What does a Wedding Celebrant do?

29th July 2020
Celebrant led wedding

With so many weddings postponed from 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, it is possible that 2021 may be a frantically busy wedding season – both for wedding venues and, more importantly, Registrars. Faced with difficulties in joining up dates and times that work for all involved, many of our couples have been open to the idea of considering using a Celebrant for their big day. But others are largely unaware of what a Celebrant actually does – or that it was even an option. 

What is the role of a Marriage Celebrant?

 Put simply, a celebrant is a person who performs and officiates formal ceremonies –such as weddings, vow renewals, baby naming, or even funerals and memorials.  By booking a Celebrant for your service, you can have the vows you want, the music you want, the readings you want. You can have as much or as little religious content as you wish. If you and your partner are of different religions, you can have a blend from your different beliefs.

 Here are some answers to some of the most common questions:

What’s the difference between a Celebrant and Registrar?

Registrars are allowed by law to officiate a wedding via civil ceremony, meaning the ceremony is purely secular with no religious tones whatsoever. The registrar is in charge of processing and approving the couple’s marriage license, with the wedding ceremony acting as a formality after the legalities are taken care of.

Celebrants can support and guide couples in completing the necessary requirements for the marriage license, but don’t have the authority to approve it.  But they can officiate a far more bespoke ceremony.

Is my Celebrant Wedding Ceremony legally binding?

No. You will need to arrange for a Civil Partnership Registration in the Registrar’s office with two adult witnesses to legally register your marriage. This is the ‘admin’ part of the process, and does not need to be treated as a formal ceremony.  You can save your vows and rings, and everything else until your actual celebration date. 

Do I need to be legally married before I have my Celebrant led Wedding?

Not necessarily. Many couples do register their marriage before the Celebrant led Wedding Ceremony out of preference, but it’s no problem if you want to register your marriage afterwards.

Do I need to register my marriage on the same day/ at the same venue as my Celebrant led Wedding?

No. You can do this at any time and at any Register office in the UK. You don’t need to have the Registrar attend your Celebrant Ceremony or be present at your venue.  It’s often cheaper to register your marriage at your local register office on a weekday, rather than at your venue.

Does it matter what faith or religion I am?

No. The content of a celebrant ceremony is not restricted to any culture, faith or religion.  And you can incorporate a cultural or religious tradition into your ceremony if you wish.

Can I include music and readings in my ceremony?

Yes. You can include as many songs, hymns and readings as you wish – whether religious or non-religious, traditional or modern. You can even write your own words and have guests read out something personal for you. 

Can I write my own wedding vows at my Celebrant led Wedding?

Yes! You can do this yourself, or your Celebrant can help you.  You will have plenty of guidance from your Celebrant throughout the whole process to offer help if you need it. You’re welcome to use traditional recognised wedding vows if you prefer, or simply have no vows at all – it’s your wedding celebrated the way you want! 

How much does a Wedding Celebrant cost?

You should expect to pay around £500-600 for a Civil Ceremony conducted by a Registrar at an approved venue.  Alternatively a Celebrant-led ceremony at a venue of your choice will cost about the same. A simple Marriage or Civil Partnership Registration (the legal bit) takes less than 10 minutes and costs around £60.

How do I choose a Celebrant?

Choosing a Celebrant is a very personal journey.  Their style, personality, experience and qualifications vary enormously and finding the right person will be a matter of scanning their webpages and speaking to those who appeal to you.  Here at The Great Barn, we can recommend Cherish Ceremonies as an excellent starting point. Judy Mansfield has a wealth of experience and provides friendly, sensitive yet professional guidance to help you plan a very special day.  Contact her on judy@cherish-ceremonies.co.uk or 07713 278699.