For Immediate Release
Seanne Larson Emerton

Rapidly Growing Celebrancy Movement Comes to Nebraska
But what is a Celebrant?


Grand Island, Nebraska--- June 1, 2010
What is a celebrant?

According to Seanne Larson Emerton, owner of Family Resources, Grand Island, and the first certified celebrant in Nebraska, a Certified Lifecycle Celebrant is a trained professional who co-creates and facilitates ceremony that is meaningful and transformative for life passages and transitions.  “Celebrants help mark milestone moments in people’s lives”, Emerton says. “Well designed ceremonies are powerful in helping people either celebrate significant times in their lives or in helping them adjust to difficult situations. Well designed ceremony can be incredibly healing for people.”  For instance, she has designed ceremonies for weddings as well as for housewarmings, expectant parents, baby namings, adoptions, significant birthdays, business openings, family reunions, retirements, divorce, being “downsized” or losing a pet.

One factor that makes celebrant ceremonies stand out is their personalization.  “These aren’t cookie cutter ceremonies”, Emerton explains. “We interview the participants in depth before designing the ceremony.  The script is only complete when the client gives the final okay to everything in it.  Then we’re ready to officiate at this personal, one-of-a-kind celebration.”

Emerton recently designed a House Blessing for a young couple from different cultural backgrounds.  “They wanted to include elements from their cultural traditions to honor their families and their histories.  We were able to create a ceremony that was not only very personalized, but was also very honoring for them and their families.  It meant a lot to them as first time home owners.”
She also recently designed an engagement ceremony for a young couple who wanted to be more consciously aware of the big step they were preparing to take.  “This was a very small, personalized ceremony that assisted the couple in preparing for the changes that marriage would bring”, she said.  “Good ceremony can help prevent problems later”, Emerton stated.  For instance, a marriage has a much better chance for survival if the couple is emotionally prepared for the changes it brings.  “One common problem is that young couples often fail to separate effectively from their families of origin.  They don’t learn to put each other first.  Well designed ceremony can assist the couple in being mindful of this needed transition so that the process can be loving, thoughtful and healthy.”

Why are celebrations important?  Emerton explains, “Ceremonies have always been used to help people negotiate life’s transitions.  As a marriage and family therapist, I specialize in helping people through those transitions.  For instance, many times people become too busy to think about the emotions attached to significant events.  So these emotions get buried or turned into excess ‘baggage’.  The problem is, these emotions surface later making future passages more difficult. Ceremony is another way to assist people with important life passages. It’s another resource for folks.  Ceremonies connect the participants to community and to the deeper meaning of an event.  Unfortunately that deeper meaning can easily get lost in today’s culture.”

Celebrancy has existed in Australia for some 30 years, but was only imported to North America in 2001.  There are now over 400 trained celebrants throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Northern Ireland and now France.  These independent ceremony specialists complete at least 8 months of training by the Celebrant Foundation and Institute of Montclair, New Jersey.  The Institute reports a growing trend for this work as it meets the needs of participants for meaningful ceremonies that include and honor various cultural values.  See for more information. 

Emerton concludes, “I think people will be surprised at how deeply satisfying these specialized ceremonies can be." (For more information, contact Emerton at 308.381.7487, email her at or