From Calon Ceremonies to WICKED WEDDINGS! Why I decided to change my Humanist Celebrant alter ego.
Hopefully, you’ve landed here (on my first ever blog!) because you’re excited to know why I took the leap from the beautiful, Welsh inspired, name of Calon Ceremonies to the bold, new name of Wicked Weddings. But let’s be honest, there’s a fair chance you’re here cos you’re a little bit bored at work and fancied killing some time… no hard feelings if that’s the case! Either way, you’re here now so you might as well read on. But brace up, you’re about to experience my tangent spinning skills for the first time!
Why did I choose Calon Ceremonies in the first place?
Even though I’ve been writing and performing weddings for more than six years now, I trained with Humanists UK and officially launched into the game just shy of three years ago and took on the idyllic identity of Calon Ceremonies.
Although I am not a fluent Welsh speaker, I have a deep appreciation of our curious and complex language. Welsh is thought to have been conceived some 4,000 years ago and is known to be one of the oldest languages in Europe. It’s is spoken by about a fifth of the population of Wales and after suffering steep declines in the last couple of centuries, speakers are now on the rise. Here’s a fun fact for you – Welsh is also spoken by around 5,000 Patagonians, but that’s a tale for another time!
Sadly, Welsh was almost beaten out of us by various conquerors and Henry VIII officially banished the language when England greedily gobbled up Wales in 1536. An education report in the 1800’s saw English government officials banning Welsh from schools, humiliating little kiddies for daring to utter a “Ll” or a “Rh” with the infamous Welsh Not.
And with the mass influx foreign workers during the industrial revolution, some experts are surprised our lingo survived such spankings.
Throughout history, many outsiders have deemed Welsh primitive and evil… but I basically think they were just shit-scared of our soulful, salivary sound and well-jel of our linguistic gymnastics!
Whether you’re fortunate enough to have been raised with our mother tongue or not, if you’re brought up in Wales you can’t get away from Welsh: it’s in the songs we sing, our ‘Tidy’ slang words and, with the sole purpose of confusing the English, our bonkers bilingual signage.
Now I’m not going to lie to you, what it is see, I’ve strayed a dwt off topic yur… Bear with me, I’ll stop chopin and get back to the point now in a minute butt!
What I’m getting at is I love the Welsh language, it’s LUSH! So, when considering a name for my business I was always going to look to it for inspiration. But before I came to a name, I envisaged my logo. My dad is an incredibly talented chap who makes weird and wonderful stainless steel sculptures.
He’s a master, and I like to think that his creativity is laced with a scientific and mathematical twist. One of his specialities is designing Celtic knots... No easy feat. When I started doing weddings, I asked him if he would design a heart-shaped knot… and look at the marvel he created for me 😊 Diolch Dad! (Thanks Dad!).
My new logo is a replica of my dad's design that's been glazed with a lick of love and charisma by the eco marketing gurus at Sunsprout, . I adore that this version encompasses elements of both me and my dad; it's a bit like evolution visualised! Massive shout out to my amazing dad and to the delightful Daphne of Sunsprout for making this happen!
Calon, or galon, means heart in Welsh (one of Welsh’s kinky quirks is to unexpectantly change the first letter of words… just to keep us on our toes!) and with the logo now firmly a part of my brand, Calon Ceremonies just plopped into place one day. Calon is a word that most people in Wales know, even if they don’t speak Welsh; it features in many of our iconic songs including Calon Lân (Pure Heart). Calon Ceremonies was cute and it was Welsh, so I went with it.
And in many ways, Calon Ceremonies has served me well. It makes sense to anyone who knows the word Calon and strikes a chord with those who hold Cymraeg (the Welsh Word for Welsh) in the same romantic esteem as I do. A couple that I married back in 2019 have C4L0N as their number plate… that felt splendidly serendipitous!
But what I didn’t realise when starting out, is how many couples I would be lucky enough to work with from beyond our borders. Unfortunately, the poetic nature of Calon Ceremonies is automatically lost on anyone who doesn’t understand the word calon and people, unintentionally, cock-up it’s pretty pronunciation, saying “KAY-LON” instead of the correct and lyrical, “CA-LON”. Also, one friend pointed out that Calon Ceremonies could easily be misconstrued for COLON CEREMONIES... That shit hadn’t even crossed my mind!
After a few years riding the wedding wave and scaling a steep learning curve in website building and personal promotion, I finally realised which direction I wanted to take my marketing: I essentially wanted it to be more authentically ME.
