Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Civil Celebrant Training - Course Materials

This item is being posted due to a number of enquiries being received regarding what Course Materials a Trainee Celebrant will receive.

By way of illustration, we have listed the materials that are received by trainee celebrants on our Family & Funeral Celebrancy  Distance Learning Diploma Course.

1. Nominated Tutor / Mentor Interview & Welcome Pack 
2. Student Handbook (Contacts, T&C’s, Complaints & Equality) 
3. Funeral Celebrancy Course Book – Section 1 & 2 
4. Funeral Celebrancy Course Book – Sections 3 - 5 
5. Funeral Celebrancy Core Text 
6. Funeral Celebrancy Case Studies (x8) 
7. Bereaved Interview Checklist Aide Memoir 
8. Funeral Celebrancy Marketing Pack 

9. Family Celebrancy Course Book – Sections 1-4 
10. Family Celebrancy Core text 
11. Family Celebrancy Case Studies (x5) 
12. Wedding/Commitment & Renewal Interview Checklist Aide Memoir 
13. Naming’s Interview Checklist Aid Memoir 
14. Family Celebrancy Marketing Pack 
15. Seminar – Profiles, Websites, Blogging & Social Media Integration & SEO 
16. Action Plans for each Tutorial (x13) 
17. Tutorial, Homework & Assessment Plans 
18. On-line Student Resources (with individual access details)
19. Profile Page and Personal Email address at 

Distance Learning with Live Tutorial Support
Each trainee celebrant will receive at least 1 planned Case Study every week during their distance learning course. Additional case Studies are available and are used at each Tutors discretion.

For further information on course choices and training options click here.

We hope the above helps, as, that's what we are here to do - Help You!

Thursday, 7 November 2013

9 Special Elements to A Wedding Ceremony

9 Special Ceremony Elements 
(for Weddings, Partnerships & Renewal of Vows)
Special Ceremony Elements at weddings and some naming ceremonies are becoming increasing popular in civil ceremonies. You don’t need to include a symbolic gesture in your marriage ceremony, some couples prefer a simple ceremony. However, if you are interested in adding a special ceremony element to your special day ceremony then read on. Many of these ceremony elements originate from old Pagan and Celtic rituals. 

Unity Candle Ceremony
Hand-Fasting Ceremony
Elements Well Wishing
Unity Sand Ceremony
Planting a Tree
Rose Ceremony
The Big Hug
Jumping the Broom Ceremony
Breaking the Glass Ceremony

Unity CANDLE Ceremony
unitycandleThe Bride and Groom each light a candle, to symbolise their separate lives before their formal union as a married couple. In a partnership of equals, such as the one which they have, each partner cares for the other through both the difficult times and the good times. They will share the laughter and the tears, the joy and the sadness, as well as the companionship and tranquillity of simply being together. But at the same time, they will continue to respect each other’s individuality and uniqueness and this is symbolised by the two candles.
The betrothed then light a third candle symbolising the joining together of their lives in marriage. The three candles will shine forth as symbols of both their togetherness and of their continuing individuality.

hand fasting ceremony

"Handfasting—the blessed marriage rite in which the hands of you and your beloved are wrapped in ribbons as you 'tie the knot.'" by using  couloured ribbons which represent the varied personality traits of those being joined. 


As a unique way to symbolise a union is to celebrate life’s essential elements. A well-wishing is said to all the elements. Earth, Air, Water and Fire. There are many ways of doing this, depending on where the ceremony is taking place. Most popular are the associated Pagan-esque rituals.
For further details talk to your Civil Celebrant who will signpost more resources for you.


A marriage is symbolised by the pouring together of two individual containers of sand, representing the betrothed and all that they were, all that they are, and all that they will ever be. As these two containers of sand are poured into the third container, the grains of sand can never again be separated, as you will now be in their marriage.

The tree symbolises the couple's hopes for the future as well as the beauty and wonder of life. Whether a tree grows to be tall and strong depends on the nurture it receives. No tree grows alone – they all need the soil, the sunshine and the rain. So too, a marriage needs to be nourished and the new spouses will be there for each other through all the seasons of their life together – to support, love and nurture each other.

