How to make your second marriage celebrations a fantastic success! Second weddings are just as important as your first ‐‐ it's a commitment between two people and deserves a big…
Written by Agnes Los Last updated: June 24, 2013
Nowadays, a wedding is not the strictly traditional affair it used to be. Couples have a choice of saying “I do” at any licensed venue, at any time of day, and on any day of the week. The only part of this day that remains inflexible is the ceremony itself – ironically, the most meaningfully important part of the day. Why can’t you take your vows exactly the way you want? Gwen Rule, a professional celebrant based in London, says you can!
To be legally valid, a UK marriage ceremony must be performed by an authorised person (for example, a registrar, a vicar or a priest) and be witnessed by two people. This means couples must choose between: an approved religious ceremony, a registry office ceremony, or a registrar who will attend the wedding at a licensed venue.
The ceremony is truly the most important part of the wedding day, and while couples can make the reception as individual as they please, they can’t quite do that for the ceremony itself – there are rules to follow and even pre-written vows. Some couples are perfectly happy to have that sense of occasion that comes with following the traditional vows and order of the ceremony set by someone else. The reality is that the ceremony is likely to be very quick, and with restrictions on readings, music, vows and sometimes even photographs. For example, civil ceremonies may not include anything that’s related to religion, such as hymns (even as quotes), Bible references, or even songs that indirectly refer to religion. In some cases, churches will not allow photos to be taken during the ceremony, or they restrict the photographer’s access.
You may not realise that there is, in fact, a way to have the ceremony exactly how you like it – that is by having a Wedding Celebrant in charge. Wedding Celebrants are not widely known in this country, but in fact have been in existence for over 40 years. In England, Scotland and Wales you must be legally married first at the registry office, and then you are free to design the wedding ceremony of your dreams.
Using a Wedding Celebrant allows you all the flexibility you wish for (even if you want to get married in a shark tank, like one couple we know…) You will be able to have your wedding wherever you choose, at any time, and it’ll be entirely up to you how the whole occasion flows and reflects your personal beliefs and lifestyle. You will choose your own vows, readings, poems, music, decor and anything else you fancy, without restriction.
Carl and Amy had Gwen Rule as their Wedding Celebrant at their Surrey wedding in September 2012 and have this to say:
We chose a celebrant because we were not going to be able to work things out at the Register Office – we could have no more than 50 people at the marriage ceremony so we had reached the point where we were considering inviting friends without children to the Register Office plus lunch and then inviting them back again for the Sunday with their children. Crazy and unworkable. Hence, in desperation, I looked into having the wedding in the back garden, was given the word ‘celebrant’ to google and never looked back.
The first celebrant I spoke to was unable to make the date we had reserved in people’s diaries so she recommended Gwen, who came to see us. She was fabulous: so calm and diplomatic. Carl and I were practically at war when she came to see us and I could barely speak without crying. She brought joy to an event which had lost its joy and she was lovely to work with, understanding us and who we were. She wrote a fabulous ceremony and conducted it beautifully. Everybody loved her. What more could any Bride want? What more can I say?
Gwen Rule is an independent celebrant based in London. She’ll be happy to provide further information – please visit Gwen’s Unique Ceremony page to contact her.