“I went from arranging mortgages for couples to marriage as a humanist celebrant”
Humanist weddings are growing in popularity, and the number of humanist celebrants is set to double in the coming year.
Denis Hobson, former bank manager and now celebrant, had a hectic Christmas with five humanist weddings in Kerry and Limerick marked on his diary.
Mr Hobson (76), who lives in Abbeyfeale, County Limerick, worked for the Bank of Ireland for 35 years before retiring.
Shifting from finance to playing a couple’s big day may not seem like an obvious career move, but Mr Hobson felt it was a natural step for someone looking for a “new challenge” after retirement.
“I was at a humanist wedding and at the reception I was talking about the amount of mortgages I had arranged for married couples and how I had been invited to the housewarmings, seeing kids growing up and feeling really great about it. As a banker, I had a significant one played a role in this family’s journey, starting with the mortgage,” he said.
“It occurred to me, why not come full circle by getting married?”
He researched the scroll and contacted the Humanist Association of Ireland.
“Everything has started,” said Denis. “It’s a beautiful experience to work with a couple on the wedding ceremony and to feel so involved.
“I have stayed in touch with many couples whose weddings I have celebrated. It’s like arranging mortgages: I feel like I’ve stepped into the lives of couples as a celebrant at a beautiful time.”
Humanist wedding ceremonies increased by 35 percent in 2016-2019, and the upward trend continued through last year.
video of the day
Meanwhile, the total number of all marriages fell by 10 percent between 2016 and 2019, according to figures from the National Statistics Office.
Kilda Taylor of the Humanist Association of Ireland said late last year: “Two years ago we had 28 celebrants and that number has now risen to 48.
“With new people in our training program, we expect to have as many as 60 next year. Our goal is to have celebrants in all 26 districts and there are few who don’t have a celebrant at this time.”
The prospective celebrants complete a six-month course that includes three weekends of on-site classes during which they are mentored while attending ceremonies.
“There is a very important aspect of mentoring, with mentoring by fully trained celebrants,” said Ms. Taylor.
Speaking of ceremonies, Mr Hobson said many couples like to hold on to traditional aspects of a wedding, such as the one given by the bride’s father. “But some like to revive old marriage rites that go back to the Brehon Laws. There is a Brehon Cloth. It ties around the couple’s hands and is usually around 5 feet long,” he added.
Living a humanist ceremony fits well with his post-retirement lifestyle, he said.
“One of the attractions of the humanist wedding is that it can be held any day of the week. While a lot of younger people are now coming forward to become celebrations, it was an ideal path for a person like me after retiring from the bench.”
Mr Hobson added: “It’s a very interesting career and you meet a great variety of people at a very important and enjoyable time in their lives.”
https://www.independent.ie/style/weddings/i-went-from-arranging-mortgages-for-couples-to-marrying-them-as-a-humanist-celebrant-42258513.html “I went from arranging mortgages for couples to marriage as a humanist celebrant”