‘The minute we heard your voice we knew’.
‘I thought you had known them for years.’
‘It’s not about my CV.’
I’m not ‘Jess The CLEARLY DEFINED…..Celebrant.’
‘I approach my work as an Art Form.’
I am unusual in my hope that wedding ceremonies are not The Best Day of your life.
‘The minute we heard your voice we knew’.
Many people book me for ‘my voice’ and say ‘the minute we heard your voice we knew’. Some don’t even feel the need to meet me. My voice is one significant factor in what makes me different from any other Celebrant. If here is something totally unique and intangible about me that no other Celebrant can offer you…it’s that. Our Human voices are as unique as fingerprints. You choose particular vocalists for their individual sound and how that resonates with you. If you love my voice you’ll love my style. It is my best advertisement.
“I thought you had known them for years.”
People always say this to me after a ceremony. Words should ‘fit’ people like a perfectly tailored clothes. I approach my work as a detective and as an artist. My words are the result of forensic research into the personal stories I write. By the time I’m standing at the front addressing a gathering, 85% of my work is already done. Writing the words for your ceremony is both the most difficult and the most rewarding aspect of my work. I hear your stories, write them and tell them. Telling them well demands writing them well and in a distinctive style. My writing style is as unique as my voice.
‘It’s not about my CV”
I don’t list my working life on here like a CV, if this is not unique I’ll be surprised. Fantastic Celebrants will describe impressive working lives with backgrounds in Public speaking, Therapeutic contexts, Education and Performing Arts, former Priests and Ministers. This is not me. Being a Celebrant is not a result of any particular career or transferable skill. I experience it as a Vocation. I’m not a Humanist. I’m not a Priest, I’m not a Pagan either. I have a First Class Theology Degree, focussed on Contemporary Spirituality. Even for retired Religious Officiants this is unique too. Theology is about people and finding meaning in the world. I have become captivated by the concept and purpose of ritual, ceremony and Rites of Passage and in how they bring us meaning.
I’m not ‘Jess The CLEARLY DEFINED…..Celebrant’. I have never fitted into a box.
I am not unique in this but I am unusual. Many Celebrants have very clearly defined identities and personalities and use an adjective in their title. You won’t find me on Instagram as “Jess the Jolly/Colourful/Ethical/English/Gay/Trans/Pagan or ‘Anything Else’ Celebrant. Because I don’t fit into a box. If you like my voice, you’ll like my words and if you like my words you’ll probably like my personality too which I multi-faceted and changeable. Most people will tell you I’m kind, vibrant, genuine and very, very funny but I am rarely that on purpose! Your ceremony is not about me, it’s is about you!
I approach my work as an Art Form.
I approach my work as an Art Form rather than a skill or a profession. This may be unique. It is a Work of Art we create together from a shared vision. I’m not a ‘type’ of Celebrant offering a ‘type’ of ceremony. We are creating an artwork together. Ceremonies emerge like entities the way all creative works do. Your ceremonies are transformative moments and I know the power of them as markers of transition in your life story.
I am unusual, controversial even, in my hope that wedding ceremonies are not The Best Day of your life.
I am equally stand out in my assertion that they are not ‘all about you’!
These are unpopular views and won’t win me many fans. It depresses me to think of wedding days being ‘The Best Day’s of peoples’ lives. It implies that it is ‘downhill’ from now on! It isn’t true! although it will be Special. It should be a ‘springboard’ to the future. There will be many more Best Days and Big Days and this is only one really significant one.
Celebrations of Life don’t have to be the Worst day of your life either.. Ceremonies are markers, decisive points in the adventure of your life. If they are done well they should honour all the Best Days and Big Days that led you to this one and prepare you for all those to come.
Ceremonies are also something which I view as Vital to communities and sense and I suspect this is quite an unusual perspective too. They have always been fundamental to societies and I am passionate about how they function within our cultures and communities and how we can reinvent them for a new world. Your ceremony is never ‘all about you’, not matter what the Wedding Industry would have you believe, neither is it true that when someone has died ‘all about them’. We do not exist in isolation, you ‘belong’, you are connected, you matter and they mattered. Your Stories matter. This is fundamental to my perspective and approach. With me telling your story there will be no bored guests, no cliches, no gimmicks, there will be fun, laughter and joy but I take them very seriously indeed because they are about you and I care about that.