Would you like to create and conduct rich, vibrant and unique ceremonies for Weddings, Handfastings, Renewals of Vows, Namings and Welcomings?

This inspirational course equips you to work closely with couples and families at some of the most important moments in their lives, and to create meaningful rituals for people in your wider communities, whatever their own beliefs and outlooks may be.

We’ll look at the structure, forms and dynamics of ceremonies, and how these can be adapted to suit different occasions. As well as offering you opportunities to develop your own listening, writing, and speaking skills, the course will equip you to work with families collaboratively, facilitating their input and engagement in a variety of ways. You’ll be supported to draw on family history and personal stories, and find ways to enable everyone present to feel welcome, included, and actively involved – creating ceremonies that feel natural, powerful and just right for each family that you serve in this uniquely privileged role.

Cost: £440 / 3 payments of £150

Underpinning the whole course is an approach to celebrancy as service, in the context of nature based spiritual practices, and a focus on the creation of authentic ceremony.


Lesson 1: The Foundations of Practice
We’ll begin by considering the nature and purpose of ritual and ceremony. You’ll be invited to examine your own experience as we identify the key features of effective and engaging ceremony. We’ll reflect on the importance of rites of passage in contemporary culture, and you’ll be encouraged to draw upon your own spiritual practices to bring depth and vitality to your work as a celebrant. Your first assignment will support you in preparing to offer your services as a celebrant.
Lesson 2: An overview of celebrancy and ceremony

In our second session we’ll examine the key tasks of the celebrant, and you’ll be guided through the processes of working collaboratively with couples and families, from the first contact through to the day of the ceremony. You’ll be invited to reflect on the skills and qualities needed for the work of celebrancy, and on how to resource and prepare yourself for this work. We’ll also take an overview of the structure and dynamics of ceremony, illustrated by outlines and sample scripts for a range of occasions. Your homework assignment will focus on understanding the legal and business context of family celebrancy in your part of the world.

Lesson 3: Namings and Welcoming Ceremonies

This lesson will equip you to design and deliver creative and joyous naming and welcoming ceremonies, for babies and children, including adoption ceremonies.  We’ll explore ways of involving and empowering parents and those who are chosen to play a special role in the child’s life.  We’ll also think about how to facilitate participation of wider family and community, and to celebrate family heritage and ancestry – and how to ensure that these occasions are enjoyable and engaging for the children at their heart. Your homework task will be an opportunity to begin honing your skills as you practice the preparatory work for a naming or welcoming ceremony.

Lesson 4: Marriage Rites

In this, the first of two lessons in focussing on the celebration of marriage, we’ll look at a variety of ancient and modern rites and rituals including handfasting, candle lighting, tree planting, ring blessing, wedding communion, and jumping the broomstick. We’ll explore ways of involving family and community in these ceremonies, and you’ll be encouraged to draw upon and contribute to a shared resource of poems and readings.  This lesson’s homework is another opportunity to practice the work of celebrancy, especially your listening and writing skills, in an exercise designed to bring depth, intimacy and richness to your ceremonies.

Lesson 5: Vows and Blessings

Our focus in this lesson will be on those at the centre of wedding and partnership ceremonies, as we think about how we as celebrants can support couples in preparing for marriages, renewals of vows and other relationship ceremonies. You’ll be guided through a range of resources and techniques, including tip sheets, vow-writing exercises and ceremonies, and working with solar and lunar cycles. We’ll also consider vow renewals, and ceremonies of separation; and your homework task will guide you to hone your creative writing skills as you explore the art of blessing.

Lesson 6: Conducting ceremony, becoming a celebrant

In our final session we’ll reflect on the wider context of our work as celebrants, and on the art of conducting ceremony.  You’ll be offered practical guidance and suggestions as you consider your personal aims and aspirations, and you are invited to complete your journey through this course with a ceremony that can be adapted to your own outlooks and practices. Your final homework assignment will include a brief review of your course journey and an action plan for your future as a celebrant.


No special software is required to access the course. The course is delivered via six online lessons which you can work through at your own pace. Course materials include video and audio presentations; downloadable documents, and many examples drawn from real-life ceremonies; resource lists and suggestions for your own research; two guided meditations and a ceremony of completion. The course and all materials will remain accessible and free to review at any time.

These self-access sessions are supported with a forum where students can ask questions, share inspiration and resources and participate in discussions, as well as a rolling programme of drop-in webinars with the course tutor. Each session is followed by assignments to be completed in your own time; you will get one to one feedback on all your assignments. A certificate will be awarded to all students who successfully complete and submit the six mandatory assignments.



River Jones is a celebrant with over twenty years’ experience of delivering bespoke ceremonies for people from all walks of life. With a background in adult education and community outreach she worked for over fourteen years at the University of Sussex, where she taught and convened courses ranging from Creative Writing through to Shamanic Consciousness. She has been course director at School of Celebrancy since 2015, and is a sought after workshop leader and speaker, contributing to events and publications for the Celebrants Collective and the Association of Independent Celebrants.


I found this course to be really useful and informative. It has been an excellent grounding in celebrancy as service. I have a much better understanding of how I can be of service to clients, and how I can hold the space to create a sacred and meaningful ceremony for them. The videos, downloads and sample ceremonies were invaluable. I’ve been encouraged and inspired to continue to deepen my connection with nature, my fellow humans, myself and with spirit. I’m grateful for the time, effort and love that has been put into this course for the benefit of us all. – Jacki Clement


Celebrating Earth


Tying the Knot:

how to conduct magical handfastings

Whatever your experience of celebrancy and nature-inspired spiritual practices, this course will equip you to conduct handfastings for people from all walks of life; drawing on the inspiration of the elements and directions to bring greater richness and magic to your ceremonies.


Celebrating community


Celebrating Community:

a course in community celebrancy

Celebrant-led ceremonies are becoming even more popular for hatchings, matchings and dispatchings – but what about the many other important moments that have traditionally been marked with ritual? Whether you are a new or experienced celebrant, this course will equip you to serve your wider communities, leading ceremonies for neighbourhood events, seasonal celebrations, group and individual rites of passage and other occasions. 

Donating to:

Children's Forest logo