Tell us a little about yourself?
I am a mum to twin girls, I enjoy zumba, and from a competitive swimming and teaching background. I love music, and spending time with my family and friends. I have worked in the wedding industry for over 22 years!
What is a celebrant and why do people choose you over other ceremony options?
I had always wanted to be a registrar, and after 20 years in the industry as a planner, I felt the move into this kind of role would suit my experience and all of my writing/public speaking skills. Sadly, there are a number of restrictions that come with registrar ceremonies, so I researched, re-trained, and are now an experienced independent celebrant!
A celebrant is a fully trained officiant, with the skills to listen to your ideas, translate them into a unique script written from scratch, and with the confidence and knowledge of how to orchestrate your ceremony so that everything runs smoothly. There are no restrictions in terms of time of day, location, or indeed content, so you really can have your day, your way!
You will have lots of input into the wording, and approval at each stage of writing. So the end result is a completely personalised ceremony, containing as many readings, or commemorative activities as you wish. My aim is to make is unforgettable for you and your guests.
What qualifications do you have? Will the couple be legally married?
A good celebrant will naturally have the skills and personal attributes to ensure a relaxed and fluid ceremony, but should also be trained by a professional organisation. I completed my residential training with the Fellowship of Independent Celebrants and had to demonstrate my writing and presenting skills before passing the course.
As for the legalities of a ceremony, a couple would need to separate the signing of their documentation, and they can do this by booking the ‘signing room’ at the register office, and taking two witnesses with them. You do not need to book a ceremony facility as you can save all of your personal content (rings and vow exchanges) for your celebrant-led ceremony. This means you are only paying for a basic register office service, and can then further save money by holding the ceremony at a location of your choice!
What information do you need to know from the couple before the day?
I offer a free consultation to my couples, to establish all of their details and plans for their day, which I then translate into a summary document for them to review. Once they agree that I have captured all of the important information, and have secured the date with a deposit, I then begin writing their personal script, which they sign-off at each stage. I provide my clients with a checklist of things that I need in order to ensure things run as smoothly as possible on their day. By the time their day arrives, they are relaxed and know that I have everything organised and ready for their ceremony.
Where can a ceremony be held?
A ceremony can be held wherever you like, as long as you have permission from the land or property owners, you are limited only by your imagination! I have conducted ceremonies in woodlands, in barns, working farms, government buildings, beautiful gardens, and have some booked in for roof terrace venues, beaches, and even a hot air balloon!
A great example of the benefits of using Knight Ceremonies is that I recently conducted a wedding for a couple based in Singapore, who had booked Cain Manor for their big day. The weather was stunning, and so an outdoor ceremony was planned. Rather than being restricted to the terrace and gazebo that a registrar would be, we were able to utilise the magnificent lawns at the back, looking out over the Surrey countryside. The guests were all commenting on how lovely it was, and it afforded us the perfect backdrop to their wonderfully personal ceremony.
Can couples add religious elements into the service? Are you open to performing inter-faith ceremonies?
Of course. Unlike Humanist celebrants, who are not able to conduct ceremonies containing any religious elements, an independent celebrant can include as many personal or cultural elements as you wish. In fact my first ceremony this year was for a British/Sikh couple, and I have a Hindu/Sikh wedding booked in for next year. It’s lovely to be able incorporate the essence of who the couple is, and their family traditions or religious beliefs. I embrace the diversity. Oh, and my recent wedding at Cain Manor was for a British/Chinese couple and I addressed the guests in English and Mandarin!
What is the usual length of your ceremonies?
This depends largely on the number of readings and if the couple has a hand-fasting or a sand ceremony for example, but a typical service with exchange of vows and rings will be about 20-30 mins.
Are there any restrictions a couple needs to be aware of?
There are no restrictions in terms of location, content, date, time or indeed duration of the ceremony. The only thing I cannot personally officiate is the legal signing, but even this can be incorporated into their ceremony by booking the registrar to attend to just oversee this. I will happily work alongside them and this means the legal and celebratory elements remain on the same day, but are still personalised and without limitations.