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The "Friend Officiant" Who Went Pro: Meet 5-Star Celebrant, Lauren Hill!

Uncategorized Jan 08, 2023
Lauren Hill is an accomplished Celebrant who works with couples across the United States. This year, Lauren will lead our virtual classroom from her home base in Brooklyn, N.Y. where she owns and operates Simply Weddings NYC To help clients develop their ceremony vision, she offers convenient video conferencing, premarital coaching and custom wedding scripts. In each digital and in-person aspect of her business, communication is key! Which is why Lauren is the perfect fit to lead our Masters and Associate Celebrant students through Public Speaking & Presentation Skills. A Master Celebrant graduate herself, Lauren is now a dynamic addition to our team of instructors. WELCOME LAUREN!


What is your business origin story?

In 2017, over lots of wine and cheese, my best friend and I joked about how I should officiate her wedding. My friends considered me a modern-day renaissance woman and were convinced I would be great at it. Of course, jokingly, I agreed — until my friend expressed the next day that she was serious and wanted me to officiate her wedding.

Now, I'm not one to shy away from a challenge or an honor—so I accepted and immediately went to Google. Searching for whatever I could find about the legalities, structure, and how to execute a ceremony properly. If I was going to do this, I wanted to do it right. As I was preparing for my friend's wedding, I knew there were many details about their relationship that were unknown. So, I interviewed my friends to help prepare. I treated it as if I was a professional and was fully committed to making it. The last thing I wanted to do was ruin my best friend's important day. 

The big day was finally here. My stomach was in my throat, and my nerves were at an ultimate high— but —I put on a smile, proceeded down the aisle, and crushed my first wedding! It went by so fast, but the level of joy that flowed through my veins was like no other — it was incredible.

After the wedding, I was sure that officiating was something I wanted to do. I had so much fun and felt so connected to my friends on a different level, and I couldn't get that feeling out of my mind.

Soon after, life proceeded as usual, and I returned to the daily hustle and bustle of NYC. As an HR Disciplinary Administrator for a company with over 15,000 employees, I worked nights and weekends, and my stress levels were high. Work-life balance seemed non-existent, so I decided to make the time outside of work meaningful — and re-experience that same joy I felt after my friend's wedding, which led me to officiate professionally.

What is one thing you wish you knew before starting your officiant business?

  1. Know your worth. Don’t devalue or lowball your services just because you’re new.
  2. It’s okay to say NO! Not every couple is for you, and you are not for every couple. Respect your boundaries and know your audience.
  3. Be patient with yourself and others, especially when it comes to learning or trying out something new. Give yourself time to grow into the fullness of your potential!

What is the best career advice you've every received-- from any job, at any age?

Behind every successful person, there are a lot of unsuccessful years. Stop getting in your own way! Failures happen, setbacks happen--keep going because, eventually, victories and accomplishments happen too. 

What was going on in your life when you were introduced to Celebrant Academy? 

No matter where you are in your professional career, there is room to grow and learn. I naturally like to do research when I deep dive headfirst into anything. If there are books or guides, I’m reading them all to absorb and intake my newfound knowledge.  When I decided to officiate professionally, I noticed there were little to no resources, and the process was not linear. The process varied from state to state, and everyone was pretty much doing their own thing. I like structure, and I was familiar with celebrants from my travels to Australia. I immediately fell in love with structural organization and dedication, so I started researching what was available in the states. I came across Celebrant Academy and reached out to Donna to learn more. 

Donna quickly responded, and we set up a Zoom call. Donna was amazing! She was so helpful and friendly. My conversation with her was like chatting with an old friend, and Donna made me feel super comfortable. She was extremely thorough and even offered to share names of previous graduates to speak on their experience, but when you know, you just know — and I KNEW the Celebrant Academy would be my home.

Later that year, I attended Wedding MBA, where I met Donna and students from the previous cohort in person. It just solidified my decision, and the universe was in agreement—I entered the raffle and won a discount on the Master's Certification — My experience with the Celebrant Academy was indeed one of the best decisions I could have made! 

What is different about Celebrancy, or the wedding industry in general, post-Covid? How can Officiants face this change well?

The pandemic was a tough time for us all. We were forced to face our own mortality, and we were forced to do it together. We shared stories of loss, we cried together, and we found ways to laugh again. And while we're still recovering from the effects of the pandemic and its aftermath, there are some silver linings that we can't help but notice.

One of the things that really struck me during this time was how ceremonies became more meaningful than ever. The Ceremony was brought into the public spotlight by the pandemic, and we, as Celebrants and Officiants, are responsible for continuing that conversation and educating our clients and others in the industry on how essential the ceremony is!

What about your practice was a NO-BRAINER after taking Celebrant Academy?

In this social media age, it is easy to compare yourself to others. Imposter Syndrome is real, and I was caught in that rabbit hole. The Celebrant Academy helped me reaffirm my abilities and feel confident as a Celebrant. It also helped me streamline my process and workflows, as well as identify new ways to improve my client experience. As a result, I was challenged out of my comfort zone, pushed myself further, and found a new opportunity for myself.

As a student in the Celebrant Academy, your knowledge, confidence, and skills will grow, but you will also become a part of a community you will never forget, and the support and connections you gain are immeasurable.

What does being a lifelong learner mean to you?

It's exciting to learn something new, and it's even more exciting to realize that there is always something new to learn. Being a lifelong learner means having an open mind. It means exploring new things, trying to understand the world around you, and never feeling like you're done learning — I will forever and always be a student! 

How can students expect to feel during their time with you in class?

A sense of ease, comfort, and excitement. We've all felt nervous in public speaking situations - and through this course, I want to help students become more confident and relaxed with their public speaking skills. 

We're so impressed, tell us more!!

Travel is a massive part of who I am. I'm so grateful to have the opportunity to explore the world, and I hope to travel to all 195 countries in my lifetime. I believe that everyone should get out of their comfort zone and see the world if they can do so. It's an incredible experience, and it's something you'll never forget. I predominantly travel solo, but when I travel with family or friends, I'm usually the same designated planner and local language learner.

I'm a coffee aficionado who cherishes the pure taste of coffee (Code for I drink my coffee black.) I love mixing different types of beans to make different blends. I also love knowing where my coffee comes from—the country, the region, and sometimes even the farm where it was grown!

Music is the soundtrack of my life. I used to sing and play piano, and I even sang the National anthem for the Harlem Globetrotters at Madison Square Garden many moons ago. My goal for 2023 is to tap into those skills again. 

Welcome Lauren! Learn more about the coursework and all six modules in our Masters Celebrant Certificate program here. >>



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