Sharon Gordon, Founder of Ceremonies with Love
Creating and officiating unique ceremonies for much-loved family members
My life hasn’t followed an ‘A to B’ path; there’s been plenty of twists and turns! People who do make more traditional choices such as marriage, however, should be able to celebrate in a way that feels more personal to them.
When same-sex marriage became legal in the UK, I attended the wedding of two of my friends. It was such a joyful day and I found myself watching the registrar – thinking: ‘What a lovely job that would be to have!’
I started my own working life in sales. Later, I became the only female independent financial adviser at a brokerage firm – operating in a macho environment that I found oppressive. Feeling disillusioned, I craved a job that would put something back into society.
I’d been a volunteer foster carer, so I applied to look after teenage girls with behavioural difficulties in a full-time paid role. Single – and doing it alone seven days a week – was tough. I switched to mainstream fostering after the first five years, but after a decade I knew I’d given as much as I could.
That day at my friends’ wedding changed everything… As much as I liked the idea of being a registrar, it felt very prescriptive – focusing on legalities and specific declarations. By contrast, a service led by a celebrant can be as quirky, funny or romantic as you want – putting the person’s story at the centre of the occasion. It felt so much more ‘me’!
I completed my training last year and got my first ‘break’ from a funeral director in December. They gave me – an unknown quantity – the opportunity to create a ceremony for a bereaved family.
Since then, I’ve introduced wedding ceremonies whilst continuing to work hard to establish myself as a funeral celebrant with a unique offering: the opportunity to have a Celebration of Life ceremony at an alternative venue to a crematorium, without any time constraints or the feeling of being on a conveyor belt that currently exists.
I’m only at the beginning of my journey – raising awareness of this new concept – but I am determined to give bereaved families something better.
I just wish I’d had the courage to do this sooner!