Over the last 10 years, I have planned and managed over 500 Weddings. Even after being present at all of these Weddings, there are certain moments that still get me everytime. For me, majority of these moments are during the ceremony; the Bride walking down the aisle, the first time the Groom gets a glimpse of his soon to be wife, the emotions of their family and friends, the look of joy of the couples faces as they are announced husband and wife – these moments are priceless and to me, are what a Wedding is all about. The day, whether you are thinking about the food or the dancing, is centered around the fact you love each other and u want to commit to each other for the rest of your lives infront of your family and friends. If you were to ask me to tell you a story about my favourite Wedding ceremonies, majority of these stories would be ceremonies with a celebrant…but why?
What even is a celebrant to begin with?
A celebrant is able to perform a ceremony exactly to your specification, so if you find you have been to a few civil ceremonies (a civil ceremony is a legal ceremony not in a church, generally at a Wedding venue) and have found the words during the service or the readings to be very similar, a celebrant is perfect for you. A celebrant can also perform a ceremony wherever you like, so if you wanted a ceremony on a beautiful garden you have found for instance.
A celebrant will perform a ceremony personal to you, but this ceremony will not be legal. Ok, so the fact your ceremony will be personal to you and you can have it wherever you like sounds great so far? The fact it isn’t legal….how does that work? Keep reading and we will tell you how!
What can a celebrant do for you?
We recently met with the amazing award-winning celebrant Kelly Hawes (https://www.kellyhcelebrant.co.uk) to talk all things Wedding ceremony. Kelly is such a warm and kind natured person which makes her the perfect person to hold a ceremony. We talked through what a celebrant can offer a couple.
A celebrant will meet you to talk through who you are as a couple, how you met, your personalities and how you enjoy spending your time together to create bespoke wording. You can have your choice of words, readings, poems and even script from your favourite book. You can have your own music, write your own vows to each other, if you want to thank you partner for raising your children or tell a funny story about how you met, you can do this!
If you are a couple who already have children, you can include them in your ceremony too. There are NO restrictions, you can get married wherever you like and whatever time you like! Flexibility is key here!
Kelly loves being able to really bring a couples personality into their ceremony. It takes her around 10-12 hour to fully write a script for each couple – that is a lot of time spent, really thinking about what
Rituals - Sand Ceremony
Kelly can also arrange for a ritual ceremony to take place. A sand ceremony will symbolise the two of your becoming one and is a beautiful ritual which you can even include your children in. During the ritual, you will both have a different colour sand which will be poured into a jar, each time you pour, Kelly will talk about you as a person and you as a couple, what you love about each other. You can watch a video of this ritual over on her website where during this ceremony, it was even mentioned that one of the kind things the Groom does for the Bride is warms her pyjamas before she gets home from work! This is how personal you can get! At the end of the ceremony, you will have a sand jar to keep forever.
“The family have created a beautiful and unique commemoration of today’s ceremony. Just like the sand, these four individuals are bonded by the unity of family, and there is no stronger bond than that of family.” Kelly Hawes https://www.kellyhcelebrant.co.uk/home
You can hold any ritual ceremonies which you may have seen or you think would work well for both of you.
Getting married legally prior to wedding
So as mentioned above, the ceremony by a celebrant isn’t legal, so you would need to make your marriage legal. You can do this in a couple of different ways. Kelly explains that the most popular way is to visit the registry office prior to your Wedding day and make the marriage legal. This is very similar to actually registering your marriage and you can almost treat this day as just completing the necessary paperwork. With this option, nobody ever needs to even know that you were married a few days before the actual day as it is rare that people notice on your actual Wedding day that the ceremony isn’t legal.
You could also treat this day as a second Wedding day…two weddings! I like the sound of that! I’m thinking small, intimate, your immediate family, or no family at all! You would need two witnesses, but generally the registry office or your Wedding planner can provide these for you. Afterwards, you could book a nice hotel for the night to celebrate your Wedding day together!
This way saves a lot of fuss on the day in regards to the paperwork and legal bits like remembering what your father does for his occupation (you will be asked this prior to your ceremony by a registrar).
Getting married legally on the wedding day
You can have the registrar attend on the actual day of the Wedding and have the legal parts read alongside your ceremony and the paperwork completed on the day so you are legally married on your Wedding day. This would mean hiring a registrar to come out to your venue, as well as hiring the celebrant. You would also need to make sure that the legal parts are in a venue with a civil ceremony license, so this wouldn’t work if you were looking for an outdoors wedding or a ceremony on a venue without a license.
What is the cost?
The cost of a celebrant is similar and sometimes slightly lower than the cost of a registrar coming directly to the venue. When meeting with Kelly and discussing how much time and effort goes into the writing of your words, the cost is actually really good! The cost will vary dependent on celebrant but you can check out Kelly’s costs on her website.
In regards to the registrar to make your marriage legal, again this cost is dependent on the area you live in, but can be around £300 at the registry office or around £600 to come to a venue with a civil ceremony license.
How will you know if a celebrant is right for you?
Meet with a celebrant and find out what they can do for you and you can then decide if you feel this is right for you as a couple. Majority of celebrants will meet you at your venue so you can get a feel of having that celebrant there at your ceremony.
If you are a couple who don’t really like the idea of speaking in front of all your family and friends and not really keen on ‘all eyes on us’, then a celebrant could work perfectly for you as you can speak as little as you like! Equally, if your day is all about celebrating the two of you who love each other, a celebrant can offer you the perfect opportunity to celebrate this love with your family and friends.
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