I am a professional English celebrant (officiante) living and working in the Gers region of SW France. This is a beautiful part of France steeped in history, with rolling vine-covered hills and fields of sunflowers, peppered with stunning chateaux. The medieval villages seem to belong to a different century.
Before moving to France nearly 20 years ago, I worked as a PA for various companies in advertising and marketing, IT recruitment and for boutique restaurants.
After moving to France, whilst learning French, I looked after various holiday homes, taught English privately and worked for a beautiful chateau, at the same time bringing up my children. I was a chateau housekeeper for 15 years, looking after the guests and helping to organise and run weddings and events. It has been a busy few years!
I am a young grandmother who loves to embrace the adventures that life has to offer - I have kept motorbikes and horses, skydived, taught English in the French University and sung in a rock band – but the most important thing for me is to bring other people happiness and to see their joy.
I have already had the privilege of being involved in over 200 weddings - so you can say I know rather a lot about your special day!
For some years my role had been as bridal party co-ordinator, helping to make sure each ceremony was exactly what the bride and groom had discussed over many months with the hard working wedding planner and their team. I was there the day before to rehearse the bridal procession, then on the day of the wedding for every part of the bride and groom preparation, including pinning button holes, orchestrating the bridal procession and the confetti moment afterwards.
When I trained to become a professional celebrant, I found that with my knowledge and experience, I can bring so much more to your special day.
I am also a French speaker so would be able to deliver bilingual ceremonies.
My passion is to listen to your story and create a beautiful, bespoke ceremony for you, interwoven with your hopes and dreams, honesty and humour, that fully reflect your love and journey together.
"We couldn't have wished for a more amazing celebrant than Helen! She helped us put together the most beautiful ceremony which truly reflected us as a couple. Her wonderful calm nature & professionalism really shined through from the moment we were introduced. Helen supported us both to be the best versions of ourselves & made our wedding day so special. We couldn't recommend her enough" Helen & Callum (2023)
My profession as an independent celebrant also encompasses writing and delivering funeral and memorial services. This is a huge honour and requires sensitivity, creativity and empathy as well as the essential writing and public speaking skills, being able to create a meaningful and personalised ceremony that brings comfort and closure at a time that can be full of sadness and uncertainty.
This role requires compassion as well as a good knowledge of the practical procedures and legal requirements of a burial or cremation in France.
I have had the honour of delivering funeral ceremonies in churches, at the graveside as well as in the crematorium, each of which demands a good knowledge of French procedure and protocol.
As a person of faith myself, being able to provide emotional and practical support to those who have lost a loved one is a vital part of my role as celebrant, and I embrace this with a sense of privilege and responsibility.
"My Father-in-Law died recently here in France, a long way from his old friends and most of his family. Helen came to visit us before the service to talk sensitively about my father-in-law, lis life, personality and beliefs. This meant that the funeral, which was attended by just a small number of people, was not a dry, impersonal affair but a real reflection of our departed family member.
Thank you Helen " (S&A, June 2022, Auch Crematorium)