It’s my 12th year as a Celebrant anniversary today!! Whoop Whoop!! 12 wonderful years of meeting couples, creating beautiful personal love stories, and doing lots of wonderful travelling too! I still experience the same excitement and enjoyment I felt at the beginning of my Celebrant career in 2011, and working with couples over the last 12 years, creating ceremonies for all types and styles of weddings has been such a joy filled journey. I feel incredibly lucky, and grateful too, having been introduced to a Celebrant in Australia many years ago, at a Wedding which I will never forget as being so cool, so special, so emotional and certainly so very different to any weddings I had attended in England. We held ceremony at sunset, on a mountain top, surrounded by vineyards….and there was personality, storytelling, happy tears and a huge feeling of love in the room, as we all felt so very present in those moments.
So having found Celebrancy myself in England, and training with the wonderful Fellowship of Professional Celebrants and graduating on the 16th March, 2011, I stepped into another world. A world of words, of rituals, of creating meaning and memories, of choice and of course of inclusivity, as Celebrants have always offered symbolic ceremonies to all who wish to celebrate their relationship their own special way.
It’s been a wonderful time – creating ceremony for over 450 couples and delivering these in 6 different countries- England, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France and Italy! How awesome this has been!
They’ve all been so different and so wonderful – it’s been difficult to curate my favourite dozen to share with you!
One of my first ceremonies was for a couple who were very keen on animal welfare and organised their wedding to be held at a local animal sanctuary which meant I did the deed in a field with a herd of Cows and Bulls at my back!
Luckily they were very well behaved having been treated to their favourite ginger nut biscuits ! One was very curious about me as he came up behind me as I was reading and licked my back! It was very strange feeling his breath on my neck, but not scary at all – in all honesty it made the whole experience fun and engaging for me, the couple and their guests.
Afterwards we had fun feeding them more ginger biscuits and carrots! A delicious vegan wedding breakfast followed and we were introduced to many of the other residents on this lovely farm. Thanks to everyone at Hugletts Animal Sanctuary on the day for their warm welcome and for taking such care of us, and of our new furry and feathery friends!
Being a celebrant means working to give couples their day their way and I think we certainly did that!
Obviously there have been many more since these early days – so many wonderful couples and venues. Manor Houses, stately homes, woodland areas, private gardens, and public parks. I have been so very lucky to have had such a wonderful variety- from the Ritz Hotel to private gardens and everything in between.
In 2017 I moved to Germany and began the process of dividing my time between England and Europe – weddings booked in England for 2018 meant travelling to and fro, and I took it all as part of the adventure and fun of being a Celebrant. I also picked up more of my first language- yes, it’s not actually English! My mum was German, and dad was English. At home as a child I was bilingual but only learned to read and write English when I was 5 at a school in an army camp in Wiltshire. I actually remember my sense of panic trying to understand the words written in the Janet and John book and the stress of having to read aloud in front of the whole class.
My love of language and particularly storytelling began there as I learned a new and fascinating vocabulary.
I therefore offered bilingual ceremonies and found a wonderful new string to my bow! Couples in both England and Germany booked me and it was such a powerful and emotional experience to speak my mother’s language again for such a wonderful occasion as a Wedding💕
Since 2017 I have also been so very lucky to have worked with Peach Perfect Weddings for international couples who have chosen the epic scenery of Bavaria in which to celebrate, either by eloping or bringing only a small number of wedding guests with them. These are amazing too. I have loved every moment in these beautiful locations. I’ve also been lucky to have new couples referred to me by photographers who specialise in stunning images taken outdoors with just the landscape as our witness. Breathtaking and beautiful at any time of year!
I look forward to the next chapter in my celebrant journey. I remember the training that set me off with confidence and excitement.Thank you Terri and the amazing Fellowship of Professional Celebrants community.
I want to also say a special thank you to all the celebrants who have supported, advised, encouraged and befriended me over the years, and hope I too have championed those going even further – building networks, training academies, speaking on our behalf to government and championing independent celebrants and making sure our voice is heard in the review of the marriage law.
I could never choose just 12 😉
So as I move into my wedding season in 2023, having one beautiful WinterWonderland Elopement in the Disney Castle area of Schwangau ticked off the calendar, I hope this goes some way to share how much I love being chosen as Celebrant, and how special this role is, not only for me, but also for my couples, as I hold space for them, and their loved ones, those who are with them, and those who have passed. It really is an honour and a priviledge to stand in this circle, and to bear witness through ceremony, ritual and promises, to those stepping into the next adventure together! 🙂
In Love with a Wolf, Aneta Lehotska Photography & Film, Anapaula Lobato, Larisa Gancea Photography, Herzflimmern -Nadine Schachinger, Christine Madeux, Wild Connections Photography, Abbas Photography, Nicholas Wallace, Innar Hunt Film, The Bostons, Images by Celine, Mathias Friel, Michele Aflatoon, Andrew Craner Photography