Why Train With Us

Why train with us, The Fellowship of Professional Celebrants (FPC)?

Photo of newly trained celebrants (Fellowship of Professional Celebrants)

We are very aware that as you consider a new vocation in Celebrancy that you will have no doubt come across a variety of organisations now offering Celebrancy training. There are many factors for you to consider in making such an important decision and we actively encourage you to look at other training organisations to compare what we offer in terms of experience, resources, on-going support & value for money, but also take a look at our gallery and testimonials and see the many wonderful celebrants who have trained with us and what they have to say about our courses.

We have published below a few questions for you to consider when choosing the right training organisation along with some additional facts about ourselves.

With over 450 members, The Fellowship of Professional Celebrants is the largest organisation in the UK for Independent Celebrants, and what’s more – unlike some organisations ALL of our Registered Celebrant Members are TRAINED & CERTIFIED meaning both the public and the professionals we serve such as Funeral Directors, Wedding Planners & many others have come to trust us, knowing that whatever the occasion they can call on a member of the FPC to provide a trained and competent celebrant who will deliver a personalised, and unique ceremony to the very highest standard.

What is the history, origin and success of the Training Organisation?

Our acclaimed training programme is now its 8th successful year and was the first of it’s kind in the UK to be written and delivered specifically for Independent Celebrants (previous celebrant training courses had been provided only for Humanists and those celebrants working for local authority registry offices) Over the years we have listened to our students valuable feedback and as a result have regularly updated and improved our training programme to provide the most in depth training and valuable resources possible.

Sadly many of our original ideas, concepts & training resources have been taken and copied over the years with certain Associations now marketing an almost identical course at a much higher price.

Our course is the original however and has a reputation for excellence – don’t just take our word for it though, we would be more than happy to put you in touch not only with any of our professionally trained celebrants who could share their own experiences, but also with numerous funeral directors throughout the Country who entrust our celebrants on a regular basis to serve their families because of the care, time, attention to detail and first class delivery of service they provide.

These are just a couple of examples:

“I have used several celebrants trained by Terri Shanks and they have all conducted excellent services and this shows they have had a very thorough grounding from her. I have found them without exception aware of what needs to be done when officiating and as they have all come from backgrounds other than the funeral profession this can only be because they have been so well trained. I could take up several pages extolling her virtues as a celebrant and trainer, but I can condense this by saying that when my dear niece died very young in January 2012, I only wanted the very best for her and called Terri back from her maternity leave to conduct her funeral service”
(Marian Down Funeral Director, Worthing)

“In my 13 years as a Funeral Director I have worked very closely with Terri Shanks on many of the funerals I have arranged. As a Celebrant I cannot fault her empathy, kindness and genuine understanding of clients needs. Her attention to detail is second to none and I receive nothing but positive comments from all my families regarding the service she provides.
On the occasions when Terri herself has not been able to available to conduct services for me, I have used other celebrants who have been trained by her knowing that they too will also provide the same excellent, calm and personal service which can only be put down to Terri’s expert tuition.
Terri Shanks is extremely well respected within the funeral profession due to the superb professional service she provides as both a celebrant and trainer, and for the caring nature with which she treats people.”
(Pat Cook, H.D. Tribe Funeral Directors)

Experience & Training of Course Leaders:

We have experience not only in writing and conducting ceremonies but also in Celebrancy training – Terri Shanks our Founder, Director & Principal Course Leader has over a decade of experience as a celebrant. She has personally conducted over 3000 ceremonies herself and has trained over 500 new celebrants. Her wealth of knowledge and experience is constantly sort after from trainee Celebrants not only from throughout the UK but also from the USA, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Greece, Rhodes, Portugal, Spain, France & Ireland.
Terri herself has worked and studied with some of the worlds leading celebrants and bereavement specialists in both the USA and Australia and has been invited to address celebrants on both continents.

Our Training extends beyond the Classroom:
Whilst we pride ourselves on the first class training we provide to all of our students during the time they are with us, we are also very aware that with a profession like Celebrancy, we can never predict what each day will bring – new scenarios, raw emotion, new challenges, new questions. We commit to being there for you every step of the way so you never feel out of your depth or unsure of a situation, we care for you and we care for the families you serve. Your course leaders will be there for you on an ongoing basis to answer any questions you may have either by phone or email, you will also have the benefit of Fellowship forums to share and discuss issues with other professionally trained celebrants.

