In this next instalment of the Guest Supplier Blog Series, we’re talking about Celebrants and options for your wedding ceremony.  Nikki Wood from Perfect Words Ceremonies gives some insight into what a Celebrant does and how you can have a wedding ceremony personal to you.

Planning your wedding is an exciting time, there’s the venue and the guest list to organise, the flowers, the photographer, the cake and the DJ to book but the heart of the day; your ceremony, often gets overlooked.

Declaring your love and commitment to your special someone in front of your family and friends is the most important part of your day, but sadly, many couples don’t give much consideration to the ceremony and may not be aware of the different options available to them.

Marriage is a devolved issue in the UK, so let’s take a closer look at the different options for wedding ceremonies in England and Wales, different rules apply in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Jersey.

Wedding couple holding sparklers and kissing

Your Choices and the Difference Between a Registrar and a Celebrant

You may have religious beliefs and have already decided that you wish to get married in your place of worship, however, 70% of all legal marriages in the UK are civil ceremonies and many take place in the presence of a Registrar at a licensed venue.

However, did you know that you can separate the legal requirements from your wedding ceremony, giving you the freedom to have a beautifully bespoke Celebrant-led ceremony held in the location of your choice? 

An increasing number of couples are choosing to complete the legal requirement during the week before their ceremony in a simple service at the Registry Office which takes just minutes, leaving all the beautiful elements of exchanging vows and rings to their Celebrant-led wedding ceremony.

A Registrar is employed by the Local Authority and is bound by legal wording, your names will be cut and pasted into the script and no religious or spiritual elements can be included.  Due to time constraints, you are unlikely to meet the Registrar before your wedding day and you will both be required to separately attend a pre-ceremony meeting at your venue.  Registrars are in high demand and will often officiate a number of ceremonies in one day, giving little to no flexibility.

Many couples are now choosing a Celebrant to work with them to create and conduct a unique ceremony, personal to them that focuses on their love and reflects their style, values and ideas. 

Wedding couple exchanging vows during outdoor ceremony

Humanist or Independent Celebrant?

There are different options for a Celebrant-led wedding – you can choose a Humanist or an Independent Celebrant, both work in the same way by offering a bespoke ceremony in any location and both offer non-religious services. 

The main difference is that Humanists believe that life is based on humanity and reason, and although the majority of Humanist Ceremonies are completely non-religious, there are some Humanist Celebrants that do now allow guests to deliver readings that include religious reference as long as no act of worship is involved. 

An Independent Celebrant has the freedom to include religious material, faith, belief and culture into the ceremony, depending on the wishes of the couple.

Outdoor wedding reception using fairy lights and bunting hanging from trees for the decor

When and Where?

Unlike Registrars, most Celebrants only officiate one ceremony a day, giving you the freedom to choose the time of day that your ceremony will be held. 

As far as location is concerned, you may wish to hold your ceremony in a licenced venue, or you may wish to think outside the box and consider holding your wedding in an unlicensed location, such as a woodland, a field with a lake, a beach or a garden, the possibilities are endless! 

Working with Suppliers

Wedding Planners and Celebrants are on the same side and work harmoniously together.  If you choose not to have a Wedding Planner, your Celebrant will liaise with your venue and suppliers for a smoothly run day.  Many Celebrants also offer the option of a rehearsal so that you know what to expect, and are calm and ready for your big day.

Outdoor wedding ceremony with draped canopy, large floral displays and chairs lining the aisle

Do Your Day, Your Way

Your Celebrant will take time to get to know you and listen to your ideas and work with you over the months ahead of your big day.  Where possible your Celebrant will meet you face to face, but if distance is an issue, then meetings can be held over Skype or video call.

Whatever type of ceremony you envisage; traditional, informal, quirky, relaxed, themed etc, your Celebrant will create a beautiful, bespoke ceremony that is tailor-made to you.  There are also lovely ways to enhance your ceremony with mini rituals, such as a Candle Unity Ceremony, Wine Ceremony or a Handfasting.  Or if you would like to include children then a Sand Unity Ceremony is a lovely way to do just that. 

It is lovely when couples choose to write their own vows or words of endearment, if you’re struggling, your Celebrant will be able to help you.  Some couples prefer to repeat their vows after their Celebrant, so whatever works for you.

Sand ceremony with children

Your Celebrant works with you to ensure that you are completely happy with the content of your ceremony script which is typically signed off a couple of weeks prior to the ceremony.  Some couples choose for the script to be a complete surprise, this is something to discuss with your Celebrant!

Thank you Nikki, for contributing to the Guest Supplier Blog.  If you’d like to find out more about Nikki’s services, you can find her website here

If you’re thinking of a Celebrant-led ceremony, discover how I can help you bring this element into your wedding day.

Image credits: Perfect Words Ceremonies