These days couples have so much more choice when it comes to planning where to hold their wedding ceremony and who to preside over the ceremony. Gone are the days when your choices were a Registrar or a Priest – with restrictions on when, where and the form of your ceremony. When I married Mr Ash we had no idea about Celebrants…I wish we’d been better informed.
A Celebrant-led wedding gives you complete freedom of choice on your ceremony location, time of day and every single word of your ceremony! Zero restrictions! You have complete freedom to develop a ceremony that reflects who you are as individuals and a couple, your hopes and dreams for your life together and your beliefs.
While a celebrant-led wedding isn’t legally binding (at the moment), working with a celebrant enables you to separate the legal aspects of your marriage from the celebratory aspects of your wedding! Let’s look at what that means in practice.
The simplest way to legally register your marriage is to nip down to your local Registry Office where you will be asked to sign the register and declare your marriage in the presence of a couple of witnesses. This is often termed a ‘Simple Ceremony.’ You don’t have to share vows or exchange rings if you don’t want to. This means that you can save them for your wedding day.
Once you’ve sorted the legalities….Enter your wedding celebrant!
I often get asked – “What does a Celebrant do?”
A celebrant does much more than just preside over your wedding ceremony on the day. When you book a celebrant you’re not just booking someone who will rock up on the day of the wedding and do a quick ceremony. You’re booking the person who will set the tone for the rest of your wedding celebrations!
A celebrant will take time to get to know you both and then design, write, and deliver a ceremony that is unique to you – there are no formulaic templates here! Whether you’re after a ceremony with all the bells and whistles including symbolic elements or a quick tailored ceremony, you’re investing in a celebrant’s time and expertise to ensure that everything goes to plan from start to finish.
Here’s how I typically work with a couple:
Our First Call
Once you’ve made an enquiry about my services, I’ll always call you to discuss your plans in more detail and address your questions and concerns. We’ll take time to get to know each other because it’s really important to me that we’re a ‘fit.’ If you’re happy with my services and I feel I can serve you, then I’ll ask you to complete a booking form, sign a contract and pay a booking fee to confirm your booking.
The Couple’s Quiz!
The first thing I will ask you to do to help prepare for our first meeting together is for you to complete my couples quiz…separately without sharing your responses with each other!!! The quiz is designed to help me get to know you both and your story from your individual perspective! I also ask questions such as what inspires you about your partner, some of the high points and how you’ve grown together! I may even weave some of your words into the ceremony as a surprise on your wedding day!
After completing your couples quiz we will get together, in person (or over Zoom as is the case these days) and get to know each other better! We’ll discuss your hopes and dreams for your ceremony. We’ll talk about incorporating meaningful symbolic elements such as a Handfasting, Ring Warming, Message in a Bottle, Bucket List and many more. We also discuss ]elements such as your vows, exchanging rings or other symbols, music, readings, and how to involve your nearest and dearest in your ceremony. I’ll ask you to tell me about the other suppliers involved in your day too.
A note here on vows. About 50% of the couples I work with ask me to write their wedding vows for them whilst the other 50% want to write them themselves, often with my support. It’s completely your choice and there are lots of fun and creative ways to share vows in your ceremony.
You’ll leave the meeting with some rough ideas of the look and feel of your ceremony. I will then begin to write a draft of your ceremony. For me this is the fun part because I get to bring together all the threads of our discussions, the couples quizzes and any other inspiration that may strike!
Once it’s written, I will share the first draft of your ceremony with you to gauge your feedback. We’ll go through as many drafts as it takes until you are completely happy with the content.
Once you are completely happy with the script you will sign it off and not have to worry about it again until your wedding day! With that in mind, I usually like to have your ceremony script complete at least 8 weeks prior to the day. This is because you have so many other things to think about the closer to the day you get. Taking the time to work on the ceremony well in advance gives you complete peace of mind.
Once you are completely happy with the wedding ceremony script, will do a final call together where we cover logistics and the nitty gritty details for the day. This includes timings, who is involved in what and when, who the main players of the ceremony are. Where we’ll all stand or sit, where the photographer/videographer will be and housekeeping announcements before the ceremony begins.
For some couples, the thought of standing up and speaking up in front of a crowd is daunting. I’ve worked with a number of introverted people who are very concerned about this aspect of the wedding. Let me reassure you – this is your day…so do what you want. If you’d prefer to sit down for your ceremony – then do it!
The Big Day!
On the day of your wedding, I like to arrive at least an hour before the ceremony to ensure that everything is set up and that you are both completely happy. I’ll take time to introduce myself to your other suppliers and ensure that we are all on the same page regarding the ceremony and timings. This might include liasing with your bar staff so they know when to have the first drinks ready, assisting your photographer with photos and going through readings and music. I’ll come and speak to both of you – either separately or together – to make sure you’re both ready. And I’ll take time to introduce myself to your nearest and dearest too!
After the ceremony has taken place I’m sometimes asked to help with the first few logistics such as getting folks together for photos etc.
Lastly, before slipping away and leaving you to party, I’ll give you both a presentation copy of your ceremony script.
I hope that this gives you an idea of what to expect when working with a celebrant. If you’re curious about how working with me will bring that added ‘pizazz’ to your wedding day – let’s have a chat soon!
Remember it’s about having Your Day, Your Way!
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