What is a Life-Cycle Celebrant®?
A certified Life-Cycle Celebrant® is a ceremony specialist in your community trained to officiate, compose, and perform the highest quality personalized ceremonies for couples, individuals, and organizations. The celebrant’s mission is to create a ceremony that reflects your needs, beliefs, cultural background, values, and tastes. The hallmark of a celebrant ceremony is to always reflect the client’s values, views, beliefs, traditions and wishes. The celebrant’s personal views or beliefs are immaterial to the process.
The Celebrant Foundation & Institute is a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to educating and certifying Life-Cycle Celebrants® . The Celebrant Foundation & Institute began in 2001 with headquarters in Montclair, New Jersey, and is a member of the International Federation of Celebrants. There are nearly 800 Life-Cycle Celebrant graduates who preside over 3000 ceremonies each year throughout North America and Europe. To learn more, visit www.celebrantinstitute.org.
What is the difference between a celebrant, an officiant, and clergy?
Life-Cycle Celebrants®are prepared to work with people of any belief – secular, religious or people for whom religious institutions do not serve their ceremonial needs. No belief system is ever imposed or presumed by the celebrant. A celebrant will work with you at length and in detail to co-create with you a personal ceremony that is unique to you.
Celebrants do not perform religious ceremonies that are reserved by a religion to be performed solely by the clergy of that religion.
Celebrants differs from many non-clergy officiants because celebrants are Ceremony Specialists. They have received specialized, intensive training in the theory and building blocks of good ceremony. In addition, celebrants provide ongoing consultation through interviewing their clients and, if needed, their client’s family. Many officiants do not provide this level of personal attention. Traditionally, celebrants stand to the side of the honorees during the ceremony, to physically bring the focus of the ceremony to the honorees; and the celebrant will provide a tasteful keepsake ceremony script to their client following the ceremony.
Is a wedding performed by a celebrant legally recognized?
Yes! I am an ordained minister in the Universal Brotherhood Movement and also the American Marriage Ministries. I am also a Notary Public in South Carolina and legally authorized to perform weddings in most states since I have a Bachelor of Divinity Degree.
Here is the link to marriage license laws in different states. https://family.findlaw.com/marriage/marriage-license-information-by-state.html
Are you authorized to perform civil unions and same sex weddings?
Yes! I am an ordained minister. I am legally authorized to perform weddings in most states. Performing a wedding is truly my honor for any loving couple. I will work with you to be inclusive and welcoming to all your guests. I am particularly mindful of any areas that might be of a sensitive nature.
How does the wedding ceremony process work?
After we meet for a no-obligation consultation, and you book me by signing the contract and sending me a 50% non-refundable payment, I start the process of getting to know you as a couple. I learn what is important to you, how you met, and what you want your guests to walk away with after your ceremony. I do this by interviewing you in our conversations and with a questionnaire that you each complete.
From what I learn, I create a first draft of your love story and the ritual elements you desire to be included in your ceremony. I have many resources to suggest based on your cultural, spiritual, ethnic and life interests. The tone of the ceremony is reflected as well. Whether you are looking for a light, high spirited, serious, or all-of-the-above feeling ceremony, you and your guests will be caught up in the mood you want to create. No two ceremonies are the same. You then have full editorial rights.
I am available for your rehearsal prior to the wedding for an additional fee and I will coordinate with your other wedding vendors to help assure that your ceremony is smooth and worry-free for you. Throughout the process, you have unlimited access to me through emails and phone calls. Good communication is essential to the process and I pride myself in my openness and attentiveness to you.
How far in advance of the wedding should we contact you?
It is best to book six months to a year in advance to assure that your date and time are available. If I have an opening, and there is some flexibility, weddings can be scheduled with short notice. I do my best to be available.
How is the wedding service personalized for us?
This is your ceremony and almost anything goes! You can choose your own readings, vows, rituals, music and wedding choreography. You can incorporate traditions and customs from your ethnic or religious heritages, as well borrow and re-invent traditions that you find meaningful. You can include your guests, your family and even your beloved pet if the venue allows.
Should we have a wedding rehearsal prior to the ceremony?
This is optional but involves an additional fee. If there are multiple rituals, readings & participants involved, it is sometimes beneficial to do a walk through prior to the day of. If this is not practical or not needed, I can do an informal rehearsal prior to the guests arriving on the day of the wedding. There is an additional charge for the rehearsal as that time becomes unavailable for me to officiate at another wedding.
How does the funeral/memorial process work?
As a certified Life-Cycle Celebrant®, I conduct a respectful, personalized funeral, memorial or celebration of life. We will meet and you will tell me about your loved one, sharing memories and anecdotes that truly honor him or her. Perhaps that person left instructions for special elements to be included in the service. Our meeting will not be time-consuming or stressful, but rather will provide gentle moments for sharing and expression.
Once we have a chance to share, I will write your ceremony. It may include ritual, readings, poetry or other elements along with the eulogy. A draft will be emailed to you or read to you on the phone so that you may make any changes you wish. No celebrant ceremony is ever performed without complete approval by the client.
On the day of the service, I work closely with the funeral director to orchestrate and officiate the ceremony. If there is to be a graveside service or scattering of ashes – again, with your approval – I can conduct that as well.
What will you wear to perform the ceremony?
I dress in clothes appropriate to the tone and theme of your ceremony. Often I dress in black and blend into the background. The focus is always on the client. If you have a special request for a color or a style you would like me to wear, we can discuss this during our planning.
How far will you travel to perform a ceremony?
There may be additional fees for travel beyond my general location. Generally any location that is within a 30-45 minute commute is included in my fees.
Are we required to sign a contract for your services?
Yes. After we meet and you decide to book me for your ceremony, I have a simple contract that protects us both and clearly outlines what my services include. When this is signed and a 50% payment is received, your date is secured and our planning officially begins.
What are you fees for weddings?
There are so many things that go into the determination of my fees. For a full custom wedding ceremony, my rates range from $425 to $550 depending on travel and the complexity of the ceremony. I also offer simple ceremonies, elopement ceremonies and last-minute ceremonies at a flat fee of $350. To secure the date, a non-refundable 50% of the agreed fee is due upon signing of the contract. The balance is due in cash at least one month prior to the ceremony.
What are you fees for funerals, memorials and other life events?
Fees are determined on case- by- case basis. Typically, a funeral or memorial service will cost in the range of $350 – 450. Since life events come in many shapes and sizes, I will work with you to find the perfect ceremony to fit your budget.