CELEBRANT V CELEBRANT V...CELEBRANT!!!
ARRGHH, we’re so confused!
We want to book a celebrant for our wedding and everywhere we look there is someone calling himself or herself a celebrant. It seems to be all over social media right now!
Where on earth do we start?
I’ll try to help …basically (from the Oxford English Dictionary)
1.A celebrant is a person who performs a rite, especially a priest at Eucharist.
2. A Person who celebrates something.
Any the wiser?
Ok so I’m going to split Celebrants into 3 categories, starting with the oldest form of celebrant:
Your Local Parish Vicar/Priest / Other Religious Officiant
Not really a lot I can say here tbf. If you are religious and or wish to marry in your place of worship, this is always going to be the celebrant for you.
You will also walk away with your marriage certificate after a religious ceremony of your choice.
If you’re not religious…the biggest con is …it’s religious!! And unless your vicar/priest etc actually KNOWS you, not overly personalised. It will be more about your relationship with God than your relationship with each other.
The Marriage Act of 1836 allowed for non-religious civil marriages to be held in the register offices that sprung up in towns and cities across England and Wales.
A Registration Service Celebrant or as we would more commonly know them, Deputy Superintendant Registrar is the person who conducts the legal aspect of your civil wedding ceremony.
The 2nd registrar present is recording the marriage and is known as the Deputy Registrar, and in legal aspects is more important than the speaker, so they need to make sure they record the right information for you on your big day.
11 years ago when the hubster and I married I had never heard of the word celebrant, be them a religious minister or an employee of my local county council, so it does make me wonder a bit of the phrase has been coined because of the advent and increase in our 3rd category of celebrant. More on those later.
First back to the pros and cons of using a registrar.
You are legally married on the day of your civil wedding ceremony with the document to prove it.
Whilst you can actually request a specific registrar to conduct your ceremony…99% of the time you will not have met your ‘celebrant’ until your big day.
You are very limited as to the content, time and location of your the legal ceremony.
DID YOU KNOW…(Something that might help you make up your mind)
The registration services around England and Wales having had their core business challenged by independent celebrants such as me, and my colleagues, have now introduced Duo ceremonies with SOME personalisation allowed.
After the legal ceremony, you can now retreat to an unlicensed venue, inside or outside for another ceremony.
Now this practice varies around the country and I haven’t researched every single registration service…tbf life is a bit too short for that!
But a quick overview goes a bit like this…
In some areas they will TRY to ensure that the Registrar is the same for both ceremonies BUT there is no guarantee…
In others you will be allocated a ‘celebrant’ to work with you to construct this 2nd ceremony and although there is some personalisation it is still not the same as using an independent celebrant.
They are still time -bound; you are not going to get the phone calls and texts, meetings, support and all the added extras that my colleagues and I provide.
They can’t tell your story, in the way that we can because they haven’t had time to get to know you as a couple.
There won’t have been a practice and no matter how nice the registrar is they still cannot do create the atmosphere that I can create.
Are they going to dress up if you have a theme? Can they take into account all of your ‘fandom’s’ when creating the personal ceremony?
Will they be able to embrace who you are as a couple?
Will they provide music?
Do they have the equipment to provide music outdoors, microphones, and a keepsake script?
Will they perform a symbolic ceremony such as a handfasting or sand ceremony for you?
These are all things to take into account when you are thinking about this type of service. If you DO want something simple, (but with a little bit of a twist) and you are not too set on a truly personalised ceremony…
BUT rather have your heart set on the perfect location; this is may well be the route for you.
Then there are the new kids on the block…
Secular Humanists & Independent Celebrants.
Within this vast melting pot you will find spiritualists, pagan, agnostic, atheist, believers and non - believers alike.
An independent celebrant will put anything into a ceremony that you require (within certain bounds…. Personally I won’t jump out of a plane for anyone or for that matter conduct a naturist ceremony…unless you have some very big banana leaves!!)
What separates this 3rd group of celebrants is the ability to conduct a non-legally binding wedding ceremony that is written for you and delivered in a location of your choice at a time of your choosing.
When you have found the right celebrant for you, they will work with you, meet with you and design your perfect ceremony.
It will be delivered at a time and location of your choosing and you can include anyone and anything into the ceremony.
Most celebrants produce keepsake scripts for you and a lot will include little extras too.
We practice, we co-ordinate, we arrive early and don’t rush off.
We get to know our clients.
We are nearly always at the end of a phone or an email to check all the minute details with.
In England and Wales a celebrant led ceremony of any description is not legally binding (In Scotland Humanist and Pagan celebrants can conduct legally binding ceremonies but independent celebrants can’t).
Ultimately you have to decide who is the right type of celebrant for you.
One of the biggest days of your life can stand or fall on the type of ceremony and celebrant you choose.
Make your plans early, decide what and who you want in your ceremony and then decide on your location, once you have those 3 factors worked out, you can then decide on which type of celebrant has the privilege of conducting the ceremony that will live with you for the rest of your days.
Get the facts and have the most amazing wedding day…. remember YOUR DAY…YOUR WAY!