Why did I train to be a professional Celebrant?

Sue Williamson Ceremonies

So, why did I train to be a professional Celebrant? It might sound a bit corny but, the answer is that I wanted to make a difference!

I wanted to show couples that it isn’t a straight choice between Church and Register Office – that there are many inspiring ways to create your bespoke ceremony and truly own it, making their ceremony all about them as a couple; allowing them to say the words they have chosen themselves on this very special day, instead of being told what to say with a ‘template one size fits all script’.

It all began about 5 years ago when I read an article in a glossy mag while sitting at the hospital fracture clinic with my arm in plaster! Leafing through the magazine I came across one of those articles that’s entitled ‘don’t tell me I can’t start a new business in my 50s’ – I read about a Celebrant I now know and respect who did just that – re-trained in order to make a difference. I contacted this lady, who was very helpful and lovely, and we chatted about training organisations and the life of a Celebrant – needless to say I was hooked and went about my research straight away.

This resulted in my training with the Fellowship of Independent Celebrants (FOIC), training which is on-going and provides an invaluable source of support and knowledge to help me continue on my Celebrant journey.

Being a Celebrant is a very rewarding career – there are not many who can say they truly love their job, and along with meeting some fabulous people, I get to be a part of their significant moments, guide them through grief if they’ve lost a love one, or officiate at their wedding, naming ceremony, or vow renewal.

So… what’s involved? Let’s see how this unfolds….

Celebrants meet with their couple – often an initial meeting is free of charge (mine definitely are) so they can relax, get to know their chosen celebrant, ask all their questions, and then make an informed decision that this person is indeed the Celebrant for them.

After that, a second meeting – ‘all about the two of you’ I call it. This is where I get inside their heads, find out what makes them tick as couple and begin to ‘see’ a framework for their ceremony. Finding out what added content they might not even have considered – maybe they don’t know about Celtic hand-fasting, Unity Sand ceremony, or ring warming – to name but a few of the gorgeous symbolic elements that can be woven into the ceremony, something only a Celebrant can do.

Hours of work then follow (and I mean hours, up to 20 on the average ceremony), with unlimited contact for my couple and frequent ‘checking in’ from me. A rehearsal is always offered if they want one and it’s possible to squeeze one in with everything else that’s going on. So as you can begin to understand, we don’t just turn up on the day for half an hour and that’s it! Many hours go in into the creation of a perfect ceremony, whether it be for a wedding, a baby or child naming, or a vow renewal, where you as a couple might want to say some special words to your husband or wife, re-affirming your love for one another.

Then on the day, I arrive early, remember, it’s your day and your ceremony, so only one wedding is booked per day – it doesn’t matter if things don’t go to plan, or there are delays, so relax and live the moments as they unfold. I am there not to just read my script, but to hold space for you, to guide you through the most significant part of your wedding day, creating a memorable experience for you and for your guests – they will remember this for a long time. This is a responsibility that we, as trained Celebrants take very seriously.

Because we take our role seriously, whilst the job we do is wonderful, there are many skills needed to be an outstanding Celebrant.

These might include:

  • Excellent writing skills – being able to create a script from pages of notes
  • The ability to listen, and ‘pull out’ of a conversation what makes the couple tick
  • Being able to achieve the right balance of gravitas and humour
  • Completely comfortable with public speaking
  • Excellent organisational and timing skills
  • Being able to ‘think on your feet’ if things don’t go to plan
  • Having the ability to really engage with an audience – large or small
  • Being punctual
  • The ability to manage diverse groups and complicated family dynamics

As you can see there are many reasons not to entrust this special moment to just anyone! It takes the right person with all of these skills and more to create your dream ceremony, to make it memorable and beautiful.

So, what are you waiting for??? 🙂

Get in touch and let’s start talking about your plans

Imagine your wedding ceremony and honeymoon… combined!

Sue Williamson Uncategorised

Book your dream honeymoon destination – and take your UK celebrant with you for total peace of mind when it comes to the most significant words you will ever say – your vows.

If you want to exchange vows and rings on the beach in Florida then let Suncoast Weddings take care of all the planning, and book Simply Ceremonies to create your ceremony with you whilst in the UK – all taken care of at home, getting to know your celebrant before you fly out to sunnier skies.

I then accompany you, take care of your ceremony – and you stay on and enjoy your honeymoon.

This type of wedding ceremony is becoming ever more popular as it saves hundreds of pounds because you are not hiring a UK venue.

To find out more, take a look at photos and testimonials on this website, and to get more info about your Florida wedding on the beach, contact Sue Ashton (pictured left with Sue Williamson of Simply Ceremonies) at suncoastweddings.com


Sue Williamson Ceremonies, Weddings

So, here we are just coming towards the end of the winter months… warmer days ahead and lots of planning to be getting on with for your wedding.

There is much to consider and organise as you approach your big day, but have you given any thought to the most significant words you will ever say to one another?

Many brides get caught up in all the other aspects, such as flowers, the dress!, make up, photos and so on that they don’t give enough time to consider their options when it comes to the ceremony itself.

There is so much choice and flexibility available to you that you probably don’t even know about, so if you want everyone really interested and listening at your ceremony, and if you want special symbolic items weaving into it, then you need to get in touch with me.

Together we create something so beautiful and personal that you will treasure the memories for ever and your guests will be talking about for ages after the big day.

Get in touch to find out more – it will cost nothing and you will be amazed and delighted about what we can create together!

I look forward to hearing from you soon

Made it to the finals of The Wedding awards 2018!