Rose Ceremony

This wedding is also a celebration of family. It is the blending of families, separate up to this moment, but united from this day forward – blending their different traditions, strengthening the family tree. Mothers cry when their children hurt and welcome pain and burden to give their sons and daughters the gift of life.
The betrothed, to honour this blending of families, present a rose to their mothers – to thank their parents for the many sacrifices they have made and for their unconditional love so freely given to their children.
gizzahugThe big HUG
Now you all know what a Mexican wave is don’t you? So you start with the bride and groom giving each other a hug, they will then hug someone else, who’ll hug the person next to them and so on, until every single person in the room has been well and truly hugged!
You never know – you might have started something – maybe another couple will meet and fall in love at the wedding.

JUMPING the BROOM ceremony

jumpingthebesomIn past times setting up home and getting officially married often took place months apart. This could be due to not having a resident notary to perform the ceremony or to have a trial period before committing to the legal marriage.
To give the union a standing in the community the couples would declare their intention to “Live over the Brush” and would in front of family, friends and neighbours literally jump over a broom. The broom was then kept in the shared home as a symbol of the union and to encourage good luck. The also broom symbolises the sweeping away of the past and the fact that the happy couple are now starting a new life together.

Traditionally used in Jewish Wedding Ceremonies, this ritual has become accepted as an appropriate way to "get the party started' all over the world. Two champagne flutes (or wine glasses) are placed in a cloth bag, placed on the floor, then after a countdown, the newlyweds , together step on the glass while everyone shouts "Mazel Tov" (Yiddish for Good Luck!). This act symbolises the new couples unity as well as indicating to those assembled that the formal part of the ceremony is over. 

There are many other special ceremony elements that can be used, just ask your Celebrant for details.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

This New Year could mean a New Career! - Competition

A Ceremony Tale

FREE to Enter Competition

WIN a Distance Learning Course - Diploma in Family & Funeral Celebrancy  
which currently costs £795 with all the associated benefits.

This New Year could mean a New Career

Time to get your thinking caps on. If you have been considering a change in career direction and are thinking about becoming a Civil Celebrant - why not test yourself by entering this competition. We are looking for a short story, which is based on true events and personal to you. The story must be funny and be between 500 & 1000 words in length.

The Brief

The story must be about one of the following:

  • A Funeral Ceremony
  • A Memorial Ceremony
  • A Wedding / Commitment / Civil Partnership / Vow Renewal Ceremony
  • A Naming Ceremony

We look forward to receiving your submissions and wish you all good luck & Thank You!

Click >> Here << to Enter

(Written submissions will only be accepted by completing the entry form  below. By submitting an entry you are confirming acceptance of these terms, it is your own work and confirming your FREE Subscription to the UK Society of Celebrants Monthly Newsletter. Only one entry accepted per email address. Entries are to be submitted by or on 25 Dec 2013. The winner will be announced on the 3rd January 2014. We reserve the right to publish any submission on our blog and of course credit will be given to the author. The competition is open to anyone who is not a Member of the UK Society of Celebrants and who is over the age of 25 and a UK Citizen. The Prize is not transferable & there is no cash equivalent available. The winner must start the course between the 7th January 2014 and  30th June 2014)

