FAQ About Celebrant Ceremonies

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Clare & Matt’s Celebrant-Led Wedding Ceremony at Chafford Park, Kent – Image by Parkershots

Why choose a Celebrant and not a Registrar?

  • More and more couples are choosing alternative or unusual spaces to host their wedding ceremonies – their own gardens, woodlands, or fully outdoor spaces – so their only option is a personal ceremony with either an Independent Celebrant or a Humanist.  If your perfect venue doesn’t have a Civil Marriage Licence, then Council Registrars aren’t able to perform a ceremony there.
  • If there is a Licence in place, then using the local Registrars is a viable option for many couples.  However there are many limitations with the ceremony, in the choice of wording, music and spiritual content as well as the restraints over where and how it takes place (must happen within a “permanent structure” and not in the open air … )
  • Perhaps a venue’s hire fees plus those of the Registrars to come out and conduct the marriage may be prohibitive – in which case it’s more cost effective to use a Celebrant.
  • Search for a self-catering venue using airbnb, Space & Rock, Mulberry Cottages or Big Cottages to find somwhere that could host a large house-party and make a weekend of it with friends and family?  Once you stop looking at traditional ‘wedding venues’ you find there’s much more choice and your budget is going to stretch a great deal further!
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Annie & Rob’s Romantic Woodland Wedding Ceremony – Image by Rebecca Douglas Photography

 

Isn’t the Ceremony the Same?

  • A Celebrant like me writes a bespoke ceremony script just for you – no two ceremonies will be the same.  Registrars simply “fill in the gaps” of a standard ceremony script.
  • A personal Wedding Ceremony includes many different elements – your love story is told, with symbolism like handfasting, ring-warming or a unity candle lighting.
  • I encourage you to write your own personal wedding vows – with my help if you need it.  You may be lucky to get a choice of a couple of basic sentences when using a Registrar.
  • A Celebrant gets to know you as they plan your ceremony, so that you feel comfortable and prepared.  You wouldn’t meet a Registrar until your wedding day.
  • A full in-person Rehearsal close to the wedding day is included in my peak season Friday/Saturday prices.  At other times we’ll do a practice via Skype or phone.
  • Every Celebrant tailors their ceremonies to each couple, to produce a bespoke script. Some are intimate and brief, others longer and more complex but all will be absolutely personal!
  • I meet all my couples personally, and am often booked months before the Wedding Day.  We work together to produce the perfect ceremony that reflects you as a couple.
  • One of the best advantages is that you can hold your Wedding Ceremony wherever you like, and at whatever time you like.  There is nothing stopping you hosting a moonlit midnight wedding ceremony under the stars if that takes your fancy!

 

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Katie & Patrick’s Wedding at The Queen’s House, Greenwich – Image by Neil Walker Photography

 

How Much do you Charge?  

  • My prices differ depending on the day of the week and season.  As it’s a bespoke service, I’ll always gather as much information as I can about the type of ceremony and where you’re planning it, to give you a tailored quote especially if it’s out of season or further afield than my usual area.
  • My peak time fee includes unlimited contact with you, personally as well as via email, phone or Skype, and as many meetings and revisions to the script as we need, plus a rehearsal.  It takes hours of work to get to know you and produce and refine your script, and it’s such a personal service than what you receive from a Registrar.
  • I always use a robust high-quality PA system outdoors, as I know how frustrating it can be for a guest who cannot hear the ceremony (particularly your beautifully chosen bespoke personal one!)  This enables us to play music before and during the ceremony, meaning you don’t need to source a separate music player.  I offer a hand-held microphone to anyone who’s doing readings, and for you to say your vows too.
  • There is always a bit of ‘stage management’ needed on the big day, and I’m happy to coordinate and liaise with all the other professionals you’ve hired for your wedding ceremony, ensuring your event runs just as smoothly as it can.
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Jess & Johnny’s Woodland Handfasting at Longton Wood – Image by Samantha Jones Photography

Is the Ceremony Legal?

  • A Celebrant-led Wedding Ceremony is symbolic, beautiful and personal, but not legal and binding – another way to describe it is your Wedding Blessing.  Your guests however, do not know any different – in fact you might well find your family and friends telling you how perfect it was for you, and how did the Celebrant know you so well?!
  • Uk-based couples may split the legal and ceremonial parts of their wedding by making their declaratory and contracting words at a Register Office before their big day with a Celebrant.  Most major Register Offices offer a basic ‘Registration only’ appointment with 2 witnesses on certain days of the week; it’s the quickest and cheapest way to organise these legalities, and you will receive your marriage certificate on this day.
  • International couples may have already taken part in a brief legal marriage many months before their ‘English Wedding Day’ in front of loved ones.  The Ceremony that I create for you will be forever remembered as your Wedding Day.  I often hear that my personal wedding ceremonies have touched your family friends very deeply!
  • I adore performing weddings in the great outdoors and luckily, the British weather isn’t often an issue.  It’s always best to have a back-up plan in case of rain though (or scorching sun!)  Under Marriage Law in England and Wales, with a Registrar you have to say your vows under a permanent structure which is why so many “Wedding Gazebos” pop up in hotel grounds – this is so they can offer an outdoor wedding ceremony.   But often it’s just your guests outdoors – you’re hidden away under the gloomy gazebo!
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Goblet with Mead, Handfasting Ribbons and Broomstick Rituals ready for a Wedding Ceremony

 

Is it a Humanist Ceremony? 

No, I am completely independent and thus able to blend a number of different ideas (religious, secular, modern or traditional) into my scripts, without imposing my own views, creating the content and wording that reflects you.  Often, my couples have had a religious background or upbringing but can’t or don’t want to marry in a formal religious ceremony.  We can still incorporate symbolic rituals from your heritage (like breaking the glass, lighting candles, seven blessings) into your personal ceremony.  I often perform modern handfastings, and can offer ring-warming, a mead toast or jumping the broom as “pagan-style” enhancements to your wedding.

 

What do you Allow in the Ceremony?

  • Anything goes, in fact the more creative, the better!  Dog ring-bearers, Grandmas as flower-girls and couple karaoke is positively encouraged.
  • I have performed many same-sex weddings and civil partnerships – love is love!
  • If it’s meaningful to you, we can include it!  For instance include religious or spiritual prose alongside modern-day readings, hymns and popular songs, or best of all, live musicians.  For musical inspiration, check out the Spotify playlists I’ve put together for 6 different kinds of wedding ceremonies!
  • Friends, relatives, your children, or even your pets may also take part in your ceremony. Sometimes we get all your guests involved too!  The best wedding ceremonies have plenty of humour as well as the serious stuff – it’s your ceremony, so you own it!

Get in touch using any of the methods on the Contact Me page.  I’d love to hear from you!