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Marking life’s journey and all of the milestones we each face and overcome requires something really special. And someone who has really special qualities to officiate at them. This is why it is important to choose someone who has mastered and developed skills in celebrancy – a trained and fully qualified celebrant.

You would not want an untrained counsellor counselling you through some of life’s biggest events. So, nor should you entrust your special days and valued reflections with someone who is not trained. Always choose a qualified celebrant for your ceremonies. This way you will gain some greater guarantee that you are in safe hands.

A good quality and highly qualified celebrant will never provide low standards of support through some of the life’s most important occasions. Their industry depends on them maintaining high standards.


Wait, There Are Untrained / Unqualified Celebrants Out There?

Yes, there are. Currently, there is no UK law stipulating who can or cannot officiate at private life celebrations. Anyone can decide to declare themselves as a celebrant. If someone chooses to, they can simply print off business cards and set up a website and begin to emulate the practices of celebrancy.

Sadly, because these celebrants have not had actual training nor have they received a qualification, they are simply playing at the role based on their own expectations and experiences. This, in itself, does not necessarily mean that they are bad at what they do. However, it certainly does not set up any assurances of their understanding the industries of marriage, funerals or any other of life’s ceremonial events.


Unqualified Celebrants Can Make Calamitous Mistakes

Frequently, I have heard of wedding celebrants who do not understand the law in the UK and what their limitations as a celebrant are. I’ve even heard one self-titled celebrant, during a wedding ceremony, state out loud the legal declarations and “I now pronounce you man and wife”. This was actually unlawful of them to do so, as this can only be legally stated by a registrar or minister of faith.

Technically here, this celebrant was impersonating a cleric and they definitely broke the law in asking about legal impediments.

But without formal training, they did not know this and were touting their experiences as a life celebrant. Scarily, the public just accept that if someone calls themselves “a celebrant” that they know what they are doing.

Worse still, because the untrained celebrant is unaware of the formalities and expectations when working with clients, they often make some terrible mistakes. Perhaps most frequently, they overfill their diaries with ceremonies, and then make name blunders or factual inaccuracies during a service.

Becoming overly familiar with clients is a regular issue: not upholding a sense of professionalism. Pronouncing themselves as some form of guru for ceremonies. In one particular example, from near where I live, one so-called celebrant even exclaimed that they were a grief counsellor because of the nature of their funeral work. This is not only troubling, it is downright dangerous.


Why Choose a Qualified Celebrant?

Qualified celebrants receive training and work towards a full qualification. As a formal qualification, these are legally recognised in the UK. They are governed by the Department for Education’s training standards and provide vocational skills for beginning a career. They have a core foundation of knowledge and expertise built into them. And they provide the new soon-to-be celebrant with essential techniques, skills and accurate limitations about they future work.

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Tuirenn 'Kit' Hurstfield
About the author

Qualified to the highest level as an Independent Celebrant (NOCN Diploma), Tuirenn creates and delivers ceremonies for weddings, namings, funerals and other milestone celebrations across the North West and Cheshire region, and will travel further afield too. Irish by name, but English by birth, Tuirenn (pronounced TEER-an) is proud to be serving the community as a public speaker, writer and over all celebrant. Find out more about him here...

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