“Martha was fantastic and soooo easy to work with. She listened to what we wanted and helped us formulate a service that was perfect for us. It could not have been more wonderful. Wedding planning can be stressful, but if you are lucky enough to choose Martha, you will have one less thing to worry about. Martha is kind, compassionate and a joy to work with! She guides you through every step of the service and helps you to find exactly what is right for you.”
-John and Anne Helene
“The ceremony was the most intimidating part of our wedding planning. We knew we wanted something that would represent our shared values, and the joining together of our two families and cultures. We had no idea how to create that. Although we have had friends that have officiated other friends' weddings, we wanted someone who didn't just know us as individuals but who had thought deeply about the significance of marriage and could act as a guide for our union. We proposed to Martha that she officiate our wedding (even though she was just an acquaintance and before she started offering her service as a Celebrant) because we naturally viewed her as just that—a guide that could bring depth and meaning to our ceremony through personalization rather than established religious ritual. We also knew Martha to be a uniquely warm, funny, and engaging public speaker from her many years with the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Burlington. All the build-up of Martha in our heads has proven to be totally correct. We have felt completely taken care of and seen through this process and could not recommend inviting Martha into your rite of passage, whatever it may be, more highly.”
-Nina and Micah
“Martha has been our neighbor neighbor for several years, and when the time came for us to have a legal ceremony we knew right away that we wanted her to be the officiant. She approaches this work seriously and respectfully while being very open, flexible, kind and compassionate. She was very thoughtful and thorough in her preparation, and very solicitous of what we as a couple wanted to include in our ceremony. The ceremony itself went every bit as smoothly and sweetly as we hoped it would. We are very grateful to Martha for the role she played in this momentous occasion for our family!”
-Michael and Nicole
“We were so fortunate to have Martha as the celebrant for my mother's graveside service. She listened closely to our needs, maintained great communication and created a wonderful service to honor my mother's memory. Her delivery of the service was warm and heartfelt. She was also very supportive to me and my family during a difficult time. I highly recommend Vermont Celebrants for any event!”
“My husband I cannot say enough positive words about Martha and her tremendous talents as a wedding officiant. We had the difficult task of planning a wedding that matched what we wanted to convey to represent our love for one another, while also making sure both our parents, who are quite religious, felt spiritually connected to the service.
Martha was thoughtful and reflective as she guided us through planning our ceremony. She thought of all the little things that we would never have and was very flexible in working with us. We met several times to discuss the structure of the service, things that were important to my husband, things that were important to me, and things that allowed for our guests to feel part of our wedding ceremony. We were able to collectively discuss our service in a series of meetings, both in person and long distance over the phone and FaceTime.
She did a wonderful job making sure everyone knew their role during the rehearsal and was great at talking everyone through the timing so we were all comfortable, including our two flower girls who were 2 and 4. She was a calming presence that worked wonders in keeping my husband and I calm and steady during the ceremony, allowing us to really take in our wedding and all of its meaning.
The ceremony itself was amazing beyond words. It was so specific to us, beautifully capturing our spirit and love for one another. It had the right amount of seriousness but she also tactfully put in a bit of humor which kept it light and uplifting. Our guests marveled over how warm and intimate it was, with one minister who attended commenting to me and my father that “Martha was born to officiate weddings.” We received endless compliments about her skills from our friends and family.
Martha is a true professional and very passionate about her work, which was apparent to all. She was amazing to work with and made our wedding ceremony an incredibly memorable and special occasion.”
- Robert and Elisabeth Demeranville
celebration of life
“Thank you so much for your part in making… the memorial that the brothers and I wanted. Our family went through a lot of grieving together in the process of creating it. You helped us to focus our energy into making the life celebration that we felt would honor [my husband]. So many people have written or told me how beautiful and meaningful it was for them personally. It was wonderful for the four grandchildren to be able to participate by reading the poems. The length of the memorial was right. The weather, the flowers, the catering, the photos and display boards, the setting… all were really special. You were very helpful in providing the structure and organization for your talk and incorporating the variety of ideas from many different people.
You have found your calling.”
“Martha offered to come to my house. Martha knew that listening was important. Martha was able to assess what my family needed to grieve. Martha listens carefully and wisely. Martha suggested readings, music, and order of service. Martha is smart, well-churched and knowledgeable about different types of services. I was impressed with her knowledge of different religious backgrounds. I trusted Martha to offer options and follow through with planning.
The day of the service, it was a rainy day and Martha was undaunted. I cried when Martha knelt to shovel the first dirt to cover Ed’s ashes. Ed’s children (now adults) were equally taken with Martha. It was as though the service was running itself. Neighbors, friends, colleagues (about 500 people) came. Martha didn’t forget a thing - her planning was collaborative and personal and inclusive. Martha shared her broad knowledge and experience. Martha’s service was elegant.
Martha is a unique combination of ‘down home charm’ and ‘deep intelligence’ and respect for the person who died and his family. She has a calm manner, yet she draws people to her with her gentle, persuasive way. My children told me, ‘I remember how lovingly she held dad’s ashes…. I remember how she listened.’”
- Martha Fitzgerald
"Martha was a bright light when we needed it the most after the death of our loved one. Martha is extraordinarily sensitive, bright, creative and caring. Martha sat with us for hours creating the perfect, loving memorial service. We'll never forget the way she cherished our loved one the way she would cherish her own family member.”
- Paula Marden
“My mother was like the den mother of an entire town; when she died I knew the tone I wanted, but getting that across was difficult; she was spiritual but not religious; respectful but not exactly pious; kind and loving to all. Martha understood this spirit, and put together the perfect ceremony in the perfect location. She was able to make guests of all ages (3 to 90-something) and all religious backgrounds and affiliations not just comfortable, but at home in each others’ presence, joined in love, memory and song.
My mother's home away from home was the local community theater; they graciously offered the space, and Martha went to work. Always respectful of my needs, she made wonderful suggestions and raised logistical questions - and then offered answers - that would have never occured to me. Music and musicians, schedule, timing, suggested readings and her own beautiful words - it all came together perfectly for the standing-room-only crowd. Dozens of friends and family have expressed their joy and appreciation for the ceremony which captured my mom's spirit perfectly. So much thanks to Martha for guiding us through this difficult time, holding our hands, and being a loving voice in the wilderness.”
- Chris Bull
“In the almost two decades in which I have known Martha, it has been a joy to witness her gift for ministry. She is a natural at celebrating life, in ritualizing its most sacred moments. As a minister myself for a number of years I know the hours that go into preparation for weddings, memorials and all the meaningful events in between. We are blest by Martha’s calling and for her wholehearted response to all that it asks of her.”
- Rev. Roddy O’Neil Cleary
celebration of life
“Martha demonstrates a keen sense of respect, inclusion, community, and kindness. She conducted a Celebration of Life that was clear in name and participation. Without platitudes, she acknowledged our loss while facilitating the joy, laughter, and purpose of our loved one’s life. Martha’s spirituality transcends all denominational faiths, thus she is able including all in the celebration. The Celebration of Life had to be delayed to set up many more chairs and all those people mingled afterwards to share life stories. Martha facilitated that healing process.”
-Michael Benfield and Tara Hengeveld