In the United States, Canada and several other countries around the world, a celebrant is a person who performs religious or secular celebrancy services for weddings, funerals, child namings, coming of age ceremonies, and other rituals.
Most celebrants are ordained clergy (such as a Christian pastor), while some are legal officials (usually judges). In Humanist weddings, a Humanist officiant presides.
Celebrants may perform alternative and nontraditional ceremonies in places, and under circumstances where mainstream religious clergywill not. Some celebrants perform same-sex weddings and commitment ceremonies. Celebrants, also called officiants, often perform ceremonies in parks, on beaches, on mountains, on boats, on hiking trails, in hotels, in banquet halls, in private homes, and many other places.
Laws in each state of the United States vary about who has the ability to perform wedding ceremonies, but celebrants or officiants are usually categorized as “clergy” and have the same rights and responsibilities as ordained clergy.
In the United States, celebrants are professional ceremony officiants who believe in the power and effectiveness of ceremony and ritual to serve basic needs of society and the individual. They collaborate with their clients to create and perform personalised ceremonies that reflect the client’s beliefs, philosophy of life, and personality, not the celebrant’s.