learn more than you ever wanted to know… about me.
Like most people, I find it difficult to write about myself. Painful, even.
So, I'm going to cheat and share my responses to questions I've been asked over the years.
Jason Kaczorowski Photography
Why did you become a Celebrant?
When my husband and I married, there weren’t many options for couples. You went to God’s house or the courthouse. We weren’t really keen on either of those ideas. We were lucky enough to eventually find a minister willing to give us a secular ceremony, but getting to that point was not pleasant. Years later, when I came across an article about training to become a professional Life-Cycle Celebrant, I knew that was what I wanted to do.
What do you like most about your work?
Being a Celebrant allows me to do the things I most enjoy—meeting interesting people and being creative. I also get a kick out of talking in front of people (I have no idea why) and I love writing and sharing couples’ stories. I also enjoy being able to offer options to people who want a secular ceremony.
Is there anything you don’t like?
When it’s over! I get to know my couples really well and it’s often sad when the wedding is over. But, I get to have the joy of knowing that I was able to share their day with them.
What else do you do as a Life-Cycle Celebrant?
Besides weddings, I also create ceremonies for other life events. My favorite are baby welcomings! It’s especially wonderful when the babies belong to one of my couples. (All couples I marry become known as “My Couples.”).
I am an instructor for the Celebrant Foundation & Institute, teaching courses for the Weddings certification program. I also co-created and taught an advanced study course called Ceremonies for LGBTQ Clients.
I also serve as Co-Facilitator for the Illinois Celebrant Association.
Are you religious?
No, I am not religious and do not ascribe to any faith. That being said, your ceremony can still include rituals and traditions to honor your faith background, if you like. Your ceremony is about YOU.
What was one of your favorite ceremonies?
My all-time favorite ceremony was at 12:01 a.m. on June 2, 2011, when I officiated the first same-sex civil union ceremony in Chicago. I co-created the Under a New Moon wedding giveaway to celebrate same-sex unions becoming legal in IL. Six couples won a complete wedding, and I had the honor of officiating a group ceremony. It was truly one of the most moving experiences of my life!
Are you married?
Yes! I met my husband when he “accidentally” drank my beer at a party. Despite his supposedly unintentional thievery, we were married in 1993 and are still going strong. We have two kids in college, both of whom keep us on our toes, along with our five furry children (2 dogs, 2 cats). While we have a happy marriage, we occasionally need to work out our differences with a video game smackdown. (Note: Tekken = happy marriage)
What do you do when you’re not working on ceremonies?
In my "other life," I am a Student Readiness Coordinator. I work for a grant-funded program at Elgin Community College that serves middle school and high school students. I love working with teens!
When I'm not working, you can often find me tucked away somewhere cozy, reading. I’m a book nerd with way too many books and not enough shelves. But, I also like to hang out with my two BFFs – Netflix and snacks. And while my clubbing days are long past, I’ve been known to dance to obscure 80's music in the kitchen. I'm also a big fan of cupcakes (baking and eating), houseplants, snuggly babies, jigsaw puzzles, bad puns, board games, graphic novels, and anything related to cephalopods.
Volunteering is important to me, and I’ve been involved with a variety of organizations over the years. I have worked with refugees in the Chicago area, volunteered at a children’s shelter, taught English as a Second Language, and co-hosted a teen coffee house. Most recently I've been involved with a local suburban group, working to increase civic engagement. The activity I enjoy most is being a part of Free Mom Hugs, giving out hugs at the Chicago Pride Parade and other Pride events.