Times and attitudes to our celebrations are going through mass change around the world.
Throughout this change the Celebrant was founded in Australia thanks to Lionel Murphy, in July 1973 when he appointed the first civil marriage Celebrant. The Celebrancy business has grown in strength since helping people decide on their wishes with their vows be they religious or non-religious, their script, music they want to add, readings, and symbolism. They can also decide their style, Celebrant, venue, day and time. So many options we never had in the past!
People now have many more choices from the days when folk were married in a church or the local registry office. The wedding industry has gained vastly from this, especially in Scotland where there are no licences required to be married in hotels, castles, woodland sites and other venues, although some may require permission such a heritage sites.
Families and couples are able to explore many options now, and have their ceremony the way they want it, just as it should be.
Celebrants bring us opportunities we did not have in the past – couples often tell me they want religious vows but not a religious ceremony for their wedding. They want to marry in a woodland setting honouring Mother Earth and have a touch of Pagan and a Handfasting to their ceremony. Couple would like to marry in their back garden, a caravan site, at Winter Solstice in a fairy glen. They may like a simple, no frills declaration of their love for each other in front of family or a castle setting with a Celtic theme. This is all entirely possible and gives the couple freedom of decide on just how they want their day to be.
At present Celebrants cannot perform full legal ceremonies in the United Kingdom. Exciting changes are taking place however, so that local register offices now send a registrar out from their offices to complete the legalities, with the Celebrant holding the rest of the ceremony. Other options are for a couple to attend a local registrar the day before perhaps, to have their declaratory vows made.
A few Celebrants are working in the background to bring change to proceedings and have founded a new Faith in Diversity group. This group are working to lobby the Scottish Government to bring change in the Celebrants role and allow them full legal rights to perform ceremonies.
Meantime, some like myself have other titles to their bow which allow them the right to perform the full ceremony and are perhaps an Interfaith Ministers or a Deaconess as I am.
Many people ask what the role of a Celebrant is in a Funeral.
It is to bring the ceremony together which speaks of the person, and brings the ceremony round to the person and who they were.
Some tell me they have no faith as such but do ‘believe in something’ and want a few readings and a spiritual element to the service. Others tell me they want a celebration with bright colours to those attending, maybe a video or a whole host of song choices which range from Zorba the Greek with everyone standing clapping to ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life’!
More families and people are choosing to have a straight to cremation after someone’s death. This means no service at the crematorium but having a memorial service before or after to celebrate without time constraints given by the crematorium. This can save on expenses and have a some more special time sharing in memories and recollections, which allows more to grieve and celebrate the person’s life. Perhaps even bringing photos to look over and reminisce over.
Couples are choosing to have Baby Naming Ceremonies or Baby Blessings rather than attend a church and have a Christening or Baptism.
They may want some religion, or their child anointed with oils and have the family play a big part in welcoming the child to the fold. These are again all choices we never thought of before and can now make.
Some worry we shall forget our faith’s, and yet people have many faith’s and beliefs which is what makes us this great big melting pot of life. Perhaps in looking at and thinking about our faiths it can only grow in strength and share out some love in the world.
At times change is very good and can from little acorns grow, as the Celebrancy business is.
We have whole new opportunities to share in celebrations from honouring our 18th year, to having a celebration to mark our University Degree, welcoming an adopting child into the family and so much more.
We are all worth celebrating and that can only be good!
In centuries gone by and even still now, there are groups who celebrate the harvest, the Solstice, Equinoxes, Easter and so much more- all opportunities for people to gather and be together as a family and as communities.
As Celebrants we are there to serve and celebrate the unique in you. Why not get in touch with one and ask them a bit more about how thy can help you with your celebration.