V. V. Graduate 2020
"Our Last night's Celebrant zoom graduation was remarkable - and so in keeping with CF&I's mission and philosophy. I wanted to thank you for everything you do for CF&I. The academic program is top notch and I brag about it to everyone. And especially I wanted to thank you for the introduction you gave me to this important and meaningful work. Your enthusiasm and caring came through loud and clear in each class and I'm grateful I found myself among that cohort. Learning to be a certified Life-Cycle Celebrant has been life-changing. It's put me on a new life path that was unexpected and new, a way I can give back in this stage of my life. I do believe it is a calling and I want to make CF&I proud. Thank you so very, very much."
Zita C., CT, CF&I Alumni
"I'm planning to take the CF&I Healing and Transition Certificate course. For me, the learning process itself is healing."
Tess V., Maryland, 2020 Graduate
I am sooooooo excited to be a Certified Life-Cycle Celebrant and am looking forward to graduation! Taking CF&I Fundamentals and the Wedding Certification courses have been life changing. I learned more than I ever expected and I hope to contribute to people at significant points in their lives. Thank you for helping to make this part of my life new and meaningful.
Cindie Wilding, Celebrant, CA
"Today marks my 5 year anniversary of being a full-time Celebrant! For 3 years prior to that I held down a demanding job as a paralegal while building my business, a fete I'm still not sure how I managed, writing ceremonies before and after work and spending my weekends meeting with couples and marrying them. But this is what we do when we are passionate about what we do. I've performed close to 400 ceremonies now (391 to be exact) and I have told countless wonderful stories and met so many incredible people. I feel so very grateful. So if any of you are wondering if it's possible to quit the "day job" and do this full-time, this is my happy story. I have many people to thank, including all the Celebrant Foundation as well as my sweetie who has always been so supportive, even when I'm never home! As well as my last boss who supported me and encouraged me to fly out of the nest. I am Grateful beyond measure and I love what I do more than I can say. It is my soul's calling."
Ruth Hasser, Celebrant, MO
"Well, if my numbers are right, I officiated at my 500th wedding ceremony this past Sunday! I am so grateful for this work and for my Celebrant colleagues who have taught me, inspired me, challenged me, and supported me. Thank you to one and all!"
Dustin Weibelzahl, Celebrant, BC, Canada
"Wow! I just got off the phone with the wife of the gentleman whose memorial I did over the weekend. (My first one!) She was very thankful, and she told me that it was better than anything she could have ever imagined. She said that it was, 'Beyond perfection.' I'm truly touched by all her comments. Apparently she has received many emails saying that it was the best that they had ever been to, and a number of people even asked her for my contact information! I'm so fortunate that I've found celebrancy, and I have deep gratitude for all the other celebrants who have helped me along my path."
Lisa Hartley, Celebrant, BC, Canada
"This year on my own as Simply Ceremony has really matured my Celebrant practice. I've been able to work almost full time - a miracle. So many people reach out to me and ask, 'How do I become a Celebrant?' At first, I wondered what was going on, is the job too easy...then I realised that people recognised it in their own lives, how they had been in the role already. They knew what it was. It called to them.
Not everyone is capable of being a celebrant - but I truly think the world is waking up, particularily here, on the innovative West Coast, but all over the world, to a need for deeper meaning. A few weeks ago, I met with a local Rabbi and Reverend (I'm not setting you up for a joke here!) at our divinity school. I'm looking for some deeper support in this work. They really echoed this feeling I have that people are hungry, almost desperate right now for meaning. Their wisdom was; when the world is in such great turmoil and change, people need meaning - they need Celebrants. It really is impactful, meaningful work. In my life, in my families life and in the life of my clients."
Linda Balt, Certified Life Cycle Celebrant, Alberta, Canada
I just wanted you to know that I recently started a position in a long term care Centre as a Spiritual Care Coordinator 2 days a week. This is a nice mix together with my private Celebrant practice. Jumped right in to create the quarterly Celebration of life ceremony for the 15 Residents who died in the last 3 months. Yesterday I created and performed our Centre Remembrance Day Ceremony. Looking forward to all the work I get to do with our beautiful elders. I have even assisted a family to arrange for a home funeral for their 102 year old mom. I will be joining them at their home to guide them through the process of preparing her body and lay her beautifully in state to host a home vigil and ceremony. Such a beautiful experience. My healing ceremony education will be of great benefit. My heart is full!
My CF&I Celebrant training has prepared me very well for this work as well. With love and huge hugs to you.
