A day in the life of Celebrant Sandy Millar

How long have you been a celebrant for?

I have been a celebrant for 4 ½ years.

Why did you become a celebrant?

A friend suggested I’d make a great celebrant – and I was looking for something to complement the other parts of my “portfolio career”.

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

Have been secretary in both Auckland and Hawke’s Bay, and am now contact person here in Hawke’s Bay, organising events and keeping the energy up in The Bay.

What ceremonies do you perform?

Funerals (primarily) and weddings, and even a tattoo blessing!

What do you enjoy about being a celebrant?

It uses three of my key skill sets – working with people, writing, and delivering – and I get to add meaning and have fun along the way. When I was doing registry weddings in Auckland during lockdowns, it was as if “the world was coming to me,” with a wonderfully diverse mix of couples – different ages, ethnicities, as well as people from the rainbow community. Such a privilege to be a part of people’s important life events.

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

Building an intense relationship with a couple or family when they need you most, then not seeing them again, (unless there’s a referral).

What was the most memorable ceremony you have performed?

Three come to mind: my father’s funeral before I trained (part of my incentive for getting into funeral work); my friend’s tattoo blessing ceremony; and my mother’s funeral.

What would be your typical day as celebrant? 

There’s no typical day in a portfolio career!

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

As Kathrine from The Celebrant School says, “you can’t sell a secret.” Or as the ad currently running on TV says, “You can’t build a reputation on what you’re going to do.” It takes time to build up your business – see my post on LinkedIn for other tips when you go it alone. 

How do you like to relax?

I’m an avid reader, and will have several on the go at one time – novels, books on philosophy and grief, poetry etc. I like collecting ideas, so books and blogs are a great source of material for my ceremonies. Oh, and yoga.