At my very first bridal event as a Humanist Celebrant, my goal was to greet anyone who came up to my table, ask who was the bride (very few folks were alone), and then ask if they had a celebrant for their ceremony. After my very first encounter that script came to a screeching halt…..”what’s a celebrant” she asked. Yikes! I explained that a celebrant was like a minister, but not exactly. She was confused at first, but when I said the word “officiant” that’s when she got it. When the next group came to my table, I asked if they had a wedding minister yet just to avoid confusion. So what’s the difference anyway?
First of all, (using brief definitions), a Celebrant is a person who performs a rite. I do that so, check! Secondly, an officiant is a person who performs a ceremony. I do that too so, check! And lastly, a minister is a member of the clergy. I’m clergy of the Humanist Society so, check that one too! But despite those definitions, each one means something different to people. Generally, if you use the title minister, they want to know which church, religious affiliation, etc. I avoid using this term only because it confuses people. An officiant is more common and so this is the term I used to describe myself. But I love the title of CELEBRANT! Why? Because it sounds like celebrate! And my goal is to celebrate life in all it’s amazing cycles such as birth, weddings, and even death.
The lesson learned from this first event was to promote myself as a Humanist Celebrant but describe myself as an officiant. What I loved the most about folks not knowing what a Celebrant was, is that I got to truly explain what I do and why I love doing it!
Until next time,