Judith N Thompson, Certified Life Cycle Celebrant, CT
Finding the Celebrant Institute and this career has been what I needed. I love to celebrate and help people. What better way to do this?
Pamela Torres, Certified Life-Cycle Celebrant, WA
As a Life Cycle Celebrant, I take my calling very seriously. My job is to discover my clients' story and their unique truth. Each time I write a personal ceremony – always created from scratch – it reflects their personal values, beliefs and views of their world. I hold no personal agenda, other than validating their journey to this point and the love that holds them together.
Lois Heckman, PA
I'm officiating the candle lighting tonight at our local vigil... I'm glad my community asked me ... they understand what we celebrants bring.
Dianne Ward, BC Canada
I just have to say that I feel so loved and supported by the CFI community. Even though I don't communicate with you guys a lot, I can feel your nurturing spirit in every ceremony that I lead. Thank you for being there for us, not just during the time we take classes, but forever. I love being a part of this family!!!
Catherine McColl, Life-Cycle Celebrant, BC Canada
Getting to perform genuine, loving and memorable wedding ceremonies for my couples fills me with such joy! And I just love being the person who gets to say "By the authority vested in me, and by the Power of Love itself, I pronounce you married!
Debbi McGlauflin, Celebrant, MD
I've attached a photo of my first gig as an official Life-Cycle Celebrant — it was a family dedication for my father's memorial stone in the garden of Hospice of the Chesapeake's new inpatient care center. Doing an end-of-chemo/beginning of the rest of life ceremony for a colleague very soon, AND just got my first referral for a memorial service. I'm on a roll!
Ruth Ellen Hasser, Celebrant, MO
One of my favorite parts of most wedding ceremonies is that moment just before the bride appears. I love looking at the groom and seeing so many thoughts and feelings register on his face, often all at the same time. There is nothing that can prepare a person for the power of such moments, but as a Celebrant standing with the groom, I am a privileged witness!
Robyn Greene, Life-Cycle Celebrant, CA
The first ceremony I did was in Lake Tahoe. I did the wedding ceremony for another Celebrant, in fact. It was such a beautiful natural setting. Time really stands still when we do these ceremonies. It was an earth based ceremony, and just as we finished, a family of raccoons showed up to share in the happiness.
I did a wedding in San Francisco City Hall with a Vietnamese couple from Australia. Even in a place as crowded as that, (a space which is stunning architecturally, btw,) we could carve out some sacred space to perform the wedding. Despite the fact that marches were being played at the same time for something else, everyone became transfixed during the ceremony. At the end the groom said "that was awesome!" He was so surprised at how he felt and what just happened.
Couples are often surprised and grateful at the same time. They don't know that they truly have a story about their love and that it is meaningful and important. Their lives are meaningful and important. I am truly honored to bring out their story so that they and their guests can enter into it as well. Every wedding that we do is healing for the couple and for the guests who can't help but think about their own life stories and marriages in particular. That's what creating a ritual space can do.
Sheri Reda, Certified Master Celebrant, IL
I did a wedding in the Chicago area for a couple with very strong family ties. The couple was mixed-faith and not religious, but some of their family members were fairly devout. After the wedding, the bride's grandmother walked up to me and said, "So you did the ceremony. Did you do 'Mary's' ceremony too? I smiled and answered no, that I had not done that one. "Good!" She said. I hated that ceremony. It was all wrong. Just words." Then she added the comment I love to remember: "But this time—this one was good. This time I feel like they're married!"
Celebrant Mila Martin, MO
My introduction to the wonderful people of the Celebrant Institute came as I was looking through a copy of the UTNE Reader. I saw an ad that said, in part… YOU CAN BE A CELEBRANT! I was intrigued, went to the website and experienced a beautiful !!AHA!! Moment – This was what I had been searching for my entire life!
I spoke with the folks there and was so happy to be accepted into the program. I was very nervous about paying for it, as I was a single mom, with a job that didn't pay that well. I'm so glad I trusted my gut and put the tuition payments on a credit card. I paid off that card in a little over a year, from my earnings as a Wedding Celebrant! And now I have a steady second income from my Celebrancy practice :)
Being a Life Cycle Celebrant isn't all about the money…OH NO!! It is about being a part of this loving family of people, who love to create ceremonies to celebrate and honor the significant stages in life. I have made life-long friends from all over the world. And, no matter when or where or what, they have my back and I have theirs. There is a fabulous Celebrant alumni Facebook group which is active 24/7. If any Celebrant has a question about creating a ceremony or handling a difficult situation with clients or others or wants to RANT!, he/she posts and, within minutes, the help and encouragement is there!
