What a great resource So You’re Engayged will be for you! In addition so spotlighting amazing vendors, like you’re favorite New Jersey wedding officiant….(thank you so much!!!) The site is stylish, helpful, and just plain fun. There are loads of photos from real life weddings to give you ideas; legal updates, and a collection of bloggers that will inspire and inform you. I’m sending them big giant hugs and thank you’s for their feature, below, and I’m hoping to blog about interesting ideas for vows and ceremony ritual elements. Sushi sharing anyone?
In speaking with Celia Milton, it becomes absolutely apparent that she deeply cares about her profession and her couples. She truly believes that “the whole process, from the first phone call (well, maybe even from the first time the couple looks at a potential officiant’s website) should feel exciting, lighthearted, and comfortable”. By the way, Celia, I would love to know more about this chocolate sharing!
Tell us a little bit about your business!
I am a civil celebrant based in New Jersey, and I have been performing weddings and comittment ceremonies for about five years. I try to make the planning as fun and meaningful as the ceremony itself, and I encourage my couples to think out of the box and create a day that is truly personal, significant, and joyous. Chocolate sharing? Ring bearer dog? Tribal drummers? Handfastings? Why not!
How did you get into doing what you do?
I started and ran an event planning /catering company for about 18 years (ouch, that hurts), so I’d always been interested in the milestones that mark our lives. I had graduated with my divinity degree from Union Seminary, in the City of New York, just about to register for another semester at Fordham, in a program for spiritual direction. The universe apparantly has a great sense of humor and spontenaiety, and instead, I was moved to to start training at Celebrant USA, in Montclair. Although I love celebrations and ritual, I never really thinking that I’d actually become a “real” officiant. Two weeks after I graduated, I was doing my first ceremony! Thank you universe!
What do you wear when you’re doing what you do?
Usually a cool black suit and some great funky jewelry. I can wear a black robe if a couple wants that look, but in any case, I really prefer to be basically invisible. I want the attention to be on the couple, not me.
How is your business “pro-gay”, or how have you changed your business to be gay-friendly?
One of the reasons I decided to “grow” this practice was because I was disturbed by the way many couples, both gay and traditional, were handled by mainline churches. I was also keenly aware that many couples without religious affiliations felt there was no where to turn for help in creating a significant and moving ceremony. A decision that is this important deserves an officiant’s total support and enthusiasm, not a grudging agreement to “make it legal”. To me, the right to marry is as much a personal civil rights issue as it is a loving committment.
What do you love about what you do?
What’s not to love! I meet the most interesting and diverse couples, I get to hear their love stories, and be part of a day that is like no other in their life. I could be officiating in a cow pasture one day, a prison the next, a museum the next, Yankee Stadium after that. It’s all just so much fun, in addition to being so heartfelt. My practice renews my faith in life and love every day.
If you have worked at/done work for a gay wedding, what is one thing you had to change your assumptions about?
I didn’t have to change my assumptions, about any of my couples. Each wedding proves to me that there are as many wedding styles as they are couples; from very traditional to completely NOT. It’s all up to the couple, I just want to help them create the ceremony that is right for them.
Do you have a favorite “moment” that happens while you’re doing your job?
Wow…so many moments, so little time… I love reading their questionnaires for the first time, getting to know them better and beginning to think about what to write…but I love that first kiss during the ceremony too. All that being said, my favorite moments are the ones we can’t plan; the unpredictable ring bearers and flower girls; the brides and grooms who smile through happy tears, the unruly dogs in the wedding party. A wedding isn’t a tableau, like “The Last Supper” ; it’s a fluid and spontaneous happening, and many times, the unexpected can be the unforgettable.
What should couples look for in an officiant or celebrant?
You should feel that your celebrant is a happy, supportive partner to collaborate with as you move towards your wedding day; someone who listens to your ideas, makes good suggestions, and acts as a resource for any questions you have. You should feel sure that your officiant wants to make your ceremony more than you could ever hope for, and has the skills, the energy and the compassion to follow that through.
“Our families and friends are all commenting on our unique and personal ceremony. Everyone is asking, “where did you find her?”. Finding Celia was a gift. We instantly felt comfortable with her and enjoyed the entire process of working with Celia to create a ceremony that reflected our personalities and included our varied family traditions. If you are looking to create a meaningful ceremony, you definitely want to contact Celia Milton.”
“Celia is amazing, she works magic. In the short amount of time she has to interact with you, she has the fabulous talent of really nailing down your personalities and writing a ceremony that reflects this. Everything based on the individuals, it is not a cookie cutter mold. Celia is full of many wonderful ideas & suggestions, and she knows how to deliver. Our wedding was perfect, and her words allowed us to shine.”
“Celia provided an extremely unique and personal ceremony for us. Everyone who attended our wedding was spellbound by our love story as she told it, tailoring our ceremony to who we are, why we were getting married and what we valued. It was one of a kind and started our wedding day off right. Not only did it bring all of our guests intimately into our wedding day, but it reminded everyone there of why they got married, or the love that they’re looking for.”