Monday, 4 November 2013

Wedding Ceremony Choices

Wedding Ceremony Choices - Civil Celebrants v Clergy v Registrars

You have the power to make it one of the most special days in your life, So why don't you?
Today, around 80% of people planning to marry do so either with a Registrar or an Ordained Clergyperson officiating.
Registrars & Clergy
What those planning to marry may be unaware of is that they have far more choice than the staid services provided by religious ministers and registrars. These services are invariably provided according to a formula. Every service is only distinguishable from the last by the names of the brides and grooms. Furthermore, there are relatively strict time limits on these services too.
Additionally, the average registrar or clergyperson will spend between 10 minutes and 1 hour with the intended couple prior to the big day. Clearly, in that time , she/he will get to know the couple really well! I don't think so - but hey - she/he only needs to get your names correct - right?
Cost is often stated as a concern when people select the services of a Registrar - think again - this simply is not true. Don't get me wrong, for a variety of reasons we need registrars, but not as often as you think.
Family traditions is often stated as a reason for getting married by a clergyperson. Why? The overwhelming majority of the British Public, never practice any religion at all - so why, on all days, choose to do so on your wedding? Lets face it, no one needs an ancient book of fiction to know its wrong to kill & steal and sleep with a sheep - do they? So why marry by the same rule book.
If you are Gay - well you know what the clergy think about you getting married! Worry no more - see below.
In Australia, New Zealand, Canada & Even the USA - for many years - millions of couples are using the services of a Civil Celebrant to perform their Wedding Ceremony, Civil Partnership Ceremony, Commitment Ceremony & Renewal of Vows Ceremony etc
Civil Celebrants in the UK
What is a Civil Celebrant? Most Civil Celebrants are usually not affiliated with any religion and are independent. They can perform a variety of Ceremonies including those listed above. They meet with the intended couple & with them they devise the ceremony of their dreams. Often incorporating the timeless, meaningful rituals of "handfasting", "jumping the broom", "unity ceremonies", "parchment signings". "first kiss, last kiss" but to name a few. Civil Celebrants will often spend 8-12 hours with a couple during the planning & rehearsal process and many more besides.
Civil Celebrants can also perform your Ceremony wherever you choose. In a forest, in a tent, under water, on a beach, up a mountain, in a castle (bouncy or otherwise) - you name it, if the Civil Celebrant can get there they will plan everything with you and deliver the Ceremony you want. Civil Celebrants are often also game to deliver your ceremony as part of a theme (Steampunk, Punk, Robin Hood, Alice in Wonderland - the list is endless)
Here in the UK - Civil Celebrants have been around for a while but have only really started to get to grips with the emerging and adventurous British public, who are steadily moving away from the misplaced religious traditions and doing things that are personalised for them.
What about the costs? Civil Celebrants often cost less / the same as their registrar and clergyperson equivalents - but you get so much more for your money and you are not constrained by official and religious dogma
Where are these Civil Celebrants? We are all over the UK and our numbers are increasing almost daily.  The UK Society of Celebrants (UKSoC) have Civl Celebrants all over the UK who are only too ready to help couples planning their weddings. These Civil Celebrants have all been expertly trained by just 8 experienced Tutors who have completed over 6000 ceremonies between them. You know you are in good hands. UKSoC have even trained registrars and clergy to do their job properly & professionally. Religion has no relevance in what UKSoC does, but they do help couples who are from very different cultural backgrounds (eg Muslim & Christian) If you fall in love, religion and sexuality should not be a barrier to getting married. Just drop UKSoC a line. They are here to help you.
Civil Celebrants provide a truly bespoke service to their clients. By working with their clients, their families , friends and others Civil Celebrants will write and deliver the ceremony they want, where and when they want it.
  • Say NO : to standard ceremonies at churches and registry offices where they merely substitute names in a pre-set service.
  • Say YES : to bespoke, memorable, meaningful, personal and inclusive ceremonies in a location of your choice.
The choice is quite simple really! What is meant by that? There is no choice if you want that day to be extra special for you. Take the BLUE Choice!

