What is a Celebrant?

Main image Celebrant Louisa Starr of Starr Gazing Ceremonies

Many celebrants commonly hear ‘what is a celebrant’ or ‘what’s that’ when they are asked what they do for a job.  You may desire or require the services of a celebrant if looking for a personalised wedding ceremony or require a non-religious funeral. If you are thinking of becoming a celebrant and have mentioned this to your family and friends, have they asked you what this means or what does a celebrant do?

Celebrancy in the UK is relatively new (1980’s) in comparison to celebrancy in Australia (1973), New Zealand (1977), and America (2002, allegedly later than the UK). An online search for ‘celebrant’ will show results for many celebrants and numerous training companies. Not so long ago typing the word ‘celebrant’ into a search engine would suggest you had incorrectly spelt ‘celebrate’. We are now a recognised employment role on a government website.


In a condensed and short explanation, a celebrant is somebody who is skilled in the construction and delivery of a wedding or funeral ceremony. In a more accurately defined definition, a celebrant is somebody who has undertaken a training course to create and narrate many ceremonies including weddings, vow renewals, commitment ceremonies, funerals, celebrations of life, memorials, scattering of ashes, baby welcoming, naming for babies and other ages of people, and many other life event ceremonies.

There are also celebrants who haven’t taken part in any celebrant training.

Most celebrants are self-employed with various levels of annual income depending on what they charge, how many ceremonies they create and lead and if they are wedding or funeral celebrants or both. How much a celebrant earns is dependent on these factors.

Celebrants can be Humanists, spiritual, Pagan, alternative, have a religious belief, or be agnostic. Each celebrant’s beliefs or non-beliefs are personal to them and some search for a like-minded celebrant to lead weddings, funerals, or specialised belief ceremonies.

Most who use the services of a require a celebrant do so to ensure their ceremony is personalised and without religion.

What a Celebrant Does

A celebrant’s role involves many things. Writing and reading a ceremony aren’t the most accurate or descriptive definitions of what a celebrant does. Celebrants are ceremonialists, which involves many things.

We create and hold space
We are story tellers
We construct, build, and create ceremonies to be heard not read
We narrate and deliver ceremonies with variations in our tones of delivery
This all starts from meeting those each ceremony is about or for and listening to what those people require, and what they do not want.

What we must do
We must be knowledgeable when creating each ceremony
We must possess research skills to produce unique ceremonies every time
We must be able to deliver a ceremony with confidence and professionalism
We must see any possible issues which may arise and address them to ensure the ceremony goes smoothly and is memorable for the right reason
We must have empathy and compassion
We must be sensitive to people’s emotions
We must have discretion

What is a Celebrant?

Photo by: Seanna Hughes Photography Celebrant Michelle Taylor

Can Everybody be a Celebrant?

There are many things needed to work as a celebrant.

These include:
Confident people skills
Conversation skills
Creative writing skills
Confidence in speaking to groups of people (public speaking and leading a ceremony are different but both have transferable skills)
Fast thinking
An understanding of, and be demonstrative of diversity
Good research skills
I.T and social media knowledge (not in depth, just enough to market a business, use Zoom, Word, Pages, Google Docs and other similar programmes and apps)
Be a people person
Know when to listen and when to speak

Anybody who can learn or can naturally do all the above and who understands the need to celebrate love can be a celebrant. Love is for everyone without any discriminations. We believe celebrancy isn’t exclusive for those who work or have retired from academia or have been involved in performance or public speaking.

We at Choice Celebrant Training view celebrancy as a role rather than just a job. To create and deliver a ceremony is an honour and a privilege not currently an authority.

Is Training Essential to be a Celebrant?

Currently there aren’t any formal or recognised qualifications to write and deliver any ceremony as a celebrant. (April 2023).

Training to be a celebrant with a celebrant training company such as Choice Celebrant Training ensures trainee celebrants receive the most up to date, modern and relevant information needed. Training equips student celebrants with the knowledge and skills required to be a successful wedding, funeral and/or life events celebrants.

If you were looking for a celebrant to write the most important ceremony marking your relationship and commitment to each other, would you seek a professionally trained celebrant, or wouldn’t it matter? If you were saying goodbye to a loved one, would you seek a celebrant who had undergone specialised funeral celebrant training to help and support you at a terrible time, or wouldn’t it matter?

Training isn’t essential, but it is highly recommended.

Can a Celebrant Legally Marry You?

Celebrants in England and Wales cannot legally marry people. We aren’t registrars and at the time of writing this (April 2023), only legally registered marriage celebrants can officiate a legal marriage.

Celebrants and Funerals

Under UK law, you must bury or cremate a person after their death, but there are no rules with funeral ceremonies as to how, where or when you choose to commemorate a life. It can be as simple, personal, or unique as you wish. Funeral celebrants in the UK aren’t currently regulated meaning anyone can lead a funeral ceremony, trained or untrained, celebrant or not, (which has its pros and cons).

Do You Want to be a Celebrant?

If you are interested in training to be a celebrant, you will find further information on our various blogs, on each course page on our website, or you can request a call back by filling out the contact form on our site.

Our wedding and funeral celebrant training can be completed either online through Zoom or in Group Training Sessions in person at stated cities and towns.

Blog by Choice Celebrant Training

Would you like more information on How to Become a Funeral Celebrant?