What is a wedding celebrant?

What is a wedding celebrant?

With most of our wedding venues not being licenced for civil ceremonies, its a question we get asked all the time by our couples....so we thought we'd get an expert to explain!

What is a wedding celebrant?

A wedding celebrant is a skilled officiant, that has the ability to create completely bespoke and personalised ceremonies.  We are also warm and friendly people that love getting to know our couples, and creating wonderful memories for everyone at your wedding.

How does a ceremony with a wedding celebrant differ from a civil wedding ceremony?

A celebrant has no restrictions in terms of the location, content, format or style of a wedding, and can therefore be completely personal and reflective of who you are. 

Civil ceremonies led by a registrar are government template ceremonies and contain no details about you as a couple, so using a celebrant opens up this part of your wedding to be just as fabulous and full of your personality as the rest of your day!   

My ceremonies contain many of the elements that you and your guests would expect to see at a wedding (exchange of vows and rings etc), but also lots of beautiful details about you both as well as the option to add in a few other lovely elements too. 

I love to use guest involvement to really add something a little bit special to the ceremony,  and depending on the couple, we can add elements of religion, acknowledge a cultural background, or even a family tradition.  I have included a Sri Lankan lamp lighting ritual into a ceremony, numerous Celtic mini-handfasting variations, Persian sugar rubbing rituals, Jewish blessings, sand ceremonies and a whole host of other lovely activities too!  You really can make it truly personal, and unique to you.

This all means that the ceremony is warm and relaxed, and ensures we create lovely lasting memories for everyone attending. 

Why have something ordinary when you can have something special and unique to you?

Do I need to get legally married before I have a celebrant ceremony?

Yes, weddings with a celebrant will require a couple to arrange their legal paperwork separately from their actual ceremony.  Just as families do for the registration of the birth of a new baby, the legalities are completed and they then have a ceremony to celebrate this big life event.  Think of your legal element as the ‘marriage’, and the ceremony and reception as your ‘wedding day’.

For your wedding, you will need to register your intent to marry (just as you would with a registrar wedding) and then advise them of your requirements to complete the legal declarations and signing ONLY with the registration service near to your wedding day.  Your rings and vows can be saved for your wedding day with your celebrant.  This service costs around £49.

Do we meet you beforehand?

Absolutely!  I positively encourage it, and I thoroughly enjoy getting to know you.  Most of my couples prefer a skype chat to get the ball rolling and then once the date is secured we begin writing your draft ceremony words and arrange to meet at the venue for a walk and

talk through of all of your details.  Being at the venue allows you to experience how it might flow on your day, plus we can chat about how you might feel when you arrive, and where you might stand or sit, as well as where everyone else that is involved will be positioned too.

Blank Canvas venues range in style and capacities, and so having the option to meet with the person that is creating and conducting your ceremony, is of great benefit!  Having worked with the team at Blank Canvas for several years now, and knowing their venues as I do, I can help to ensure your ceremony runs smoothly, and that all logistical elements are covered.

How long does a ceremony with a wedding celebrant take?

This varies, depending on the content of your ceremony, but the vast majority of mine are around half an hour and are created with a fantastic flow.  My speaking parts are always creatively punctuated with guest readings or involvement in some other way so that the ceremony feels like everyone there has a role in the proceedings, and indeed in supporting you as a couple.  It becomes a lovely experience rather than someone just standing and reading to a group of people which can otherwise feel quite cold by comparison.

Can guests do readings in a ceremony with a wedding celebrant?

Of course!  I have lots of lovely ways in which this can be done.  Guests can select a popular piece of poetry online, or they might want to write something personal about you that is shared on the day, but there are lots of other options too.  I work with my couples and ensure that the content accurately reflects who they are, and that those doing readings are comfortable with everything on the day too. 

Can any type of music be played with a celebrant ceremony?

Yes indeed.  Why not walk down the aisle to your favourite song, a beautiful instrumental piece, or even have a friend or relative sing for you!  There are no restrictions on lyrics either (as you would have in a registrar-led ceremony).

If you aren’t having live musicians, you can have access to my fully portable and wireless PA system for your ceremony music if you wish.  I often use this for my outdoor weddings to ensure all guests get to hear what is being said so it is a great way to ensure you can have music no matter where you are tying the knot!  I have worked in the middle of the countryside in fields, and by lakes and on the beach too, and I don’t need mains power so we have complete flexibility!

Music adds a real ambience to the ceremony and so make sure you choose something that you both love, and not feel limited in your selection.

Can a ceremony with a wedding celebrant be held both indoors and outdoors?  

It certainly can, and with trends for outdoor weddings on the rise, a celebrant can often unlock the potential within a venue as our ceremonies are not required to take place underneath a permanent licensed structure.


Blank Canvas weddings are all unlicensed and so the use of a celebrant for ceremonies on-site are essential.  If you aren’t wanting to have a religious venue, and are keen to keep the celebrations all in one location, we would be delighted to help!  

Are there specifications in terms of where, when and what time a wedding celebrant ceremony can take place?

Not at all, you can select the time YOU want, without restriction on time slots or indeed location.  This day is yours and I am dedicated to your wedding alone.  Many couples will still opt for an early afternoon ceremony time but I have some that prefer an altogether different plan for their celebrations and will perhaps have a roof terrace ceremony under the stars followed by cocktails and dinner for example.  More and more couples are thinking outside of the box, and doing away with tradition, and indeed opting for something a little more ‘unexpected’ and unique to them. 

If one or both of us have been married before, can we still have a ceremony with a wedding celebrant?

Absolutely.  This has no bearing whatsoever on your ceremony with me.  I happily work with couples and families with varying circumstances and I proudly embrace diversity.

Will we need to sign any documentation during our celebrant ceremony?

This is not obligatory but many of my clients like to sign a commemorative certificate as part of the ceremony and I present them with a beautiful keepsake folder at the end, with copies of their personal vows and readings inside too.  You can even have ‘witnesses’ to join you to complete the signing if you wish, and this is a nice way of involving other family members that perhaps were not part of the legal proceedings. It’s also great for getting a few keepsake photos on the ceremony day too.

How long before we choose to get married do we need to hire a wedding celebrant?

As with all suppliers in the wedding industry, the earlier the better as it means your date is secured, but there are some legal requirements for the paperwork side that you will need to bear in mind.  The law has changed in the last couple of years and so you must register your intent to marry within 12 months of your wedding date, and no later than 28 days prior to your big day.  It is wise to check availability as soon as you have a date in mind.  That said, I will sometimes take bookings with a relatively short lead time so as soon as you know, do get in touch!

Would we get to write our own vows or would the wedding celebrant read them to us?

This is a really personal part of the ceremony and I tend to try to keep this as modern and relevant as possible.  There are three styles that can be used, the “I do” that many people expect to hear, the ‘repeat after me’ vows where I read a sentence and this is repeated by the groom then the bride, and of course, personal vows written by the couple and then read to one another during the ceremony.  Many of my clients like to do all three, and so I weave these into the flow of the ceremony, but some prefer just to do one or two.  I can provide lots of great ways in which you can deliver your personal vows and am happy to help you if you need guidance in creating something special, and I can also ensure they are of similar length and tone. 

It’s your day so be as creative as you wish, and have a truly personal day.  Using a celebrant means you will have a beautifully bespoke ceremony, created just for you and I am here to make sure your ceremony is truly unforgettable.

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