UK Society of Celebrants Newsletter - November 2013

Welcome to the UK Society of Celebrants Newsletter - November 2013
Hi to ALL our subscribers
Welcome to this months edition. A new cleaner, crisper Newsletter look this month as some of you have said the old format was a little too dark. Lots to get through this time so here goes.
Once again we have just experienced our busiest month ever, both in terms of new members & celebrant training. A big welcome to you all our new Members and Subscribers.
There also seems to have been more interest in our Civil Celebrants combining resources to offer their services in particular geographic areas.
Keep an eye out for Wendy & Howard at Unique Life Ceremonies in Humberside, which will be formally launched in December - you will need to book early - you have been warned -  they will offer a full range of Civil Celebrant Services.
Similarly and most recently we welcome Catherine & Suzi from Warwickshire. Two more dynamic & talented ladies you could not wish to meet - they are to form "The Civil Celebrant Company" (watch this space).
Finally, Philip Reeves from Fleetwood will soon be launching his  "The Lancashire Celebrant' website.
Good luck and continued success to you all.
If any members wish to consider combining forces with others, we are only too pleased to help you achieve this - just let us know - we're here to help. Success for you is success for us. Our industry is on the brink of growing exponentially and we are firmly in place to take advantage of it. Exciting times!
NEW Training Courses?
We are examining the possibility of hosting a series of 8, 1 Day  Stand Alone "Weekend Celebrant Workshops" with effect from April 2014. The subjects covered will be advanced script writing , presentation skills, platform speaking, IT skills, counseling skills, effective interviewing, marketing skills.
All but one (Emotional Intelligence) of  Workshops will be FREE to attend for UKSoC Members however, the travel and refreshment costs need to be considered.
The workshops have been written & planned as part of our Tutor Development program and will be delivered by the Tutor's who were mainly responsible for each of the Workshop designs.
Your thoughts would be most welcome in relation to this matter. Please send them here! If there is sufficient interest, we will run a trial early in 2014. 
Our Market
Having recently met / conversed with a number of our competitors. The outcomes were a somewhat muted.
With the exception of one (geographically close to us) most seemed to be either happy with their lot or merely concerned with "empire building".
At least two major Celebrant Bodies are prepared to talk like grown ups and we are both prepared to take on the "nay sayers" and push our industry forwards.
We pride ourselves in our willingness and demonstrable ability to offer our members support in all that they do / want to do:
  • We do NOT advise our Civil Celebrants to offer free services as a "foot in" to third parties and leave them to flounder, without support and subsequently walk away from being a celebrant.
  • We DO provide all our Civil Celebrants with the necessary tools and support to do their job in a personal, meaningful, sympathetic & professional manner.​
  • We ARE accessible, approachable, flexible, knowledgeable & determined to ensure quality of service to our members and and our public alike.
Enough ranting for now - we know you get our drift. We will continue to consult  & develop (with you & others)
Celebrant Tales
This months winner is Wendy Martin - UKSC(M) (last minute entry through James Convery - probably sat on it for weeks ;-)  Thanks Wendy - your £25 Amazon Voucher will be with you soon.
Now this is a true story!  It just so happens that, my beloved ‘Other Half’; who will ‘from this day forward’...did I mention I was a Wedding Celebrant?...Whoops I’m digressing...who from this day forward will be referred to as my OH, is a Funeral Celebrant.
Now, this particular day, my OH was required to travel to the other side of our kingdom (the UK not UKSoC) to conduct a Funeral.  It was a long and dusty road he travelled (alright just using a bit of ‘poetic license’ to paint a picture for you); well anyway, it was a long way.
By the time OH arrived at the Crematorium, he was longing for a cup of coffee.  Having been told by a lady; he took to be leaving from the last funeral, that there was a Coffee Machine in the ‘Relatives & Friends, Waiting Room’  OH was very pleased at being given this news.
OH very quickly located said room (he’s not stupid my OH ;-)) and spotted the large, push button machine lurking in the corner; I’m not sure if machines actually ‘lurk’, but I have rather a fondness for this word. “Wonderful”, he thought “I can already smell the coffee beans”.  “Right, now do I read the instructions first?  No, (why break the habit of a lifetime?) Selecting ‘White Coffee with sugar’, he pushed the button, and waited...and waited...nothing.  Not to be daunted he tried ‘Americano with sugar’...nothing.
