A soulful practice and process of co-creating ceremony

I wanted to take a little time to share a part of my Celebrancy practice and some of my soulful ceremony crafting process. I hope this will help anyone exploring ways of working with celebrants in regard to marriage, civil partnership and commitment ceremonies. This is just one way of working but it works for me and the couples I work with offer very positive feedback.

Hello, I’m Andrea

When couples reach out to me with an enquiry and a request to connect, after checking I am available, I offer my congratulations and a no obligation video call. 

Many couples who are already aware of my Celebrant practice or been present at a ceremony I have conducted choose to book me right away without a video call

Many couples who reach out do so because they know they want, for any number of reasons, an agnostic celebrant and ceremony. 

For those who are looking for a ‘Celebrant’, and aren’t aware of the choice in Scotland, I always suggest exploring and learning about that choice so that they can find the right Celebrant for them.

In Scotland there is so much choice in regard to Celebrants. There are many Humanist Celebrants in the Humanist Society Scotland, also smaller Humanist bodies such as Independent Humanists and Spiritual Humanists so if you are Humanist there is a lot of choice.

There are also us of course, Agnostic Scotland Life Celebrants as well as Interfaith Ministers, Pagan Celebrants and Independent Celebrants amongst many more I’m sure.

For any new enquiry, that first connection, a no obligation video call is a great opportunity to meet, talk ceremony, celebrants and ask questions of each other. I also talk through the process I use to co-create and collaborate on a ceremony. 

However a couple find me, once they decide they want to book me for their marriage ceremony or civil partnership, I will send out an agreement form. Once I have the agreement form back along with a booking fee then I can confirm their date is secured. 

Yay …. They’ve got a Celebrant !! 

image by M Bryce

Around 5 months before the ceremony date I’ll reach out an arrange a meet up to revisit the process and begin to explore ideas, visions, plans, thoughts and inspiration in regard to content for the ceremony.  Many couples will have an idea of the vibe they’re looking for and most of them will certainly know what they don’t want. 

After that meeting the Love Modules begin. 

The first practical step in beginning to gather content for a ceremony is often done through questionnaires but I make it very clear that I can offer alternatives ways of gathering a love story. I am aware questionnaires, e-mails and tech are not accessible to everyone and we all have our preferred ways of communicating. There are always options and I want everyone to know that there are many ways to gather a story and would work on finding what was best for the individuals and the couple.

If folk are happy to give the questionnaires a go, I have Soulful Q1 that should be filled in by the couple and then Soulful Q2 which they can fill in independently and  privately, if they wish.  This is a really good way of digging a little bit deeper. With the tales of love in Q2 I’m learning about the individual that is sharing in the private questionnaire and also the individual they are composing thoughts and loving insights on.

With the questionnaires I send a document that explores co-creating the ceremony and a password protected blog which helps look at ways to get creative around gathering the story because as I mentioned above it’s not for everyone and it’s not the most romantically inspiring set up, sitting in front a laptop and filling in a word document.

We are not asked very often to record how we feel about our lover and it can be a challenge for many of us to speak, record or write the feelings, thoughts, reflections and insights that are in our hearts and minds. 

My aim is to gather a fresh and raw story. I don’t send anything else at this stage, no sample ceremonies or examples of this that and the next thing. 

Once we have gathered the story, however we have done that, we will then move onto the next stage, Love Module Two.

Here we will explore writing vows, considering words around ring exchange, if a couple are choosing to exchange rings, exploring thoughts on poetry, readings, songs, music, rituals and much more. This is when I can send examples for ideas and inspiration.

There is so much to get creative with.

Six weeks before the ceremony we will aim to have all the content chosen, we can then get together and create the structure, the flow of the ceremony.
I use a bell curve for this, the top of the bell curve is the threshold moment, this will be the vows in a legal marriage ceremony, in a civil partnership vows can be included if the couple wish but they could choose something else for their threshold moment. Consider that we have each side of the bell to fill with all the meaningful chosen content and a beautiful love story threaded through.

Ceremony Bellcurve

I will then write the ceremony and two weeks before the wedding date I will have a first draft ready. We will meet and I will present the ceremony to you, a redacted version of course, not sharing any personal vows or other precious words that are peppered through the ceremony. Reading the ceremony to you is a wonderful way for you both to get a sense of the feel of it, a sense of all the ebbs and flows of the different emotions.
This is a great time to do fresh edits so we will edit right there and then and we’ll go through some choreography, a bit of planning for the day and that’s us ready to go.

After the wedding day I will send a copy of the complete ceremony via email with details of the native sapling I will have planted for you with Trees For Life.

I’m planting a trees in a bid to help rewild the Scottish Highland. I’m always trying to reduce carbon emissions and be more sustainable within my life and my practice.

So that’s a few highlights of my process but of course everyone is individual, everyone has different needs and we all work in different ways, time scales etc but I’m there to listen, support, give choices, guide, advocate, discuss options, explore meaning, nudge gently and not so gently.

As a midwife I often joke that that is what I am doing ‘midwifing’ couple’s through the process, the gestation and birth of their very own ceremony.

I am always happy to talk ceremony so please reach out of you want to find out more via e-mail

soulfulcelebrant@aol.com

or Instagram

or SoulfulSpace

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Andrea Taylor

Hello! I’m Andrea ……I am a bright, spirited practitioner ready to nurture collaboration and co-creation while holding space for your ceremony with authenticity and care. My offerings and choices for couples and families include a myriad of traditional and modern, interfaith, multicultural, always inclusive and meaningful, ceremonies and rituals.

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