The how and where of tying the knot is changing with couples in the UK looking to make a public commitment to their relationship by creating a ceremony of their own. And they are turning to the know-how and experience of a wedding celebrant to make it happen.
The changing landscape of weddings and partnerships
The way people are choosing to tie the knot is changing. In 2016, for the first time since records began, less than 25% of couples held their ceremony in a religious venue. The number of couples choosing to marry remains buoyant. And with gay couples now able to legally marry in the UK and heterosexual couples able to enter into a civil partnership, more than ever the role of the wedding celebrant in the UK will become even more important.
Hiring a wedding celebrant is a fantastic move. It opens up a whole world of opportunity to make your wedding ceremony different, personal and unique, all the reasons why a wedding celebrant is fast becoming popular. But what they do and how does hiring a celebrant work?
What is a wedding celebrant?
A wedding celebrant is someone who writes and, in most cases, conducts the wedding ceremony on behalf of the happy couple.
Full of character and charisma, they are often accomplished writers and confident in public speaking. They also understand the ‘institution of marriage and commitment’ and what it can mean to different people. They can adapt their writing and delivery style to suit the couple they are working with too.
Sometimes known as family celebrants, a wedding celebrant in the UK can also offer other ceremony writing services such as vow renewal ceremonies and naming ceremonies. Some also offer funerals and memorial ceremonies too.
In other words, they are professional people who can create, write and deliver a ceremony that celebrates love and life and also mark the losses we face in life too.
What can’t a wedding celebrant do?
Legally, a wedding ceremony performed by a wedding celebrant is not binding.
Couples will marry before or after the ceremony but use the opportunity to hire a wedding celebrant to create and deliver a truly special event just for them. No matter how many times a celebrant delivers a ceremony, it will never be the same as another.
Registry offices are small and so you can only fit in a small, select number of guests. You can also pay for the registrar to attend your wedding venue, but they will still limit the length of the ceremony. You can create your ceremony for the registrar to deliver but you’ll have to do all the hard work. They simply read your words and you sign a piece of paper.
A registrar can only marry you in the UK in a place that has a wedding licence. So, if you want to do something different, such as tie the knot in the woodland or on the village green with your neighbours, you’ll have to apply for a special licence. And when it’s granted, it lasts for three years.
Essentially, if you apply for a wedding licence to hold your wedding in your back garden, for some time afterwards, others can choose to hold their wedding there too. This is not great news if you don’t want strangers marrying in your lawn…
Hiring a wedding celebrant means you get someone to do the hard work of creating your ceremony but also delivering it in a way that you want.
For many couples, the signing of a ‘piece of paper’ which is your wedding certificate is not the important bit – the ceremony is!
Is hiring a wedding celebrant expensive?
Not necessarily. Don’t forget that they do a lot of preparatory work, drafting a ceremony that you have complete control over.
The cost of their service depends on lots of things – where you are holding the ceremony, the date and what it is you ask them to do.
But can you put a price on hiring someone to create a truly personal and special ceremony for your wedding?