In the past there were two main ways to get married – a religious service at a place of worship or a civil ceremony conducted by a registrar. But now of course there’s a third, rather fabulous alternative, which couples are seeking out for a more personal expression of their relationship and their values – the celebrant led wedding ceremony.
I spend lots of time talking to couples at wedding fairs and venue visits and despite the rising popularity of celebrant ceremonies (more than 14,000 were conducted last year), there’s still some confusion over what’s involved and how celebrants differ from registrars. So, here’s everything you need to know about why celebrant weddings rock (I know I’m biased, but anyway!):
What exactly is a celebrant?
Independent celebrants are specialists in creating and delivering ceremonies which are written especially for you. This makes every ceremony just as unique as you are, which is why they’re so AMAZING. Look out for celebrants that are certified with a training body, qualified to diploma level and members of a professional association (that’s me by the way!).
What’s the difference between a celebrant and a registrar?
There are lots, but the two main differences are about legality and freedom. A registrar can marry you legally, but the options for personalising your ceremony are very limited. A celebrant can’t marry you legally just yet (although this is changing – hurray!), but can offer complete freedom over the style, content and location of your ceremony.
I’m still not sure. What’s so great about a celebrant ceremony?
Here are my 8 great reasons to choose a wedding celebrant:
- Personal – Your wedding ceremony is all about you, and with a celebrant, you get to a say just how much you mean to each other in a way that’s beautiful and meaningful to you.
- Memorable – Every ceremony is unique. There are no templates or pre-prepared words and couples and their guests are often blown away by how different a celebrant ceremony feels. Often couples choose a celebrant when they can’t match the time or date they want with the registrar’s availability, but 9 times out of 10, they’re so glad they made the switch.
- Inclusive – There are lots of fabulous ways to include your guests, from ring warming to a good old sing-along. Let’s chat about which special people you’d like to involve.
- Diverse – There are no rules about what you can include in your ceremony. If you have a mix of backgrounds, we can blend traditions to honour different cultures and beliefs.
- Flexible – A celebrant led wedding can take place at any time and in any location. There’s never any rush. I only ever perform one ceremony a day, so if you need to change plans at the last minute, there’s no problem.
- Tailor-made – When you work with me, I’ll spend time getting to know your story so that your ceremony is perfectly matched to you. Thoughtful or quirky, flamboyant or pared back – whatever your style, your ceremony will be a reflection of the things you hold dear.
- Multi-faceted – Your ceremony can celebrate many things – the anniversary of the day you first met, the birth of a new baby or an overseas wedding shared with friends and family back at home.
- Relaxed – Not everyone’s comfortable in the spotlight, but working with me means that by the time you’re ready to say your vows, we’ll know each other pretty well, so you can relax and truly enjoy the moment.
I’m convinced. How do I do this?
Step 1 Book your celebrant – That’s me! I work throughout Oxfordshire, Northamptonshire and Warwickshire. Drop me a message via the contact page and we can book a time to chat. If I’m not free or you’re getting married outside my area, I’ll always help with recommendations for trusted colleagues.
Step 2 Give notice of your intention to marry – This needs to be done at your local register office at least 29 days before Step 3. It normally costs £35 each and involves signing a legal declaration and presenting some documents, like proof of address.
Step 3 Register your marriage – This is a quick and easy process, which can be done at any register office and involves making two legal declarations in front of two witnesses and signing the marriage schedule. It takes about 15 minutes and costs £46.
Step 4 Work with your celebrant to create your dream ceremony – This is where the fun starts. Choose any content and any style. You can keep things traditional and classic, or take inspiration from your heritage and the things you hold dear (love knots for the Welsh, oathing stones for the Scots and a world of other options …). You can include prayers or blessings if you wish, involve your children if you have them, celebrate with a Mexican wave … whatever feels right for you.
The ceremonies I create are full of warmth and personality and are completely unique to you. So get in touch to find out more about how we can create a really beautiful ceremony together.
Bluebell Ceremonies – Creating beautiful, bespoke ceremonies to celebrate the special moments in your life.
Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Northamptonshire and the Cotswolds.