GOSH. WHAT A YEAR! How can I possibly top 2017? I’ve just been flicking, no, in this technology driven world I’ve been browsing through my 2017 calendar and I can’t believe how much has gone on – on both a professional and a personal level. There have been awards, radio, weddings, a surprise renewal of vows, a combined naming & wedding ceremony, blogs, funerals, personal growth and new friends for life. Here’s a snapshot review of my 2017:
Awards & Personal Development:
I was advised that my name had been put forward for an award at the National Good Funeral Awards. Endearingly called the #DeathOscars (!) I was blown away when my name was called out as winner of the Funeral Celebrant of the Year category at the awards ceremony in September. For someone who, when they first trained was never going to do a funeral, I hold this accreditation and recognition very close to my heart. My Anubis sits very proudly on my desk and inspires me to continue to do the best I can. I can only say thank you to the families that entrusted their loved ones memories to me.
This increased profile led to some radio and press publicity and I was delighted to be interviewed by Peter Billingham and his Death Goes Digital as well as Tony Piper’s ‘Meet Your Funeral Celebrant. I was also invited to be an afternoon guest on Mark Sephton’s Talk Business Radio Show on RadioPlus Coventry. You can listen to both podcasts and the radio guest slot on my website – or visit their own sites for plenty more where that came from.
November saw the Regional Wedding Industry Awards and my name called out as the West Midlands Regional Celebrant of the Year for 2018. It was the first year that Celebrants had a category all of their own, which in itself goes to show how popular having a celebrant led wedding ceremony is fast becoming.
Celebrancy is a profession in its own right, and it is important to maintain and improve standards. A huge round of applause has to go to Civil Ceremonies Ltd who arranged the First National Convention for Celebrants at the Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. I believe that some 200 Celebrants attended. The informative and educational day included speakers and worthwhile topics such as marriage law, regulation and social media.
I was extremely pleased to join the European Celebrants Collective – an initiative set up by the very talented celebrant Natasha Johnson who also hosts the award winning blog Engaged and Ready – that also features one of my many fabulous couples – Yvette & James and their Italian destination wedding overlooking the magnificent Lake Como.
I also became a member of the Celebrant Directory –a local initiative driven by Jennifer Constant of Tailor Made Ceremonies who has created a single platform and to find the ideal Celebrant for you.
To round off the professional development bit – I also joined the National Association of Wedding Professionals – my first meeting with them was set in the Royal Chelsea Hospital and I managed a dance with a dear Chelsea Pensioner.
We’ve had ring blessings, Unity Candles, Rose Ceremonies, Tying the Knot, Ribbon Ceremonies and Sand Ceremonies. We’ve had horses, dogs, alpaca’s and a polo match. I’ve had a bride who jumped up on her horse bareback and barefoot in her wedding gown…what a girl – in so many ways.
We’ve had the longitude & latitude of the proposal location engraved into the rings, we’ve had personalised ring boxes and we had the groom propose to his bride at the alter!
What I really enjoy (but it’s not about me!!) is when my couples really embrace the concept of having a truly personalised wedding ceremony and include their love story. Rachael & Anthony met on a plane, Saum &Sarah met under the iconic Marina Bay Sands building in Singapore on a stormy night, James & Anne met literally by accident when she drove into the back of his car while Tegan and Adam met online. I could go through them all but we would be here for hours!
The majority of my weddings have been within the greater Midlands area, although I travel far & wide and go wherever I’m wanted. Many of my couples are international (or one half of them is!) so that means guests that also travel from afar. One guest was a bridesmaid at three weddings in three different countries in the space of a week (I stand to be corrected but I’m pretty sure that was it!). One of my highlights was to be asked to do a short ceremony and some words of advice at my brother-in-law’s wedding in New York.
I’ve had weddings couples from America, Australia, China and Singapore and guests from Germany, Iran, South Africa, Pakistan, Nova Scotia and New Zealand…A true international guest list if ever I saw one
I had wedding ceremonies in all but three of the months, however as 2018 looms, there are only 4 Saturday’s currently available during the months of May-September – so if you haven’t booked yet and you are still keen for a chat – please pick up the phone. If I’m not available, I will do my best to refer you to someone who might be!
As the recommended Celebrant for several fabulous venues – I am truly thankful to be a part of some great teams – thank you Alcott Weddings, Elite Tents, Hampton Manor, Hogarths Solihull, Newlands Bishop Farm, Oldberrow House and Warwick Castle for your support.
Giving Something Back:
My chosen charity Molly Olly’s Wishes benefited from a £5 donation from each funeral that I officiate. I officiated 162 funerals in 2017. I joined up with the charity only half way through the year, however they will continue to benefit for the foreseeable future. It is such a wonderful charity that supports children with terminal or life threatening illnesses. I was introduced to the charity by Katie McPhilimey, the editor of Warwickshire’s leading lifestyle magazine Live24Seven when they hosted their Annual Ladies Day at the Dallas Burston Polo Grounds. Thank you Katie!
Being an equestrian – anything to do with horses gets me excited, but I was able to combine charity work with ponies when I joined up as a volunteer for Riding for the Disabled. Wednesday afternoons are now largely dedicated to supporting a local school and a group of inspirational children.
Personal stuff and the bucket List:
This year I was coaxed into doing a few Ladies Day’s at the races. Well – I have to say – they were kinda FUN! I went to two – won one and then we came second in the Best Dressed Couple at Newmarket!
Oh yes – I also managed to tick off one of my bucket list items – LAPLAND and the Northern Lights – which was a dream come true! We slept in an igloo, did husky rides, reindeer rides and built a humongous snowman.
May your 2017 be filled with love, laughter & hope and your memories of today become your treasures of tomorrow.