So, during the various lockdowns I focused my attention on building a new website, which I hope you’ll agree has been injected with a big dose of attitude and whacked with a whole lot of personality! With this new look, now felt like the right time to revisit my business name, and I was a tad torn. I love the sentiment of Calon Ceremonies and the close connection it has with my super special logo, but it was getting a little lost out there and was never going to be fully appreciated by the wider world.
Wicked Weddings had been raving around in my head at the same time as Calon Ceremonies. It was my preferred choice to be honest, but back then I was afraid the name was too daring and would frighten people off before they got started! I still wonder if Wicked Weddings will lure people into thinking I’m a master of the dark arts or well into pagan witchery! But I’m hoping, like me, that most will love its alliteration allure and will see ‘Wicked’ for it’s more modern meaning of bad-ass and cool.
It’s been a tough choice, and not one I’ve taken lightly, but I’m making it my mission not to blend into the background anymore. I want to sit up, stand out and be me. For a while now, I’ve been saying “I’m Siân, and I make Wicked Weddings” and that’s because I do! So, for me, the new name does exactly what it says on the tin.
Who gives a flying fox?
Most of you reading this are probably wondering, “Why the fudge is this woman making such a big deal about this? Get over it.”
The truth is, for me, this is so much more than simply changing my business name.
At some points over the last six months, for various reasons, I completely lost track of who I am and what makes me, me. I know that's a privileged thing to be worrying about at a time of global crisis and it's been less to do with the pandemic and more to do with health challenges I've experienced. Thankfully, I've been feeling a lot better recently and have started to emerge out of the Siân shaped chrysalis I'd packed myself away in. I'm metamorphosing and loving noticing my true colours again after going through a bit of a grey patch.
Now this is gonna sound totally cheesy, but I’ve been on a much-needed safari of self-discovery, unearthing and restoring core parts of my persona that have had to sit on the side-lines for a while. I’ve been coming to terms with who I am again, and for the first time in a long time I feel ready to reclaim my identity.
At the ripe age of 35 (I honestly just had an argument with myself because I couldn’t work out if I’m 35 or 36!) I’ve realised that I’m fed up of compromising my personality to squeeze into this world of mass produced, one size fits all couture. I’m not perfect, no one is, and no one ever will be. I want to stop hiding behind my anxieties and give up worrying about what I should be and just get on with being who I am. Wow. I did warn you I can veer off on some tangents... I promise I'll reel it back in a minute now!
In the past, I was nervous that Wicked Weddings would be too much and that’s often a concern I hold about myself as a whole: I worry that I am too much. Too passionate, too emotional, too intense, too opinionated, too enthusiastic, too sensitive. But I've also been reminded that I can also be too hard on myself. There are things that I can change and I do strive for personal growth through reflection and learning, but I don't think I can alter central aspects of my character so I'm going to try and accept what I cannot change.
Wearing this new lens, I’ve decided to grab the bull by the horns and do what feels right for me… and that doesn’t stop at my business name. I’m going to wear what I want to wear, dance when I want to dance and be unapologetic in my choices (unless it affects other people of course!).
Guess what world? I’m ready for you. I’m the same Siân, just with a rejuvenated spring in my step and a sharper, and more tolerant, sense of self. If my journey as a celebrant has taught me anything so far, it’s to be true and that’ll lead to me attracting more couples like you! Let’s face it, if you’ve preserved this far, we must be on the same page about something 😊
Thank you and goodbye
So, Calon Ceremonies, I sincerely thank you. You’ve brought shit-loads of love and joy into my life. Without you I wouldn’t have encountered all those luscious, loved-up couples and been part of such stupendous celebrations. It’s with a heavy, but gracious, heart that I bid you a fond farewell. I’m sad to see you go (I’m literally welling up writing this… get a grip Siân!) and I’ll never forget how proud you’ve made me, but the time has come to embrace an EPIC new era.
As of today, I will boldly go where no celebrant has gone before and, at present, that destiny is still a mystery. Feels like I’m standing at the bottom of massive mountain. I'm looking up, overflowing with excitement, yet I feel an edge of anticipation, not knowing what lays on the path ahead…bring it on!
Wicked Weddings, I welcome you and whatever adventures we embark on. As I adopt this new alias, I make a promise to myself to be fearless in my expression and trust in my intuition. So, here’s a toast (there’s always got to be a toast!) to the thank the past, behold the present and eagerly await the future. Here's to Calon Ceremonies, Wicked Weddings, Siân Julia Jackson and to anyone out there reaffirming their identity. Cheers!
What’s slightly ridiculous is, with those last few paragraphs, I think I accidentally turned what was supposed to be a blog into a ceremony marking this transition... can’t take the celebrant out of the celebrant!