I use the word “Ceremony" as opposed to "Service," because for me "Ceremony" implies a dynamic. Whereas a "Service" implies ritual; somthing stoic and traditional. You see, "Ceremony" is living, integrative and celebratory. Ritual is not.
I do not consider myself a ritualist at all, that is despite having worked with it quite successfully during my years within the Anglican Church. Nowadays, I am a Celebrant; someone who enters into the spirit of celebrating life's unique turning points. My Celebrancy is therefore unconventional by definition. It is always unique - always evolving. There is absolutely nothing prescriptive about it at all. Of course, there is always structure, but that is determined by the aspirations of my client, not some preconceived idea of what it should be like.
I’ve also noticed how the word "Ceremony" feels safer and more expansive when describing what I do. People expect a "Service" to follow a set form; specific words are used; it follows a set format - they expect it to be liturgical. "Ceremony" focusses on the celebration and the people involved. It is a great deal more free-flowing.
In the book Sacred Ceremony by Steven Farmer, he highlights a distinction between Ritual and Ceremony, in that the two are based on whether or not they chatacteristically change. Farmer suggests that Ritual is something that is fundementally unchanging–it is always done the same way. Whereas, Ceremony is very much more alive and so adapts to the unique circumstances it faces. I agree.
Holding Dear therefore, will always be a space for change. A place of creativity and freedom. A place for embracing your uniqueness as an individual. It will always be dynamically focussed on helping you underline those all-important transitional moments in life that need to be shared and celebrated. What is more, it will always be a place of safety.
If you are looking for something that is beyond ritual; that is much more far-reaching and so much more about you, then I would encourage you to look not to an institution, but to Celebrancy. Celebrants will help you celebrate your life in exactly the way you wish to. No rite. No set format. No preconceived ideas. Always uniquely about you and so led by your singularity.
Celebrant - the clue is in the title.