After some initial chat catching up with a few of my friends and introducing myself to new faces, one of the women new to me asked "what do you do"?
I've been accustomed to answering this question all throughout my career, in many different capacities and most of the titles I had were quite self-defining such as Marketing Manager, Sales Director, Training Manager and so on. Even my vocation as a Life Coach leaves little to the imagination in 2016. No one needed clarification on what I meant by any of those past career titles.
"I'm a Celebrant" I replied, in my usual warm and engaging way. Wait for it! I anticipated the next question.
"A what?" she politely asked. "A Celebrant" I repeated. She looked very curious and thought for a brief moment. And then came the expected question ... "What's a Celebrant"?
I want to say here that I absolutely love my vocation and I've never been happier in a job than I am now as a Celebrant. So any opportunity that crosses my path to explain this awesome job of mine really delights me.
"Well, I design and officiate ceremonies - you could say I'm a Ceremony Specialist. I create beautiful, meaningful, thoughtful ceremonies to celebrate weddings, baby namings, vow renewals, life transitions - those sorts of life occasions. I get to help people mark significant life events and make them truly memorable! I love my job! "
By now, my voice is filled with enthusiasm and I'm eager for more questions so that I can share more insight about this fantastic job I have. I love talking about what I do for a living, so anytime someone looks at me a bit quizzically I get quite eager and ready to explain.
I think of my profession as being somewhat of an Artisan - someone skilled in 'making things by hand'. In my case, I make ceremonies by hand, each one unique, each one fresh, each one simply beautiful. Exactly what my clients desire. I view the ceremonies I write as pieces of art because they hold the hearts and the dreams of my clients within the words that I compose. And it is a memory that stays with them, forever.
So perhaps I am a Ceremony Artisan. The word 'artisan' is based on the French verb 'artire' which means to instruct in the arts. I take the journey of someone's life, or the lives of two people in a relationship, and weave their story into a beautifully written and delivered ceremony. My product is a 'service' and not something decorative like jewellery or clothing, but the memories are one-of-a-kind pieces of art that last a lifetime.
So ... just what do I do as a Celebrant (might be your next question)?
Well, simply put, I like to meet with you in person if at all possible, so that we can all gain a better idea about each other's style and personality. I believe it is essential that the Celebrant you hire is someone who you relate to, someone whose presence suggests the same values and standards as your own, someone who listens to you and hears what you say, as well as what you don't say.
As a Celebrant, I am a writer, a designer of your event, the person who sets the tone for your ceremony, a researcher uncovering ideas and sentiments to include in the words I say on your behalf, an editor of my written work, an organiser of rehearsals and a liaison with significant people who are part of your ceremony (as well as a liaison with your venue).
As a Celebrant, I am the one who officiates 'your story' and your celebration, and I do that with style, with professionalism, with charisma, and with quality speaking skills.
Anyone can stand in front of a group of people and deliver words. But only a top notch Celebrant will do that with grace, presence and with a talent for writing bespoke ceremonies that tell your story in a way that is most meaningful to you.
I will say it again ... I absolutely LOVE my vocation as a Celebrant! And I tell my clients that the person they hire should absolutely love what they do, and that should show on their faces and in their enthusiasm when they talk about their services. The person hired to be a Celebrant should be able to show you, through their presence, that ceremonies are something they do supremely well. And that should come across in the very first interaction you have with a Celebrant, whether it be an email, a phone chat, an in-person visit, or a skype meeting.
From my view, my clients have an incredibly precious, one-moment-in-time life event, so as their Celebrant, I am the heartbeat and the soul of that celebration. My clients deserve the very best I can offer them.
As a Celebrant in the UK, my role is quite unlike the role of a registrar, though both conduct ceremonies. The clarification is that a Celebrant's role is not the legal ceremony, which is actually fantastic because we can design ceremonies any way that suits a client's wishes. There are no restrictions. Ceremonies can be as traditional as a client wishes, or as fantastically creative as they can imagine.
One of the most rewarding aspects of my role as a Celebrant is that I have the privilege to work with people who hold a broad range of life views, beliefs, traditions, cultural customs, or ethnic heritage.
It is such an honour to hold someone's celebration in my hands!
As a Celebrant, I capture memories and meaningful experiences that carefully preserve the heart of an occasion, forever. I do not impose any particular belief system, nor do I restrict clients from including a particular belief into their ceremonies and celebrations. I am a lighthouse guiding clients through every step of designing their ideal ceremony.
In my role as a fully qualified Celebrant, I devote myself to ongoing, comprehensive training, not just in the philosophy of creating beautiful and memorable ceremonies ... but largely in the art of telling a person's or a couple's story beautifully, personally and in a deeply meaningful way.
When I started writing this article, I mentioned how much I love my vocation as a Celebrant! And my words in this article are far reaching, well beyond my own little corner of the world where I work my magic as a Celebrant creating memories for special people and special occasions.
But nothing would bring me more joy than to connect with you - wherever you happen to live on our planet - even if it is just to ask me some questions about hiring a Celebrant, or if you think I can clarify any of your understanding about working with a Celebrant!
I am quite sincere about this, so please do take me up on the offer! Sometimes it can be very useful just to talk things through.
Or visit my website which is a great resource of information for how Celebrants work and what you should expect when you team up with a Celebrant!
Follow me at ellenbowerceremonies.com
Or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org