Planning Your Celebrant-Led Ceremony
How do I find a Celebrant?
There are a whole host of directories out there that help you to search for wedding suppliers but for one that is specific to Celebrants head straight to https://www.thecelebrantdirectory.com/find-a-celebrant/.
You can search by area and the chances are that your search will deliver at least 20 Celebrants for you to choose from. My advice would be to narrow your options down to 3 or 4 based on their profiles and reviews then send each of them an enquiry.
When we receive an enquiry at Rose & Grace the first thing we do is to check our availability. If one of us is available we do a little happy dance and we reply to the enquiry straight away with any information that has been requested and an invitation to arrange a consultation over video call. (If we’re not available ourselves we’ll happily recommend another local Celebrant to contact.) We never put any pressure on a couple to book at the end of a consultation call. It’s important that you talk to one another afterwards and when you’ve made a joint decision on who you’d like as your Celebrant just let them know and they’ll wiz you over a booking form so that you can secure your date!
When should I book our Celebrant?
The best advice we could give you right now, given that all Celebrants have had to postpone most of this year’s weddings, is to book asap! If you are hoping to get married next year you may need to decide whether to prioritise the Celebrant you want or the venue you want, particularly if you want to get married on a Saturday in peak wedding season. Don’t forget that a Celebrant-led ceremony can take place anywhere so, if having the right person to officiate your wedding is your priority, get your Celebrant booked then think outside of the box when looking for a venue. You don’t need to limit yourself to licensed venues. You’ll go along to the registry office to sign your legal marriage certificate at a different time or on a different date to your actual wedding (it’s the same as registering a baby’s birth then having a Christening) leaving you free to have your wedding wherever you choose. Think romantic woodland ceremony; a lakeside festival wedding; a marquee at your own home; a mountaintop elopement! The world is your oyster!
How do we organise the legal part?
As I mentioned above, Celebrant led weddings are officiated separately to the legal signing of the register. This is usually done in the days prior to or after the wedding and won't affect your Celebrant ceremony at all. It's usually a very simple and affordable process to become 'legally' married, freeing you up to plan your amazing, personal wedding ceremony. In order to organise the legal part (if you choose to) you will need to register your intent to marry with the register office (at least 29 days in advance) and book your appointment to sign the legal documents. The legal element of your marriage will simply involve signing the marriage license and saying a few contracting words in front of two witnesses of your choice. It is not a legal requirement to exchange vows and rings so these can be kept for your wedding ceremony.
How will our Celebrant be able to write a personalized ceremony for us?
Celebrants tend to be intuitive and good at listening, especially over a coffee! Speaking for ourselves at Rose & Grace, we would arrange to meet you in person around 4 months before your wedding. This would give us the chance to chat about when you met, how you got engaged, what you love to do etc. We’d be able to get a really good feel for who you are and the vibe you would like your ceremony to have.
Then we would give you some questions to go away with and your answers would help us to gather the detail we need to write a ceremony that truly reflects you as a couple. We don’t expect perfectly articulated answers or any particular number of words to come back to us. Scribbled down notes, bullet points or any kind of brain dump is perfectly fine! We’ll turn it into a ceremony that tells your story.
It’s quite likely that we would chat again or meet for another coffee to make sure we have it just right! And we’ll even meet you at the venue for a bit of a run through a couple of days before the wedding if you need any nerves settling!
What decisions will we need to make about our Ceremony?
Since your Celebrant will create an entirely unique ceremony for you, they will first want to find out which of the traditional elements of a ceremony you would or wouldn’t like to be included. Many couples opt to include the traditional (and let’s face it, rather lovely) elements of a wedding ceremony – a ring exchange, vows, ‘I dos’ and not forgetting ‘the kiss’! But since a Celebrant creates every ceremony based around the couple’s own story it will have never been heard before.
Your Celebrant will also ask you if you would like to include an additional or alternative symbolic gesture in your ceremony such as a hand fasting, candle lighting or sand pouring. If you would like to involve members of the family or wedding party in your ceremony, which Celebrants very much welcome, these symbolic gestures are a really nice way of doing so. Sand pouring, for example, is a particularly lovely way of involving children and lighting a Unity Candle by having a taper candle passed to you from each side of the family is a wonderful way of involving the mums or grandparents.
Whether or not you would like any readings/poems included in your ceremony and whom you would like to read them is something else for you to think about. But to save you trawling the Internet most Celebrants will be able to give you a selection to choose from based on their intuition of what sort of reading you might like.
Then there’s music. We would ask you to choose three songs or pieces of music – one for the bridal/groom entrance, one for the ceremony certificate signing and one for your exit amidst all the clapping and cheering!
Finally, you will just need to decide if there is anything else you’d like your ceremony to entail. If you’ve always fancied skydiving into your wedding ceremony or dreamt of a ‘Love Actually’ style orchestra breaking out at the end, we’re all ears!!
Can I design my own ceremony arch or backdrop?
Yes!! Why not personalize the visual aspect of your ceremony as well as having the words written just for you. A wonderful way to create your own arch is to use a wooden or metal frame and have it adorned with your choice of florals. Frames come in many different shapes – hexagon, circular, moon-shaped even. You could add macramé, lace, or even a personalised, hand-painted backdrop such as the one above.
One of the benefits of having a Celebrant as your wedding officiant is that they are there for you throughout your whole planning process. They will want your wedding to be the best day of your lives so there’s no question too big or too small. And if things change, which let’s face it we’re used to by now; they’ll be supportive, sympathetic and help you to have the perfect day in the end.
CONCEPT, PLANNING & STYLING | @roseandgraceceremonies & @natashaspencerevents
VENUE | @kentfieldestate
PHOTOGRAPHER | @alisonwonderland.photography
MODELS | @real_life_couple_models
FLORIST | @cocobloom2019
HAIR | @kentbridalhair
BRIDAL JUMPSUIT & SHOES | @thebridalboutiqueofjules
CELEBRANT | @roseandgraceceremonies
FURNITURE & PROPS | @thelittleweddingwarehouse
JEWELLERY | @lawley_design
VENUE MANAGEMENT | @swanwm
CEREMONY BACKDROP & CELEBRANT’S FOLDER | @whilstjudesleeps
GROOMSWEAR | @suitstosuituk
HANDFASTING RIBBONS | @silkandpurl