You May Have Heard Of Them, But What Is A Wedding Celebrant?
I recently met up with Carol Cranfield, a Wedding Celebrant, at a lovely Suffolk hotel. Carol had initially been got in touch with me when she was looking for an experienced photographer to take some new photographs for her website and social media platforms.
As I took the photographs and we chatted, I learned more about what Carol did and thought this would be a good topic to share with couples planning on tying the knot.
So, along with some photographs from her photo session, let’s find out more from Carol.
What Is A Wedding Celebrant and Why Choose One?
A celebrant is a person who performs ceremonies acknowledging some of life’s significant milestones.
What does a wedding celebrant do for a wedding?
They will perform ceremonies for couples with mixed-faith, modern, traditional, spiritual, but not religious.
A Celebrant is unbound by any legalities or religion, which means a Celebrant ceremony can be bespoke and completely personalised for every couple. It is an honour to be chosen.
A celebrant works with the wedding couples to devise bespoke wedding ceremonies. The ceremony is tailored to the couple’s wishes and can include music, poetry, and readings, writing of vows, involvement of other family members or friends. The whole point of the ceremony is to have it unique to you; after all, it is your special day! You could explore mini wedding rituals if required to add further magic to the day.
We do not follow a template; we will work with you to create a genuinely reflective day of your personalities and love for each other that you and your guests will remember for a long time to come.
Celebrant-led weddings are known for their creativity and use of symbolic gestures to support the significant aspects of the ceremony.
Several things are included, which vary depending on what Celebrant you use.
- Initial no-obligation phone/ WhatsApp conversation
- Meeting you in person and getting to know you both in more detail
- Writing the ceremony for your consideration, any changes and then for your approval
- Officiating the ceremony on the day
- Sourcing poems, music and reading if requested
- Giving you a wedding questionnaire to complete to assist with telling your love story
- Writing your vows or supporting you to write them and rehearse them
- Providing you with mini wedding ritual ideas
- Personal Pinterest board to store any ideas
- A written copy of your ceremony, as a keepsake of the day, in a presentation file.
- A certificate of commitment if requested
- We only do one wedding a day, so our focus can be on you and your special day.
Does a Celebrant led wedding provide flexibility?
People used to have more traditional options, to marry in a religious ceremony or a civil ceremony. There is a 3rd option that is becoming very popular, to have a celebrant conduct your wedding ceremony. We can offer far more choice in terms of flexibility around the time of the ceremony.
What you want to be included in your ceremony, and the venue you like this to take place. These venues can be in a Country House, Woodland, Hotel, and Beach or beautiful gardens, at your own home, the choice is yours to make. Celebrants usually only carry out one ceremony a day to concentrate on making it a truly memorable day for all.
Does a Registrar have to officiate our ceremony at a UK licensed venue?
The simple answer is an absolute No! You do have a choice.
In the meantime, if you were you are getting married in Scotland, different rules apply, so this information is for venues in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Why don’t some venues offer me a choice?
Some venues are still to understand the role of the Celebrant fully; in addition, some wedding venues may receive their bookings via the local Register Office.
What’s the difference between a Celebrant and a Registrar?
Both a Celebrant and a Registrar want you to enjoy your ceremony, but the ceremony they offer varies greatly. (Different legislation applies to Scotland)
A Registrar can legally marry you and is employed by the local authority. The format and content of the ceremony are restricted by legislation, with no religious or spiritual content allowed.
Registrars will often carry out several ceremonies each day, so they will insist on keeping to the designated time. Due to time constraints, you are unlikely to meet the Registrar before the day of your ceremony.
A Celebrant is self-employed and will take time to get to know you and work with you both to craft a beautiful, bespoke, non-legally binding ceremony that reflects your ideas, values and personalities.
By separating the legal aspect of marriage, your ceremony can be about love, not legalities. You also have a choice in types of Celebrant. There are Humanist Celebrants and Civil or Independent Celebrants. Both offer non-religious ceremonies; however, Independent and Civil Celebrants are also happy to include spiritual and religious elements.
There are many celebrants out there that can meet your requirements, and they all have different styles so that couples choose the best Celebrant to meet their style.
A Celebrant is not restricted to licensed areas, so although you may choose to have your ceremony in the designated area, you also have the option to hold it elsewhere in the venue, perhaps in the beautiful grounds/or woodland setting or by a lake.
Many Celebrants also offer the option of a wedding rehearsal so that you are relaxed and ready for your big day.
How do we complete the legal part of getting married?
Complete the legal aspect at the Register Office before your wedding ceremony; it can also be after. Couples book a “small room” ceremony at Chelmsford Registry Office; they take two witnesses with them and complete the legal requirements of their marriage, saving the vows and exchanging rings for their Celebrant ceremony. This costs approximately £60 and is usually available on a specific morning each week, so it is advisable to book well in advance to secure your slot.
For up to date prices of all their services, visit https://www.essex.gov.uk/get-married-in-essex/book-a-registrar.
Will our guests know our ceremony is not legally binding?
It is entirely up to you what you tell your guests. A Celebrant ceremony is a natural and romantic wedding ceremony, where couples declare their love and commitment to each other before their family and friends.
Many couples choose not to tell their guests that it is not a legal ceremony. Their guests are usually full of really positive comments like “this is the best wedding we have ever been to” or “this wedding was such a joy to watch and listen to” or “this was so personalised, and we all felt part of the ceremony.”
Whatever your decision, take your time choosing the option that is right for you as a couple. Remember it is your significant day, and you want to get it right and ensure you are in safe hands.
Choosing Your Celebrant
For more information about Carol and the various Celebrant services available, head to her website Carol Cranfield Celebrant or call her directly on 07962 251134. Email email@example.com
Here is another guest blog you may be interested in written by weddings by Mary wedding planner.