Christine Berrisford is a wedding celebrant, who also conducts naming ceremonies and vow renewals. Each celebration is bespoke to you as a couple and offers the opportunity to create a very special wedding ceremony that truly reflects and celebrates your life together.Increasingly, couples are looking to wedding celebrants to enable them to celebrate their wedding in a more informal, relaxed way, where they meet their celebrant beforehand and are able to craft their own personalised ceremony. Christine will give you all the advice you need to make your ceremony a joyful, memorable occasion for yourselves and indeed, your entire wedding party.
Over to Christine now to tell us more.
Tell us a little about yourself and your business
Hello! My name is Christine – born in Buxton in the High Peak, I moved to Leeds after University and have made it home for 25 years.
I am very proud to be a fully trained and accredited Wedding and Naming Celebrant as part of Humanist UK’s Humanist Ceremonies network.
This means I am a sole trader, but with the benefit of a highly professional and supportive network of colleagues, who offer experience, advice, ideas and an opportunity to engage in continuing professional development.
I absolutely love this work – I can offer people in Leeds and the surrounding Yorkshire area the opportunity to celebrate their special day in a way that is totally personal and meaningful to them. It’s something that brings me a great deal of personal and professional satisfaction and the process is a real privilege to embark upon with each new client.
What motivated you to start your business?
I’ve worked in education for 25 years and although I’ve loved it, six years ago I knew that I was becoming jaded and needed something new to channel my creative energies into.
I was also aware as someone who’d wanted a non- religious ceremony and so got married at the Register Office, that the option to have something more personal and tailored just to me would have been delightful.
Being a long- standing member of Humanists UK, I was aware that they trained Celebrants to write and conduct bespoke non-religious ceremonies and I applied to train as a wedding celebrant. I was accepted and successfully passed their rigorous training process and a year later added the Namings training to my portfolio. I’ve not looked back!
Tell us a little more about the day to day activities of your business
The process of creating a ceremony has many stages.
How can couples judge if your company is the right fit for their wedding?
Couples should ponder this:
Would they love to start their married life with a ceremony that really means something? Something flexible and personal that gives them the opportunity to marry where they want, when they want and how they want?
Would they like to be able to tell their friends and family what their relationship means to them, and why they are choosing to get married, enter into a civil partnership, or renew their vows?
Would they like to be able to choose and really get to know the person who will be conducting their ceremony?
Would they like real creative input into their ceremony; so they can set the tone that’s right for them and choose their own words, music and symbolic actions – rather than just add a few details to a prescribed template?
Then this might be exactly the service and the company they’re looking for!
What are your favourite moments from previous weddings you’ve been involved with?
Oh my goodness there’s so many… the singing to Elvis, The Beatles, Bob Marley, The Monkees; the moment the rings were brought in by two pug dogs; the ceremony where we surprised the entire family with a wedding after they’d attended a naming ceremony.
The many moments when couples have written their own vows and reduced everyone to laughter and tears when they exchanged them, the time the guests all had bubble blowers instead of confetti and those wonderful moments, that usually make me cry, when a couple tells me that their ceremony was the best part of their wedding day.
The bigger picture – does your business offer goods/services outside of the wedding world? Tell us more
In addition to Weddings, I also write and conduct Naming ceremonies – if you don’t want a religious ceremony – it’s the perfect way to welcome a child and celebrate being a family.
I’m also able to write scripts for and lead on other milestone celebrations; partnerships, renewal of vows, adoption ceremonies, blending of families, transition name change, coming of age, milestone birthdays, recovery from ill health, or any other reason to be cheerful!
What have you got planned for the next 12 months?
It’s going to be a very hectic year – I’ve got lots of Wedding and Naming ceremonies booked already, so I’ll be busy meeting with clients, planning, writing and leading those.
I’ll also be having introductory meetings with potential clients and I’ve booked to run stands at several fayres in the local area.
I’ll also be mentoring new trainees, attending regional and national celebrant network meetings, running CPD sessions for colleagues, observing colleagues and trainee ceremonies and trying very, very hard to keep my web and Facebook pages up to date!!!
And finally, what or who inspires you and why?
It sounds cliched, but for me, it’s definitely the people – the clients I work for and my fellow celebrants in the network.
I love that I get enquiries from such a broad cross-section of the community. It’s a wonderful privilege to be invited into people’s lives and for them to share their stories with me.
And my colleagues around the country are fabulous in sharing their ideas, their experience and their own insights into the creative (and practical) process.
It’s a joy to do this work and I’m delighted every time someone says, ‘yes, you’re the celebrant for us!’
All images courtesy of Christine Berrisford