I first met Louisa performing a wedding ceremony a few years ago. She truly has a unique way of bringing to life a special moment. If you're looking for an alternative way to personalise your service, then Starr Gazing Ceremonies could be just what you need!
What’s your name and where do you come from?
I am a Professional Independent Celebrant based in York and I cover Yorkshire, all UK areas as well as international destinations. I write, create and perform unique, tailor-made personalised ceremonies for weddings, funerals and namings.
I specialise in creating ceremonies from scratch to ensure that customers receive a totally unique script that is personal and identifies the values that are important to them so as to make the ceremony memorable to everybody there on that special day. A ceremony can be outdoor or indoor, festival-style, themed, bohemian, traditional, alternative, spiritual and basically exactly what couples want! All ceremonies are written from scratch in order to create a personalised and specialised ceremony that is totally unique to the couple and recognises their personalities, characters, beliefs and philosophies.
Tell us a bit about the business
I became a professional celebrant in 2015 after receiving training from the Fellowship of Independent Celebrant UK. Although my husband and I had a celebrant perform our wedding ceremony, my initial motive to become a celebrant myself, came after two dear friends asked me to perform their wedding ceremony for them in a barn in a field!
From my previous career of 15 years in Theatre Management, I had learnt the art of delivering a good performance to an audience and the importance of customer service and so was able to use these skills in this new venture. I discovered that I loved writing, creating and performing unique, personalised, inventive and creative ceremonies and so I decided to become a celebrant based in York where I live with my husband and son.
I love working with people! I enjoy getting to know couples so that we can work together to make their ceremony a totally memorable part of the day.
My husband and I met at University in York and even though neither of us were originally from the city, it became our home and we decided to get married in the place we loved living.
Our celebrant delivered a personalised and traditional candlelit hand-fasting ceremony on the banks of the River Ouse on Winter Solstice. This made the wedding very personal and unique for my husband and I and all of our guests.
From my own experience, I am greatly aware of how special ceremonies are to everybody attending. I believe that the inclusion of people creates an atmosphere and a truly memorable day.
What's the general advice you would give to couples getting hitched?
Remember that it is YOUR day! Many people feel pressured into keeping to tradition and to what they think is the norm and what their families want and approve of. The ceremony is often the part that people just brush through or ignore yet it is extremely important as it is when couples make promises to each other and state their love for one another.
There are no rules to keep to with a celebrant and a ceremony can be created to include as many people as possible as well as combining fun and seriousness.
So what makes you different from the rest?
I like to think out of the box! I love spending time thinking about various possibilities and ideas to help encourage couples think of ways that they would like their ceremony to be.
It's not a case of me just telling them what they should have or do but a case of us working together as a team so that we understand each other and are on the same wave length.
I love the challenge of creating totally unique themes and ideas for ceremonies and love brainstorming with couples so that we can come up with something very different!
Don't be scared about doing something different! If you want to do something outrageous or non-conventional, then just do it! If you want to raise eyebrows, involve family and friends, make people laugh as well as cry and make people remember that part of the day then thin out of the book to make your day totally unique!
General advice for newbies in the industry
Find your USP! It is such a competitive business so you need to really dig deep and find your niche so that you stand out in the crowd!
What are your plans for the future?
To spread the word of Celebrants! Unfortunately, Celebrants in the UK are unable to conduct the legal ceremonies so to be legally married, couples must still be bound by the law at a registry office or with a registrar. (Costs start at £50)
I am planning on supporting the role of a celebrant and encourage what we do.
Wedding bookings are starting to role in steadily now for next year so my concentration for the next few months will be spent on planning my calendar and getting to know my couples!