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The Celebrant Collective Celebrant Retreat – Malaga, Spain, 2018

When I first started to put plans together for the Celebrants Collective in early February 2017, one of the things that went straight to the top of my list, alongside creating an educational membership platform, was the idea to have a retreat for Celebrants. There was no umming or ahing or wavering about it, it was something I knew that I had to absolutely make happen. I was so excited by the idea of it that I wanted it to happen there and then, but in fact had to wait another 20 months to see it materialise. But it was so worth the wait.

For me personally, like never before, these last few years have seen such a wonderful rise in connections with other Celebrants from all over the world. The starting up of the Celebrants Collective facebook group and then the membership platform, has introduced me to so many amazing human beings and Celebrants. However, I knew there would come a time where I would want to exchange these virtual connections for some real, in-person ones and I’m so glad that I had the foresight to start the ball-rolling.

And so we came together, 13 Celebrants from the UK, Spain and Ibiza, The Netherlands and the USA, for two days of education, connection and inspiration at the stunning Alhaurín Golf Hotel in Alhaurin el Grande, Malaga. As well as having the pleasure of being joined by all of the attendees, it was fantastic to have onboard Terri Shanks, the founder of the Fellowship of Professional Celebrants and Marie Burns Holzer, Marriage Minister extraordinaire and Wedding Business Coach, as two of the three retreat speakers and workshop leaders.

Day one started off with me giving a wonderful warm welcome to everyone and introducing my idea and context for the retreat. I really honed in on what it means to retreat and drew on my own experiences of having been on previous yoga retreats and how they influenced me so much for this retreat. I wanted to try to recapture those life-affirming, rewarding experiences with our own Celebrants’ retreat, minus the downward facing dogs and headstands!

After my welcome, Terri led a fantastic opening talk, which saw all of us taking part in an amazing group sand ritual (how often do we Celebrants get to take part in a ritual for ourselves!?). It was one of the most profound experiences I have ever had in a professional development context. To be able to pour our energy, gratitude and intentions into a small bottle, along with the sand, was such a powerful thing to do. After each of us had collected up our sand and intentions into a bottle, we then poured the sand back into a collective bowl and after each workshop and talk we added more sand to the bowl to keep adding to our intentions and goals. And on the last day of the retreat, we collected up our blended sands, full of love, intention, energy and goodness and we each got to take our bottles away with us a permanent reminder of what we achieved over the two days, not to mention the bonds that were formed.

Terri also very interestingly took us on a journey of Celebrancy, looking at the origins of ceremony and ritual and bringing us up to the present with where we are now in terms of Celebrancy as a profession. It was fascinating, joining up all of the dots and seeing how everything connects.

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After our talks and workshops we made sure to eat our hearts out with the superb cuisine on offer by the hotel. We ate as much as we talked! If that’s something we did a lot of it was eating, talking and socialising. All so good for the Celebrant soul!

I enjoyed leading my workshop on how to attract our potential couples right from the outset, which was inspired by one of my favourite films, ‘Jerry Maguire,’ and the line, ‘you had me at hello.’

We also enjoyed a really productive hive mind session where each attendee had the chance to ask a question and for our colleagues to offer advice, tips, demonstrations – whatever was needed to provide answers, advice and solutions. And from that sprung some wonderful hand-fasting demonstrations, which I know we all found invaluable and which were brightly infused with ribbons and cords courtesy of Lorraine Hull and her wonderful collection.

Terri also led another fascinating workshop which encouraged us all to think beyond, births, deaths and marriages and to broaden they ways that we can serve our communities. It was hugely inspiring. By the time that day one of the retreat had come to an end, we had thoroughly earned our delicious tapas buffet to finish off the evening.

Day two started with the same energy and enthusiasm. Celebrants Collective Content Editor, Claire Bradford kick-started the day for us with a summary of what we’d done so far, with a look ahead to the rest of the day, again helping us set our intentions and aims for the day. Marie Burns Holzer led us through an LGBTQ inclusivity workshop which touched on so many important areas of running a wedding business, which both outwardly and inwardly promotes inclusivity of everyone, and every type of couple.

I also led another workshop on my favourite topic – blogging for business and fielded questions from attendees about how to improve their own blogs, which was very rewarding. This flowed really nicely into an open mic session with myself, Terri and Marie, where attendees were invited to ask ask anything they liked – and they did!

