Who Chooses a Celebrant and why?


By Kelly Hawes independent Celebrant

We happened upon a social media post recently from Kelly discussing the main reasons people choose a Celebrant led Ceremony, we enjoyed the post so much we invited Kelly to pop along to RandFWeddings and write us a whole blog post on the subject!

Photo credit Nicki Shea Photography

Heres What Kelly had to say

Many of you are probably aware that us Celebrants write and officiate the most beautiful and personalised ceremonies – but who would chose a Celebrant and why?

Firstly, what situation would you NEED a Celebrant?

If you want to hold a ceremony in an unlicensed property or on unlicensed land you would NEED a celebrant led Ceremony.  This is the most common reason for using us.

However, please bear in mind that a Celebrant can work in licenced venues too – so in this case why would you CHOOSE to use a celebrant?

You would CHOOSE us for any or all of the following reasons:

Because you would like a bespoke ceremony written with you, about you, telling your love story

There is simply, no “standard” ceremony.  Each script is written after a face to face meeting with you both.  You share your ideas and your vision with me, along with a really lovely chat about how you met, your proposal, your family, your hobbies – anything that helps me get to know you and what makes you tick.  Your input is really important to me so you will be involved throughout the writing and approve each and every part (we will discuss the vows individually if you wish to surprise each other on the day)

Because you would like a Ceremony that is as individual as you are

The content, including readings and any symbolic actions will reflect you as a couple.  Whether it is because of a shared interest, because you are a slushy lovey dovey couple, or quite the opposite and you like no frills and simplicity.  Your ceremony will reflect this exactly as you wish.

Because you would like a theme to follow into your ceremony

I can’t speak for every Celebrant under this heading – but personally I love a theme!  And by theme – it could just be that you love a certain place, season, or colour OR it could be inspired by a hobby or favourite film.  If you love it, why not add it to your ceremony.  This  could be just a hint of wording or readings or go all out full fancy dress!

Photo Credit John Whiles Photography

Because you would like to write your own vows to each other

This always sounds daunting but I am here to help you along the way.  What is important is that the personal vows you make to each other are YOUR words from YOUR heart and the way YOU would express them.   If you just can’t manage this, don’t worry – this is also a reason I need to get to know you and I will write something truly fitting for you.  You will get to approve along the way so that it fits your relationship perfectly.

Because you would like to have had a working relationship with the person officiating your ceremony

Before anything happens, you will meet me face to face and our initial consultation is usually around and hour and a half to two hours long.  It’s relaxed and fun and actually most couples say how lovely it is to reflect back on their journey together so far.  From this day onwards we communicate often by email and text and of course, when you arrive ready for your Ceremony I am there for you – someone you know and trust, not a stranger who you meet just minutes before the big event.

Because you are of mixed faith and would like to incorporate rituals or beliefs from both

Now, I’m not a Minister nor a religious expert.  But I love a bit of research, so if there is a part of your culture or religion that you would like incorporated into the ceremony we will work together to do so. 

Because you would like a ceremony in a licenced venue (not place of worship) but would like some religious elements included

Choosing a licenced venue means a Registrar will be able to conduct your legal marriage there.  However under the Marriage Law they are not permitted to allow any religious content within the wording, the readings or the music.  But a Celebrant is not held to such rules due to the fact that we are conducting the Ceremony, not the legal marriage (see footnote below).

Because you would like to combine a wedding and a family blending ceremony in one

Perhaps you and your partner have children of your own and it is important to blend into one family unit, we can make sure this is incorporated into the day and the occasion will bring you all together as one blended family.

Because you would like a ceremony at the time you choose, rather than the only time left available.

Most Celebrants perform only one Ceremony a day.  So as the title suggests, you chose your preferred time.  It also means I have time to be at your venue about an hour before the start so that I can be sure everything is ready and perfect for you and I am not rushing off to the next wedding.  I also love to take in the photo moments immediately after the ceremony and I usually say my goodbyes just before the photographer whisks you off for some couple shots.

Because you would like guest participation within your ceremony

Whether this is a few guests performing a reading for you, or the whole congregation being involved in some way – singing, warming your rings or adding to your wishing tree for example.

Because you would like to perform a symbolic action such as candle lighting, sand blending or handfasting (to name a few)

The point of a symbolic action is to symbolise the unity of marriage – there are many ways of doing so but the above are most common.  Don’t like common?  Lets come up with a unique way between us.

Because you would like to choose music or readings with religious content

As I mentioned above, a Registrar will be unable to allow any religious content – and sometimes it is just because a word is present, not necessarily because the content is religious.  If you do not want such rules, then go ahead and choose whatever you feel suitable.

Because you would like to use a licenced venue, but not necessarily the room listed on the licence

A point that is often overlooked.  Whilst the venue is licensed, the license is attached to a certain room and or area within the grounds.  But what if you want a small gathering but the licensed room fits 100 or vice versa?  Think outside the box here, if there’s a beautiful area, staircase or a more suitable room ask the venue’s permission to use this space instead.  Their initial response may be that the area is not licensed but you now know this is not an issue!  Unless you have an exclusive use venue bear in mind that some communal areas may be out of bounds for obvious reasons.

Because you would like a WOW ceremony that your guests will comment on and talk about for years to come

So many reasons … what’s not to love?

The legal part

A Celebrant is not able to perform a legal marriage within England.  This means you would need to book the formalities of a statutory marriage with your Registrar.  This is approximately a 15 minute appointment with you two and two witnesses.  You make your legal declaration to each other, sign the register and then you are free to have a unique ceremony as described above.  I often describe this as you registering your marriage.  The day you will celebrate as your wedding anniversary is the day your family and friends see you exchange rings and exchange your personal vows to each other at your Celebrant led Ceremony.

Kelly Hawes Celebrant

You can get in touch with Kelly via her website – www.kellyhcelebrant.co.uk