How 400 Prostitutes Turned me into a Celebrant

How 400 Prostitutes Turned me into a Celebrant

I’ve often been asked how I came to be a Civil Celebrant.

I never had any ambition to do such work. (In fact, three years ago I didn’t even know what one was!)

I only heard about it by chance.

If I’m absolutely honest, it all came about because I was interested in 400 prostitutes!

Now don’t get me wrong, please. I may be an active man, but not in the way you may be thinking!

I innocently went to hear a talk by somebody who had considerable experience with prostitutes. He had made a fortune many years back by selling answering machines to a niche market nobody had tapped before: prostitutes!

After the presentation, I had a chat with him, and it turned out that he was now a celebrant.

He told me that he helped people who wanted a ceremony that was bespoke – not formulaic. He worked with them to construct a ceremony that would mean the most to them (and, hopefully, their guests). It could be religious, semi-religious, non-religious – anything. It could be held anywhere – perhaps a licensed religious building, a hotel, a beach or a mountain top.


The ceremonies included weddings (straight or gay), vow renewals, naming blessings and handfastings. (Not to mention funerals.)

Anyway, as I listened to David, I got drawn in. This was something different, this was exciting, this was something I could do well (I have considerable experience as a public presenter) and something that would enable me to make a difference to others.

When could I start?!

Well, I trained late in 2012, and was sufficiently enthused that I then decided to train to become a funeral celebrant.  I’m now almost three years down the celebrantt line, and loving it!

Who’d have thought that 400 prostitutes would have made such a difference in my life!

Same-sex weddings – and families

With just over a month until same-sex weddings can be legally conducted in England & Wales, people are increasingly likely to encounter opposition from their family. It’s therefore important to take a serious look at this issue.

The guest list

All weddings face the inevitable question: whom do you invite? It’s a tough one to answer at the best of times. You will probably start with close family and friends, but what if your closest relatives oppose your union?

Rejecting the rejectors

Do you decide to leave them out and just opt for your friends and (supportive) relations? After all, you’re likely to be spending a huge amount of money on the reception. Why should you have to accommodate people who won’t accept what you’re doing and, at worst, might even turn out to be trouble-makers?

Certainly, you’ll think twice before inviting people openly hostile to your union. On the bright side, they might decline and at least you’ll have gained kudos by having extended the olive branch!

An olive branch

Another advantage that might be gained from inviting disapproving relatives is that they might, despite their own prejudices, attend and actually enjoy a tasteful and personalized ceremony. Wouldn’t that be something if you were able to ‘convert’ them and retain – even develop – a relationship with them?!

For many of us, there is the bond of love that unites us with our families. We may not always like our relations, but to upset and potentially do without them for the rest of our lives is not always at all desirable, in truth. Giving them a chance to stay connected with you  (even loosely) is worth the effort.

If the worst comes to the worst, at least you’ll know you tried. And if it brings you together, couldn’t that be precious?

Come what may, your wedding will be a commemoration of love, with promises for the future. It’s not the day to heal rifts, but it may be the pathway to do so, and that is something which should be embraced.

Michael Gordon can help prepare and conduct a tailor-made life-cycle civil ceremony in or around London or, indeed, in Europe.

Gay Weddings and Tradition

I’m straight and have been raised pretty conventionally. I think I’m reasonably open-minded, and have a couple of openly gay friends. However, I have to say that I used to be uncomfortable with open displays of affection between gays and have not so far attended any gay weddings.

I recently began to reassess my viewpoint. I even accepted that gays might have feelings and want – and need – relationships.

Seeing pictures of Elton John and David Furnish’s wedding a few years back was quite reassuring to me. I don’t know what I might have been expecting, but the couple was extremely well turned-out – beautifully dressed in fact. They obviously took their ceremony really seriously (and why shouldn’t they?).

Indeed, why should a gay wedding be drastically different to a traditional, heterosexual one? There’s no reason why women should not be in white, and carrying bouquets of lilies. Men can certainly be in suits. The wedding day is the most important day of their lives, and they are entitled to choose to mark it by looking their very best. The affair can be elegant and tasteful – and should be, in fact.

Gay marriage is legal in many States of the US and will become commonplace over in the UK too in time, so we need to become more comfortable with the concept.


In a ‘traditional’ gay wedding, there are some questions to consider: should there be bridesmaids – or even whatever the masculine equivalent is? Or a combination of them?

What about surnames? Should either of the pair change their name after marriage? If so, which one? Presumably, that will be down to choice.

There may be some decisions for the officiant: instead of “you may kiss the bride”, the easiest thing would simply be “you may kiss”.

Of course, there’s not really a precedent for gay marriages, so the traditions are up for grabs. But do we need to invent any, actually?


Michael Gordon can help prepare and conduct a tailor-made civil ceremony in or around London or, indeed, in Europe.