What is a Celebrant?

Being a celebrant is a fascinating, fulfilling and challenging role.

A celebrant provides an alternative to a full religious lead ceremony. They are the facilitator and guide for families, couples or parents who do not wish to have a traditional religious service for their life event.

A celebrant will work with families, couples, partners or parents and will offer suggestions, advise on structure, readings, poems, songs, music to make the life event – a funeral, wedding, vow-renewal, or baby naming – a truly personal, unique and individual occasion.

Eileen Smith - Essex CelebrantThe celebrant will create a ceremony that reflects the client’s wishes, beliefs, cultural background and values – and can include some religious elements if requested.  The families, couples, partners or parents will have complete control and final approval over the ceremony.

The celebrant may lead the occasion, and speak for the family, or assist family and friends in participating, introducing the next speaker , thus leaving the celebrant to move the ceremony along through various stages from start, middle, to finish.


I’ve read that the modern notion of a celebrant as a profession arose in Australia in the 1960s, a time of great social upheaval and change.  Many people were arriving in Australia from all over the world they were disconnected from their roots and family. The forward thinking Australian government of the time appointed non-clergy celebrants with the specific intention that they would create meaningful ceremonies that were reflective of the beliefs and values of their citizens. Today, nearly 75% of weddings in Australia are performed by Celebrants.


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