Group of Celebrants trained by the Professional Fellowship of Celebrants

Consider on-goings costs of associated memberships:

As well as comparing the costs of course fees do ensure also that you check ALL on-going annual/monthly costs of membership to any associated organisation and double check that the organisation does not keep a % of your fee for recommending you for to conduct a ceremony.

Becoming a registered celebrant with The Fellowship of Professional Celebrants.

Once you have completed your training with us, you will be invited to apply for membership of
The Fellowship of Professional Celebrants, the fee for this is a ONE OFF LIFETIME registration fee of £85 plus a regular contribution of just £5 per month.

Benefits of membership include:

  • £5 million Public Liability Insurance (free for the first 12 months – after this you will have the option to renew your insurance at £16 per year)
  • Personalised Name Badge displaying the Fellowship of Professional Celebrants name and logo.
  • Professional Membership Certificate (in addition to your training certificate)
  • Regular Newsletters
  • Use of our logo on your website, stationery, adverts etc.
  • Listing on our website www.professionalcelebrants.org.uk which is promoted in various publications, editorials and other online sites.
  • The Fellowship is also an Associate member of two professional funeral Associations NAFD and SAIF our Funeral Celebrants may also display both of these logos alongside the actual Fellowship logo and may also attend many of the meetings and events hosted by these two professional associations. (A fantastic opportunity to network with your local Funeral Directors)
  • Online Forum to network and share resources, information and questions with our other members.
  • Networking meetings, both formal and informal, including our Annual Dinner Dance.
  • A Voice for Change – for example the Fellowship of Professional Celebrants was the first organisation to petition the Ministry of Justice for a change in the law to allow marriage celebrants to be able to conduct the legal registration of marriage as our colleagues in Australia and the U.S.A. are able to do (results still pending)

We like to give back:

As an organisation we are very aware that those celebrants working within the Funeral Profession do make a living from other peoples loss and bereavement, that is why we feel passionately about giving something back. We contribute a % of all of our celebrants membership fees to charity and have already raised over £15,000 which has been given to 5 charities over the last 5 years: Kids N Cancer UK, The Luke Cory Trust and Grief Encounter, The Wedding Wishing Well Appeal & Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY).

Is the course residential?

Our courses are NOT residential, it is something we have considered over the years but in speaking with the many celebrants we have trained the majority have said they prefer the flexibility of a non-residential course. We find that different people have different expectations and budgets when it comes to booking accommodation and many have family or friends they are able to stay with and therefore do not want un-necessary additional costs.

We have also found that with the Funeral Celebrancy Training in particular that this often brings up raw emotions for students and they need the time and space to be able to acknowledge and work through these feelings. However we do always arrange a course dinner for those who want to attend so that you don’t have to eat alone, and we also set a bit of ‘homework’ every night too (sorry!!)

Are the course leaders FULL TIME celebrants themselves?

This is a very important question to ask any prospective trainer. Celebrancy is a very flexible vocation and whilst many celebrants are able to make this their full time career, there are equally as many others who only work part time, either because they are already semi-retired or they manage to work it around another job.

There are however certain trainers who are semi-retired, part time celebrants AND part time something else!! These people may not have the time & expertise to share, nor to sensitively guide you through the many different circumstances you will be faced with in the course of this work on a daily basis. Likewise those committed to other jobs will not have the time to give you the on-going back up and support which will be vital to your success.

Also without meaning to sound ageist in any way, it is important for you to consider the age of your trainer(s), if they are already past the standard retirement age then chances are they are simply doing this work to supplement their pension in the short term and will unlikely be working long enough to give you or any association guaranteed future security and support in the long term.

So, we hope this has given you a little insight into our experience and passion for celebrancy and what we are able to offer as you embark on this wonderful new vocation. However, we are so much more than just a website, there is a human face behind what you are reading so if you would like to discuss anything in further detail then please do pick up the phone and have a chat:

Mobile: 07964 285467
Or simply drop us an email to: terri@sussexcelebrant.co.uk

We hope to be able to welcome you very soon to our friendly and professional team.

With very best wishes, Terri, Lita and Simon (Course leaders)


Celebrant training for Funeral, Weddings & Baby Naming Ceremonies – The original & most experienced Training College in the UK for Independent Celebrants, established by reputation, “We lead, others copy”