We finished off the educative side of the retreat with a truly impassioned and forward-thinking keynote speech by Marie Burn Holzer on the future of Celebrancy. Drawing on where we are now, and how we move forward, the room listened to Marie in complete silence (rare for Celebrants, right?). The profundity of her words had us fully engaged for the whole duration and it was such an enlightening and uplifting way to end the retreat. The perfect set-up for our paella party that followed.

Although I had had a really clear idea of what I wanted to achieve for the retreat, and I was quite positive I knew how I wanted to feel during it, nothing really prepared me for how I would actually felt during the retreat. The intimacy, the love, the generosity, the kindness, the support and the bonds formed, really were very special and so much more than I had imagined. As we stood together to close the retreat, we joined in a circle and collected up our sand and our promises. We carried out an impromptu ‘passing of the heartbeat,’ (thanks Lorraine for prompting and Sophie Colligan got a shout out for having previously shared the idea of this ritual in our Facebook group!). As we gathered around and said our thanks and goodbyes, we tried to withhold the tears that flowed. We tried!

What a magical two days, with a group of awesome human beings. Celebrants really do rock.

If you’d like to join us for our next retreat, make sure you’re on our mailing list or in our Facebook group to stay up-to-date!

Celebrants Collective Celebrant Retreat 2019


Special thanks to Simon Duggan Photography for capturing our retreat and his fantastic attention to detail. And to my super wedding colleagues and friends, Michael Soffe and Lauren Dibben of Andalucia Weddings, whose help in the planning, budgeting and setting up stages of the retreat was INVALUABLE! Thank you!

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The Celebrant Collective Retreat Convention – The future of Celebrancy


The Celebrants Collective is beyond excited to hold its first ever annual Celebrants’ retreat convention in Malaga, Spain. Two full days of community, connection, education, inspiration, relaxation, and of course, fun!

Welcoming Celebrants from around the globe, the Celebrants’ Collective provides a positive environment for Celebrants.  An environment where Celebrants can come and simply ‘be.’ An environment to build new connections and friendships, for exploring the art of celebrancy and for improving your understanding of celebrancy and the role of Celebrants in these ever-changing modern times.


Set in the beautiful Malaga countryside, the Alhaurin Golf Resort is a charming boutique hotel, which embodies typically Andalucian touches with a modern feel. Its ambiance, gastronomy and friendliness of staff will allow celebrants to enjoy a taste of Andalucia, and to relish the benefits that this space has to offer.

The hotel is located in the heart of the Costa del Sol, just 30 minutes from Malaga International Airport, 40 minutes from the stunning historical centre of Malaga, 40 minutes from Marbella and the world famous Puerto Banus. It’s also 15 minutes from the beaches of Fuengirola and only minutes from the towns of Mijas and Alhaurin el Grande.

The hotel boasts a full gym, sauna, beauty cabins and spa treatments, all surrounded by large gardens, tennis courts, swimming pool, cafe, and restaurant La Ventilla, which is renowned for its fantastic seasonal menu and use of local produce.


The retreat convention has been designed to allow Celebrants to be a part of an educational and inspirational space and to facilitate learning in a positive and encouraging environment. We offer Celebrants the chance to learn as much as possible, without overwhelming and overloading them with too much information. We also want Celebrants to be able to enjoy each other’s company and to have the chance and the time to talk and celebrate in person!


Click this link for the full retreat schedule for Thursday 8th November and Friday 9th November.



Whilst the retreat convention itself is just for Celebrants, we do understand that some of you may want to bring partners to enjoy an extended break after the convention or to tie the convention into a much-needed holiday.

For this reason, for an additional cost, partners will be welcome to stay at the hotel and to attend some of the retreat activities.  Partners are welcome to our unofficial welcome drinks on the Wednesday evening before the retreat convention, our first night tapas gala on Thursday 8th and our end-of-convention flamenco and fiesta party on the evening of Friday 9th November. You don’t need to book partners in at the time of your own booking, they can be added at a later date, if needs be.  Please see below for room supplements and meal costs.


Please let us know at the time of booking if you have any special requests or requirements and if you have any dietary requirements or preferences. We will send you an even registration form where you’ll be able to let us know.

