No you don’t, you have a choice!
When booking the venue, many couples do not realise that they have a choice of who conducts their wedding ceremony. If you are recently engaged and looking for your perfect venue, it is so important for you to understand that you not only have a say in your choice of flowers and entertainment but you also have a choice in who officiates the heart of your day, the ceremony!
“So what are my options?”
At a venue licensed for civil marriages you have a choice between a Registrar, or a Celebrant, however, the ceremonies they offer vary hugely.
Many venues assume that couples want a Registrar to conduct their marriage and do not offer the option of a Celebrant to them; this may be because the booking has come directly from the local Registry Office, or the other possibility is that venues themselves are not actually familiar with the role of a Celebrant. It’s therefore, so important that couples are in possession of the facts to allow them to make an informed choice.
“What is the difference between a Registrar and a Celebrant?”
The main difference between the two is the legal aspect; Registrars are employed by the local authority and are responsible for the administration of registering births, marriages and deaths, they are authorised to conduct legally binding marriage ceremonies.
Celebrants on the other hand are self-employed and create non-legally binding celebration ceremonies; by separating the legal registration of marriage from their wedding ceremony couples are able have a beautifully scripted ceremony that is tailor-made and personal to them. Couples can complete the legal formalities in a “no frills” service at a registry office for approximately £50, during the week prior to their big day as part of their preparations, leaving the exchanging of personal vows and rings to their real wedding ceremony. Creating and delivering your ceremony is not just a job for a Celebrant, they are in a profession they love with a passion and are committed to providing an excellent service, creating wonderful memories.
“How do the ceremonies differ?”
Firstly, both a Registrar and a Celebrant want you to have a special day but they are both very different in their approach and what they can offer you.
A Registrar-led ceremony
Currently the law states that a Registrar-led ceremony must take place either at a Registry Office or a designated area in a licensed premises. Unfortunately, due to time constraints, there will be no opportunity for you to meet the Registrar or have a rehearsal prior to your big day, however, it is possible that they will email you. A Registrar is not allowed to depart from a legal wording of the script and no religious references or spiritual elements can be included in your service. Understandably, Registrars are very busy people and because they are conducting so many marriages, your ceremony is unlikely to be the only one the Registrar is conducting that day, so they will insist on keeping to the specified time as they may have another ceremony to get to.
A Celebrant-led ceremony
A Celebrant-led ceremony focuses on the love between the two of you; your Celebrant will listen to your ideas and work with you to carefully craft your beautiful, bespoke ceremony that reflects you as a couple and tells your story. There are no rules; the format of your ceremony is completely flexible; you can include a beautiful hand fasting or unity ritual and involve members of your family or friends should you so wish. Your Celebrant will have many wonderful suggestions and ideas of ways to enhance your ceremony.
You are not restricted to where your ceremony can take place; it can be held indoors or outdoors. If you would prefer to use the venue’s designated licensed ceremony room, that is also perfectly fine; a Celebrant-led ceremony can be held absolutely anywhere!
Your Celebrant will take time to get to know you as a couple, so that by the time your big day arrives, you will have a fantastic connection, allowing you to relax and enjoy the most important day of your lives.
Prior to your ceremony, you will meet with your Celebrant for a full in-person rehearsal so that everything runs smoothly and everyone is relaxed and ready. You and your ceremony will your Celebrant’s main focus, yours will be the only ceremony they perform that day allowing flexibility and ensuring you have their undivided attention.
“Will a Celebrant Wedding Ceremony feel less real?”
Definitely not, Celebrant-led weddings are becoming increasingly popular as people want a service that is personal to them and truly reflects them as a couple, most guests do not even realise it is not a legally binding ceremony. The legal “marriage” part involves the formal process of signing a register and confirming your willing commitment in front of two witnesses. The ceremony itself is what makes your wedding so special, a Celebrant will take the time to get to know you both and create and deliver a beautifully crafted ceremony of your dreams; the magic and love that is woven into your script will perfectly capture you as a couple, involving family and friends, should you so wish, leaving wonderful lasting memories.
Whatever your decision, take your time choosing the option that is right for you as a couple. We all want the same thing; for you to have a wonderful day.