Alexander Massey – Celebrant

Do you want help with the preparation and leading of a ceremony?

I can guide you through the whole process of how to prepare for your ceremony; provide you with a wide range of options in the compilation and structure of your ceremony; help you in your choice of – traditional and innovative – readings, music, rituals and possible symbols; and think about roles for those who you would like to participate. The ceremony will be shaped to meet your needs and expectations, and those of your families and others close to you.

I offer a number of different kinds of ceremonies, and can be flexible about the framework. Here are some possibilities:

  • Jewish ceremony specifically linked to Judaism and its traditions, creatively adapted to modern times and sensibilities
  • Interfaith ceremony for individuals, couples and families with mixed backgrounds

Interfaith marriage blessings

Are you looking for a personally designed event separate from any legal element? [1]

Read some testimonials for marriage blessings here.

  • Between Jewish and other faith traditions – I am particularly well-placed to help Jewish-Christian couples. (You will find many references on this website to the traditions of Jewish weddings, and tips on how to prepare.)
  • Between a variety of partners – heterosexual, and LGBT
  • The process typically includes 3 meetings: 1) Getting to know each other, mapping out preliminary ideas. 2) Putting the ceremony together. 3) Finalising everything, including a rehearsal with the two of you (in the venue, when possible). In addition, the fee includes ongoing supportive correspondence with me on email, phone and Skype, as needed, and, of course, my services on the day itself.
  • Duration: A marriage blessing usually lasts between 30 and 40 minutes. It can follow on directly from a Civil Ceremony if you book a Registrar for the same day (but the Registrar has to leave the room before we begin any of the religious ceremony).

For a list of wedding music choices, click here.

Brit shalom, welcoming ceremonies, baby namings, and baby blessings

I don’t officiate for a brit milah (Jewish circumcision) as I don’t support the practice. As a loving and creative alternative, anchored in Jewish principles, texts and prayers, I can offer you and your child a brit shaloma modern welcoming ritual that does not involve cutting or any drawing of blood. It can therefore be available for boys and girls equally, and can be creative. There are no rules for a brit shalom, so we can be imaginative and creative, but it is good to use ideas that recognisably draw upon Jewish tradition and outlook. You can invite siblings, grandparents, guide parents (one of several alternatives to the word ‘godparent’), friends and others to take a role in the ceremony.

The process typically includes:

  1. Filling in a preparatory questionnaire.
  2. One face-to-face meeting (around 1.5 hours with parents, and briefly meeting your baby and maybe siblings).
  3. Ongoing supportive correspondence with me on email, phone and Skype, as needed, talking through and finalising all details.
  4. My services on the day itself.

A baby naming usually lasts between 20 and 30 minutes. I recommend that families opt for shorter, rather than longer ceremonies. It is lovely to have lots of young people at these events, and a certain amount of background noise and activity can be a fun part of the ambience. But it’s also worth remembering that little ones have a short attention span – and if one baby cries, it can set off all the others!

Music for your ceremony

I am a classically trained professional singer, instrumentalist and published composer. This means that in addition to the above, I can also offer the following:

  • Sing at your ceremony (including cantorial services for Jewish ceremonies, and a full, sung leading of the Sheva Brachot ‘Seven Blessings’ at a weddings)
  • Whilst singing, accompany myself on guitar or piano / keyboard

For an extra fee, and timescale permitting, I can compose a commissioned instrumental piece of music or song (topic and lyrics to be discussed) for your ceremony. Click here for a page listing of all my compositions, includiung many for life cycle events.

We can incorporate your favourite music played on a CD, and sung or performed by friends of yours, or people you want to book. How much music is included will also depend on how long you want your ceremony to be. For example, I often advise people to limit a baby naming to just one piece of music (if that), and it can be better to have music after the ceremony, so your child (and other young ones present) and you can hold the focus for the 15-20 minutes needed for the wordy bit.

Your next steps

Ceremony is a creative and personal process. Even if you do not find your ceremony described on this page, please contact me anyway, and let’s see how I can help. The initial phone conversation will cost you nothing.

If from the conversation, we think I can help, we’ll arrange a meeting (typically around 1.5 hours), which will include my giving you some resources to get you started in your planning; that can stand alone and be paid for as a one-off consultation.

If you then decide you want to engage my services as Celebrant, you can top up the consultation fee to provide a 50% deposit for my full quoted fee for your event. That secures me for the date of your ceremony, and we will get started as soon as possible on the next steps. I will support you all the way throughout the preparation stages, and help you make sure that you are happy with the ceremony on your special day.

The payment of the balance can be on the day itself, or within 7 days after the ceremony.

Please get in touch through my contact page. I look forward to hearing from you!


 Footnotes

[1] NB I am not a Registrar. Couples either have their Civil Ceremony conducted by a Registrar at the same venue with the guests and myself present 1/2 hour before the marriage blessing that I lead, or the have their Civil Ceremony some time before the day of the marriage blessing.