How I became a Celebrant
Why did I choose to be a Celebrant?
This is the number 1 question I get asked. The answer is not a simple one and it’s a bit of a story. For those that know me, I always have a story!
I had been running a small cleaning agency for about 9 years. I started it from scratch and it was a success. It grew from 1 cleaner to 30 by the time I sold up. But along with growth came increased stress, increased workload, and sadly less enjoyment. The time came when I decided I had dealt with enough of the challenges that I endured weekly and whilst I had no idea where I was heading next, I sold up and decided to take a few months out to “find myself”.
I soon became restless and my thoughts turned to my next chapter. What shall I do now? I knew I didn’t want to go back into an office job, I pretty much wanted to remain self employed but definitely no staff. Also, the time has hit where my kids are independent young adults so how about I chose something I will love, rather than choosing something because it fits around the kids.
This is where I started. Then I wrote a list of the parts of my work life that I love: meeting people, and making them happy is pretty much what I came up with. That really wasn’t a lot of help to get me where I am, so next questions were how many hours do I want to work and where do I want to work. Well part time and having been used to working at home for 9 years, I was fairly used to it and disciplined enough to want to continue, however I wouldn’t rule out working from premises.
I looked at businesses for sale as my inspiration. When the world is your oyster there are so many things you could turn to. Do I want to make something, do I want to learn a new skill, do I want to sell something. All the while I knew deep inside that the world of weddings had been calling me for some time. My programme scheduler was full of “Don’t tell the Bride”, “Say Yes to the Dress” and “I found the gown”. Much as I would love playing dress up with clients in a dress boutique I knew the hours where not what I wanted and I would need staff around me to make it work. Not what I’m looking for.
So, I started thinking about the whole wedding industry. Whilst I believe I would make a great wedding planner, I knew I had just jumped out of a career of spinning plates all day, and again, this wasn’t the way to go. I ended up researching how to become a registrar. The problem here was essentially it is an office job with the odd trip out to a venue or 4, rushing in, reading the same script and rushing out. Not as glamourous as I first thought. Plus you also deal with the paperwork and registering births and deaths. HOWEVER, whilst researching this I came across the word Celebrant and, like many, I had no idea what this was.
My research uncovered that here’s an alternative person to officiate at your ceremony. So some deeper thinking followed and ticking of boxes such as;
You get to write all the wording – I can do that, yes I remember I love writing!
You get to officiate in front of the guests on the day – sounds wonderful, but can I do that?
You get to meet all sorts of couples from every background and with varying ideas about their big day – yes, I’d love that!
You get to chose the days and hours that you want to work – big tick
You can work from home – tick
My only reservation was the public speaking. You see, secretly I’m a shy person – but do you know what, I have already kicked down so many barriers during the time running my cleaning business that actually I think the shy person is a past memory. I feel I conduct meetings with clients very nicely in a friendly and helpful manner, and on the ceremony day everyone will be focused on the couple – not on me (hopefully they are listening to my words but they are sure to be looking at the gorgeous couple with me!) In reality the first few ceremonies my heart was pumping out of my chest but, like most things, it has definitely got easier with time. I still get a bubbly nervousness inside just before each ceremony starts – but it’s good nerves if you know what I mean. It’s a feeling that I want this to be perfect for my couple and I can’t wait to see the love in their eyes and to play a special part in one of the most precious days of their lives.
So there you have it! Finally I found a career which is for me, something I love, something that I do through choice and something I have real passion for.
Hopefully you have found this little story interesting, but mostly I think it gives you a little look inside me and what makes me tick. I’m here doing what I love and I want you to love it to.