Devon-based certified wedding celebrant Rachel Barker has had an amazing journey of previous life experiences which have brought her to celebrancy. And now that she's here, she finally feels that she is doing what she is truly meant to be doing. We love that!
With her new business Heart-Centred Celebrations now in motion, Rachel's already got herself some wedding bookings for this summer. Whoop! Read more about Rachel's wedding celebrant journey below.
What did you do before becoming a celebrant or in addition to being a celebrant now?
I taught foreign students for 20 years. I also run my own festival and event catering business and love performing and doing role play work in medical and corporate settings.
What experiences or past skills do you think helped you with being a celebrant?
I think that teaching has helped me with my organisational and planning skills and feeling comfortable meeting people from all walks of life and all over the world. Catering at festivals has given me the experience of being able to work under pressure and has made me realise how much I enjoy celebrating love, joy and human connection (I believe that these qualities are present in bucket loads at festivals and weddings!) And acting has helped me to become a confident public speaker and given me the skills to think on my feet and improvise when necessary.
What made you want to train to become a celebrant?
When COVID first entered our lives last year I had some time to reassess what I wanted in life. I absolutely love connecting with fellow humans and bringing people together to celebrate love, joy and connection. It is something that has always been close to my heart and feels so right with the person I am. I have also been to lots of weddings in my life, coming from a massive family, and the ones that stood out to me the most were celebrant led. It really struck me how personalised and authentic these ceremonies were and so to explore the celebrant path further felt like a natural progression.
What did your friends and family think of your decision to become a celebrant?
Everyone was incredibly supportive of me and felt that it was so in alignment with who I am. My husband said " doing this work was a natural expression of my innate gifts and talents." I felt a bit shy about sharing with the world that I had qualified initially, but my family encouraged me to share on Facebook and the response was so positive and affirming!
Why did you choose to train with the Celebrants Collective?
When I started researching places that held training, the Celebrants collective was the first one I came across and I just loved the relaxed yet professional and personable style that came across through their website. I felt that they were the kind of women I'd want to sit down with and have a cuppa and a good natter. I then did that classic thing that lots of us do, I looked into lots of other online training sites, only to return to the original one that totally resonated with me (I often take this approach when buying shoes too. Hehe!)
Did you have any worries about being a celebrant which the course has helped you resolve?
The big thing that Claire and Natasha have helped me gain clarity with recently, is clearly breaking down the whole journey that celebrants go on with their couple step by step. Taking things from your initial enquiry to the couple’s big day and beyond. There is also the opportunity to attend tutorials twice a week and these have been so valuable, informative and helpful. It is a really positive and supportive space and I love sounding off ideas with my peers.
What was your most favorite part of the course and why?
I found the way that the course was designed was so user friendly. It was divided into manageable modules that were all full of interesting content and informative resources to refer to. However, the favourite part for me was the assignments, particularly assignment 3. It all began to feel real when I stood up and delivered the love story on camera. Claire, also took the time to give me helpful and constructive feedback with all of my assignments.
How has your training with the Celebrants Collective helped you to become a confident celebrant?
Natasha and Claire have been so knowledgeable and approachable in their style of teaching and really generous with sharing their experience and wisdom with all of us trainees. The tutorials have been worth their weight in gold and have really helped me become more comfortable with exploring the many different elements of celebrant work, such as designing a ceremony, writing a love story and exploring all the different symbolic rituals you can build into a ceremony. After every tutorial I attend, I always feel empowered with a stronger belief in myself and now I have completed the training there is the Celebrants Collective HQ where like-minded celebrants come together and encourage and support each other too.
What’s been your biggest takeaway so far about training to be a celebrant?
As Natasha and Claire always say “Trust your gut, there is no right or wrong”. Also, I now see that there are endless ways that couples can get married and the only real limit is your imagination!
What kind of celebrant do you think you’re shaping up to be?
Gosh! Good question. I feel that I am shaping up to be an enthusiastic, authentic and knowledgeable celebrant. I love connecting with with different people and helping them create their perfect day. It is an honour and a privilege to be doing this work. I am so excited to get going!! I already have a few booking coming through for this summer. Whoop!
How have you been making a name for yourself since you became certified or in the process of getting certified?
I have been busy on Facebook and Instagram which has been a whole new world for me! I had never even used instagram before, but thanks to my niece and two teenage kids I am getting my head round it - they are great teachers! I am also building my website at present and hope to launch that soon.I have designed my logo and business cards and with lockdown lifting I am looking forward to being able to share them with venues and businesses. I have already visited a couple of venues where I felt well received. I am now on their list of suppliers which is fab. However, I still think that the best form of marketing is good old fashioned word of mouth.
What would be your advice to someone looking to train to be a wedding or funeral celebrant?
I would highly recommend this training to anyone who feels inspired to walk this path. I haven’t looked back! I finally feel that I have chosen the career that I was always meant to be doing. I feel grateful every day that I have made this choice in my life.
We have absolutely enjoyed witnessing Rachel's journey into celebrancy and seeing her take on this new role with so much wisdom, poise and enthusiasm.