How a celebrant ceremony works

There seems to be a lot of confusion over what a celebrant can and can’t do when leading a wedding ceremony. I hope to clear that up in this post.

In recent times a high percentage of couples are choosing to tie the knot in a hotel, a castle, a village hall, on a beach, in a garden, a marquee, in a field, at the edge of a cliff or even in a graveyard.

Usually this is down to the bride and groom preferring not to go with a religious ceremony, or, to the fact they would prefer the freedom to have a wedding they can plan from start to finish with as many traditional, or non-traditional elements as they choose, no matter how eccentric and exotic.

This does not mean however that you can just grab your loudest, audience loving, shoutiest friend to stand up in front of your guests and do the honours. If you are not being married by a religious minister, you must have the legal part completed by a registrar in a place which has an appropriate license, unlike the venues mentioned previously. We are hopeful that this will change soon.

The legal part takes place in your local registry office on one of the days leading up to the wedding ceremony and will only take 20 minutes. All that is required is that you give the registrar notice that you intend to marry, then make the arrangements with the registrar for the date and time of the registration. You must also arrange for two people to be present to act as witnesses at the registration of the marriage under the auspices of the Marriage Act. The registrar will prepare a marriage certificate. This does not need to be shown to you before the ceremony.

The process is the same for a civil partnership. For a renewal of vows, it depends of course if you have divorced. If you haven’t then you will not need to do the paperwork again and can focus on just the ceremony.

Ok, now the legal part has been arranged, it’s time for the good stuff. You can contact your loudest, audience loving, shoutiest friend and ask them to perform the ceremony, or you can have a professionally trained celebrant (here comes the hard sell) who will dedicate themselves to working along with you to create a unique wedding ceremony.

We can now focus on the readings, music, poems or any number of fun elements to add to the occasion. We can or you can write your vows and think of any family members, friends or pets we can include in the ceremony.

Since I trained as a celebrant I have been described as a humanist, as being ordained, as being a man of the cloth (I think they were joking). In fact, none are correct. I am a secular celebrant which means I perform non-religious ceremonies. If you do however feel you would like to add a religious element to the proceedings that would be fine.

The idea of following a template of a wedding is great but is not what I do and the reward comes from creating a ceremony from start to finish your friends and family will be talking about for years.

I hope this gives a clear idea of how everything would work. If you would like any further information or have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I would love to hear about your ideas for the dream wedding.

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