Jane Godfrey

A day in the life of celebrant Jane Godfrey

How long have you been a celebrant for?

Since December 2009

Why did you become a celebrant?

I left being a full-time secondary school teacher of English, Drama and Dance to have my third child. I needed something that used all of my skills, was dynamic and interesting, and fit around having 3 young children. Voila! (I have yet to dance in a ceremony, but I’ve had a few boogies on the dance floor at weddings when my job as MC of the reception is complete.)

What involvement do you have or had with CANZ at a branch or national level?

I’ve been a member of CANZ since the start. In fact, I think it was called something else when I started (The Celebrant Guild of NZ?). My membership has been incredibly valuable to me. I have learned so much from other members, attending every professional development opportunity possible. And my skill-set has never stopped expanding. Presenting at conferences has been a highlight, and taking Branch workshops, and I enjoyed my time on the CANZ Canterbury Branch committee. It was at a CANZ conference that I met Sally Cant, and was offered a position as a trainer at The Celebrants Training College. I love to learn and I love to teach, so this is a perfect job for me.

What ceremonies do you perform?

Any! You name it, I can write it.

What do you enjoy about being a celebrant?

It enriches my life. I am exposed to a wide range of people and cultures all the time, and witness the way people show love, remember loss, celebrate family, accept change… It is all about the people for me.

What are some of the hardest parts of being a celebrant?

When I started there was little competition in my area, so that was a wonderfully peaceful time of doing good work but not having to spend time telling the world about it online! When large numbers of celebrants emerged, the hard part was working out what was important to me and what I was willing to do/not do to stay in the celebrant ‘game’. Comparison is the death of joy. I have learned to just do ‘me’ and my love for celebrancy is as strong as ever.

What was the most memorable ceremony you have performed?

Wow, tricky question! I guess being the celebrant and wedding planner for a ceremony at Parliament is a forever memory. My friends still laugh about me holding up Chris Hipkins’ Covid press conference by saying to the press, “Well this Chris chappy is going to have to talk loudly because the bagpiper will start playing in one minute!” (In my defence, I was in full planner/celebrant mode and this wedding, after months of preparation, was happening on time on my watch!)

What would be your typical day as celebrant? 

No day is the same – that’s what comes with juggling 3 jobs, 3 kids and being in theatre shows.

What advice do you have for someone new to the industry?

Make sure that you understand what it means to be a celebrant. You are holding the space for people at an incredibly important moment in their life. Never stop learning, exploring and discovering how to be the very best that you can be. They deserve your best.

How do you like to relax?

Being in the outdoors, wine, music, theatre, movies, good books, travel adventures, sunshine and friends.