Siân Julia Jackson
5 Reasons Why I Love Being a Celebrant
Updated: Mar 17, 2022
I Love My Job!
Photo by Lucy Adams and Kat Bombroff
If you’ve had a peak at my website, or follow me on the various stalking platforms, I hope one message clearly comes across and in case it hasn't I’m going to shout it loudly now, “I LOVE MY JOB!” and here’s a few reasons why…
1. I’m a party animal!
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I LOVE celebrating. I smile a lot, laugh a lot and say “cheers” every time a drink is poured. Being a celebrant allows me to hijack other people’s celebrations. I get to help couples create the ultimate celebration of their love and that is awesome.
I do funerals too and they are not exactly parties (I’m still not ready to go with the branding ‘putting the FUN in funerals!) but I do my best to make them celebrations, balancing the sadness with lots of happy memories, giving people permission to laugh and smile which I feel is important.
2. Being a celebrant is the perfect amalgamation of my skills
I’ve always floated about from job to job, enjoying all of them and building up a diverse collection of skills along the way. But being a celebrant is something I’ve strived for and it’s lush to have found a job that chimes so perfectly with my talents and passions.
I’m a people person and love developing deep bonds, being a celebrant is like fast tracking that process. There’s no messing around: it’s getting straight to the core of people, being all deep and meaningful from the off and finding out what makes them tick. I’m a little bit nosey too… but let’s say curious and inquisitive!
I love performing but came to find that the performances I was making in my previous role as Artistic Director of a theatre company, felt a bit pointless and self-indulgent – a feeling that many artists are plagued by. Being a celebrant allows me to enjoy leading a crowd, but with a very special purpose. And although I’m holding the attention, the focus is very much on the people I’m working with, not on me. Being honest too, all performers have egos and mine gets a little stroke every time a see a tear roll down a cheek, catch a beaming smile or hear a bit fat belly laugh!
I’ve made lots of theatre I’ve done a lot of directing and devised all sorts of weird and wacky theatrical happenings. A ceremony is a piece of theatre, not just in its presentation but it’s construction, so my experience lends itself so well to building ceremonies: finding the drama, placing emphasis, making transitions and giving the ceremony shape.
I’m creative and a conceptual thinker and love working outside the box to give couples something unique. I adore inventing new rituals and embellishing the ones we know and love with layers and layers of extra significance; exploring interesting and fun ways to bring meaning to ceremonies.
But I’m pretty new to the whole writing game… being mildly dyslexic, and not being taught some basic principles of English in school, meant I always lacked the self-belief and knowledge to have a go at writing something decent. But over the last decade, I’ve worked hard to learn simple things, like grammar and sentence structure, and that’s given me the confidence to enjoy language and find my authentic voice in text. I still manage to miss some of my own typos, but people are generally very forgiving and technology is on my side these days… I just shout at Google when I’m really stuck on a spelling!
3. Being a celebrant is a calling
Photo by When Charlie Met Hannah
I know this sounds a bit sickly, but it’s genuinely how I feel. When training with Humanist’s UK to become a wedding celebrant I asked my tutor how she thought I was doing. She’d been full of useful, constructive criticism which I embraced with open arms. She was a great tutor, and I learned a lot from her. She gave me plenty of positive feedback, but she would always find something I could improve on (a mark of a good mentor in my opinion). So, I was sort of left wondering what she really thought of my performance in the training overall. When I asked this question, her face lit up and she said...
“You were born to be a celebrant, it’s in your bones. From the moment you walked through the door we all knew you would be a fantastic celebrant.”
Her words will always stick with me and every time I doubt myself somewhere in my head I can hear her voice. Thank you from the bottom of my heart Jo. Your encouragement continues to give me confidence and you have been an inspirational figure in my journey.
4. I’m all about the emotion
I wear my heart on my sleeve and I can’t help getting emotionally entangled with everything, whether it’s an advert on TV or a snail I’ve met on a path dancing gracefully before me. I’m an empath, through and through, which not only helps me get inside the heads of those I’m working with, but it means my emotions are fully invested the lives of those people, and their ceremony. If you see me shed a tear or grinning like a moray eel, with my narrow mouth and wonky teeth, it’s because I’m swept away in the moment feeling it.
Gotta love a moray!
Considering how deeply I connect with my own emotions I surprise myself with how well I manage to keep a lid on them during the ceremony itself, writing is another matter though... my keyboard has been splattered by many tears.
5. I meet the most incredible people
Being a celebrant, doing weddings, funerals and other ceremonies like friendship ceremonies, I’m reminded daily that every seemingly ordinary person I meet is extraordinary, every life lived has an immeasurable impact on other lives and love knows no bounds.
Photo by Chris Andrews
Representing the incredible people I encounter every day, whether they are no longer here or still living it large, is an honour and a privilege. I get to glimpse into other’s lives and learn how they’ve touched so many and impacted the world. It’s flipping glorious.
I get to work with lots of amazing professionals rocking their jobs too. In the wedding world that’s photographers, videographers, wedding planners, venue staff, musicians and anyone else who plays a part. And some people have an impression (that is mostly a misconception) that funeral directors can be a bit drab and heartless. In my experience is NOT true. The people I work with such as funeral arrangers, crematoria staff and even grave diggers are some of the most professional and respectful people I have ever met. Many strive to make funeral care a dignified and compassionate industry. There are so many unsung heroes out there and finding this out for myself has been a heart-warming revelation.
What’s not to love about my job?!