You might recall in the run up to last years Budget there was quite a stir with talk of shaking up the marriage laws to allow couples to marry outdoors. The buzz was “Wow, I can’t wait to be able to do that” and I heard this from couples and venue staff alike.
But wait, you can already have your wedding outdoors – with a Celebrant led ceremony! OK so for the time being a Celebrant cannot perform a legal marriage, but I’m talking about the actual ceremony, one that is written from scratch just for you and full of everything that makes you who you are. A ceremony that you will remember and that your guests will comment on for years to come. *(Read the legal bit below)
But, I’d also like to stress that a Celebrant can offer so much more and be the answer to so many other ceremony goals.
Firstly, what situation would you NEED a Celebrant?
If you want to hold a ceremony in an unlicensed property or on unlicensed land you would NEED a Celebrant led ceremony. This is the most common reason for using us.
However, please bear in mind that a Celebrant can work in licensed venues too – so in this case why would you choose to use a celebrant?
Here’s a list of reasons why you should choose a Celebrant for your Ceremony:
>Because you would like a bespoke ceremony written with you and about you, telling your love story
Only a Celebrant will sit with you and find out who you both are and what you want included in your ceremony.
>Because you would like a Ceremony that is as individual as you are
We will usually write about your unique love story – how you met, the adventures you have had together and the proposal for example. Also, if you are confident in front of your guests you might want to play a big part, but if you are terribly shy and not happy to talk too much we can make sure your ceremony suits you too.
>Because you would like a theme to follow into your ceremony
And why not! Whether it be little hints within the readings you choose or full on wording based from your favourite film, even fancy dress – if you love it, go for it!
>Because you would like to write your own vows to each other
Just like in the American movies with have grown up with. if this is daunting I can help you here – but this is the most tear jerking part of a Celebrant led ceremony. Words written by you straight from your heart to the one you love.
>Because you would like to have had a working relationship with the person officiating your ceremony
Of course we will have met face to face, but we also spend weeks or months emailing and calling each other and getting the script just right so that by the time you get to stand at the top of the aisle you are there with me, a trusted, familiar and friendly face to guide you through your ceremony.
>Because you are of mixed faith and would like to incorporate rituals or beliefs from both
I love being able to please everyone. If you have chosen a civil ceremony because you cannot choose between your faiths – have them both in one ceremony. This is where I will need your input to make sure we put in the parts that mean the most to you. It is a common misconception that Celebrants cannot put any religion into a ceremony but this is not true of us all. If an officiant has the title Humanist Celebrant they will not include any religion but an Independent Celebrant can.
>Because you would like a ceremony in a licensed venue (not place of worship) but would like some religious elements included
See the comments above about the difference between Humanist and Independent Celebrants. And a registrar will not be able to allow any religious content by law – this includes your readings and your music.
>Because you would like to combine a wedding and a family blending ceremony in one
If you both already have your own children why not perform a ceremony that not only unites you as a couple but unites you as one blended family
>Because you would like a ceremony at the time you choose, rather than the only time left available.
Most Celebrants only attend to one wedding per day which means you have the full choice of the time of your ceremony. Registrars slots get booked up fast, particularly within the popular times of 1 – 2.30 which means you can be faced with choosing a time which doesn’t really suit. This is never an issue if you use a Celebrant.
>Because you would like guest participation within their ceremony
Whether you would like a few guests to read for you or you would like the whole congregation included in a ring warming or flower ceremony, for example, we can make sure we find something suitable for you.
>Because you would like to perform a symbolic action such as candle lighting, sand blending or handfasting (to name a few)
The point of a symbolic action is to symbolise the unity of two becoming one. There are many options here, the above are well known and popular but we can find one that suits your personalities perfectly
>Because you would like to choose music or readings with religious content
A Registrar is not allowed, by law, to include any religious content. This includes music or readings with the word Lord, God, Saviour etc – even if the meaning of the song is not religious this is a grey area and is therefore usually not permitted.
>Because you would like to use a licenced venue, but not necessarily the room listed on the license
Did you know the licence is valid for just the certain rooms or a particular space outside. But you can think outside the box here – perhaps they have a smaller or larger room more suitable for you, or you would like to marry on a grand staircase or under a beautiful oak tree – you can if you have a Celebrant as the wedding licence is not required.
>Because you would like a WOW ceremony that your guests will comment on and talk about for years to come
Any of your ceremony goals can be created by using a Celebrant. Make a mood board of exactly what you want on your wedding day and if you can tick one or many of the points above, the only way to achieve this is by using a Celebrant.
The legal bit
A Celebrant is unable to perform the legal marriage in England. This means you would need to book a statutory marriage at your registry office (usually around £60 – check with your local authority). This would involve just you two and your two witnesses. You say your declaratory words and sign the register to receive your marriage certificate. Once this is done you are free to have the ceremony of your dreams. I often describe this as an act of registering your marriage. The day you will celebrate your anniversaries is the day when all of your guests see you exchange your personal vows and your rings to each other.
Thanks to Kelly Hawes for today’s blog – you can find out more about and contact Kelly here:
Social Media: @kellyhcelebrant
Phone: 07827 927947