Frequently Asked Questions

Why do you do this?
What is a Humanist Celebrant?
What is a Humanism?
What is your usual process?
Must we meet with your first?
What other kind of ceremonies do you perform?
Do you perform ceremonies for same-sex couples?
How are you different from a Justice of the Peace?
How are you different from other ministers?
Do you do counseling?
Tell me more about you.

Why do you do this?
Simply put, I believe that every couple, regardless of their religious affiliation, deserves to have a ceremony that is personal, meaningful and appropriately represents their beliefs. It is a pleasure to provide a service that is not only useful to couples, but genuinely appreciated by them.

What is a Humanist Celebrant?
Humanist Celebrants are screened and officially certified by the American Humanist Society. They are legally qualified to conduct weddings, funerals and other rites of passage. In place of usual faith ceremonies, Celebrants will perform ceremonies which promote secular ideals. Wedding celebrants also may be called “officiants.”

What is a Humanism?
Humanism is a philosophy promoting the idea that we have both the ability and the responsibility to lead ethical, meaningful lives, without the need for supernatural intervention. Humanists generally believe that life’s purpose is to serve the greater good of humanity, and they embrace ideals such as equality and freedom of thought. Humanism dates back to the 13th century, and Humanists can be found around the world. If you would like to know more about this philosophy, there are several good sites on the web, including the American Humanist Association, www.americanhumanist.org

What is your usual process?
For most couples, my process works like this:
  • First, we will hold a preliminary meeting. I will use this time to ask you about your ceremony, so I can get a better understanding of what you might have in mind. At the same time, this is your opportunity to “interview” me, to see if I am the right choice to be your officiant.
  • If you decide to employ my services, I will send you some script ideas to consider, or put together a draft version for you. Usually, this is done through e-mail.
  • I will work with you to make revisions, until we have a ceremony script that you are happy with.
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  • We will meet one last time before the wedding, to review the script and make sure everything is to your satisfaction.
  • I will attend your rehearsal, working with your wedding party and family to make sure everyone understands their role.
  • I will be honored to officiate your wedding ceremony.

Must we meet with your first?
It is not required. I only recommend it for two reasons. First, as I mentioned, it allows you to “interview” me, to see if I can provide the type of service you are looking for.

Second, our meeting provides an opportunity to talk about your preferences for your wedding, and begin putting together your ceremony. The better I know you, the more I can personalize your wedding.

However, if you prefer not to meet – or simply can’t find time – that’s okay, too. In that case, we can communicate either on the phone or by e-mail. We’ll work out all the details in advance, and I’ll be happy to be at your wedding at the appointed time.

What other kind of ceremonies do you perform?
In addition to weddings, I also can perform memorial services and funerals, a ritual welcoming a new baby into the family, a divorce a separation ritual and a Commitment Ceremony for non-traditional couples and families.

Do you perform ceremonies for same-sex couples?
Absolutely. Although state law does not allow for a traditional wedding, I would be honored to perform a personalized commitment ceremony.

How are you different from a Justice of the Peace?
A Justice of the Peace can legally marry you, but typically, the ceremony that person provides will be rather “dry.” As I’ve mentioned, my goal is to work with you to help you put together a ceremony that is intimate, personal and truly reflects the vision you have for your wedding. A Justice of the Peace does not have this luxury.

How are you different from other ministers?
The most obvious difference is, I’m not a minister; no church has ordained me. As I mentioned, my credentials come from the American Humanist Association.

Beyond the credentials, there are a couple other important differences. First, performing weddings is not my full-time job. That means I won’t confuse you with one of the 20 other couples I am working with. And on your wedding day, it means I won’t be nagging you to hurry up so I can get to my next three weddings.

Also, unlike some religious officials, I am not interested in “telling you” how your wedding has to be. I will never make you say or do things you do not believe in or are not comfortable with. Instead, I will let you tell me what you want for your wedding – and I will work with you to achieve that.

Do you do counseling?
Having no training in counseling, I do not provide this service. However, I strongly encourage couples to do some sort of pre-marital counseling – even if you think you “don’t need it.” You can find a list of books and websites I recommend on the Links and References page.

Tell me more about you.
I received my Celebrant certification in 2006, and I am a member of Westside Unitarian Universalist Church in Fort Worth. As a member of the church, I embrace the Seven Principles of Unitarian Universalism.

These are:
• Acknowledging the inherent worth and dignity of every person
• Justice, equity and compassion in human relations
• Acceptance of one another and encouragement of spiritual growth
• A free and responsible search for truth and meaning
• The right of conscience, and the use of the democratic process, within our congregations and in society at large
• The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all
• Respect for the interdependent web of all existence, of which we are a part


Also, I’m a native of Iowa. I attended college at Drake University, in Des Moines, Ia., where I earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism. After graduation, I worked for several newspapers, including the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. I eventually left journalism to pursuit of a career in non-profit work, and I now have more than 15 years of experience working for youth service agencies. Presently, I supervise several youth programs for a local youth organization.

 

 

e-mail Jeff: celebrantjeff@gmail.com