What is an Alternative Celebrant?

The term ‘alternative celebrant’ seems to be a very commonly used term for many celebrants, but what does it mean? Does it mean the person using the term is different to other celebrants, or does it mean they are an alternative person?

An Alternative Celebrant is?

An alternative celebrant could be a celebrant who does things differently to other celebrants or could be a celebrant who lives what is deemed to be an alternative lifestyle. A celebrant who is part of a subculture, is knowledgeable about different lifestyles and most importantly is without judgement if approached to create a ceremony which is non-traditional and is the requirements of those the ceremonies are for.

Many may say they are willing to do this which is great as we need more genuinely alternative celebrants, but this isn’t a way to make money from alternative people looking for an alternative ceremony.

All Celebrants Were Alternative

Traditionally, weddings and funerals were conducted by members of the clergy, religious leaders or in the case of weddings, registrars. The introduction of celebrants gave a different choice of person to create and narrate ceremonies. Something which differs from what is the norm, is classed as being alternative. Therefore, all celebrants were originally alternative as we were different from the norm.

However, hypothetical question for consideration, what is ‘the norm’? What is normal to you may not be normal to your work colleagues or neighbours. As the fictional character Morticia Addams is quoted as saying:

normal is an illusion, what is normal to the spider is chaos to the fly’.

We are all different as is our normal, and finding a celebrant who has the same kind of normal is very important. This is why the term ‘alternative celebrant’ is a very broad term which clumps everyone under the same umbrella of alternative.

Alternative Celebrants Now

Many searching for an alternative celebrant are seeking somebody who will be creative, knowledgeable, accepting and understanding. Most celebrants may state this, but are they? Opposites do not attract at all, there must be common ground; like attracts like. Those seeking a truly alternative celebrant have certain expectations and of their celebrant’s knowledge and at times appearance and dress. A smartly dressed celebrant in a business suit will look out of place at a Medieval or Viking themed wedding in an historical building just as a celebrant wearing a cloak and historical attire may not be appropriately dressed for a traditional wedding in a hotel.

When celebrants state they are alternative, their personal style may be part of this title, but their knowledge and creativity is everything. Those seeking an alternative celebrant have expectations and need to be confident their celebrant will demonstrate creativity, knowledge, acceptance and understanding.

Alternative Celebrant

Categories of Alternative Celebrants

There are different kinds of celebrants including spiritual and Pagan celebrants, (this is another huge umbrella of people as there are many branches to the Pagan tree of beliefs), Drag Queen ones, Gothic celebrants, Steampunk celebrants, Shamanic and Satanic ones. There are fetish lifestyle celebrants, various subculture celebrants, Rockabilly celebrants, ones who describe themself as funky, theatrical, quirky, eclectic, metal heads, celebrants who are part of different scenes, performing celebrants and many more. These are all alternative celebrants.

Would You Label Yourself as an Alternative Celebrant?

It seems many use the hashtag of alternative celebrant; are you an #alternative celebrant? If so, why? This may sound like a blunt question, but if you are asked this question by prospective clients, what would you say? It’s a thought provoking question, not as simple an answer as ‘yes’, but as straightforward as ‘no’.

Is it your skills as a creative celebrant, your dress sense, your lifestyle, your knowledge or other (or all these things) that are the deciding factors to answer this question. This question is asked and searched for a lot. Alternative wedding Facebook groups have people regularly posting in the search for an alternative celebrant. When they have found one, this is then narrowed down into the certain kind of alternative celebrant they are seeking.

Many celebrants state they are an alternative celebrant, but are they? Why are they alternative? What do they offer which non-alternative celebrants don’t?

I am an Alternative Celebrant

As an alternative person I decided to train to become a celebrant to offer alternative ceremonies to all who want them. I started my celebrant business of Alternative Ceremonies UK around ten years ago. My celebrant training was the same training all undertook, and I had to adapt what I was taught so I could use this to start my business aimed at alternative people and those looking for creative and non-traditional ceremonies.

I specialise in handfasting, am a Priestess, have a vast knowledge of subcultures, a Goth celebrant, create Viking/Norse, Pagan, Goth, theatrical, spiritual, quirky, eclectic, poly, fetish, Medieval, themed, Steampunk and lifestyle ceremonies.

Creating ceremonies for natural burials, celebrations of life, Pagan funerals, lifestyle funerals, alternative funerals, memorials and ceremonies of goodbye are my speciality.

I have written guest blogs about alternative weddings and funerals, worked with many couples, thruples, families and people to create and lead ceremonies for them. I can proudly state, I am one of the first and original alternative celebrants and now train others.

Alternative Celebrant Training

For the last eight years I have been training celebrants for an established celebrant training organisation but decided it was time to start offering training to others who want to become alternative celebrants.

Choice Celebrant Training is the first celebrant training organisation/company to offer bespoke training to each trainee celebrant. We do not use templates or the same ceremonies and teaching for everyone. We offer bespoke and directed training; tailor made for every individual.

If you want to learn specific kinds of ceremonies, you can. Celebrants are an alternative to the clergy who lead the same ceremonies for all, yet most celebrant training teaches the same learning to everyone. We do not.

If you are interested in training to become an alternative wedding and/or funeral celebrant, Choice Celebrant Training is the training organisation for you. Who better to teach you to be a success alternative celebrant than successful alternative celebrant trainers?

Our courses haven’t been adapted from what is taught by others, our courses have been specifically designed and constructed so our trainee celebrants can choose what they want to learn rather than what we expect them to learn based on traditional, commonly followed training.

‘We encourage our trainee celebrants to think outside of the box, not to fit in it.’

Ellie Farrell, Founder of Choice Celebrant Training

There Aren’t Enough Alternative Celebrants

There aren’t enough alternative celebrants, we need more. More genuine ones looking to work with alternative clients. Traditional ceremonies aren’t for everyone, and alternative weddings and funerals are here to stay.