Reverend Dr. Aurore Leigh Barrett is CEO and President of Barrett St. John Publications, Inc., which owns and operates Weddings Las Vegas and the School for Brides. She is also President of Solid Gold Prosperity, an educational company dedicated to improving both the earthly and spiritual lives of people in all walks of life. She has been featured in many publications regarding Las Vegas Weddings and is known as the “Las Vegas Wedding Expert”.
Reverend Barrett, given the title of “The Vicar of Vegas” by her parishioners, is an ordained Minister and a licensed Wedding Officiant with the State of Nevada, specializing in Celtic and Cultural Weddings. A Certified Life Coach and a Creativity Coach, Barrett holds a Master of Divinity Degree and a Doctorate in Philosophy specializing in Integrative Spirituality. She is also a Beverly Clark Certified Wedding Professional, a Certified Creativity and Professional Life Coach, is the author of several books of poetry and meditations, a grief and bereavement counselor, and is a Celtic Scholar.
In addition to her business and professional life, her ministry, and her very creative life as a writer and speaker, Reverend Barrett is editor of the newsletters for Weddings Las Vegas , School for Brides, Solid Gold Prosperity and the new Southwest Woman. We caught up with Reverend Aurore recently at one of her favorite places; Palio, the Italian themed café located inside the Bellagio.
Las Vegas Wedding Guide (LVWG): A Celtic Wedding seems like a very specialized ceremony. Is it something only a few people know about and choose for their wedding? Or is it more popular than one might think?
Reverend Aurore Leigh Barrett (ALB): I am often amazed at how popular it is. I perform this ceremony for couples from all over the world. They seem to understand and appreciate the fact that this is an extremely meaningful ceremony (and I emphasize the word meaningful). Nine times out of ten, there isn’t a dry eye in the house as the words and actions of this wedding ceremony connect with the couple.
LVWG: You say that these couples come from many different countries. So they aren’t necessarily from a Celtic background, meaning of Welsh, Scottish, Irish, or English ancestry?
ALB: Heavens no! Although many people do have these ancestries, and want to celebrate them appropriately, I perform the Celtic Wedding for couples from many backgrounds, including African American, Native American, Hispanic, and Filipino. These people share many similar traditions and ceremonies that are very much the same as Celtic traditions.
LVWG: The Celtic Wedding seems to incorporate a number of “elements”. What are they exactly?
ALB: The first Celtic element is the water which is poured over the hands of the bride and groom. The water symbolizes the feminine – the wife to be. The second Celtic element is the Standing Stone which the bride and groom hold. This represents the man, his male strength – the husband to be. The third Celtic element is the Earth. This is an important element for the earth sacrifices itself to support us, and only asks that, in return, we treat this sacrifice with respect. With this symbol I try to give the couple an example of how only a sacrificial love, and a deep respect for each other, can really keep a marriage together. Then, after the exchange of the rings, comes the central point in the wedding; the Handfasting Ceremony. This is a Celtic tradition which represents the reality of what marriage is truly about. As the couple’s hands are bound by the cords, they are reminded that they must understand the cycles of life, for it is the strands forming the patterns of life that actually do the binding. The Celtic Spirit of the “Anam Cara” is also celebrated during the Celtic Wedding Ceremony. The meaning of “Anam Cara” is soul-friend, and as the couple drink from the loving cup they enter into a partnership with their “Anam Cara”. They are home!
LVWG: Does the couple say traditional wedding vows?
ALB: Not traditional vows as you might think of them. They repeat very traditional Celtic vows, which are quite different from the usual vows you hear at a wedding. In addition, when sharing the Loving Cup (the “Anam Cara”), they state another set of traditional Celtic vows to each other.
LVWG: Wow! I can see how this wedding ceremony contains so much meaning. So what were the Celtic people like?
ALB: The Celts were a rural people that lived close to the earth, to the stone and to water. Their worship included these elements, and the environment in which they lived shaped their beliefs. Their clans, their tribes, and their kinship were important as they were a very close-knit people. Warriors, they were a group to be reckoned with and their myths, legends, stories tell of their heroic deeds and wars. They had great imagination and were very artistic as the “The Book of Kells” shows so clearly. In the Celtic Society the poet was highly regarded and so in the Celtic Wedding Ceremony I incorporate many Celtic prayers and poems, along with the elements of water, stone, and earth – as I already described.
The Celtic World touches all, but remains totally unique, earthy and mysterious; full of poetry, song and celebration. The Celts saw the lasting effects of relationships of love that stand outside of time. They appreciated the ordinary life, and valued the routines of life. They worshipped God in their everyday work and in very ordinary chores. Their prayers and poetry reflect the beauty of what they saw in just living out their lives, thanking God for each moment.
LVWG: How have you been able to reconcile your business life with your scholarly and creative life?
ALB: Weddings Las Vegas is a strong passion of mine. I love spending time talking with brides and grooms while they try to plan out their weddings. I enjoy the interaction between the three of us as we work together to create their “perfect” wedding. Often the couple is at a loss as to what to do first, where to go, how to plan. Families are so spread out today that the bride often doesn’t have a mother close by to help her with the planning. Also, in today’s world the bride and groom quite often are paying for their wedding themselves and, while they might like to have that fairytale romantic large wedding, with lots of attendants, flowers, music, and a huge reception, they are also very practical and know that the more they spend on the wedding, reception, and honeymoon, the less money they will have to start their life together.
So, you see, being involved in the wedding business isn’t just being in business, it is also being a counselor, coach, educator, and whatever else the bride and groom might need at each moment.
My entire life has been dedicated to helping people have a happy and fulfilling life, whether it be through my ministry, coaching, writing, public speaking, or one-on-one interactions. I look forward to many more years helping brides and grooms make the transition from being a single couple to being a married couple. And especially, helping them plan their wedding – and if I can – officiate that wedding.