Firstly, if you’re reading this and you’ve recently got engaged, congratulations! Planning a wedding is fabulous and a bit daunting so we’re here to help you navigate your way through the planning. It’s possible you don’t want to get married in a church, or you have a special outside place that you’ve wistfully thought would be a wonderful place to have your wedding ceremony. Maybe you’re wondering if there is alternative that will be much more “you”…
Because using an Independent Celebrant for a wedding ceremony is fairly new thing in the UK, let’s explain…
How it works
In the England and Wales there are quite strict rules governing where a couple can get married (different rules apply in Scotland and N. Ireland). The venue either needs to be a church, registry office, or have it’s own license to conduct marriage ceremonies. The marriage must be conducted by a person or in the presence of a person authorised to register marriages in the district. Most people include signing the register as part of their ceremony, either within church or by paying for a registrar to attend a licensed venue, possibly because they are unaware that there is an alternative.
However Independent Celebrants are an alternative. Using an Independent Celebrant adopts a style of wedding much more common in Europe and the United States by separating the legal requirement of marriage, and the celebration and ceremony. Signing the register at a registry office is done, the morning, the day, sometimes, even the week before you gather all your family and friends around for a celebration that can be tailor made to you as a couple.
So now that we have separated the two parts out, what are the advantages of choosing this over a traditional wedding…
Because of the rules regarding licenses to hold weddings there are only a certain number of venues within England and Wales. The ceremony must take place in a licensed structure, which automatically means your access to outdoor weddings or ceremonies in temporary structures is limited.
By using an Independent Celebrant you free yourselves from this constraint entirely! The venue no longer requires a license for the ceremony. You are free to choose an idyllic spot on the beach or in a forest. You may decide to have a marquee or tipi in your garden or at your favourite pub. Suddenly a whole world has the possibility of becoming your venue.
Keep the cost down
We know that weddings are expensive business, with the cost of the average wedding climbing year on year. Because of the way venues are licensed for full marriage ceremonies, you can end up paying something of a premium for a wedding package and arranging a registrar for your ceremony adds to this. When you begin to approach your ceremony as a separate celebration you have access to venues and services that will help you keep your costs down.
With regards to legal part of your marriage, if you choose to sign the register at a registry office before your ceremony, this will cost somewhere in the region of £50 depending on location, whereas booking a registrar to come to your venue is likely to cost £600+ and will be a lot more if you decide to get married outside of normal office hours or on a Sunday, and they are often booked up a long way in advance.
Flexible and unique
One of greatest advantages of using an independent celebrant is flexibility. If you desire to have your ceremony in the evening by candlelight or at dawn on a hilltop, then Independent Celebrants can make that happen for you because they are not restricted by location or to necessarily working within office hours.
Possibly the best aspect of using a Celebrant is that your ceremony will be unique to you. Registrars are bound by law to a particular form of words and to be secular, they are unable to incorporate anything religious into the ceremony itself. By fulfilling the letter of the law first, you open the door to creating a ceremony that will reflect the kind of people you and you partner are. Celebrants are able to write a ceremony for you that will bring together your family, friends and children, if you have them. We can draw on religious and cultural backgrounds, combining traditions and rituals to breathe life into a celebration that will be truly individual.
Let us help you have the wedding you really want, not what everyone might be expecting you to have!