Deciding to become a Celebrant


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My journey toward becoming a celebrant started in 2017. It was a tough but self-defining year for me.

In April, I lost my beloved father very unexpectedly. He was one of the people I looked up to the most and suddenly he was gone. Exactly three weeks after my father passed away, I got the gut-wrenching call that my brother was found in his apartment and he too had passed. I realized I was now the last survivor in my immediate family and my world was rocked. When I was at my brother’s funeral in May, I actually thought to myself.. “What's next?” “How can this possibly get any worse?”. 

The first week of June, I had planned a road trip with my son and was taking an (intentionally unbooked) weekend off from wedding photography (www.SmilePeaceLove.Photography). I woke up that morning to pack the car and realized I had a pretty intense back ache that seemed to come out of no where. I spent that evening in the emergency room and was told I had a strained muscle in my back. No big deal, I thought. I figured it was stress induced, but it turned out, that was not the case.

Two days later, I woke up with no feeling from the waist down. I spent the next four weeks in numerous hospital emergency rooms, orthopedic doctor's offices & neurologist's offices. I could barely walk and was in the worst pain I had ever felt. I had no strength or feeling in my hips and legs. It was a long struggle while waiting for doctors to give me answers. Then, I met Dr. Katara.  I will always remember him as the doctor who saved my life.

In the first 24 hours of meeting Dr. Katara, he discovered that I had a large mass wrapped around my spine in the middle of my back. Within 12 hours of discovering it, I was in emergency surgery to have it removed. He was blunt with me and told me I was very lucky I wasn't permanently paralyzed.  I greatly respected his candor.

While I laid in the hospital for the next ten days, I wondered if I would ever be strong enough to do the things I love again. To say the least, I took stock in my life. I eventually started coming to terms with the idea that my wedding photography career might be over.

Lying there, I realized that if my strength didn't return completely and if I didn't fully recover, I may have to give up my photography. As I thought more about it, I began to realize that there was more than just the photography that I was going to miss. I was going to miss the ceremonies, the happy tears, the families, the friends. I was going to miss the honor of  being a part of so many ceremonies.

In all of my jobs over the years, I have never found something that brought me as much joy and happiness, as wedding photography. It was in that hospital bed, that I realized I was going to miss feeling fulfilled by a career that made my heart sing. It was the the beauty of two loving souls coming together and uniting ceremoniously, that I was going to miss immensely. I found myself mourning more than just my father and brother. I was mourning my legs, my ability to walk and my career as well. 

When I finally came home from the hospital, started physical therapy, and started learning how to walk again, I realized that maybe I didn't need to say goodbye after all.

It was during a particularly difficult day that I had an epiphany and decided I could continue to feel the joy and continue to be honored with the privilege of being a part of the wedding day, if I were a celebrant. I decided to start exploring the possibility of being an officiant/celebrant. 



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Me & my son, Dillan

Me & my son, Dillan

Me in The United States Navy (1996)

Me in The United States Navy (1996)

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I am a storyteller. I love to create, attend and celebrate authentic, personalized ceremonies. I have been working in the wedding industry for 8 years and have celebrated with clients, friends and families hundreds of times. As a celebrant I am ready to create a unique, transcendent and unifying ceremony of love for my clients.