Many, many years ago I was looking thru a local paper and saw an ad for a hypnotist, and right under that, an add to become a wedding officiant. And I thought, hmmmm – how freaking fun would that be to marry people? So I tore out the page and put it on my nightstand shelf.
In 2011 my sister-in-law and her future wife wanted to have a commitment ceremony, and we had the hardest time finding someone who was willing to do one. I considered getting ordained so that I could do that for them. But we found a minister who was comfortable with doing a ceremony for a same sex couple and the day was awesome.
A few weeks later, I found that magazine clipping. I threw it away and forgot about it.
In 2017 my best friends announced that they were getting married four years ahead of schedule. Both sets of parents would be visiting from the UK and they wanted to host a surprise backyard wedding. Sitting outside, researching on Google over a bottle or two of wine, a decision was made. I would get ordained and be “the vicar”.
Checked the legalities, called the county clerk. Called a friend who owned a wedding chapel and asked her if I could shadow her ministers for a day. The day turned into two weeks. I was at the chapel every moment Mary allowed me to be there. I loved the energy and just absorbed everything I was being taught.
Mary read over my ceremony, and looked me in the eye, crossed out the entire third paragraph and told me it wasn’t about me. It wasn’t my story, it was theirs. I remember that vividly. It was a great lesson.
The day of the wedding, we pulled off the best surprise of all time. It was about a third of the way in that all of the guests realized that it was REALLY a wedding. Tears flowed, smiles lit the area with joy, and my first wedding was a smashing success.
That it would end up being the dream I had dreamt of. That I excelled outside of my comfort zone at the age of 43 and started a brand-new chapter that makes me absolutely ecstatic on a regular basis.
I was born in California. My biological father was in the Air Force, so we moved every three years. I’ve been to New York, New Mexico, Idaho, Philippines, North Dakota and back to Idaho. I met my husband in Idaho in 1995 and we were married three months later. When you know – you know.
When our daughter was 5 months old, we packed up the U-Haul and drove from Idaho to Michigan. It was a little crowded as we had a car seat for the baby and our dog in the front with us.
We have three children between us. Two of them married so now we claim 5. A fat fluffy cat and 2 crazy dogs.
Tony and I have been married 27 years.
I have been a job hopper my entire life. A few years here or there. It’s rounded me out quite nicely and given me a ton of experience that I can apply to my own business. Waiting tables, personal assistant to a Real Estate Broker, office manager of a landscaping company, Receptionist at massage office, Sales associate at a ski shop, administrative assistant for the distribution center of a large pizza chain, chiropractic assistant, Management for two different hotel chains, Club Manager at Curves…
Nothing ever felt right. They were all great jobs, but they weren’t what I was searching for.
I became ordained to marry my two best friends. Learning about officiating, what was involved with the license, helping them to organize it…it was amazing. They egged me on for months to quit my day job and officiate, as they thought it was what I was meant to do. I laughed them off. And the Universe kept sending me subtle hints that maybe THIS was what I WAS meant to be doing. And so I listened. I took more and more weddings on, until my day job was interfering with my dream. My sister in law sat me down for a serious discussion about my “jobs”, my husband told me to pursue my dream, and I quit the doctor’s office. I’ve been officiating full time since 2019 and I haven’t looked back.
It’s not about me. Listen to what your client/patient/customer needs and find a way to help them.
I was looking for information on becoming a funeral celebrant and had been checking out courses in the UK. I happened upon the Celebrant Academy’s website and saw that they had an End-of-Life course starting soon, and sent an email to Donna. She responded right away. Gave me a few names of previous graduates to speak with, then I attended an Open House and I felt very strongly that this was the path I was meant to be on. I decided to go for the Master’s Certification and she talked me into waiting for the next Cohort to start. That was the best decision I have ever made. My Cohort turned into my family.
I was still fairly new to the industry when Covid hit. But wow, it really did shake things up. We had to come up with ways to conduct business virtually so we could STAY in business. The amount of free or discounted webinars and zooms offered to officiants for training was immense, and I took advantage of those opportunities as often as I could. I have drawers of notes from 2020!
Another thing I noticed was that the couples started kicking older traditions aside for more unique and couple centered ceremonies and receptions. More interactive experiences that kept their guests, and themselves engaged throughout. Ceremonies were actually lighthearted and celebratory and not so solemn.
I think it was more personal than practice related, but my confidence soared after the Academy. I was confident in what I was writing and how I presented it. I understood rituals and didn’t feel awkward when doing them. Rituals became something I enjoyed and even promoted.
Practice related though; I became more aware of the back-office aspect. Keeping better records, more consistent client communication and making sure that my website and social media marketing was being updated and watched over.
Hah! I’m a glutton for punishment lol! I joke that I’m an overachiever, but really, I love learning, and researching and bettering myself so that I can be a better human for one, and then a better celebrant for my families.
Empowered, confident, excited. I want to help them realize that marketing themselves as a celebrant is manageable and can be fun without spending a ton of money.
I love traveling. Anywhere anytime. Alone or with a friend or in a group. This is an amazing world and I love seeing it.
I prefer Thanksgiving over Christmas, and St. Patrick’s over Halloween. I prefer comedy shows over concerts, and quiet over chaos.
Reading has always been a big love. I read every type of book out there but won’t go past the first chapter if the writing style doesn’t click. When I’m into a book, I tune everything else out – to the point of my husband waving his hand over the page to get my attention.
I don’t watch the news, it’s too depressing. I’ll read it though, to keep up on current events.
I love doing things with my family. Not in huge settings, but more intimate gatherings where we can connect and have fun.
I only enjoy cooking when I’m in the mood. So, meal subscriptions are my favorite! Baking is hit or miss. It’s always yummy, but never turns out as pretty as it should be. But I’m down for eating all the time!
Sabra is a key part of our team of award-winning Celebrant instructors! Learn more about our six-month Masters Celebrant Certificate program beginning in January 2023. The time to apply is NOW!