Me hugging the bride (pic by Shane Serrano)
Me hugging the bride (pic by Shane Serrano)

Weddings – they’re definitely not like they used to be! In some ways, that’s good. In others, maybe not so much. When it comes to spending a chunk of cash that could be better spent on a house or a car or a really expensive couch, I think things are maybe a little more frenzied than they used to be. The trend towards designing the day to be something that suits the couple getting wed can only be a good thing in my mind.

From having a wedding on a beach or in your backyard, to staying traditional with the church and hotel route – and everything in between – people are having their weddings the way they want.

Crazy Handfasting (pic by Shane Serrano)
Crazy Handfasting (pic by Shane Serrano)

A few years ago, I was honoured, blown away and gobsmacked to be asked by two good friends to be the celebrant at their wedding ceremony. They had done the legal bits and bobs earlier that day and were looking for someone that they were comfortable with and who would be comfortable standing up in front of everyone to do the “real” wedding stuff for them, their family and friends.

It was a wonderful experience to be a part of making their wedding happen. We met to talk about what they wanted from a ceremony, and we worked on crafting something that worked for them. They chose their own readings and included a ring ceremony, candle ceremony, exchange of vows and a handfasting with some bunting made from fabric given by all of the guests. If you want to read more about their wonderful wedding, they were featured on One Fab Day

I’ve recently been honoured again by a request from a friend to do the needful – this time in California. Once again, they plan to do the legal stuff in a courthouse and have a “real” ceremony for friends and family. It’s made me think again about becoming a celebrant in Ireland. Guiding people through the milestones in their lives is a really amazing feeling, and one I’d like to experience even with people who aren’t close friends.

Humanist weddings have been legal in Ireland for over a year now, and demand for celebrants is immense. Now that we have a lot more options for weddings than religious or HSE celebrants, people are choosing their weddings to suit themselves. Hooray, say I. I am absolutely delighted to hear that demand for humanist ceremonies is so high, as before they joined the legally binding party, the only option for a secular/civil wedding was the HSE – you could try to get a registrar to your venue (which could be pretty darn difficult), or you had to rock up to the registry office- which aren’t exactly fancy.

Now, there is at least the option of tailoring a legally binding ceremony to your (humanist) needs. I’d love to be able to work with couples on planning their ceremony and guiding them through it on their special day. It would be even more awesome if I could do so in a legally binding manner. So, how do I get in?

From the Humanist Association of Ireland,

Celebrants are selected from within the HAI membership and you must be a member for two years before applying and being considered for the role. If you are interested in applying to become a celebrant please email setting out briefly:


  • Why you are interested in becoming a celebrant.
  • Why you feel you would be suitable for the role.


A Selection Panel made up of three experienced celebrants is formed for each applicant and you will be required to meet each panel member separately. The Selection Panel then meet to consider your suitability and decide whether or not to recommend that you participate in the Mentoring/ Training Programme.


The Mentoring/Training programme involves attending ceremonies and planning meetings as well as training modules until such time as you are deemed, by the members of the Selection Panel and by yourself, to be ready for accreditation. At that point the Selection Panel will recommend to the Board of the HAI that you are accredited as a celebrant. Accreditation is probationary for the first year.

– See more at:


So, my current plan –

Step 1) join the HAI

Step 2) Be vewwy, vewwy patient

Step 3) ????


And on a related note, please check the electoral register soon to make sure you’re included for the upcoming Marriage Referendum . I want to be able to marry all of my same-sex inclined friends as well as the one-of-each couples!


Massive thanks to Hazel of Cupcakery and her husband, Mike, for letting me chat about their wedding here!

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