Welcome to my brand new Blog! I hope you enjoy the read x
Hi there. First of all thank you for taking the time to stop by and take a look at my brand new Blog.
I am hoping to publish this Blog at the beginning of each month (workload dependent) and will attempt to focus on different aspects of my life as a full-time Celebrant, as well as views, ideas and opinions, starting off with a little about me and how I travelled my journey to become an Independent Celebrant - including all of the ups and downs along the way.
So...lets start at the very beginning. At the age of 18 I found myself working as a secretary at a local publishing company and being thrown headfirst into the world of 'desktop publishing'. Now, this was some 35 years ago and it was all very shiny and new. If I'm honest, I hadn't a clue what I was doing but then again, neither did anyone else so we all found a way to navigate this new technology and software together!
It was a very steep learning curve and the publishing industry changed dramatically going from a pair of scissors, cutting out images and using a Pritt Stick before handing everything over to an outsourced typesetter, to suddenly being able to put pages of a magazine together on a computer screen was astounding. I was hooked and absolutely loved every minute of it. This was the start of a very long career in publishing where I worked in many different areas of the industry including management of an entire Production Department, graphic design, sub-editing and much more.
Then we had the pandemic! The large company I was working for at the time made the decision to make all of their publications on-line only and cease production of hard-copy printed magazines. This meant that they felt they no longer needed a design team and we were all made redundant.
I decided to take a little time to think about what I really wanted to do in the future. I was, to be honest, fed up of sitting behind a desk, doing the same thing every day and I had already began thinking about doing something that may make a different in the world in some way.
I started to think about work within the funeral industry. This was something that I had always had an interest in and having lost both of my parents at a reasonably young age, being an only child, I knew I couldn't have coped without the amazing support and help I received from the Funeral Directors (Co-op) at that time.
That was it!!! Despite having no experience, I knew this was an industry I could work in and hopefully make a different during a very difficult time, for those who had lost a loved one. So, I took a chance and applied for a role as a Funeral Arranged. I managed to land the job!
Wow....the personal satisfaction and fulfilment I felt, almost instantly, just blew me away. I realised pretty quickly that this was where I was supposed to be and when my employer commented that he thought I would make an excellent Celebrant, the seed was planted. I quickly signed up for a training course and the decision to go down this route was a very easy one for me to make. I knew I could make it work.
The training was intense and covered every aspect of services - from dealing with the bereaved, constructing the service, working with Funeral Directors to officiating on the day. It was all there, from start to finish. Some of those who trained me have kept in touch and I know they are always there to support me if I ever have a 'wobble'.
The course was a full week and covered both funerals and wedding and I made some lovely friends along the way.
I then took my first service at the end of May 2021 and I can honestly say I've never looked back. Having now officiated at almost 500 funerals - burials as well as Celebration Of Life services - since I started, I finally feel that the need to do something rewarding whilst helping to make another's day just that little bit easier, is what I was meant to do.
I can't say its always been an easy journey. The intense self-marketing and forming relationships with FDs is not always easy and can, at times, feel disheartening and disappointing. I think the key at this stage is to remember that you are having to 'sell you'.
A funeral director is initially 'buying' you when you first start out. After all, they have no history to base their opinion on do they. But, what they do have is a sense of your empathy, your professionalism, your willingness to communicate well with both themselves and the families they are asking you to work with and your ability to treat every single service as individual.
It can be hard work establishing these relationships and its not always instant. Some funeral directors will try you out and never call again, leaving you with feelings of self-doubt and low confidence. But I was determined to make this career work for me - I say 'career' but that's not really how I see it. Its more of a lifestyle choice and the phrase "find a job you love and you'll never work a day" is something that rings very true to me.
I have met some amazing people along the way - both those that work in the funeral industry and families who have had to say farewell to their nearest and dearest. I have worked with some of those families on more than one occasion now which is an absolute honour and a privilege.
Every service is different as every loved one has lived a different story and I think that one of the biggest compliments a Celebrant can ever receive is that those attending a Celebration of Live service ask how you knew their relative or friend! This has happened to me on many occasions and I feel a sense of pride every single time.
I have also officiated at a couple of weddings, a vow renewal and a baby naming ceremony - all of which were so much fun. I have two weddings booked for next year and this side of being a Celebrant is something I am keen to explore in more depth over the coming months.
So...long may my journey continue in the wonderful way in which it started two and a half years ago!
Thanks for reading and if you would like to leave a comment below, please do so.