This guest blog has been written by Andrew D Scott of Victus Celebrant Services. Andrew qualified as a wedding and naming celebrant with The Academy of Modern Celebrancy in the summer. Here is his story of how he transformed from catering entrepreneur to celebrant.
Hotel kitchens and weddings. Spot the similarities.
There are certainly plenty of differences, kitchens being much messier and more chaotic than you’d ever want your wedding to be. But they have surprising similarities. And I can sum those up in two words. Emotion and people. How have I come to this conclusion? Grab a cuppa and let me take you back to Glasgow, late 1980s….
At the tender age of 13 I got myself a job as a kitchen porter in a hotel north of the city. I immediately fell in love with the sights and smells and general commotion of the place. So much going on! So many people! And it was indeed a great way to meet people from all backgrounds, from the irritable French chef to the blue-humoured restaurant manager. When you’re at the bottom of the pecking order, you need to fit in – and fast. It was an invaluable lesson in getting the measure of people. Engaging with people. And most importantly, just basically getting along with people.
Fast forward to March 2020 and I had been self-employed for 15 years. The proud owner of a number of catering businesses. And I was also a consultant, working with every kind of food and lodging business as well as presenting and speaking at industry conferences and events across the UK. Happy days.
You know what’s coming next, right?
March 2020 and everything was going well. I’d even just opened up a new coffee shop in Fife. Then I was forced to simply stand by and watch as the doors closed and my consultancy clients similarly shut down their hotels, restaurants and bistros. Even worse, hospitality received next to no support from the government. We were left to our own devices.
But every cloud, and for the first time in a long time I had the chance to stop and reflect. And I kept thinking about the wedding of a good friend of mine I attended in early 2020. It had been such a great day, apart from the flat ceremony delivered by a lacklustre celebrant. Everyone loves a wedding for the food, drink and party, but I’ve always felt the ceremony should be the heart of the day. It’s what it’s all about. It’s the reason we’re there. And there had been no heart.
So let’s think about this… I felt really passionately about this issue. And I mean, it really, REALLY bothered me. I’ve grown up in an industry with plenty of emotion and which requires that innate sense of hospitality. I have lots of experience in public speaking. And even more in how to make an event memorable. Do you see where I’m going here…?
I could do it! I could be a celebrant!
So I did.
I applied for a course with The Academy of Modern Celebrancy, got my head into the books, and in summer 2021 I qualified as a wedding and naming day celebrant. With flying colours, dare I add.
I’m now up and running and loving every moment, especially as my catering businesses are also thriving once again. My love of people has never waned over the years; if anything I relish meeting people and hearing their stories more than ever. I love that feeling of “just clicking” with someone and wanting to do the best I possibly can for them.
These are such vital ingredients in making a good celebrant. Understanding the individuals, the couples and the families. How they work separately, together and as a unit. This information is essential to creating a totally personalised ceremony and experience, one which speaks to each and every person in the room. The couple standing in front of me, as well as the families and friends who surround them.
Fun and laughter, warmth and wit are also part of my DNA. I’m often told that I’m a funny guy and I believe that humour is such an important part of life. So I make sure to inject plenty of the stuff at every (appropriate) juncture.
The emotions, the people and the joy. THAT’s what you need to create a wedding with a big, massive heart.
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(If you think that Andrew sounds like the celebrant your looking for, you can call him on 07732 454639 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for an informal chat to see if the chemistry is there!)