A Celebrant creates ceremonies that celebrate various milestones in people’s lives, which is why we’re known as Lifecycle Celebrants. In my case, I mostly work with couples to create personal, unique wedding ceremonies.
One way a Celebrant ceremony is different from most others, is that a Celebrant tells the couple’s love story. I include anecdotes about how they met, what they love about one another, their plans for the future …. what ever they choose to share with their guests.
Also, I’m in constant contact with the couple when I’m working on their ceremony and they have complete control over the end results.
How do you integrate different faiths into your ceremonies?
When I’m working with an interfaith – or intercultural – couple, it’s important to honor both of their backgrounds. I spend a lot of time researching traditions and rituals from the different faiths or cultures, so I can offer suggestions of what to include in the ceremony. Quite often, couples are surprised by how beautifully their backgrounds can be blended in a wedding ceremony.
You write on your website that you use a questionnaire as a means to get to know a couple better. What kinds of questions do you ask?
I use the questionnaire as a tool to help me create the ceremony and make it personal. I ask the couple to each complete the questionnaire separately. I ask LOTS of questions, such as:
How did you first meet? How did you feel about your partner at that time?
How did you propose or accept the proposal?
What does your partner do that always makes you laugh?
In what ways has your life changed since meeting your partner?
Are there any special customs or traditions from your background that you would like to include in the wedding?
What is your favorite type of music? Favorite performer? Song?
We are a gay couple looking to publicly declare our vows. Do you have particular advice for us?
The best advice I can offer is to say, “Be true to yourselves.” In other words, your ceremony should reflect your individual personalities and beliefs, as well as your shared love story. It’s your day, it’s your ceremony – you should have it be exactly the way you want.
How does being a celebrant affect your private life?
I have come to realize that I’m doing exactly what I was meant to do. I feel so fulfilled – and happy! When I’m working on a ceremony, especially the part where I tell the couple’s story, I can’t help but think of my own love story. I think about my husband, and how happy we’ve been for the past 16 years. I am constantly reminded of how fortunate I am!
Besides that, I have met some fascinating people! I love meeting new couples and getting to know them through the process of creating their ceremonies. People share their very personal stories with me and I feel a great responsibility when I’m entrusted with such a sacred gift. It’s my duty to honor these precious love stories by creating the most fitting and personal ceremony.
What was one of your favorite details from a wedding that you recently officiated?
I have had several ceremonies that are favorites because of interesting rituals incorporated in the ceremony. One favorite was a pagan ceremony this past summer that included a handfasting, as well as invoking the four directions. I also had another ceremony this summer that included lovely Hindu rituals. There have also been several couples that I really connected with, who will always hold a special place in my heart.
But, my favorite was my friend’s wedding this past Halloween. It was so amazing to work on her ceremony, but it made me a little nervous, too! Especially since I knew many of the guests!
One of the best parts was that my daughter was the flower girl – or flower witch, since it was a costume ball! My family was at the wedding, and it was the first time they saw me perform a ceremony. And afterwards, I put on my Bride of Frankenstein costume and got to have a great dinner and dance the night away!
What would be your dream wedding to officiate?
That’s a tough question, since I’ve already had the chance to be a part of so many amazing weddings. But, to be honest, my greatest wish is that Illinois would legalize gay marriage. Then, my dream wedding would be a LEGAL gay wedding here in Chicago.