After getting a degree in Occupational Therapy in the nineties and working in a psychiatric unit for fifteen years, Jacqueline Ruddy decided it was time for a change. Now a full-time celebrant here in the modern market town of Ellon, she conducts weddings, funerals and other milestone celebrations. Let’s find out more…

Heartfelt and apt

“My husband and I were married by a humanist and I thought at the time: ‘I could do that…’ It transpired that I could! I’ve always been a people person and in my almost-20-year psychiatry career I developed many skills suitable for the role of celebrant – quickly establishing rapport, asking the right questions and gleaning useful information in often distressing circumstances. Add to that the fact I’m an avid reader, a lover of the English language and a bit of a grammar fanatic and you’ve got someone ready to compose beautiful ceremonies. Public speaking – obviously a huge part of the job – comes easily to me, too.

When I set up my business in 2015, I was excited, nervous, hopeful and doubtful… It was a bit of a rollercoaster! Celebrants rely heavily on personality and character, so my first priority was becoming well-known. I sorted out my social media presence early on but it was the face-to-face meetings that would seal the deal. Luckily, I was comfortable establishing relationships with people from all walks of life and started going around funeral directors introducing myself.

My aim has always been to give my clients a heartfelt and apt wedding or send-off. Every important milestone – whether it’s marriage, divorce, death, vow renewal, a naming ceremony or something else – should be celebrated or marked in a manner that’s meaningful and appropriate. It has to be completely unique to them.

As the only one in the business, a typical day involves checking my e-mail first thing and replying to any queries – usually wedding-related. I may conduct one or two funeral ceremonies then meet with a bereaved family in the evening. Back home, I’ll grab a bite to eat then compose another ceremony. We’ve been renovating a farmhouse but that’s totally fallen by the wayside…!

Talking of which, I’m lucky to have a very supportive husband and couldn’t have done this without his ‘just do it’ attitude. There was no obvious gap in the market, and the celebrant market is very, very difficult to break into. There may not be enough work to give up any other revenue stream but, because you need to be available 24/7, there’s little opportunity to hold down another job.

The achievements make it all worth it and the greatest so far is being asked to conduct the send-offs of funeral directors’ family members. They have experience of so many celebrants and officiants and it means a lot when they choose me“

I love #ellonlife because…

Jacqueline Ruddy of Ruddy Celebrancy Services, Ellon, Aberdeenshire

Jacqueline Ruddy

“People are friendly and have actually come into their own in response to the recent weather crisis. The kindness folk have shown has been quite humbling. I think the Ellon Academy campus has been a great success, and there are certainly plenty of coffee shops here. People like to buy local and support local businesses here, which is what it’s all about. I’d like to see Neil Ross Square generated next – it could be so much more.”

Quickfire Q&A

What sets you apart from other celebrants?
My bubbly personality and sense of humour. I often get work because a family has requested someone upbeat.

What’s your favourite thing to do in your business?
Meet people, hear their tales then sit at home and piece together their story.

Best customer feedback so far?
When I’ve conducted a funeral ceremony and the guests assume I knew the deceased personally. That makes me very happy.

What’s next for you?
Ahh, that would be telling! There are a few big plans afoot, though. And, above all, I want to keep busy and continue helping people.

A very special offer, just for you…

To thank you for reading her story, Jacqueline would like to offer you an exclusive 15% discount on your wedding ceremony with Ruddy Celebrancy Services.

Simply call 07507 022024 or email and quote “Ellon Life” to take advantage.

Offer valid until 31st July 2022. Offer strictly limited to one use per customer.

Get in touch

Jacqueline Ruddy, Ruddy Celebrancy Services
Call: 07507022024

Ruddy Celebrancy Services, Ellon Life Blog Header, birth or naming ceremony
Ruddy Celebrancy Services, Ellon Life Blog Header, marriage or vow renewal

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