Why Consider a Celebrant for your Wedding Ceremony?
Variety is the spice of life! And the Wedding industry is jam-packed full of it! When it comes to planning that special day there is an abundance of choice in almost every area: photography style; bridal and groom’s wear; flowers; props and decorations; food; music and so on. Ironically, the one aspect that has traditionally offered very little variation is the ceremony. And yet maybe this is the part that should be the most personal of them all.
What has been traditionally offered in the past is a church or registry office service and although the option of a Celebrant-led ceremony has existed for around 50 years it has been widely unknown. But times are changing. Couples are now searching for an alternative option, something that is modern and truly reflects them. Something personalised and memorable rather than a script that has been performed over and over.
Maybe one of the reasons that registrars have taken precedence over wedding ceremonies in the past is the notion that the legal part of a wedding needs to take place at the same time as the ceremony. This is something I fully understand since I myself was sucked in by this notion when planning my own wedding. Looking back now I realise that I simply didn’t question it, I just went along with what I knew to be the most common way of getting married.
Choosing to become legally married at the time and place of our ceremony meant that my husband I and were married by a Registrar. He was a lovely man but I remember feeling frustrated by the conversation we had with him prior to our ceremony. He explained that we weren’t allowed to amend the wording in the script. Being bound by the rules and regulations of the registry office, there was nothing he could do to make it better suit us.
We had put a lot of thought into how our wedding day would reflect us as a couple. We wanted it to feel relaxed, modern, personal, romantic without being too ‘weddingy’ and most of all fun! So the fact that our ceremony, the most important part of the day, used traditional wording instead of personalisation, just didn’t fit. But we’d gone along with tradition. If I could ask myself now, “what is truly more important, having the perfect ceremony or having a legally-officiated ceremony?” I know what my answer would be.
Photography Credit: Milena Burkitt
Now I know what you’re thinking .. “you’re a Celebrant, you would say that!” True! But really it comes down to knowledge. Back when I got married 9 years ago, I didn’t know about the option of a Celebrant, but years later a friend of mine had the most incredible celebrant-led wedding at the top of a mountain in Cornwall (photographed above) and another was married by a celebrant in the beautiful gardens of an old boarding school in France. Not only were these ceremonies personal and a joy to witness, they were made even more memorable because of where they took place. Completely unique venues, chosen because of what they mean to the couples, rather than because they hold wedding licenses. Both couples had signed their legal documents at a registry office prior to the ceremony but no one would have known. What we all know and love about a wedding ceremony is (funnily enough) the ceremonial aspects, not the legal aspect. The promises, the vows, the ring exchange, the ‘I Dos’, the kiss!! None of these things legally bind a couple in marriage but they do form the special declaration of love that is a wedding ceremony.
Becoming a Celebrant meant that I could let others know about this alternative option. “Knowledge is power” my husband always says! Noone should be persuaded to have one type of wedding officiate over another, and even amongst the world of celebrants there are many different personalities! That’s one of the beauties of opting for a Celebrant. You can speak to or meet up with as many as you want and choose the person you most click with. Then once you’ve chosen someone they will take the time to get to know you so that they can write you a completely bespoke ceremony.
The style and feel of the ceremony is entirely up to you. Whether you choose a laid-back and intimate ceremony in your own garden or one that involves photos and videos being projected on a cinema screen for 200 guests, a Celebrant will make it work. What makes a ceremony written by a Celebrant special is having your own, unique story at the heart of it. And the personalisation doesn’t even have to stop there. The ceremony could be based around one of your shared passions, music for example or film; it could have a special role for your children or other loved ones; it could include a symbolic ritual such as hand fasting or candle lighting. It can be religious, non-religious, spiritual or even bring in multiple beliefs. Whatever you choose, it will be entirely your own, and something that your guests will always remember.
There is no reason why two ceremonies need be the same. The wedding world is bursting with creativity and as Celebrants we are proud to be a part of that. We also pride ourselves on being there for you as a couple, every step of the way. If changes need to be made, we are there to give support and guidance, now more than ever! If your wedding has been affected by the Coronavirus and you would like some advice or support please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Whether or not a Celebrant is the answer to the difficult situation you’re in, we are happy to help. Just know that you have options!
Written by Natalie Davies, Independent Celebrant, Rose & Grace Bespoke Ceremonies