Sue Williamson Ceremonies, General, News

Now all you have to do is vote for me…

The Wedding Awards is a way for brides, grooms and wedding suppliers to nominate and vote for wedding businesses that have excelled.

I am delighted to have made it to the finals thanks to your votes. Now, to win I really need your continued support,

The winner of any category is chosen by popular vote – so, naturally I’d love you to vote for me – just click on the link in this post and press “vote”.

Votes are invited from previous clients, venues and suppliers only, so please vote for me by visiting the link below:

Wedding Awards: Sue Williamson


Combined Ceremonies in Staffordshire

Sue Williamson Ceremonies, News, Weddings

I am delighted to have been selected as one of the Celebrants to participate in the ‘Combined Ceremonies’ pilot scheme set up by Staffordshire County Council. This is an innovative and refreshing approach to enable bridal couples to have the legal part of the marriage conducted at the same time as their Celebrant-led ceremony, and to promote the working together of the Registration System and independent Celebrants.

If this is of interest to you for your forthcoming wedding, then please get in touch as soon as you can – it’s going to prove very popular!


For more information on the service please see the links below

Combined Ceremonies Info Sheet

Letter of Confirmation

Exciting news – I’ve been nominated in the Wedding Awards!

Sue Williamson Ceremonies, News

I received an email from “The Wedding Awards” … it read:

“Dear Simply Ceremonies,
Congratulations you have been nominated for The Wedding Awards Best Wedding Celebrant Award!”

Very exciting!

As ‘The Wedding Awards’ has been created “… to identify and acknowledge those businesses which set the highest standards in service, quality and integrity” it’s an honour to be nominated.

The winner of any category is chosen by popular vote – so, naturally I’d love you to vote for me – just click on the link below and press “vote”. Votes are invited from previous clients, venues and suppliers only, this vote is not open to everyone.


Destination weddings

Sue Williamson Ceremonies, News, Uncategorised

The idea of getting married abroad might be the last thing on your mind, but have you really thought about it?

There are many good reasons for considering it.

If you are planning your honeymoon, then you are jetting off somewhere anyway, so why not solve the problem of which venue, how much, choosing menus, hiring all the suppliers, and simply get hitched at your dream destination?

There are a host of fabulous locations, with warm sunny weather guaranteed, where you can get married on the beach, in a chateau, in beautiful woodland or countryside – the list and possibilities are endless.

There are some legal considerations of course (aren’t there always, yawn) 🙂, but once you’ve chatted to me about your plans, you’ll wonder why you haven’t thought about getting married this way before.

Take a look at the Destination Weddings page here and get in touch for a no-obligation chat – go on, what are you waiting for?!

Working with wedding planners

Sue Williamson Ceremonies, Hints and Tips, Uncategorised, Weddings

I have associations with different wedding planners, and can recommend the following companies.

I have met with all of these wonderful women, who run such amazing businesses, with passion and fantastic attention to detail.

I have no hesitation in passing their names on to you, the bridal couple, as they are just brilliant at what they do.

If you are a busy person, perhaps with a full-time job, or maybe you have children as well, then the hiring of a wedding planner is a must.

A wedding planner will fulfil all your dreams of how your special day should be, turn your visions into reality, and make sure the day goes without a hitch.

Get in touch, and tell them I sent you!


Emma Jane Weddings – Emma and I met at a local farm shop with one of those amazing coffee shops attached – it was busy and buzzing and we spent a very useful hour – well nearly two actually, as we couldn’t stop talking! – together discussing how we can work in tandem. Emma is just fab – warm, friendly, totally professional, an eye for the smallest detail, and massively into outdoor ceremonies – ‘the more chance I get to wear wellies the better’ 🙂.

Give her a call, you’ll be so glad you did –



Simply I Do – Jeanette Levick. Jeanette is a wonderful warm person, who is completely passionate about what she does. She is calm and organised and you’ll love her straight away! Jeanette is an experienced wedding planner and has organised events from small intimate gatherings to large prestigious parties.


Dry Barge

Sue Williamson Ceremonies, Venues, Weddings

Dry Barge in Castlefield Manchester is a unique party venue.

We have been chatting about holding wedding ceremonies on board the barge, and they can cater afterwards for up to 60 guests.

How about exchanging your vows and rings whilst drifting along the water, with some iconic Manchester landmarks in view – different? – certainly different, yes, and along with a tailor made, unique ceremony crafted for you by me, what a special day this would make!

Contact me for more details, and take a look at their website www.drybarge.com

International clients

Sue Williamson Ceremonies, Uncategorised, Weddings

One of the things I am now used to is holding meetings across the world, using Skype or Zoom.

I was first approached by a lovely couple who are originally from the UK – Dee from Scotland, and Martin from Chester – but now live in Cairns, Australia.

They had found me while searching for a celebrant to create and conduct their winter wedding back in Cheshire. We had several Skype meetings to get to know each other, and for me to create their ceremony. These words from Martin after our first Skype meeting are lovely –

Dear Susan
We come off Skype feeling very positive and happy that you understand the kind of ceremony we would love to have.
We would be very honored if you could be our celebrant on the 30th Dec 2016.
Many Regards
Martin and Dee

We finally met just a week before the wedding at their venue in Sutton near Macclesfield for the rehearsal – and it was like meeting old friends! We practised the hand-fasting and chatted with Syd who was organising the event for them at Sutton Hall.

So, if we can’t meet in person, whether that’s because of location or other commitments, Skype comes to the rescue 🙂