Peggy M. Lewis, Life-Cycle Celebrant, FL
I have discovered, through being engaged to write and create ceremonies for couples, many wonderful spots in this state that I never would have known about otherwise. I have done weddings on beaches (some crowded, some secluded and empty), and in parks, grottos, nature preserves, historical sites, and many wonderful venues with amazing views. My most recent wedding was on the 25th floor of a downtown Miami hotel -- with sweeping views of Biscayne Bay, Miami Beach, and the Atlantic Ocean. And of course, as usual, the guests were laughing and crying and are still telling the couple about how it was the best wedding they had ever been to!
Nancy Zummack, Life-Cycle Celebrant, IN
I performed a small ceremony for a couple that had just returned from their full-blown Hindu wedding in India. After I performed the ceremony, the bride looked at her husband and said, "I feel more married now than I did after the big wedding." I wished I could have given them an even better ceremony.
At another wedding the bride wanted the entire ceremony in Spanish. Before the ceremony the groom was looking at me warily, obviously suspicious of my ability. I struggled through not being a native Spanish speaker, and after the wedding the groom was so impressed he said, "Que Bueno!" Whew! I was amazed that I had actually impressed him.
Bonnie Cortez, Life-Cycle Celebrant, IL
As a Life-Cycle Celebrant, I am entrusted with people's love stories. Couples tell me the quirks, foibles and joys that comprise the alchemy that drew two precious souls together. I wallow in that love every time I meet a new couple. I'm not usually awash in that love until after we meet and I learn what drew each couple together, what spawned the inner knowing that they wanted to walk this life together. Something was different, though, with the last couple I met. I was in love with them before our first meeting and I really hoped that they would choose me as their Celebrant. Apparently, they felt the same way. After we got the nitty-gritty out of the way, I asked what inspired them to choose me. The bride looked at me and said, "You just exude love." I was floored. Inside me a being resembling a Keith Haring character was jumping for joy, squealing, "It's working!" This profession is sacred. It is joyful. It is an honor and when the love I feel for my work and the love couples feel for each other flows in and through me, it's magical. All I can feel is grateful. And so it goes.
Lindsay Attalla, Life-Cycle Celebrant, NJ
I was thrilled with my training at CF&I and continue to use what I have learned in my work as a Civil Celebrant today. I especially love the library resource which is offered to alumni. I use the library to find ideas for ceremonies, rituals, readings, and much more. I am so grateful to be involved with such a fabulous network of people and resources!
Melissa Coe, Master Life-Cycle Celebrant, OR
I love getting compliments on the ceremony from my couples or their guests but it's an entirely different thing when one of the top vendors in Portland takes the time to write on your FB page: "Oh my gosh, that ceremony, fabulous word craft. The groom told me after the reception he kept looking at Melissa because he was ready to cry if he looked at his bride. Home run there Miss Coe <3"
Have I mentioned how much I LOVE being a Celebrant???
Jenn Gonsalves, Liv-Cycle Celebrant, PA
I just have to post a celebratory WOOO HOOOO!!! I performed my first wedding on Saturday and IT. WAS. AWESOME!! The best part was that I was there for the whole reception, and it was so fun to hear so many heartfelt, genuine, lovely compliments on the ceremony. It was sooo gratifying!!
It was a FABULOUS first ceremony experience for me, and what I think I loved most of all was how comfortable I felt being in my role as Celebrant, how natural it felt, and how at ease I was. My second favorite comment from the weekend was my husband telling me after the rehearsal, "Wow – you really looked like you knew what you were doing up there!!" Haha! I told him, "That's because I DO know what I'm doing!"
And that's why I just have to say – I am so grateful to the Celebrant Foundation, Charlotte Eulette, and my wonderful teachers Mila Martin and Elisa Chase. Even though I had a few little bumps here and there, I just felt so well prepared for this first ceremony. I had all my class readings, wedding formation diagrams, the CF&I library, and of course, all of you with your advice and wisdom, and I really just felt so well supported and ready.
What a thrilling, fabulous weekend!! Oh, and my biggest win of all - I held it together and didn't cry!!! I came close a few times and had to take a big breath right before pronouncing them husband and wife, but I got through it! (That had been my biggest fear - tearing up so much that I wouldn't be able to speak.) Yay!!