Have you always dreamed of exchanging your vows on a dramatic clifftop or in a beautiful meadow or a deserted sandy beach? Perhaps you thought you were limited to having a religious or civil wedding or partnership? The good news is you can have the ceremony you want and there’s just a few things you need to know. Here’s everything you ever wondered about wedding celebrants: what do they do, and how you really can plan a truly unique wedding ceremony.
Wedding Celebrants: What Do They Do?
A wedding celebrant is someone who resides over a wedding ceremony but is not legally invested to marry a couple. Wedding celebrants are professionally trained and are fully insured. Celebrants are for couples who feel they want something more personal, unique or meaningful than a religious or civil wedding or partnership.
Why You Should Book a Wedding Celebrant
Choosing a celebrant to conduct your wedding ceremony instead of a church minister or registrar means you will be able to have the wedding you want, without any limitations. A wedding led by a celebrant can be held on the beach, a clifftop, in a field or woodland as there are absolutely none of the usual restrictions surrounding location just as there are no restraints with religious vows, music, readings, or even timings as there are in both church and civil weddings. Rather than being told you will need to repeat traditional generic vows, you work with the celebrant to create a completely personal ceremony. You could involve a symbolic element, include your children or even your pets in the actual ceremony if that’s what you both want.
Tips on Finding a Wedding Celebrant
1. Start by looking for local or nearby wedding celebrants, look through their websites, read their testimonials, then get in touch.
2. Arrange to meet the celebrant in person, as a face to face meeting will you give you a real feel for whether this person suits your vision. You may be looking for someone particularly solemn or humorous, or both! Like any other wedding supplier, it’s worth taking the time to discuss your dreams with them in person to ensure you find the right wedding celebrant for you.
3. Book your legal marriage ceremony in a church or register office separately, if you wish to be legally married, perhaps on the same day or the day before. You will just need two witnesses to make your marriage legally binding.
4. Book your wedding celebrant and start planning your wedding just the way you want it. Your wedding celebrant will be able to advise, guide and inspire you to create the wedding ceremony you truly want, where you want it, in exactly your way.
Tips on Planning a Unique Ceremony
Wedding celebrant, Gwen Rule shares her knowledge as a professional wedding celebrant on how best to plan your ceremony:
“Wedding vows are beautiful and have their own place in tradition but with a celebrant-led wedding, you have that chance to think about what you really want to promise each other for the rest of your married lives. Church ceremonies, register offices and even licensed venues that use a registrar all have restrictions. By choosing a wedding celebrant to conduct your ceremony you are able to have a ceremony that is completely personal to you without restrictions on venue or timing and with your own choice of vows, readings and music. Your celebrant will ask you to complete a questionnaire to consider exactly how you would like your wedding ceremony to be.
Choose a quiet afternoon or a day when you and your fiancé can think what you would like to include in the ceremony. Do you have a message to pass on to your guests? Do you want to include your family and/or guests in your ceremony? Think about a lesson you’ve learnt together, or a beautiful memory that describes what you mean to each other.
You already know why you’re getting married and what your relationship symbolises, so feel free to share it with others. Some of those things you’ll be able to share in the questionnaire, e.g. how you met and what do you love about each other. The additional ideas that you may want to include you can discuss personally with your celebrant.
There is no shame in using examples from other people’s weddings, if they express the same thing that you want to achieve. Check how other couples have personalised their ceremonies, or take ideas from different cultures and countries and draw inspiration from these whilst developing your own personalised ceremony.”
When you meet your celebrant, discuss your ideas. Together with your celebrant you can create new ways of making your wedding ceremony very special.
Gwen Rule is an independent wedding celebrant based in London who provides a personal service to help brides and grooms have their dream wedding exactly they way they want it. Find out more at Unique Ceremony.