PRICES (all prices are quoted in EUROS and are inclusive of tax, breakfast, lunch, dinner and two nights’ accommodation)


MEMBERS RETREAT PRICE – In order to qualify for the Members’ convention rate, you must be a member at the time of booking and also at the time of the retreat convention itself.


We also have the option to pay for the retreat convention via a payment plan in order to spread out the payments. Members or non members can sign up for the plan, which will allow you to pay for the retreat in two instalments. The first instalment is made at the time of booking and the second on or by September 18th 2018. Please let us know if you would like to pay in this way and we will send you the payment link.


If you are local to Malaga  or live in the surrounding areas, please email us for more information about convention day rates.


If you are bringing a partner with you, you can add their booking to your own or add them at a later date.



Malaga’s international airport is served by huge number of airlines from most European countries and non- European countries alike. Taxis and pre-arranged minibuses are recommended for travel to the venue. For those of you who might be interested in arranging travel as a group, we highly recommend B-Met Transport services.


The retreat convention officially starts on Thursday 8th November, however we expect that many of you will want to arrive on Wednesday 7th November.

Rooms for the Wednesday night (7th November) are available for 85€ per room with breakfast included, based on single occupancy. Please check with us before booking if you require accommodation for the Wednesday night.


The retreat convention will officially finish on the evening of Friday 9th November. Unless you extend your stay at the hotel, you must check-out from the hotel before 12pm on Saturday 10th November. The hotel can help you call for a taxi to the airport or help with any other arrangements.


STEP ONE – You choose your payment option for the retreat convention and make the payment accordingly. You can pay securely through this site using a credit card or your Paypal account.

STEP TWO – You will receive an immediate confirmation of your payment. Followed by a more detailed email confirming your booking and an event registration form. The event registration form will allow us to collect necessary information from you about you and your requirements for the event and to organise the room allocations.

STEP THREE – The Celebrants Collective will send out dedicated emails to retreat attendees to keep you up-to-date with our event plans, including a full event itinerary, contact and emergency and retreat welcome pack, as we get closer to the retreat date.


  • Two day retreat convention featuring keynote speakers, workshops, talks and other activities tbc.
  • Two nights’ accommodation on site at the retreat venue, Alhaurin Golf Hotel Resort, based on one double room with single occupancy for the nights of Thursday 8th and Friday 9th November, 2018.
  • Welcome drinks on Wednesday evening for those arriving on Wednesday (cava, beer, wine, ‘tinto de verano’, soft drinks and mineral water)
  • Breakfast
  • Light lunch on both days including teas and coffees, soft drinks and mineral water
  • Thursday evening Tapas Gala. Includes wine, cava, beer, soft drinks and mineral water.
  • Friday evening Paella Party. Includes sangria, beer, soft drinks and mineral water.


  • Flights to and from Malaga
  • Return transport from airport to retreat venue
  • Hotel mini-bar and any extras that you might order outside of meal-times.
  • Spa treatments on offer by the hotel



On average, November is the wettest month of the year in Malaga, but unlike in central and northern parts of Europe the rain tends to be heavy, thundery and short-lived and the majority of the days are sunny and dry. Temperatures usually fall as the month progresses but remain on the mild side, with a mean daytime maximum temperature of 20°C and an average overnight minimum of 11°C.


We recommend getting travel insurance  and health cover to cover you in the case of any eventualities. An EU EHIC card will cover you if coming from an EU country for emergency medical treatment.


  1. Once made, all payments are non-refundable in the event of a cancellation, travel insurance is therefore advisable.  In the highly unlikely event of a cancellation by The Celebrants Collective, retreat payments would be refunded. Flights and other costs would not be refunded, hence why we recommend travel insurance in the unlikely case that this would happen.
  2. Non-celebrant guests who will be staying at the hotel and/or attending some retreat activities must be advised of at the time of booking or as an amendment to any booking by August 1st 2018.
  3. The Celebrants Collective is not liable for loss or damage to personal possessions during the retreat convention.
  4. If you book via the two instalment payment plan, the final payment is to be made on August 1st. You will be sent a reminder for the final balance. If you would like to make the second payment before this date, please email us. This payment plan does not qualify for the early-bird booking discounts
  5. All the rooms in the hotel are with en-suite facilities and there are three categories of rooms: superiors, standards and 3 singles. Rooms will be allocated on a first come, first serve basis with the three singles being allocated last.


You can either live message us using the live messenger window on the right hand corner of this site or email us at