Getting a little frustrated by now, he pushed the button for ‘Mocha’ (he had no idea what this was, but, hey...)....nothing.  Now, desperate for a hot drink, he pushed the last button ‘Hot Chocolate’ (and let’s face it guys, you’ve got to be desperate to order that!).  Nothing!
Now OH was just about to try the old ‘if in doubt, shake the bl**dy machine’, when he noticed the little icons on the Coffee Machine were all registering ‘Empty’!  There wasn’t a coffee grain in sight.
By now OH was feeling extremely grumpy and, was running out of time for his Funeral.  He decided to collar one of the Crematorium staff members, and quickly spotted a likely looking chap, outside, in a Crematorium uniform.  OH, rushed over to him and said “Excuse me, I’m a Funeral Celebrant, and I’m due to take the 2pm ceremony, I’ve only got five minutes and ...head nodding in the general direction of the room...the coffees’ empty”
Now, on receiving this piece of news, the Crem. Man suddenly went rather pale “Pardon?” he said.
“Yes, it’s completely empty” said OH.
“How do you know”? said Crem. Man in a slightly ‘worried voice’.
“Well” answered OH (thinking ‘What a strange question’) “I’m sure, because I just looked and it’s definitely empty”
Crem. Man was by now ‘deathly pale’; quite an appropriate colour for a Crematorium Staff member ;-)  “Have you told anyone else”?  He asked, “You haven’t said anything to the family have you”?
“Why would I mention it to the family”? Replied OH “Frankly” he continued “I don’t think they’ll give a damn.  Anyway, they probably already know because they were, I think, messing about with it before I arrived”.
Now this piece of news appeared to be the ‘last straw’ for Crem Man.  Grabbing OH by the arm he said, in a (by now) increasingly ‘desperate’ voice “We’ve got to inform the Manager and the Funeral Director...right now”!  He was, by now, dragging OH towards a door marked ‘Crematorium Manager’.
“Hold on” said OH, “Is this really necessary”?  “I mean, you must have a kettle and coffee in your staff room”?
“Coffee”? said Crem. Man in a puzzled voice.
“Yes” replied OH.  “The coffee machine in the ‘Waiting Room ’is completely empty...”
“OMG” said Crem. Man, his face now brightening.  “I thought you said the coffin was empty”!
‘It shouldn’t happen to a Celebrant’, but, it usually does!
Thank you Wendy - it would have been great to have been a fly on that particular wall.
Celebrant Tales entries for the next UKSoC Newletter to be received no later than 25th November 2014 - entries to be sent here.
The "Complete Celebrant" set of publications (mentioned in previous Newsletter) has been delayed due to ISBN related delays - the problems are resolved as far as we are concerned - but, we feel that we have just been put on "hold". 
We promise to rush the Freebies out to all members as soon as the problems have been sorted.
Thank you to all those out there who have taken time out to give us feeback on Celebrant Training Courses, Member & IT Support and our Website. We appreciate your comments and endeavour to act on them quickly  - as is there for all to see.
The NEW Distance Learning Celebrant Training, introduced in April is now firmly established and initial teething problems have been fully resolved.
For some unknown reason we have had a resurgence in Personal Training Courses, which provides us with somewhat of a quandary, as we had planned to remove them with effect from 2014. We will keep you posted.
Those of you who use Member Resources have done so enthusiastically - we hope that you like the NEW look resources that will be introduced late November.
Its good to see so many people taking up our offer of IT support including website / mobile site building. We know that you cannot get it done cheaper or quicker than we can do it - unless you are an IT person in the first place. We're here to help!
Remember: Don't forget to tell us about new blogs , sites and email accounts that you may acquire , in order that we can amend your profile pages accordingly.
Big News
We have become only the fourth organisation in the UK to be accepted as a National Affiliated Group to the National Secular Society. This move is seen as a natural progression for the UK Society of Celebrants as we are in essence a secular service provider.
All UKSoC Members are welcome to contribute to the "Secular Debate" by submitting their thoughts and comments by email to us.
Thanks for reading this far. That's it for this month. See you soon. Be Safe & Be Well
James Convery & Phil Hammond

