Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Celebrant?
A Celebrant is a professional secular ritual maker – a community-minded person who is professionally trained to perform a variety of ceremonies to mark life's milestones, including: weddings, renewal of vows, same sex unions, baby-welcomings, adoption commemorations, end of life tributes and other rites of passages.
The Celebrant's mission is to create a ceremony that reflects your needs, beliefs, cultural background, values and tastes. The Celebrant USA Foundation and Institute, the only U.S. certifying organization, was established in 2001 in the tradition of Australian Civil Marriage Celebrants, founded in 1973.
How are you different from another Wedding Officiant, or Justice of the Peace?
You are empowered. In a Celebrant ceremony, nothing is imposed. Instead, it’s a collaborative process, the Celebrant assists the couple in choosing rituals, readings, symbols and music to fulfill their ideals.
I am very focused on finding anything and everything that works for you. Because my focus is very narrow, what you get with me is no-nonsense, undiluted expertise on what works for meaningful ceremonies. I've simply become an expert at this stuff and that's why my couples and their guests really appreciate the wedding ceremony. In getting to this result, I throw in a healthy dose of compassion, humor and encouragement, which ALWAYS helps!
Who are your clients exactly?
I work with people just like you. They are in interfaith relationships; spiritual but not religious or strictly secular. They are good people who usually don’t want a traditional wedding ceremony. They would like something tailored to them – nothing cookie cutter. That said, the people I've worked with come from every belief system and lifestyle.
What type of personality do you work best with and what is expected of me?
My Celebrant Ceremony Process was created for couples who are absolutely excited and deadly serious about their wedding ceremony and their life together. It is created for you and your guests. Being a sincere, independent thinker myself, I'm known to work best with other sincere, independent thinkers who seek to experience a wedding ceremony that feels and sounds like them. They generally believe that the wedding ceremony is the most important part of their day and believe that the words recited during their ceremony set the tone for the day and the grand adventure to come. They probably have struggled to find the right person to officiate.
You will be expected to give some thought to the content of your wedding ceremony. It is a very different way of thinking about your ceremony and I offer full support while we achieve this incredibly exciting goal: a wedding ceremony that is meaningful, distinctly yours and unforgettable. Celebrant couples come from every walk of life. The one thing they all have in common is that they are seeking a ceremonial experience that is distinctly their own.
What’s so special about a wedding ceremony anyway?
A wedding ceremony is an extraordinary event in our lives. It is one of the few opportunities to express and appreciate the real values in life – family and human relationships. When they are infused with meaning, ceremonial moments are special. Ceremonies have the potential to mark and reflect the essence of life.
What type of couple is NOT a good match for my Celebrant ceremonies?
Please know that I'm very selective and I cherry-pick my couples, choosing to (gently) turn away people who aren't suited for my programs and won't get the experience which they would have desired.
My Celebrant ceremonies are not for:
- Those who are looking for a hierarchical or patriarchal relationship with me or with each other.
- Those who are looking for the cheapest ceremony available. If you fall within this category, it's absolutely OK. There are many Officiants who would enjoy working with you.
- Another type of person I won't work with (without exception) is the Whiner, Bridezilla or Groomzilla. If you fit into one of those categories, I gently and respectfully ask that you not call and I hope you understand why. We'll probably just not work well together and I wouldn't want you to waste your time or money.
What exactly is a Kim Kirkley Ceremony experience and what does it include?
My ceremonies are client-centered and you have word-for-word approval of the entire script. Creating a memorable, meaningful, personalized, ceremony begins with me encouraging you to think about a number of things.
I am interested in your vision for your ceremony: its length, setting and participants. How you would like to feel on your wedding day and how you would like your guests to feel. I would also like to know how you would like me to support you on your wedding day. I encourage you to begin to think about your love story, and what you would like to share with each other and your guests.
Then we will arrange a nice relaxed meeting – in-person (ideally) or by Skype, Google Hangout or telephone – where you may choose to share your love story with me in greater detail. At this meeting I will share some sample ceremonies, vows and other options for you to consider. Later, you will let me know what appeals to you. Your ceremony will sound like you, reflecting your values, interests and reasons for choosing each other.
To add to your comfort since your ceremony is a once in a lifetime event, a week or two before your ceremony the three of us will have a telephone call where you can hear me deliver the ceremony as I will on your wedding day and you can direct my tone, pacing and overall delivery of your ceremony so that on your wedding day you can be assured that my delivery will match your vision.
On your wedding day, your ceremony will be delivered with warmth and sincerity from my heart for all to hear and appreciate.
As a former LGBT rights attorney, same-sex couples are always welcome.