Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

What is the Celebrant Foundation & Institute?
The Celebrant Foundation & Institute is a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to training Celebrant officiants.
Our Certified Life-Cycle CelebrantsTM promote the use of personalized ceremony to mark the moments and milestones in the lives of individuals, families, communities and organizations. Celebrancy began in Australia in the early 1970s. Presently there are more than 3000 Celebrants worldwide, who have presided over one million ceremonies in the last forty years.

What is a Celebrant?
Celebrants are professional life-cycle ceremony officiants who believe in the power and effectiveness of ceremony and ritual to serve basic needs of society and the individual. They collaborate with their clients to create and perform personalized ceremonies that reflect the clients’ beliefs, philosophy of life and personalities; not the Celebrant's.

Celebrants officiate at all types of life-cycle ceremonies and rituals including baby namings and adoption ceremonies, coming of age ceremonies, weddings, civil unions and commitment ceremonies, funerals and memorials. Celebrants also develop ceremonies to enrich daily life and for community, corporate and civic events. The opportunities to use ceremony to create connections among neighbors and families, and for healing and celebration, are as varied as are our Celebrants.

"I am a ritual maker and celebrant who designs, organizes and celebrates contemporary 'rites.'" ~ Mary Hancock, Celebrant, New Zealand

How is a Celebrant Ceremony Unique?
Each ceremony is personal, reflecting who the honorees are either as individuals or as a couple or family. A Celebrant certified by the Celebrant Foundation & Institute will take the time to understand the honorees’ beliefs and values and what makes their ceremony unique.

In a Celebrant ceremony, the honorees are empowered. Nothing is imposed on them. Instead, in a collaborative process, the Celebrant will guide them in choosing rituals, readings, symbols and music to fulfill their ideals and vision for their Ceremony. No two Celebrant ceremonies are the same.

Celebrants are ceremony specialists who have a solid background in the history of ritual and ceremony, and the traditions of many cultures, beliefs and religions. They are experts in composing ceremonies, managing rehearsals and performing life-cycle ceremonies. Celebrants are also experienced in the art of ceremonial public speaking.

Celebrant services for their honoree client(s) include:
  • Meeting at a no-obligation interview to discuss the honoree client’s vision of the ceremony
  • Listening and taking notes as they learn the client’s personal story
  • Consulting with the honoree client until the ceremony is just right
  • Providing a beautiful keepsake copy of the ceremony

"We wanted to thank you so much for all of the time you spent designing the perfect wedding ceremony for us. When we first started planning, we had no idea that we would end up with a personalized, beautiful ceremony.” ~ Connie & Chris

What do Celebrants believe?
The beliefs of the Celebrant are immaterial in this process. Celebrants believe that personalized ceremonies are a vital way to bring happiness and balance to individuals, and connection and beauty within society. They believe in people. They believe in adding to the sum total of human happiness wherever they can assist in doing so. Celebrants are trained to focus on the values and priorities of the client, so that the ceremony is a total reflection and extension of the honoree.

Who should choose a Celebrant?
Anyone and everyone! Whether you are secular, religious, spiritual, nondenominational, part of an interfaith or multicultural couple, or if you simply wish to express yourself in a manner of your own choosing, a Celebrant can help you create a ceremony that respects all that is meaningful to you.

“EVERYONE commented on how personal and different our ceremony was. It was so amazing and perfect." ~ Lauren & Dave

Why use ceremony to mark life's milestones?

"A culture that forgets its rites of passage eventually loses its capacity to celebrate joy and unity." ~ Michael Meade, Author

Life is a journey for us all. It is a growing process. We all go through many physical stages in our lives: infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood and maturity. We go through personal, sentimental and emotional stages as well: we might find a partner, build a career or have children, live through illnesses or the loss of family and friends. There is a deep human need to find some sort of stability in this ever-changing state. Since ancient times, humans have used ceremony to mark these rites of passages and create a space and place to express our humanness in all its simple glory.

"We need rituals at many times, whether for healing or transformation, celebration or mourning. To learn to create our own is to empower ourselves, and this can enrich our lives immeasurably." ~ Juliet Batten, Author

What are 'Rites of Passage'?
Rites of passage are those moments when an individual or group pauses, through ceremony or ritual, to acknowledge an important life change. Such changes include birth, adoption, coming of age, graduation, marriage, moving to a new home, becoming a parent, starting a new job, opening a new business, surviving an illness, or death. Ceremonies to mark such rites of passage include baby welcoming ceremonies, weddings, commitment ceremonies, housewarming ceremonies and funerals.

Many of the important and common rites of passage are connected with the biological stages of life: birth, puberty, maturity, marriage, reproduction and death; other rites celebrate changes that are wholly cultural. These rites of passage serve to bridge critical stages in the life process and to help the individual confront certain uncontrollable aspects of the world he or she inhabits. By providing a predictable, communal context for individual experience, rites of passage act to alleviate the inevitable anxiety that accompanies change.

Perhaps this subject piques your interest and you might like to join us and study to become a Certified Life-Cycle CelebrantTM in your community. We invite you to visit the Institute page on our site for details.

The Celebrant Foundation & Institute’s Directors
Gaile Sarma, Co-Founder & CEO
Charlotte Eulette, Co-Founder & Director
Cynthia Reed, Director of Academics

Celebrant Foundation & Institute
93 Valley Road, Suite 2
Montclair, New Jersey 07042

Phone: 973.746.1792
Fax: 973.746.1775