Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Wedding celebrant Breda Gavagan

By Finian Coghlan

AS the world gradually returns to normal, a woman from Athy is hoping her business as a wedding celebrant can finally get off the ground after this period of enforced hibernation.

It’s been absolutely awful, but what can we do? We have to go with the Government guidelines for now, and hopefully the business will be back this summer. At least the weather is picking up,” said Breda Gavagan , who trained as an independent Family Celebrant last year, as something to do in her retirement.

Breda’s background was as a nurse specialising in intellectual disability, and she worked as a manager of a day centre in Firhouse for over 23 years before taking early retirement in February 2020 to train as a Family Celebrant at the Irish Institute of Celebrants (IIOC).

We had one lesson together, then everything was on Zoom. God, I hate Zoom,” Breda laughed.

I had three weddings last year, when the restrictions were lifted. They were all up in Dublin, but I don’t want to go beyond 50kms, out foreign or down to Kerry.

I don’t like driving, and I want to keep it local if I can,” she said.

Appropriately based out of Churchtown, Athy, Breda covers South Kildare, West Wicklow, Laois, Offaly, Carlow, and Kilkenny, and loves her new job – when she gets to do it.

I find it extremely exciting and exhilarating as I get to to meet people at the most loved up and happiest times of their lives,” she said.

As a celebrant, Breda helps engaged couples who want a non-religious wedding ceremony to have “a bespoke, unique, and meaningful wedding celebration with their family and friends, in a location of their choice and on the day of their choice”, and can also offer same sex marriages, vow renewals, second marriages and baby naming ceremonies.

It seems to be a growing trade in Ireland, as most recent figures show that 41% of weddings in 2020 were civil or Humanist, compared to 43.6 % Catholic.

However, because Breda’s service is  fully bespoke, and tailored to the exact requirements of the couple, it is purely ceremonial and not legally binding.

To get married in Ireland, you first need to contact the HSE, to make a marriage notification appointment and give three months’ notice of your intent to get married,” she explained of the legalities.

Whilst that paperwork is being dealt with, Breda will officiate at your day out, with all your rules.

You can have your wedding  celebration anywhere, in your back garden, a hotel, country manor or local historical landmark, there’s no need for witnesses or guests, or you can have as many guests as you want,  the choice is yours,” she explained

After meeting with the couple and discussing what they want, Breda then designs a unique and bespoke ceremony, and the couple are free to have the ceremony of their dreams.   

Their  love story is the beating heart of the ceremony,” she said.

The ceremony lasts approximately 30 minutes, depending on the readings, music and wedding enhancements chosen by the couple. 

Because it’s not in a church, you can have any music, any reading. You don’t have to conform to a religious service, and you can dress as you want,” she said.

There are people who want it in the backyard with a barbeque, and some people want it at the seaside,” she said.

I’m hoping it starts up again, and I’m taking bookings from 14 July,” said Breda.

Fifty is the max I’ve done so far, but I could take 100, but I’ll go with whatever comes,” she said.

From 5 July, 50 people are permitted to attend a wedding and depending on how the nation is doing with Covid-19, this number should hopefully increase again in August,” said Breda.

For more information:    www.bredacelebrant.com 

Contact Newsdesk: 045 432147

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