Alternative Ceremonies & Ceremonies for Alternative People
Ok, the word 'alternative' is, confusingly, used in several different ways... so, deep breath!
A celebration of alternative people, lifestyle, interests & identity
'Alternative' meaning 'non-mainstream' people.
It may be the way a celebrant describes themselves - someone with bags of presence, or who is quirky, or colourful (even if that colour is black!), or with a non-mainstream identity - or it may be the type of client they appeal to.
Without going into an essay on psycho-social history and politics, to those of us who grew up goth in the late 70s/early 80s, alternative means something else. It's synonymous with post-punk era music. It was used too to indicate non-mainstream comedy, and lifestyle/identity - green issues, sexuality, challenging prevailing social mores etc).
There's more of a blending of the tribes now, but alternative folx include:
Likewise, people who are a minority by virtue of belief, lifestyle, identity or characteristics:
LGBTQI+ (will you look at my gorgeous bi-Pride flag inspired brand colours!)
It's a diverse and inclusive alt church!
Alternative ceremonies often involve rituals and symbolic elements from different cultural & spiritual traditions. They may revive and reclaim them - such as neo-pagan faiths and hand fasting, jumping the broomstick etc. See the Ritual page on the Wedding Menu.
If you are looking for belief and ritual to be the essence of your ceremony, there are other ceremonialists for whom this is key part of their identity.
If these stylings appeal as part of your ceremony, whether for acknowledging and honouring your path, or for its meaning, powerful visual impact - and fun, I'll incorporate it as an enhancement to your alternative ceremony.
As an independent humanist celebrant, I'm free to incorporate spiritual traditions, if you'd like that. Most of my clients prefer a secular celebration though: some are humanist / atheist / agnostic, others would just rather their ceremony is non-religious so the focus is wholly on them and the excitement of spending their lives together.
As an alternative & goth celebrant, I'm delighted to create ceremonies for fellow darklings!
It's not only weddings & vow renewals: I lead alternative funerals & memorial celebrations.
An alternative to traditional ceremonies
'Alternative' here is shorthand for 'not a dull, rigidly-structured ceremony' that sends you to sleep in church or the register office with routine-but-necessary legalities or boring parts that aren't about the couple at all.
In a sense, all celebrant wedding celebrations are 'the' alternative, because although celebrant ceremonies are surging in popularity, most wedding ceremonies are still registrar-led. Probably because the law means that the easiest and more practical option, and many people still don't know what celebrants do.
Celebrant ceremonies are alternative because they offer what statutory services cannot: they are engaging, life-affirming and uniquely personalised. Personalised doesn't mean 'you can swap the poem, or choose from these three sets of words', as is the case with councils offering 'celebrant-style' ceremonies.
Rather, it's about a ceremony that's person-centred, bespoke; created around, and with, you. There is a breaking away from convention as suits you.
There may be a cool theme woven throughout e.g. formal, feathers, rustic, rainbows, pirates, circus, camping, monochrome, movies... you get the idea!
'Alternative' may also refer to ceremonies at non-traditional venues & locations, rather than a place of worship, register office or a function venue. Think bars, beaches, bouncy castles, the basket of a hot-air balloon, a rocky outcrop, or a rock club. Because celebrants may conduct ceremonies anywhere.
What's your alternative?
I won't 'stand on ceremony'; whichever flavour of alternative is you. If you are an alternative person, or looking for an alternative celebrant, for a ceremony that rings true to you, or just after something a bit different, then you've found me. Drop me a line - let's share ideas for a ceremony that rocks. Dx