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  • Writer's pictureRuth Jewell

Where did Celebrancy Start?

Some people still have no idea what the role of a Celebrant is, however Celebrancy began in Australia in July 1973. The Attorney General, Lionel Murphey, appointed Civil Marriage Celebrants so that people had the option to be married by someone other than a member of the cloth or a registrar. It therefore soon followed that people would ask for a Celebrant to lead their funeral ceremony too. This happened in July 1975 when Dally Messenger 111, a marriage celebrant, was asked to lead the funeral for a lady who had been married four weeks previously by Dally.

In the late 1970's New Zealand followed suit and in the 1980's the Humanist Society in the UK began to offer non-religious funerals.

In 2002 Anne Barber set up Civil Ceremonies to "develop a wide range of unique and personal ceremonies which are accessible to couples and families throughout the UK." Civil Ceremonies training has become the only National Qualification in Funeral Celebrancy.

In 2003 Celebrants began offering their services across the USA.

Using a Celebrant for Weddings, Namings and Funerals is now becoming much more of the norm in the UK. As less people attend Church, or follow a chosen religion, there is more and more call for ceremonies to reflect the wishes of those involved.


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