FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Why choose a celebrant?
Having a celebrant write and conduct your ceremony ensures that it is given the personal touch. Celebrants are not confined by any legalities or customs, so ceremonies can be held at any venue (no license needed), and include any wording, readings, music, etc. that you choose. Celebrant ceremonies are also the perfect choice for people who want to get married abroad and have a wedding celebration with all their friends and family when they return, or for people who would like a mixture of religious and non-religious elements in their ceremony. The bottom line is that no matter what you are celebrating, a celebrant knows it is your big day - it will be done your way.
Can a celebrant perform legal marriages and civil partnerships?
No - in England and Wales, only registrars and certain religious officials can perform legal marriage and civil partnership ceremonies. If you choose to have a celebrant-led ceremony you will also need to book a date to legally register your marriage/partnership beforehand. This can be as simple as attending your local register office with two witnesses to sign on the dotted line. No vows, rings, etc. are required for this so you can save all of that for the big day.
What's the difference between a celebrant and a registrar?
Registrars are employed by the local authority and are authorised to conduct legally binding marriage and civil partnership ceremonies. They are also responsible for the administration of registering births, marriages and deaths. Celebrants are self-employed and conduct non-legally binding celebration ceremonies. One key difference is that celebrants will plan a ceremony that is unique and personal to you, getting to know you in advance and working closely with you on the script; a registrar will usually use a standard script and it is unlikely you would meet them before the ceremony day itself.
Will a celebrant wedding feel 'less real' because it is not legally binding?
No - some people worry about this but actually find that a celebrant ceremony is much more special because it can be made so personal to them. The legal part involves the formal process of signing a register and confirming your willing commitment in front of two witnesses. The ceremony itself is what makes your wedding so special.
We would prefer not to undergo a legal marriage - is this possible?
Yes - I am happy to conduct 'commitment ceremonies' for couples who choose to make promises to one another without following the separate legal process. These can incorporate any wedding traditions you wish, including the exchanging of rings.
What's the difference between a marriage and a civil partnership?
Civil partnerships were introduced in 2005 to provide same-sex couples with an alternative to marriage, but in 2019 the law was changed to allow any couple to enter into a civil partnership rather than a marriage if they choose. A civil partnership entitles the couple to similar (but not the same) legal rights as a marriage. The Citizens Advice website provides a detailed summary of the legal differences between the two types of union. As a celebrant I can conduct both wedding and civil partnership celebration ceremonies, but you would also need to make arrangements to legally register the union.
Do you perform same-sex weddings?
Yes, absolutely. Love is love!
Can I hold a ceremony in my home or garden?
Yes - many people choose to host their ceremony in their own home/garden, or in the home of a family member or friend. A marquee in the garden is a popular option. I can advise on important practical matters to be aware of if you plan to do this, such as health and safety considerations.
Can I include any religious or spiritual content in my ceremony?
Absolutely. One benefit of choosing to have a celebrant-led ceremony is that you can balance religious/spiritual and secular content if you wish. For example, you may have no religious beliefs but one of your favourite pieces of music or readings has religious connotations, meaning it would not be permitted in a civil ceremony conducted by a registrar. Or perhaps you both come from different religious backgrounds and you want your ceremony to acknowledge this. We can work together on the script and the choices of music/readings/customs to ensure that the right balance is struck.
Can we write our own vows/promises?
Of course! Many couples and families choose to do this, which is lovely. You would just need to email me a copy of the promises so I can add them to your presentation script, and I am also happy to print them out on cards for you to read from on the day. I would of course leave them out of the script I share with you at drafting stage if they need to remain a surprise. Alternatively, I have a wide range of vows/promises to pick from if you need a little help or inspiration, which many people do.
Can you help us choose readings and music for our ceremony?
Yes - I have comprehensive lists of readings, music and vow ideas for those who need some inspiration. I always take copies of these to planning meetings, and once your booking is confirmed you will have access to the electronic versions to peruse at your leisure.
Can we include any symbolic actions or extra features in our ceremony?
Yes - I'm more than happy to include any enhancement you would like in your ceremony. These can include cultural customs, prayers, songs, handfasting, a champagne toast, candle lighting, sand blending, sharing a cup... you name it!
Are you insured?
Yes, I am covered by £5m public liability insurance and £1m professional indemnity insurance through the Association of Independent Celebrants.
Can you help to plan other aspects of our day?
Although I am not an event planner, I can provide advice and recommendations for other aspects of your day if you wish. I work with various other suppliers and can put you in touch with venues, florists, photographers, singers, etc. View my list of trusted suppliers.