What is a Life-Cycle Celebrant?

Celebrants create and perform personalized ceremonies based on the client’s beliefs, philosophy, and needs. I have been trained and certified by the Celebrant Foundation & Institute, and have gained knowledge on the theory and structure of rituals and specific training for different types of ritual. My job as a Life-Cycle Celebrant is to meet one-on-one with the family, individual or couple and creatively craft a one-of-a-kind ceremony marking a major transitions in their life and the lives of their loved ones.

How is a Life-Cycle-Celebrant different from any other secular Officiant?

Professional Life-Cycle Celebrants have undergone many months of specialized training through an internationally recognized institute to gain the knowledge and skills needed in order to make each ceremony a unique, individualized, personal event. As trained experts on ceremony and ritual, certified celebrants seamlessly work with all religious, secular, philosophical and spiritual belief systems, collaborating with you and your family or group to create your ceremony rather than relying on a formula.

How do I know if a Celebrant is right for me?

A Celebrant is someone you choose to be with you when you are ready to mark a transition in your life with ritual and ceremony.  It is important that you have a clear idea of what you are looking to accomplish. Ritual is a powerful way to manifest intention. It is a means to access the strength you need to accomplish a transformation you are already committed to.  It is a purposeful and confident act that realizes your need to externalize something which already exists within you. It gives substance to desire.  A Life-Cycle Celebrant is a qualified expert who can guide you through that process.

Without both a real desire to move forward and a clear vision of your destination, engaging in ceremonial rituals cannot help you, and may even be a negative experience. Celebrants are professional ceremonialists and ritualists, not therapists or spiritual counselors.  If you are at a crossroad in your life and are having difficulty dealing with why you find yourself there, or have trepidation about moving forward, you may need a different kind of professional.  If, however, you are happy to reach that crossroad with a vision of where you want to go ; if you are ready to let go of who you once were and embrace who are becoming; if you want your community to witness this transition; then yes, a Celebrant is exactly what you need.

How do Celebrant ceremonies differ from other ceremonies?

The key difference is that Celebrant ceremonies are co-created with you as you share your story and the elements that matter matter to you. Every ceremony is unique to the the honoree, or the honoree’s family. Every ceremony is researched, written and edited, until the ceremony fully reflects your personality, beliefs, values and traditions, while weaving in your own story.

Do you work with other officiants?

I would be honored to co-create a ceremony with you that includes members of faith communities important to you. First and foremost, you are my client, with full approval rights over the ceremony script. It is important that anyone else participating in the ceremony understands this fully, so that there is no confusion.

Are you legally able to perform a marriage?

I have been authorized by the circuit court of the Commonwealth of Virginia to celebrate the rites of matrimony. I am also recognized as a legal officiant in Maryland and the District of Columbia. This authority is recognized by most states. While it is your responsibility to get the marriage license, I will file the official certificate of marriage within two business days with the county clerk of court. Please contact me for further information if you wish for me to Officiate your union outside of the Washington Metropolitan area.

Do you require pre-marriage counseling or classes?

I neither offer nor require any pre-marriage counseling. I would however encourage any couple who want to enter into a life-long commitment to learn more about what this entails before taking this step. If you are interested in those services feel free to contact me, and I can provide some references.

Where do you perform Ceremonies?

I am based in Annandale, Virginia, but I travel throughout the Washington Metropolitan area. If you want my services in another region I am willing to travel farther. After we meet and your ceremony location is confirmed, I will be happy to quote you a travel fee if applicable.

What do you Charge?

The work of a Celebrant is different from situation to situation, so I prefer to discuss specific fees after we have had a chance to speak, and I get to know what your specific vision for your ceremony is. For weddings, funerals, memorials and celebrations of life I offer a range of services from $400 to $1,500 and up. For graveside ceremonies or the scattering of ashes and other simple ceremonies my fees average $400. A more specific quote for these services and a fee for all other ceremonies will be provided at our initial complimentary meeting when I know what will be needed in order to create the ceremony you have in mind.

What does the Celebrant Fee Cover?

Each ceremony is unique, so the services I offer may differ across the life cycle, from birth to death, but there are some core services included in my fee.  My services will include, where appropriate:

  • A free, complimentary one-on-one meeting to determine if we have a rapport and to discuss your ideas and inspirations for ceremony and ritual.
  • Personal consultations
  • A family, or couples questionnaire
  • In-depth personal interviews with the client and their family and friends
  • Ceremony script consultations, edits, and updates
  • Research and resource materials such as poetry, readings, music suggestions, etc.
  • Suggestions for rituals and symbolic elements
  • Consultations with funeral home staff as needed
  • Coordination with all ceremony participants (e.g. speakers, musicians, ushers, etc.)
  • Travel within the Washington Metropolitan area
  • PA system if requested
  • Arrival at the venue 30 minutes in advance of the ceremony
  • Providing cue sheets to venue staff and musicians as needed
  • Officiating at the ceremony
  • A keepsake copy of the ceremony sent to the client electronically and by mail

How are you paid? 

With your approval, I will provide a contract for services for us both to sign and a 50%, non-refundable payment by check, PayPal, credit card, cash, or money order is due at that time.  The remainder of my fee will be due on an agreed date prior to the ceremony. (3% fee for credit cards)

What if you can’t make it to the Ceremony? 

In the event of an emergency that would prevent me from officiating on the date of your ceremony, please know that I am part of a broad and supportive community of Certified Life-Cycle Celebrants. I can assure you that someone fully trained and qualified will stand in for me and provide exactly the ceremony you are expecting.

What if we cancel, or reschedule our Ceremony? 

If you must reschedule your ceremony, I will do everything I can to accommodate your new date.  If I cannot accommodate the new date, I will endeavor to find a replacement from my community of Certified Life-Cycle celebrants to officiate.  In the unfortunate event you must cancel your ceremony, while your deposit is non-refundable, I will be available to console you, buy you a cup of coffee, and help you through that transition as well.

Please contact me for any other questions you may have!