Marriage celebrants ring the changes

A GROWING number of Australians are opting for civil ceremonies for marriages, and for naming their child and Andrew Ryan is among the increasing number of celebrants in the community responding to people who are looking for ceremonies away from a church.

Mr Ryan first had the idea three years ago he wanted to be a celebrant and he and a female friend were going to do their training together.

“But that didn’t eventuate so I went ahead,” he said.

Mr Ryan says as a celebrant he is part of a growing trend in Australia.

“I haven’t actually been to a church wedding for a long time, but I’ve been to plenty of civil ceremonies,” he said.

He says he’s looking forward to not only performing marriages and naming ceremonies, but also commitment ceremonies which come in several forms.

“I think there are an equal number of heterosexual people who want to have commitment ceremonies as there are same-sex couples,” he said.

“There will always be interest from same-sex couples but I think many of them will still want to wait until their marriages can be legally sanctioned,” he said.

Mr Ryan said his interest in becoming a celebrant was born out of his attendance at many civil ceremonies.

“A lot of my friends were getting married and choosing civil ceremonies and I think in many cases it was because they didn’t feel locked into the required religious rituals,” he said.

“But I also find there are a lot of heterosexual couples who don’t necessarily want to marry but are looking for some type of commitment ceremony.”

Jeanette Pennings of Orange became a celebrant three years ago and says she loves marrying family and friends.

“I always get a real pleasure from that, but one of the nicest ceremonies I have done was a commitment ceremony between two ladies,” she said.

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