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What’s it like to be a wedding celebrant?

When people find out you’re a wedding celebrant, they will often ask (and sometimes with a slightly envious look in their eye!) about what it’s like to do this job.

It’s quite a difficult question to answer, mostly because it’s very possible to talk about how amazing this work is for several hours, but that’s not really deemed socially acceptable! So, as you don’t want people’s eyes glazing over(!), you have to choose where best to start, and that’s the tricky bit…

Do you start with meeting the most awesome, switched-on couples who really value the idea of having a personalised ceremony led by someone they’ve actively chosen to share their story? And the honour and thrill of being told that you are that privileged person?

The best job in the world

Do you tell them about the gorgeous process of getting to know that couple really well over the months you work together (generally involving tea and cake and lots of laughter along the way)? About the joy of hearing all their plans and ideas for their big day, how they met and fell in love, the things that make them both laugh until it hurts, the things that drive them nuts about each other (in both senses of the word), and about how Uncle Tim is likely to want to read one of his famously terrible poems? About those secretive emails back and forth about the vows they don’t want the other one to see before the day?

Maybe you should start with how being a wedding celebrant lights you up like never before to gather all those things you’ve learned about your couple, to let your creativity loose and to immerse yourself in putting together a gorgeous ceremony that will reflect their story and their personalities. Or about how delicious it is when a spark of inspiration leads you to dream up the perfect ritual or wording that perfectly sums them up and you know they will remember and talk about for the rest of their lives. And of course you’ll want to tell them what it’s like to see the expressions on your couple’s faces when they hear their story retold for the first time!

But then they might want to hear about how, as the wedding celebrant, you get THE best view of the entrance of the bride, or the groom, or the couple – and you get to see their excitement, nerves and starry eyes close up. You get to hear every whisper between them and spot every tear welling in their eyes. You get to be the one that holds the space gently for their transition and to include their family and friends in a joyful social recognition of their new married state. You get to tell their story, making people laugh with them, cry with them and cheer them on. You get to be there when all the magic happens. And not just be present to it, but be the one who makes it out of the rapport you have with them.

COuple getting married

Perhaps you could describe the feeling of hope it gives you to be celebrating love and togetherness at a time when viruses and politics have made the world stage feel all about division and darkness. Or you could tell them all about some of the fantastic barns, woodlands, castles, canal boats, gardens, beaches, stately homes or festival fields you’ve had the pleasure of working in. You could wax lyrical about the joys of canapés (surely one of the best job perks ever?!), or about the fact you get to dress up and celebrate so. dang. often!

If you wanted to focus on the lifestyle that comes with being a celebrant, you could start there instead of course. Choosing your work hours to fit around your life, being able to work from home, learning about new things that your couples introduce you to, running your own business, being able to set your own rules and be your true self at work. Not to mention how great it is being part of an industry full of fellow creatives who have each other’s backs and often become close friends – your connections with venue owners, event stylists, photographers, clothes makers, florists and so on. And naturally you’d want to mention the awesome tribe of fellow celebrants who are there for you, sharing your journey with mutual support, inspiration, referrals and friendship…

However bleak things seem right now with Covid restrictions, love has not disappeared and couples are booking their 2021/22 ceremonies still with excitement and hope. The darkest days of the pandemic demonstrated to us all just how precious love and human contact really is. Weddings might be postponed or slimmed down right now, but they are not going anywhere. And this is the very spirit of what it’s like to be a celebrant – to be at the heart of celebrations of love and connection, sometimes against all odds. It really is the best job in the world.

So, what’s it like to be a wedding celebrant? Hmmm… where to begin? Why don’t you join us and find out for yourself?

Photos by Carl Thomson Photography

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Claire Bradford

About the author

Claire is an award-winning celebrant and trainer who gets ridiculously excited about creating rites of passage ceremonies that tell great stories and reflect the people they’re about. As co-director of awesomeness and celebrant training for the Celebrants Collective, she also gets ridiculously excited about training people to do the best job in the world. (Actually, it would be fair to say that Claire has a tendency to get ridiculously excited about all sorts of things, including chocolate, Kung-Fu, 80s pop music and a well-brewed cup of tea, but that’s another story…) Claire is lucky enough to live by the seaside in sunny Worthing, on the south coast of England, with the gorgeous Team Bradford and their ‘fragrant’ rescue dog, Stanley.

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