Interview with: Nicola Le Couteur Bisson and Denise Whitehair
Company Name: The Guild of Cornish Celebrants
Location / Coverage: Cornwall, over the border into Devon (passport at the ready), and whilst we are over the Tamar, anywhere worldwide!
What is a celebrant?
A celebrant can conduct a ceremony for whatever the occasion – weddings, renewal of vows, special anniversaries, naming or welcoming ceremonies and funerals. Whilst they cannot legally marry a couple, they can offer something that the legal ceremony doesn’t provide – a personal, unique, bespoke ceremony. This allows couples to make their own vows to each other and include symbolic rituals, all in a place and at a time of their choice.
How did you become celebrants?
We worked for Cornwall Registration Service, Denise for 10 years and Nicola for 18 years. During this time we noticed a marked increase in couples wanting to add their own vows, readings and rituals to our legal ceremonies. We allowed what we could but we had to refuse many requested adaptations because of legal and local authority regulations.
After a final Registration reorganisation, we took the decision to take redundancy and start our business The Guild of Cornish Celebrants. Our ethos is to build a trusting relationship with couples and to collaborate fully with them before writing and conducting their bespoke ceremony. It’s a joy for us to be able to work with couples to add everything they want into their ceremony.
Are you qualified celebrants?
Whilst there are organisations that offer training and qualifications for new celebrants we both know that our experience of dealing with couples for over 28 years between us is invaluable. We offer a quality service and we monitor our feedback and ensure that our standards are exceptional. We were both involved with the introduction of civil partnership ceremonies and Denise took the first same sex marriage ceremony in Cornwall and Nicola the second.