Touching Hearts: One Ceremony at a Time is a guest post by Marilyn Dion, Woven Words Ceremonies (www.wovenwordsceremonies.com) | Photo above: White Photographie
“What do you mean you only need 50 chairs? There are 200 people coming to the wedding!” Then the daughter explained to her mother that most people only come to the reception after the ceremony. Such is ‘the way it is’ – ceremonies are perceived as boring – if you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all.
I thought about it for a moment. The guests obviously had not experienced a Life-Cycle Celebrant™ ceremony, because if they had, they wouldn’t want to miss a single thing! Here are a few of our favourite things about LCC…
Ceremonies are part of our everyday lives – from weddings, funerals, graduations, coronations, and award ceremonies to ship launching, retirement, flag-raising, and house blessings. When they are written, and officiated by a Life-Cycle Celebrant™, ceremonies are symbolic, authentic, unique, and transformative.
Life-Cycle Celebrants™ quite simply touch hearts. Members of the international organization, the Celebrant Foundation and Institute (CF&I), are trained, elite professionals who use visual branding, individualized custom writing, attention to detail, and a ceremony keepsake to showcase excellence. They are the crème de la crème – the best of the best.
The Life-Cycle Celebrant™ is never the focus of any ceremony – to emphasize that fact, LCCs stand off to the side, not between the couple or by the honoree. This positioning is a refreshing and sometimes surprising visual difference, a visual branding that sets the LCC apart and focuses the attention where it truly belongs – on the client or honoree(s). In every way possible, the ceremony is about them. Guests and photographers love it!
Over 50% of Celebrant clients are non-religious or multi-faith. Many are spiritual but not religious. Celebrants emphasize the fact that they create ceremonies for all people from all walks of life. Each ceremony reflects the client’s beliefs and values, not the Celebrants’ – this makes Celebrants so very special. There is acceptance, inclusiveness, and positive affirmation of who a client is and what they want to convey to their audience. Last Halloween, Nancy Zummack’s clients had “searched high and low for an officiant who would be willing to conduct our very original and somehow strange ceremony….and Nancy was just fantastic! From the first time, we met, until after the wedding she stayed in close contact to make sure we had everything we needed. From giving information to answering questions to helping us write our vows – she was great! At first, I thought her pricing was a little bit high but after receiving such great service I actually would have paid more!”
Memorable and Meaningful
An LCCs motto is Your Story, Your Ceremony, Your Way! So, if you want a Dr. Who or Dr. Seuss or other ‘somehow strange’ themed wedding, a ceremony that honours the common threads in several religions, or a memorial that includes sharing muffins, tea, and a few laughs – you’ve got it!
LCCs work very hard for their clients often spending over 25 hours in total – they massage the ceremony, weaving the words, music, and ritual until it is just right with every word and nuance approved in advance. Julie Keon’s clients appreciated this as expressed in their thank you notes to her.
“You work so hard to make sure the ceremony speaks to the couple. You truly believe that every couple is unique and has their own story and after being together for 10 years before getting married, we had a history that we were excited to share with everyone. You made the ceremony so personal and meaningful not only to us but also for everyone who attended.”
“What stood out for us was your sincere approach to wanting to get to know each of us and our story of how we came to meet one another. You wove this story into our ceremony….that made it both meaningful and memorable.”
Life-Cycle Celebrants™ provide context in a ceremony – thought-provoking questions are asked and the answers are used to guide the LCC as they create the perfect ceremony.
LCC Peggy Acott has been compared by a member of a wedding party, to US nationally syndicated interviewer Terry Gross of the radio talk show ‘Fresh Air’. Quite a compliment as The San Francisco Chronicle wrote that Gross’ interviews are “a remarkable blend of empathy, warmth, genuine curiosity, and sharp intelligence. Yes, Life-Cycle Celebrants™ accepted and rigorously trained by the non-profit international Celebrant Foundation and Institute are indeed a breath of fresh air!
Fresh air because Life-Cycle Celebrants™ connect more deeply with their clients and avoid traditional ceremonies. LCC Holly Pruett tells her readers on her website “I want to know your story. And I want to help you tell it. If you’re eager to embrace the meaning in your life and to connect more deeply with others, you’ve found a kindred spirit in me.” Personalization is key to the work of all Life-Cycle Celebrants™.
As a Certified Life-Cycle Celebrant™ myself, I tell prospective clients – if you want bargain basement, if you want cookie-cutter ceremonies, you don’t want me! I can’t give you mediocre or ‘yawn’ type ceremonies – they are just not in me!
One of the lovely thoughtful things LCCs do once a ceremony has been performed is gift the ceremony to the client. Some do this electronically, and some create beautiful keepsake booklets for their clients. Either way, the client can reread and enhance their relationships with such tangible evidence of their ceremonial experience. Perhaps every anniversary, for instance, a couple will be assisted in remembering the feeling they had as their love story was told and the moment they took their vows. When a child is old enough to understand, they can read the very words said at their own parents’ wedding!
“Todd and I really want to thank you for the wonderful wedding! It was perfect! The weather was gorgeous and the ceremony reflected who we are and was unique. The beautiful scrapbook of the ceremony made me tear up… Thank you so much… Everything you did for our family in making this day perfect is so appreciated… I will always remember Zack coming up to you and listening to the story of Daddy and Mommy. Memories to cherish for life!”
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