Chichester-based certified celebrant, Vicky Edwards has trained in both our wedding and funeral celebrant training courses. Drawing on her background in professional theatre, broadcasting and as an author, she has set up her celebrant business Spot On Ceremonies, and is creating heart-centred ceremonies that are memorable and meaningful.
Read on to learn more about Vicky's celebrant journey.
What did you do before becoming a celebrant or in addition to being a celebrant now?
Writer, actor, broadcaster, storyteller.
What experiences or past skills do you think helped you with being a celebrant?
Definitely writing. Experience in interviewing people for features really helps with the info gathering process, while experience as a writer of everything from sales blurbs to books is great for the creative aspect of ceremony crafting.
Running storytelling workshops has really helped in terms of ensuring a natural flow for a ceremony, while broadcasting and acting experience means that standing up in front of a crowd doesn't present too great a challenge.
But don't underestimate life experiences, too. Being able to empathise, relate and communicate are essential tools of the Celebrant trade.
What made you want to train to become a celebrant?
Lockdown and a random request! All my regular work fell off a cliff and I was twiddling my thumbs and driving myself around the bend. At this point my niece announced her engagement and asked me to officiate (she'd done some research and told me all about the role of a celebrant). Weirdly, around the same time I was asked to interview a celebrant for a newspaper article. Anyway, once I realized that the skill set required was, for once, something I could honestly claim to be able for (none of the fingers crossed and bright smile stuff on this one!), I was desperate to get started.
What did your friends and family think of your decision to become a celebrant?
"It's perfect for you." They were all super-supportive and in complete agreement that it was the job that I should have been doing all along. In every case it was like a light bulb being illuminated above their heads when I told them my plans. Which was very encouraging!
Why did you choose to train with the Celebrants Collective?
A couple of friends in the wedding industry recommended the divine Ms Bradford, who was good enough to let me pester her with questions on the phone (I promptly developed a huge girl crush that I can't see wearing off any time soon!). But the CC simply ticked all the boxes for me in terms of its values. I also loved the mix of independent, supported and group learning (Claire, Natasha and Rosalie's tutorials are fab), and from the very start I felt that I would be making the very best possible investment in my future as a Celebrant. It also felt really collaborative, and I loved that. I wanted to be part of a team.
Did you have any worries about being a celebrant which the course has helped you resolve?
Tech. Admin. Oh dear God, how I fretted on all of that old shizzle! I mean, what even is an Insta reel? But little by little I am learning and growing in confidence on this front - the great thing about the Collective is that there is always someone to ask. About anything.
What was your most favourite part of the course and why?
Tutorials. The shared experience here is just wonderful. I don't get to many nowadays as I'm usually busy actually BEING a Celebrant (how good does that feel to write?!) but the wisdom, guidance, kindness and laughter of my early training was simply wonderful.
How has your training with the Celebrants Collective helped you to become a confident celebrant?
Look, this sounds massively sucky-uppy, but I genuinely feel like I am learning from the best; the best Celebrants and the best human beings. And I know that I still have a safety net whenever I need it - the ongoing relationship is really valuable to me as I develop in my new career.
What’s been your biggest takeaway so far about training to be a celebrant?
There is no right or wrong! Trust your gut. There is ALWAYS something new to learn and there will ALWAYS be a situation that you haven't come across before. And that is totally OK!
What kind of celebrant do you think you’re shaping up to be?
Warm, creative, adaptable and fun. I hope. That's kind of what my feedback implies, so while it's a bit blush-making, I'll definitely take it. But like I say, I have fabulous role models...
How have you been making a name for yourself since you became certified or in the process of getting certified?
I bit the bullet on social media and took some (paid for) advice. I also invested in a decent website. Luckily I have a relationship with my local newspaper, so I have been able to secure a couple of features. I also managed to make my first wedding for a radio presenter friend, so a few good (free!) shout-outs here. But the most useful marketing has simply been telling people what I do. At least 5 funerals have come about through people who just knew what I was doing now. So shout about it! Fly your Celebrant flag with pride and noise! Oh, and I was also lucky enough to be nominated for the TWIA (The Wedding Industry Awards) by a couple. As a newbie I didn't have a hope of winning, but I did make it to the Regional Finals. You have to pay (to officially enter and also to attend the ceremony) but there's no denying that having that wee badge on my marketing material gives me a credible boost. Truthfully, I'm not sure where I stand on awards generally, but TWIA are well run and are adjudicated by industry professionals. Worth considering in your marketing plans, for sure.
What would be your advice to someone looking to train to be a wedding or funeral celebrant?
Be really honest about whether or not your skill set is a good fit. Assuming it is, choose your training programme carefully. I got lucky in finding CC so quickly, but I know of Celebrant colleagues who handed over a lot of money to other training organisations and then found that the course wasn't quite what they hoped for, so do your homework. Be honest about the income you need. I am not yet at a stage where I can make my Celebrant work my sole income, so I have to do a bit of juggling with other jobs. Finally, get yourself a couple of 'work' outfits that make you feel a million dollars. And if you're no good in high heels, for the love of God get yourself some great wedges or kitten heels! My first funeral was not only terrifying by dint of being my debut, but my feet were agony before I'd even got to the Eulogy!
We are so proud and excited to have Vicky in our Celebrants Collective community and we know she'll be a fabulous celebrant ambassador.
If reading this makes you really excited about training to be a celebrant, make sure to check out our homepage for more on our celebrant training online and in-person courses.