What is an Ethical Celebrant?
Two years ago I graduated as a celebrant, having completed an intense training course. I was absolutely thrilled and looked forward to all the wonderful celebrations I would get to be a part of. I was very lucky to get the opportunity to do a ceremony so soon after graduating and I’ve been lucky ever since with the wonderful couples I have worked with.
Back then I could not have imagined where the celebrant path was going to take me. It was new to me, still a fairly new concept in Ireland, and it was exciting to feel like I was part of a shift in what was considered ‘the norm’.
Now two years on I think the concept of having a celebrant perform your ceremony is not as unusual. More and more people are choosing the freedom that comes with having a celebrant.
About 18 months ago I was involved in the setting up of an organisation called the Irish Ethical Celebrant Society (IECS). As independent celebrants are not affiliated with any particular religion or belief system, there was a sense of being a lone wolf. The Society was set up as a support network for independent celebrants, a place to meet each other, learn from each other, continuously update our skills, and to support each other when needed. The IECS promotes a culture of excellence and community amongst its members. The guiding values of the Irish Ethical Celebrant Society which drive our behaviours and decisions are based upon equality, respect, openness and clarity. We offer a bespoke service in response to the needs of a modern Irish society. I have been honoured to be elected Chairperson of the Society for two years now and am extremely proud of what we have achieved so far.
Why choose an Ethical Celebrant for your wedding?
Freedom. Professionalism. Quality. An alternative approach. Ethical celebrants are highly trained individuals, skilled at crafting a ceremony, performing rituals, leading a ceremony in a confident, competent manner. But more than that, Ethical Celebrants are trained to take your ideas and create a ceremony that is all about you. There is no set script, there is no fill in the blanks. Your celebrant meets you, gets you talking, watches you together, listens to what you are saying and creates your love story. It is no one else’s.
A marriage ceremony is made up of two parts. The legal contract and the celebration. At present Ethical Celebrants do not complete the legal component. This option is not for everyone. For some couples the legal part is the most important thing and having it all done on the same day. And for those couples there are other choices available. For other couples, the most important thing is complete control over the ceremony. For those couples, the freedom that comes with an Ethical Celebrant is the best choice for them. They complete the legals separately with the HSE. Once the legals are done, they can have their ceremony wherever, and however they like.
There is no one size fits all when it comes to who performs your wedding celebration. So it is important to look at all the options available. And talk to different celebrants, find out what they’re like, do a bit of research, ask questions. I have never refused to talk to anyone about the type of ceremonies I do or answer their questions. Sometimes after a conversation I’ve decided they’re not the client for me, or they’ve decided I’m not the celebrant for them. That’s ok, but having the conversation first to find out is so important. So ask questions, give them a call, send them an email. If you have found someone online or on social media who interests you, reach out, connect and find out.
Naming Day Celebrations
Ethical Celebrants do not just conduct wedding ceremonies, we also create and deliver naming day ceremonies. These are sometimes done in place of a traditional baptism, sometimes as well as or in addition to a traditional baptism. Again it is giving people another choice. You may not want the traditional Christening, or maybe you do but also want something personalised as well. Naming day celebrations are a great way to get the whole family involved in welcoming the new baby into the family and community and coming together to celebrate them.
End of Life Celebrations/Alternative Funerals
As well as life and love, Ethical Celebrants also help people during loss and deliver end of life celebrations, an alternative to the traditional funeral. These can be done in place of the funeral or sometimes to mark anniversaries. People are becoming more open about death, and we have seen a rise in the movement of Death Cafes in Ireland, where people come together over a cup of tea to honestly and openly discuss death, beliefs in heaven and the afterlife, their fears, and thoughts. I think it is so important for everyone to consider how you want your end of life to be celebrated. Some of my IECS colleagues have had the opportunity to spend time with people who knew they were dying and who wanted to be involved in their last celebration. It is an honour to be able to provide that service to people at the end of their life.
These are just an example of the main types of ceremonies delivered by Ethical Celebrants, however this is not a complete list by any means. We are trained to help you create whatever type of ceremony you want. All we need to start is a blank page and an idea. Whether traditional or trending, there is an IECS celebrant to suit you.
About Yvonne Cassidy
Yvonne Cassidy is a wedding celebrant and florist, based in Dublin Ireland. Yvonne works with couples from all over the world, helping them create bespoke personalised ceremonies and beautiful floral designs.