Last weekend I was participating in a local wedding fair which took place at a fantastic venue…a blank canvas…a local field. I spoke with many couples including several who were struggling to find a venue that would allow them to work with a Celebrant or were even aware that this is an option. This was a wake up call for me - there is still much to do in demystifying celebrancy! Venue owners, wedding planners and couples are often confused about the difference between a celebrant and a registrar. So here are a few thoughts crafted to clear up misunderstandings about our industry and engage in greater dialogue about how venues and celebrants can partner and offer clients more choice.
Many licensed venues presume that couples want a Registrar to conduct their marriage and don’t offer the option of a Celebrant-led ceremony usually because they are not acquainted with what we can do. Sometimes I am approached by the owners of unlicensed venues who are seeking support for their clients. This year I’ve partnered with a local venue has found the option of getting license prohibitive. Instead they are now referring all their couples to me to help plan a Celebrant-led ceremony and I am featured on their website.
The wedding ceremony is the heart of the big day and yet the services that the Registrar and Celebrant offer vary. The main difference is that Registrars take care of the legal aspects pertaining to the registration of a marriage. Celebrants, on the other hand, create non-legally binding ceremonies. The advantage of using the Celebrant is that by separating the legal aspect of marriage from the wedding ceremony couples are able to have a unique, bespoke ceremony that is personal to them. There are no restrictions on where the ceremony may be held, therefore it doesn’t necessarily have to take place in a licensed venue. It means that couples are free to choose when, where, and how they wish to hold their ceremony. Over the years I’ve performed weddings outdoors in fields, pub gardens, farms, woodlands, boats and beaches as well as barns, village halls, family homes, restaurants, stately homes, castles and chateaus.
Typically, in the interests of time and budget, the couples I work with take care of the legal aspect of their marriage prior to their big day. They will make an appointment at the local registrar office for a simple ceremony for as little as £49. They will need to have two people witness the signing the register and make their declarations. They do not have to exchange vows or rings unless they choose to do so. This then means that they are free to create a Celebrant-led ceremony that truly reflects their story, beliefs, hopes, and dreams.