Interview with Sussex Celebrant Julia Driscoll

My name is Julia Driscoll and I live on the gorgeous South coast in a little seaside town called Shoreham by Sea. I'm a lover of nature and walking, I’m privileged to have easy access to The Downs, the sea and the river. As a counsellor for over 20 years, I have sat alongside and witnessed people in times of their greatest joys and sorrows. I bring those precious experiences with me into the ceremonies I design and conduct, helping people to tell their stories and having them honoured, respected, and brought to life. Also getting married to my lovely wife Jess brought home to me the significance of ritual, and how important it is to us as humans to mark the most important events in our lives. I care about the environment and sustainability, and encourage ceremonies that do little harm to the earth. I try to live deeply from an ethos of inclusivity and equity and want you, whoever you are to be able to access the service I offer, no matter how you identify, or what needs you have.


sussex celebrant Julia Driscoll walking down a street in shoreham by sea

What is a celebrant?

We go through so many transitions throughout our lives, from birth (a massive transition in itself), through to starting school, adolescence, leaving school, leaving home, passing a driving test, getting married, having children, birthdays, anniversaries, getting divorced, retiring, death, the list is endless… these important rites of passage have been largely lost in our Western society over the course of time, but now the rise in bespoke ceremonies led by a Celebrant is reversing this trend and bringing them back into our communities and our individual lives.


What services do celebrants offer?

As an Independent Celebrant, I’m trained in conducting ceremonies for Weddings, Civil Partnerships, Vow renewal, Funerals, Adoption ceremonies, and gender reassignment name changing ceremonies. I create a ceremony that’s completely personal, so no two ceremonies are ever the same. I meet the people I work with in person, gather as much information as I can and then write and deliver something entirely original and bespoke for them.


What's the difference between a celebrant and a registrar?

In England, Celebrant led weddings are carried out separately to the legal signing of the register, which is officiated by a registrar. You’ll need to book your local registry office to do the legal part with them, but you can save the important elements like the vows and exchange of rings for the celebrant led ceremony. You can also have whatever readings, music, cultural traditions, poems, dances, games, symbolic ceremonies such as ring warming, hand fasting, unity candles, sand ceremonies and tree planting, whatever you’d like. Whatever you can imagine, you can include in your ceremony.


Where can you have a celebrant led wedding ceremony?

Absolutely anywhere! The beauty of a celebrant led wedding is that it can be outside in woodlands, estate grounds, your back garden, farms, and beaches to name but a few. It could be a venue local to you, one that has significance for your family, perhaps even where you first met. It’s even becoming more popular for couples to have adventure wedding ceremonies, or with a fun theme that guests dress up for. You have the freedom to find somewhere you truly love as I do not need to hold a wedding license, so the options are endless! Just bear in mind that having a back-up is a good idea in case of bad weather!


outside wedding ceremony held on the grass outside iford hall in lewes for celebrant led ceremony
bride and groom holding hands at outside wedding ceremony held on the grass at iford hall in lewes for celebrant led ceremony
hand tying ceremony at iford hall, outdoor boho celebrant led ceremony in sussex