Featured Vendor Shout-Outs

Vendor Shout Out: Penny Carter Celebrant

1. Where are you originally from? And how long have you been in Portland?

I grew up in the Columbia River Gorge – in White Salmon.  I have lived off/on in Portland for over 35 years.

2. What is your favorite thing about Portland?

My favorite thing is that people feel free to be themselves – whoever that is!  And, that everyone is so accepting.  It’s also very beautiful here!

3. What is your favorite spot or thing to do in Portland?

I’m a little old school on this one!  I love to walk NW 23rd Avenue and peek in the shops as well as be on the waterfront.

Photos courtesy of Penny Carter

4. How long have you been working as a professional wedding Celebrant?

Coming up on 10 years.

5. What people/training/experiences/ opportunities led you to this career path?

That is a question that has a lengthy answer!  I’ll try to do Cliff notes: I’ve worked in the healthcare/hospice field for over 25 years and have attended many funerals that seemed empty of the individual they were meant to honor.  I started as a funeral celebrant to help tell someone’s life story.  We all have vibrant, interesting stories that make us who we are and how we have impacted the world and those around us.  From there I started being asked to do wedding ceremonies.  Another opportunity to tell a story!  But these are love stories! I guess it has a lot to do with making sure all of our life and love stories are told.  It’s important.  And, it’s important to get the personalities of those being honored or married in the ceremony itself.  I also have a background as a journalist, author and presenter. So, I am able to combine the things I love to do to make personalized ceremonies.

6. How would you describe the importance of your role & why do you feel a couple should hire a professional Celebrant for their wedding day?

Celebrants in particular go through an 8 month program covering all aspects of ceremony, ritual, presentation, writing.  We must also go to a speech coach and witness/critique others’ ceremonies.  It’s not just a quick ‘get your accreditation online’ certification.  Another thing I love about it is that we have a strong online/local support of other celebrants.  We are trained to create the ceremony that best reflects the couple and their story and their desire to have a uniquely tailored ceremony.

7. What is the best part of your job?

I love it all!  From an initial meeting with the couple to determine the ‘feel’ and ‘theme’ of the wedding,  to researching specifics for the script, to writing and to watching the couple’s faces as I pronounce them.  I’m not certain there is any part of it I don’t like!

8. What do you find most challenging about your specific line of work or weddings in general?

I think the most challenging thing is to help couples understand that the ceremony is equally important as the event itself.  It sets the tone for the celebration and brings in what is special about the couple and their story. It is truly something to remember!

9. Do you work solo or do you have a studio and/or team?

I work solo, but I have a ‘team’ of other local celebrants with whom I meet, share successes and gain the support of and offer support to.  I love them!

10. What do you attribute to your success as a wedding celebrant? What do you think makes you stand apart from others in your field?

I am genuinely interested in making each ceremony as unique as the couple.  It’s not about what I want or how I want to do it.  It’s all about the couple!

11. At what point in the wedding planning process should clients hire you? 

It’s great if they can book a celebrant at the time they book a venue, but at the very least 6 months out.  Having said that, most of us have done and still do wedding on short notice as well!

12. Where do you draw inspiration? Are there any current trends you are excited about?

I literally draw my inspiration from each couple. Meeting with them and learning who they are and what unique aspects they would like for their ceremony gets me very excited to get working on the script.

13. What is the most important thing that couples should ask someone in your profession before hiring them?

How long have you been doing this and how can you help us make this a day to remember?

Photos courtesy of Penny Carter

14. What is your best advice for wedding clients?

Breathe!  EVERY professional involved in your wedding wants to make it the best day of your life! It will be beautiful!

15. Anything else you’d like couples to know about you?

Just that I love what I do!

16. What other local wedding professional(s) are currently inspiring you?

There are so many!  Just look at Instagram, AOWPDX posts, photographers, florists, everyone!  Love to see photos and read posts.