UK Society of Celebrants Newsletter - October 2013

Welcome to the  UK Society of Celebrant Newsletter - October 2013
Well, autumn is well upon us now however, you guys are seemingly busier than ever. We are a little early this month due to lots of celebrant training commitments. Once again, we have had lots of positive feedback for our NEW Celebrant Training Courses and our Membership is continuing to grow above all expectations. This would not be possible without the dedication and professionalism shown by all our Members and Celebrant Training Team alike – Thank You!
Location, Location, Location
It may come as a surprise to some but we have now co-located to Nottingham. This has been done to coincide with the planned expansion of training locations (mentioned below) Nottingham was chosen as it is geographically central to mainland UK and is situated on the M1 corridor  thus accessible by all. You may also notice from the website that the contact number has changed to a Nottingham number:
0115 888 0 838

Don’t worry, all the usual numbers are to remain – this is just one more aimed predominantly at people New to UKSoC.
Celebrant Training
We have temporarily reinstated the Personal Tuition Celebrant Training until 31st December. The reason for this is an inexplicable surge in Personal Tuition enquiries and subsequent bookings. No new personal tuition bookings will be taken after 1st November other than those for franchise applications. Frankly, our tutors have their hands full with the distance learning course tutoring and the traditional courses which, are fully booked through to the New Year.
Remember, our Traditional Group Training Courses from January 2014 will not only be held in Lincoln but also held in Birmingham, Bolton, Brighton, Bristol, Dagenham, Nottingham & York on an ad hoc basis. This is being done to reduce the necessity of Trainee Celebrants traveling such long distances to attend courses.  Your comments regarding the provision of Celebrant Training are always welcome.
Celebrant Tales
Many thanks for all the entries to our “Celebrant Tale” competition.  This months winner is Michael Clancy from East-Anglia and he will soon receive his £25 Amazon Voucher. Thanks Michael!
Michael's winning submission will be published on our new blog on 21st Cctober. I was kind of hoping that you would all follow to the blog, make comments and perhaps post submissions yourselves – he said in a hopeful tone. The new blog address is and is now live.
Anyone wishing to submit their “Celebrant Tale” for next month must do so by or on 15th November 2013. A £25 Amazon Voucher will be awarded to the winning Celebrant.
What follows may sound a little familiar but is nevertheless valid.
Developments - Help Us to Help You to Help Yourself
Here at UKSoC we go to considerable lengths, as many of you know, to achieve and maintain a credible on-line presence. This practice is not only for the benefit of UKSoC but also its Members, by helping them become more visible and accessible on-line. So, help us to help you to help yourself. Just "10" minutes, every week at your computer clicking buttons (see below) on your mouse can give us all an edge on our competition.
Member Resources - this has finally gone live - UKSoC Members should by now have received their usernames, passwords and access details (go to UKSoC and click LOGIN ) This resource will continually be updated. Should you wish to add to this resource, you can do so my mailing All entries will be credited to the contributor with links to their UKSoC Profiles, personal websites, blogs & social media as required. Help Us to Help You to Help Yourself.
UKSoC Tutors all met this week to select the top five ceremonies from each type of ceremony from Celebrant Trainees during the last 12 months. It proved to be quite a task – remember James & Jollanta, James & Jason, Nathan, Charlotte, Patrick et al? Tutors were not allowed to vote for their own students either (although they put scripts forward).
Each of the Top 5 Ceremonies are to be placed in the Member Resources section of the website (during November)
The (Now) Celebrants whose scripts have been selected have been informed. A big thank you to them. The quality of ceremonies overall was excellent, however, the ceremonies selected were truly exceptional. Not forgetting the Tutors, I think they can take a “pinch” of the credit too.
Our most recent qualifying Family Celebrant deserves to be singled out for a special mention as she only qualified last week (at the time of writing) and she had two ceremonies voted into the top 5 in just one category. Remarkable and well done to Wendy Martin from the York & Humber region. Wendy is going to be a busy lady!
Celebrant Blogs - by visiting UKSoC and clicking "Blog" (top right) you can access all UKSoC blogs. Click on them and follow if they are of interest to you. We follow all our members blogs and re-post, tweet, like & g+ for improved exposure. Help Us to Help You to Help Yourself.
Twitter - Some of you may have noticed that we have a new daily e-publication called "Celebrant Tales" which is released through our twitter account @UKSoC. Please take a look and subscribe if it is of interest to you and follow us & retweet on twitter if you have not already done so. Help Us to Help You to Help Yourself.
Facebook - Don't forget to like our fan page on Facebook too. Help Us to Help You to Help Yourself. In fairness I think all of us have liked the page now and we are steadily increasing our reach to new people.
Profile Pages - All UKSoC Members have a profile page. Some of you have your own websites. Those with / without a website can now have a THREE page site within UKSoC's site for FREE. Just talk with your Mentor, send us your editorial content & requirements & consider it done. Help Us to Help You to Help Yourself.
Having acted upon suggestions received, the UKSoC website has had somewhat of an overhaul. Thanks for everyone’s contributions. I eagerly await your feedback. Still lots more to do which, will be announced as it occurs.
Thanks for reading this far. That’s it for this month.
Until Next Time
Be Well.
James Convery