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Sunday, April 21, 2024

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Put A Ring On It, this Valentine’s with Proud Fox Ceremonies

We absolutely LOVE, LOVE at GLL. And even more, we love a banger of a wedding to go with it. If you’re thinking of popping the question today or already have and are looking for a unique way to get hitched, look no further than Martin at Proudfox Ceremonies.

Available as himself, Martin or as his drag alter-ego Maria Hurtz both fully versed in being the perfect celebrant for your perfect day. We caught up with Martin recently to tell us all about what he does.

Photo by @rosswillsherphotography

Hi Martin, first of all — what exactly is a celebrant?

An independent Celebrant is a trained professional who works with couples to create and conduct personalised ceremonies. Unlike religious or civil ceremonies, Independent Celebrants are not affiliated with any particular religious or faith. I work with couples to create unique, personal, and meaningful ceremonies that reflect their individual values, beliefs, and personalities. As a Celebrant, I can perform ceremonies in a variety of settings, ( it doesn’t have to be a licensed place) and can include religious or spiritual elements. Couples attend the Registry Office to register their legal marriage and then have a Wedding Ceremony with a Celebrant.  This is fabulous for couples as they have more choice and can truly have a ceremony styled in the way they want to.   With a Celebrant, the party starts with the ceremony; it’s not the boring bit that comes before the party!

I do Weddings, Vow Renewals, Namings and  Funerals.

But there are so many out there to choose from – so what makes me different?

Well, not only can you opt to have me, Martin as the fabulous foxy camp celebrant, you can also opt to have a #DragYouUpTheAisle ™️ Ceremony where you can have me as Maria Hurtz , a Drag Queen Wedding Celebrant to officiate your special day!

Tell us how you fell into this uplifting line of work.

At the beginning of the pandemic and the first lockdown, I , like many,  was extremely anxious about my work, wondering how it was going to adapt to the new way of being.  I’ve always believed in armouring yourself with new skills to bring in an income.  I work as a British Sign Language Interpreter, I’ve trained as an ITEC3 Holistic Massage Therapist and perform and host as a Drag Queen @maria.hurtz .  But of course all that work had to stop. Fortunately, my Interpreting work continued, working remotely. However, I had no idea how sustainable that was.  So I looked to what other skill I could acquire to make ne feel secure in continuing to get an income.

So, I set to thinking about where the opportunities of making money are.  Well, in life there are three things that happen – Births, Deaths and Marriages.  Now, no one is going to let me near a birth…. I’m not sure I’d want too either (aha), Marriages… err, well, they weren’t happening, so I looked towards Deaths…. What could I do in connection to Death.  Needless to say that some inspiration had come from watching Phaedra Parks in ‘Real Housewives of Atlanta’!

I started my research… well flicking through Google trying to get some ideas – and by the powers of the algorithms of the w.w.web and Facebook, the work of Celebrants flashed up on my screen….  And I suddenly got excited – I could this… it’s perfect… I’ll become a Funeral Celebrant!    So, I continued with my research and I contacted a few training providers and had my ‘Discovery Calls’ with them.  Each one advised against training in Funerals first and to consider Weddings: it’s more positive, all that love etc, you get to learn the structure and the business aspects.  So I took a risk and took the plunge into Wedding Celebrancy.

After my training was complete I immediately set up my Independent Celebrant business, Proud Fox Ceremonies!

Martin at Maria Hurtz ( Middle ) Photo by Kelsey Scully Photography

If any of our readers have a big occasion on the horizon, what things do they need to consider?

Remember that the Wedding Ceremony is not the legal part.  Couples will need to contact their Registry Office and give notice of marriage and make an appointment to have an interview and sign the register.  Registrars will offer you a ceremony too – but these tend to be ver formal and impersonal lasting around 15 mins.  You’re then ferried out so the next couple can come in.  You can have the Registrar as part of the Wedding Ceremony, but this usually costs more!   If in doubt speak to your chosen Celebrant!

What’s the most out-of-the-ordinary request you’ve been able to accommodate?

Each one of my ceremonies have been so different, but one of my favourite ones, was a for a couple who met on Recon.  They wanted a back to front ceremony – so we started with the party , followed by a group photo and then the ceremony! It was buzzing!

Aside from being a celebrant, we hear you’ve got a few more strings to your bow…

As I briefly mentioned my main work is as a British Sign Language Interpreter, but I’m also an ITEC3 Holistic Massage Therapist and I perform and host as a Drag Queen, Maria Hurtz.  All these elements I offer as choices fir my ceremonies, so Deaf and BSL users can have a ceremony in British Sign Language. Couples can get a couples massage for when things are getting stressed and of course my signature ceremonies #DragYouUpTheAisle with Maria Hurtz Drag Queen Weddings.  So from happy beginnings all the way through to happy endings (haha)!

I’d also like to mention that I’m part of the Pride In London Operations Team as the BSL Interpreting Manager – I volunteer my time to coordinate the BSL teams across the footprint of Pride In London and I’m proud the this year will be my 11th year doing this and the biggest yet, requiring 26 BSL Interpreters.  I’m very excited for the Pride events this years!

Finally, what are the elements that make for a memorable and fulfilling ceremony?

As a celebrant I will get to know couples quite well and will offer ideas and suggestions as to how to make a ceremony personable and memorable, from symbolic unity rituals – which can be your first shot together as a married couple to planting a tree or having your rings warmed!! My biggest tips though are to always invest in s photographer and videographer! These professionals will capture the true essence of the day and the memories!

You can get in touch with Martin all about your special day HERE!

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