So… you want to become a celebrant?

celebrant and couple at a barn wedding
picture courtesy of Olivia Judah

There’s a good chance that you’re reading this because someone has suggested you should become a celebrant. Or perhaps you’ve attended a celebrant-led ceremony, been inspired by just how personal it was, and thought ‘I could do that’. Or maybe (hopefully not, but it happens) you’ve been to one and thought ‘I could do better than that’.

Or maybe you know someone who is a funeral celebrant or a wedding celebrant and you just love hearing all about their work and seeing how their face just lights up when they talk about it.

Well, whatever the reason, you’re now asking yourself:

How do I become a celebrant?

This series of blog posts will hopefully give you the inspiration, the knowledge and the practicalities to help you to:

  • find out more about the work of a celebrant and what’s involved
  • learn the skills that are needed to become a celebrant
  • look at some of the options – for example whether you are mostly drawn to becoming a funeral celebrant or you would prefer to train as a wedding celebrant (or whether you want to do both!)
  • decide whether becoming a celebrant is the right path for you
  • discover what a typical celebrant earns in the UK

So let’s dive right in!

What does a celebrant actually do?

Simply put, celebrants are the ones who stand at the front and conduct the ceremony, whether it be a wedding, vow renewal, baby naming or funeral. We are not priests, nor are we registrars, but that’s the role that most people are familiar with (or often mistake us for being!)

That’s our ‘performance’ bit anyway, and it’s the part of our work that you will see pictures of. But what you don’t normally see is the hours and hours of preparation, meetings and writing that go into making that ‘performance’ such a beautiful, personal ceremony.

Typically, celebrants meet the couple or family they are working with at least once, and that meeting will normally last 1.5 – 2 hours. There will normally be at least one more meeting for a wedding. The information we gain from that meeting, plus from any further communication (there’s lots over the months of wedding planning, for example), is what we use to create the ceremony.

Writing the first draft of the ceremony takes several hours, and any ‘tweaks’ required can take further hours. Good celebrants don’t use templates, so each ceremony script is crafted from scratch and built around the person or people it’s about. There’s no ‘insert-name-here’ stuff going on!

A conservative estimate about the amount of time that goes into that 30 minutes of ceremony is around 2.5-3 days for a wedding, 1.5-2 days for a funeral, and somewhere inbetween for other ceremonies. Quite a lot, isn’t it?

We celebrants spend a lot of time working ‘in’ our business – having meetings, conducting ceremonies, travelling to those meetings or ceremonies, writing, or emailing our couples and families (phew!)

But when we’re not doing that, we have to work ‘on’ our business too – networking, invoicing, marketing, keeping the accounts up to date… all the ‘stuff’ that running your own business needs. As well as honing our skills by learning and improving all the time through reading, courses or workshops.

So it’s not all swanning around at weddings and munching canapés (though that bit is pretty cool, obvs… ;-))

Still think you want to become a celebrant?

Cool, I haven’t put you off so far! to discover:

Stay tuned for further upcoming posts including:

Can’t wait?

If you’d like to chat about becoming a celebrant and whether it’s the right move for you, please get in touch here and we can schedule a time for a discussion.

And if you already know you want to dive in, do check out the Celebrants Collective celebrant training course I created and see if it feels like a good fit for you!