In late 2015, when one of Sofia Hameed’s adult children was planning to get married, the family looked around for a celebrant who could do a special fusion wedding: a Muslim able to incorporate Arabic and Fijian cultures into a Kiwi setting. Although they eventually found a suitable person for the January wedding, this became the impetus for Sofia to start her own journey towards training and registering as an independent celebrant.
As a teacher, dean and professional speech language therapist at Lynfield College, Sofia requires excellent communication skills and a good grasp of diversity. This multi-lingual woman (she speaks five languages) is also a self-confessed orator who loves talking, and this seemed like a perfect fit for the celebrant role. Although she already had a number of qualifications, including both a degree and a post-graduate diploma in education, she chose to undertake further study to hone her skills.
“Training with The Celebrant School was excellent,” she says, and it gave her the proper processes involved in ceremonies, as well as combining skills and values to create special and unique ceremonies for clients. She initially graduated with a Certificate in Celebrant Studies, and returned to complete the Diploma in 2019. Not one to hold back, Sofia has already completed several weddings, very diverse, multi-cultural events, incorporating Hindu, Urdu, German,Fijian, Te Reo Maori, Arabic and of course English. She’s also officiated at two very large funerals, (with over 1000 mourners), been a Master of Ceremonies (MC), delivered vow renewals for couples, and opened a new office.
“I would encourage everyone to be professionally trained before embarking on this career,” Sofia stresses. “It builds your confidence, your creativity, and also provides support and mentoring for celebrants who need it.” And once you’re trained, she suggests joining the Celebrants Association of New Zealand (CANZ), an excellent professional body for networking.