1. Who are Celebrants and what do we do?
This is probably the most frequent question, currently, here in Italy this job is still unheard of and there are not so many independent celebrants locally based here in Italy. This role is often conducted by a wedding planner.
I am contacted by couples of all ages, religions and nationalities locally and from around the world with the common desire to celebrate something. A ceremony to celebrate the birth of a new child, a wedding, vow renewals and elopements are increasingly in demand.
A celebration is a mile stone and is important to couples or whoever is involved to mark the occasion. A celebrant writes and redrafts bespoke ceremonies, liaises with suppliers, provides emotional support. If you are choosing a celebrant in another country, a celebrant like me can also provide localisation advice and support and then I appear on your special day to officiate your symbolic ceremony.
2. Why do people choose a Celebrant and you in particular?
Understandably, when you choose a celebrant there are various things you might consider, experience, skills and our costs to you.
So, without blowing my own trumpet, just saying so you know exactly who you are hiring. I have Mediterranean looks and charm with a British and sometimes Italian accent too, so I look and sound the part! 30 years of working with the public, destination management as a venue inspector for tour operators mainly in Europe and Italy. I am an ex wedding planner and a highly qualified English Language professor for the University of Bologna. I have experience in public speaking and I am qualified and insured celebrant. I arranged my own dual language church ceremony in Abruzzo so I have first-hand experience of what you require to organise your wedding or ceremony here in Italy.
I have cultivated and created my work experiences which have led me to become a celebrant and people are a priority for me. I believe in self investment and constant professional development to enable me to provide the highest standards of service. People tell me I am a very good listener and very patient. I choose to work with experienced and trusted professionals in the field and supplier relationships are integrally paramount in providing high service levels. Many suppliers do not speak English so well and may rely on a direct relationship with a bilingual celebrant.
3. How do Celebrant services differ from that of getting married in church or Registry Office?
The main differences are determined by Location Options, Ceremony Content and Legality
The locations could be in a town hall or licensed locations mostly indoors. There are restrictions on the place which usually needs to be indoors under a roof. You are obliged to follow the legal acts of marriage read by the registrar which lasts no more than 10 minutes and has legal effect. The ceremony service is generally standard with limited content.
The location of the church is generally chosen for the vicinity to either the bride or groom’s hometown and family. The priest has a religious marriage script and the priest led ceremony has legal effect.
Choose a location and hire a Celebrant
Generally, couples who chose a celebrant are those couples who want more freedom of locations and destinations with the opportunity to personalise ceremony script content and vows. The celebrant writes the script based on your story and preferences of content, which could include symbolic elements of either nationality, mixed languages, complete personalisation of service scripts. There are no limits to time or content however the ceremony is not legally binding. In fact, the distinction between getting married and having a wedding ceremony is not often defined as separate occasions, but we as celebrants do make this distinction. So many couples choose to get married alone for legal effect in their local registry office and then decide to have the wedding celebration with family and friends. The wedding celebration is often in another location with a celebrant to host the symbolic ceremony to the friends and family, so the celebrant has a key feature and role in the wedding celebration.
Additionally, a celebrant can celebrate vow renewals, elopements, anniversaries, baby naming, pet deaths, pretty much anything you wish to celebrate.
4. Why hire a Celebrant?
Commitment and Professional Services
Celebrants are trained professionals, many of us are highly qualified and have invested financially and emotionally in this career, so we take it seriously, as it maybe our main source of income. So, it is fair you expect professionality, experience and top services. A celebrant can provide ideas and emotional support in crafting your personal ceremony in a place you choose. In my personal experience I have always given much more to my couples as Destination Celebrant based in Italy and it is a complete honour to be chosen for my services.
Hiring a celebrant can certainly take the stress out of asking somebody in the family or a friend to do the role, maybe who does not have experience, creativity or public speaking skills. A close friend might not have to heart to say no if you ask them to be a celebrant at your wedding, but maybe deep down they feel stressed and inadequate in the role and certainly do not have the courage to say no and potentially let you down.
Employing expertise is also peace of mind! I have come to realise that sometimes it is better to ask for help from those who are more experienced than me to get a better job done!
Creativity and Language Skills
If you are looking to hold a ceremony abroad in a non-English speaking country or would like your ceremony in two languages this can also make the task of finding the right person with the skills even more challenging. A celebrant can certainly be the perfect alternative. Ceremonies can have creative symbolic elements, your favourite pet might take part too, there is no limit only your imagination!
No Limits to Place and Ceremony Content
One of the key reasons for hiring a celebrant is the possibility to have more freedom and choices in terms of locations, on the beach, in a field, in a barn, in your garden, there are no limits to holding your personalised ceremony when or wherever you like. The content of your ceremony can be created, with songs, religious readings, symbolic inserts and much more. A celebrant can offer ideas that you might have never thought about!
5. Why did you choose to become a Celebrant?
While Italy is an amazing destination to get married or host a wedding celebration with its unique amazing stock of locations. It still remains a country very limited to its religious traditions, culture and introvert population, something is changing, but very slowly. In other words, this is how we do things and have always done things here and is currently the way we know how to approach. This can create limits to you in trying to create something different, bilingual ceremonies and celebrant led ceremonies are not so common in Italy at the moment, however destination weddings are increasing and very popular here in Italy.
When I got married 10 years ago, I managed to organise my church wedding and inserted both English and Italian language into my ceremony, the priest that married us did not speak English but was very accommodating. As much as I loved my day if I could repeat the day again I would do it very differently and I would certainly hire a celebrant. I have understood from my own experience that there is a high demand for more freedom and choices particularly now with globalisation which driving the formation of more couples of same sex, mixed nationalities and religions. I decided I wanted to help couples and offer choices and ideas of how their ceremonies can be different and certainly more creative and personal to them.
6. Why can Celebrants be expensive?
I strongly believe to get what you pay for, nowadays I am more suspicious to understand when a product or service is too cheap! There are a few obvious reasons common among many celebrants and they are simply running a business with costs, a website and its marketing, training, adaptable clothing, microphone, materials for symbolic ceremonies and accessories not to mention the ceremonies that are personalised and take hours to write. Behind the scenes before arriving on the day to perform your ceremony, there has been much spent time planning, researching and organising your ceremony. I hate to say this but local taxes in Italy are comparatively higher than other countries so this might incur on price. Celebrants and myself included do not choose this career to make money, but need to cover costs. Most of us are self-employed with seasonal salaries and there are only so many days in the year, so periods are in higher demand than others. So much is dependent on demand and seasonality.
Con amore Michelle.