research straight away.

This resulted in my training with the Fellowship of Independent Celebrants (FOIC), training which is on-going and provides an invaluable source of support and knowledge to help me continue on my Celebrant journey.

Being a Celebrant is a very rewarding career – there are not many who can say they truly love their job, and along with meeting some fabulous people, I get to be a part of their significant moments, guide them through grief if they’ve lost a love one, or officiate at their wedding, naming ceremony, or vow renewal.

So… what’s involved? Let’s see how this unfolds….

Celebrants meet with their couple – often an initial meeting is free of charge (mine definitely are) so they can relax, get to know their chosen celebrant, ask all their questions, and then make an informed decision that this person is indeed the Celebrant for them.

After that, a second meeting – ‘all about the two of you’ I call it. This is where I get inside their heads, find out what makes them tick as couple and begin to ‘see’ a framework for their ceremony. Finding out what added content they might not even have considered – maybe they don’t know about Celtic hand-fasting, Unity Sand ceremony, or ring warming – to name but a few of the gorgeous symbolic elements that can be woven into the ceremony, something only a Celebrant can do.

Hours of work then follow (and I mean hours, up to 20 on the average ceremony), with unlimited contact for my couple and frequent ‘checking in’ from me. A rehearsal is always offered if they want one and it’s possible to squeeze one in with everything else that’s going on. So as you can begin to understand, we don’t just turn up on the day for half an hour and that’s it! Many hours go in into the creation of a perfect ceremony, whether it be for a wedding, a baby or child naming, or a vow renewal, where you as a couple might want to say some special words to your husband or wife, re-affirming your love for one another.

Then on the day, I arrive early, remember, it’s your day and your ceremony, so only one wedding is booked per day – it doesn’t matter if things don’t go to plan, or there are delays, so relax and live the moments as they unfold. I am there not to just read my script, but to hold space for you, to guide you through the most significant part of your wedding day, creating a memorable experience for you and for your guests – they will remember this for a long time. This is a responsibility that we, as trained Celebrants take very seriously.

Because we take our role seriously, whilst the job we do is wonderful, there are many skills needed to be an outstanding Celebrant.

These might include:

  • Excellent writing skills – being able to create a script from pages of notes
  • The ability to listen, and ‘pull out’ of a conversation what makes the couple tick
  • Being able to achieve the right balance of gravitas and humour
  • Completely comfortable with public speaking
  • Excellent organisational and timing skills
  • Being able to ‘think on your feet’ if things don’t go to plan
  • Having the ability to really engage with an audience – large or small
  • Being punctual
  • The ability to manage diverse groups and complicated family dynamics

As you can see there are many reasons not to entrust this special moment to just anyone! It takes the right person with all of these skills and more to create your dream ceremony, to make it memorable and beautiful.

So, what are you waiting for??? 🙂

Get in touch and let’s start talking about your plans