Unlock the heart of your wedding – elevate your ceremony by hiring a wedding celebrant

Published by Claire Gould on

Header image by Nick Walker Photography

A guest blog by Fan – https://fanfareceremonies.co.uk/

Do you want a ceremony that is joyful, uplifting, memorable, magical, warm, sincere and most importantly authentically you? Or do you want a legally satisfactory but often emotionally hollow wedding ceremony?  I bet it’s the former.

The landscape of weddings in the UK is experiencing a beautiful shift – slowly but surely celebrant led ceremonies once a hidden gem are beginning to become a more prominent choice for couples seeking a truly personalised and meaningful wedding experience.

Ceremonies led by wedding celebrants are special and I mean really special.  No templates.  No formality.  No restrictions.  They are written specifically for you, by someone who’s got to know you and your amazing, wonderful unique relationship.  They provide a canvas for couples to paint their love story with individuality and creativity so that their ceremony is as distinct as they are themselves.

Making the ceremony the heart of your wedding day

The wedding ceremony itself should be the heartbeat of a wedding. It’s a moment teeming with raw feelings, nervous excitement, anticipation, joy, tears, laughter and above all love. 

It’s when all those in attendance witness this great love and commitment and show their support.  A celebration of the couple themselves but also their relationship with their friends and families.   

It’s when real emotions are felt, promises are made and a new chapter begins.  It’s significance resonates deeply, not just on the day but also creates memories for years to come. It should not be considered that dreary part of a wedding that one just has to do before the party starts. 

Wedding celebrants create scripts that have an unparalleled level of personalisation reflecting all that emotion, joy and love by working closely with their couples.  No two celebrant led weddings are the same, making each and every one truly individual.

So why on earth do countless couples compromise with this most important of lifetime events so willingly for the sake of including less than 50 bland, impersonal, statutory and declaratory words.  

Couples have embraced personalisation on every aspect of their wedding planning.  Styling, catering, cakes you name it they want to put their stamp on it.  Why not the ceremony?

The thorny issue of celebrant led ceremonies not being legally binding

Let’s be honest: society commonly accepts the separation of legal registration from ceremonies for births, deaths, christenings, naming ceremonies and funerals.  Yet for some reason weddings must coincide with legal procedures.  

We’ve already come a long way. It wasn’t that long ago that ‘traditional’ weddings occurred only in a church, involving a man and woman who hadn’t co-habited. Many were limited to registry office ceremonies, while same-sex couples had no options at all.  We’ve progressed.  It’s time for couples to have total control over their wedding ceremony, the content, who officiates and when and where it’s held.  

But is a wedding not a wedding if it’s not legally binding?

Absolutely not.  A wedding and a marriage are so different.  Marriage is the legal contract. A wedding the celebratory ceremony.  Do you have a marriage anniversary? No.  You have a wedding anniversary.

How do you legally marry and have a celebrant led ceremony

To be legally married you need to request the statutory basic ceremony (used loosely here) at the registry office.  This is the signing of the legal paperwork – the marriage contract.  You need to take two witnesses with you, it lasts barely 10 minutes and it costs in Devon £46.00 but varies from council to council.  There is no need to exchange rings or vows.   The personal commitment you make to one another and all the symbolism attached to your wedding takes place with your wedding celebrant on your wedding day.  

There are sometimes ways round it by having a celebrant and a registrar.  Again, this varies from council to council.  Celebrants will happily fit into a registrar’s busy schedule. In my experience I conducted the personalised ceremony and then the couple signed the marriage contract afterwards.

So that’s the legal part but what’s the process of working with a wedding celebrant 

Like all your other wedding suppliers, choosing the right celebrant is key.  By right I mean someone who you feel comfortable with, have some sort of connection with, who is on the same page as you, whose vision for your day is the same, who you genuinely like.   

I send a questionnaire to my couples.  The questionnaire gives you an idea of the sort of information that I shall need so you are well prepared for when we meet in person.  Easing you in gently I suppose.  But don’t be alarmed.  My couples tell me it is a really cathartic and fun process and much enjoyed by all.  When we meet face to face is when we all properly get to know one another.  Personally my most enjoyable part of the entire process.

Once we have had our meeting I go away and write your script.  I can send it to you beforehand for approval and it will go back and forth until we’re all entirely happy or some couples like keeping the entire ceremony a secret. Then all that’s left is for me to deliver the script on the day.  For me those words “You may kiss the bride” and it’s all over.  For you it’s the beginning of a new adventure.

If you want a truly personalised ceremony experience from start to finish; the only way at the moment is with a wedding celebrant.  

I would be delighted to meet with you and explain how I can help you with your ceremony and make it the highlight of yours and everyone’s days. Contact me through my website at Fanfare Ceremonies or follow and send me a DM on Instagram @fanfareceremonies.

Claire Gould

Claire spends her days writing - either in beautiful calligraphy or online. She lives on the edge of the English Lake District only minutes away from the beach, where she loves to escape and unwind. Claire's calligraphy can be found at www.byMoonandTide.com. Claire launched the English Wedding Blog in November 2009 - it's been a top 10 UK wedding blog ever since, with a regional focus we hope you LOVE.


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