I bloody love weddings which are led by a celebrant. I genuinely believe that every wedding should have a wonderfully special person leading it, in a totally personal way. Why, I hear you ask? Well, sit down, and I’ll tell you.
We spend hours planning our weddings. Days… weeks… years even. We plan the dress, the table decor, the music, the food, the drink. But probably the part of the day that we give the least thought to, is the ceremony itself. We hire whichever registrar is available, follow their rules and spout their words. We think nothing of it, because that’s just what happens. When you think about it, this is all wrong! The ceremony, whilst traditionally not the most fun part of the day, is the whole bloody reason the day is occuring in the first place! Why not make it totally, unapologetically and authentically YOU?
What is a celebrant?
A wedding celebrant is a special person you choose to conduct your wedding. They create a ceremony for you, to suit you. The get to know YOU, and ensure your day, your union, your marriage is as personal as it can be. The really good ones are performers, designers, creatives and therapists! They will spend a lot of time getting to know their couples, in order to write atotally bloody awesome ceremony that is all about you and your love story.
How is a Celebrant led ceremony different to a Priest/ Vicar/ Registrar?
Well I guess the biggest practical difference, is that a Celebrant led wedding is not legally binding in the same way as a religious or civil wedding. That means that, if the legal bit is important to you, you’ll need to do this in a registry office at some point. You can book a legal, registry office wedding, with just you two and two witnesses easily and inexpensively in a registry office to get that all important piece of paper. This then gives you the freedom to create THE CEREMONY OF DREAMS on your ‘wedding day’.
The big difference, really, is that religious or civil ceremonies are quite rigid about what can be said, played and done- and especially strict on the wording around the vows. In a celebrant led ceremony you can say WHATEVER THE HELL YOU LIKE! You can throw out the rule book and have the best fun. I’ve had couple’s quoting Metallica, singing along to Bon Jovi, and promising that they will always love each other more than the dog )even if they don’t mean it). It allows you total freedom.
As Celebrant SJ, a lovely celebrant I have worked with, says: “A celebrant led wedding means that you’ll be truly represented as a couple. If you want to walk down the aisle to ACDC, include readings from Disney films or incorporate a family tradition, a celebrant will make it happen. Celebrants will listen to your wedding wishes and incorporate everything to give you a unique, bespoke and personalised ceremony.
So, if you want flexibility over where you have your ceremony (with a celebrant it can be anywhere!), no limitations when it comes to the content of your service (traditional, modern, funny, the choice is yours!), then a celebrant is the way to go. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box, a celebrant will encourage you to do so!”
Why choose a celebrant?
Celebrant Wendi, a gorgeously kooky Liverpool-based celebrant says: “I think couples may choose a celebrant, because they might want something a lot more personal than a church or registrar ceremony. A registrar led ceremony, is a legally binding ceremony and as such they have to follow legal guidelines and have time constraints, plus often the couple may have me the person doing the ceremony only briefly beforehand. With a celebrant, the couple will have had the opportunity to spend lots of time spent in discussion working together to ensure that the service that is written is personal and especially for them.“
Katie MAtthews is a Humanist wedding celebrant who specialises in fun-filled, personality-packed and memorable wedding ceremonies in Cambridgeshire, London and the South East. She became a celebrant because she was determined to rescue couples from dry and drab civil weddings or, even worse, going for a religious ceremony just because ‘it’s the done thing’.
‘No, no, noooo! Your ceremony does not have to be the boring bit that guests are just sitting through, biding their time before they can get to the bar! The ceremony is basically the whole POINT of your big day and really sets the tone. It should be fabulous, fun and unique to you, to ensure your whole day kicks off in style!’
What’s the best bit about a celebrant led ceremony?
The best bit, is that it can be anything you want it to be! Katie works with couples to design a one-of-a-kind wedding ceremony that is totally personal to them and tells their unique love story.
‘I get to know my couples as individuals. I find out what makes them work as a team and why marriage is an important next step for their future together. I ask all the nosy questions, basically. I DIG DEEP and then, when I’ve wrung them dry, I spin all that gold into one hell’a ceremony that kicks their big day of celebrations off in style!’
Similarly, Wendi says: “As a celebrant I have the time to work closely with a couple and get to know them, find out what makes them tick, get their vibe, and have fun with them , building a relationship so that on the day they’ll feel relaxed and safe in my hands, and they’ll know that they will have the best time, full of love and laughter.
“They know that friends and family will also have an amazing time, and if they want to involve other people in the ceremony, or include other significant actions it’s not a problem in the least. Anything goes…..my aim is to do my very best for the couple, to create something that is perfect for them, that they will remember with joy and fondness forever.
“I still get goosebumps when I look back at photos or video clips of wedding ceremonies I have conducted for people. Their stories stay with you, and they all have a special place in my heart. Whatever job can you do, where you can say that?…. I’m sooooo lucky.”
A Photograher’s Point of View…
As a photographer, celebrant led weddings are an absolute dream. Because a Celebrant can conduct a ceremony ANYWHERE, you don’t have to be stuck in that boring corporate ceremony room. With a celebrant, you can get married at the top of a mountain, or the bottom of a waterfall. You can get married in any lovely place that means something to you. As any photographer will tell you, one of our biggest worries on a wedding day, is restrictions placed upon us by vicars and registrars. Quite often. we’re barely allowed to move during your ceremony, or limited to when and where we can take pictures.
A celebrant-led wedding is totally different. Usually celebrants are much more flexible and allow us to move around and capture the best possible images of your wedding. Not to mention, they’re far more likely to make you laugh, cry, scream and smile- exactly what we’re aiming to capture. The couple and the guest feel happier and more involved and engaged in the ceremony with a celebrant too, which means I can capture their reactions. More feelings= better photos!
Choosing a celebrant
Just like choosing a photographer, or any other wedding supplier, choosing a celebrant is totally personal. You need to find someone you vibe with, feel comfortable with, trust and can have a laugh with. The best thing about choosing your celebrant is getting to know the person who ends up marrying you. You’re not standing there with a stranger professing your undying love, you’re up there with a friend!
Are you considering going down the Celebrant route and want a celebrant who can create a totally wonderful personalised ceremony for you? Awesome celebrants I would heartily recommend include: