Looking from the outside in, people might see a celebrant as someone who turns up at a venue with her bag of tricks, takes centre stage for an average of ten to fifteen minutes, then goes back to wherever she came from. To many, the role of a celebrant seems too easy and something anyone can do – and get paid for as well!
However, like any successful production, there is a lot behind the scenes that never shows on the day. Before you set yourself up as a celebrant on the basis that anyone can be a celebrant, take a reality check.
We’ve all encountered people who seem to have chosen a business which seems eminently wrong for them. An exaggerated example might be ‘Faulty Towers’ where a man who obviously hates people, is running a hotel where he has to deal with people all the time. So you need to remember that as a business person you might fail not because you are performing badly, but because celebrancy is not the business for you.
There are certain attributes that the successful officiant has. This includes:
- Enjoys people: Ceremonies are all about people. The celebrant needs to be a skilled communicator, able to tease out the needs of the client who may know very little about the ceremony she wants the officiant to perform.
- Is a great listener: She needs to hear not only what the client is saying, but also what she isn’t saying. Not all clients are able to express themselves clearly and concisely.
- Is flexible: No matter how experienced she is, she allows the clients to have the type of ceremony they want instead of the kind of ceremony she feels they should want. She will advise but not insist.
- Is unflappable; Reacts to the unexpected in a calm manner, especially when the clients themselves are going to pieces.
- Is a diplomat: Weddings, for example, can be full of tensions. Everyone involved wants his or her say – the mother of the bride, the maid of honour, and even the bride and groom are sometimes divided on the details of their wedding.
- Is patient: Although she is the expert, she encourages clients’ input and treats their comments and queries with respect, recognizing that what suits one client may not suit another.
- Is immune to emergencies: The ceremony may be preceded by death in the family, or sudden breaks between one set of family members with another, but the day of the ceremony reflects all the expectations as if none of these things happened.
- Is always up to date with the fashions and trends of the day: If she wants her clients to have confidence in her ability, she won’t be hearing of a new style of ceremony from her clients. She’ll be already prepared to celebrate it by the time her clients hear about it on television or on the Internet.
- Is both creative and practical: If the style of ceremony requires props, she will know not only what props are required but how to arrange them in the most practical and visually attractive way.
- Is aware that details make the difference: Remembers the little things that clients often forget, like the matches for a candle lighting ceremony. It is remarkable how often clients will search far and wide to buy an unusual candle for a ceremony then forget the fact that it has to be lit.
- Shows initiative If she is accepting bookings from interstate or overseas, then she is also able to supply the client with a list of other services which they may require. While she may not necessarily recommend these services, she will certainly check them out as to their quality and reliability.
- Knows the marriage act inside out: to assure the marriage is legal.
From article by Vlady Peters BA, JP, CMC
Extract from How to be a Profitable Celebrant: Practical Tips on Running a Profitable Celebrancy Business Find it on Amazon and Smashwords