FAQs and expert advice about celebrant

Here is a selection of Q&As from Your Devon and Cornwall Wedding magazine whether it be about flowers, hair and makeup, fashion, wedding themes, health & beauty, cakes, stationery, legal advice. If you would like your question answered by our experts, please email it to

Make It Personal

Make It Personal

Q What are the benefits of having a celebrant-led wedding?
A Sue says: Many congratulations if you have just got engaged over the Christmas and New Year period. Are you starting to plan the type of wedding you want, especially the type of ceremony you would like? Do you want your celebrations to start with the ceremony, not after it? Do you want to have fun, laughter and happy tears?

Many couples don't realise they have several options for their ceremony. You can have:

•A civil ceremony that's held in a register office or a venue licensed for civil weddings. This is a non-religious and legally recognised ceremony.

•A religious ceremony conducted in a place of worship such as a church, mosque, synagogue, or temple. It will be typically officiated by a religious leader, such as a priest, minister, rabbi, or imam. It incorporates religious traditions and rituals.

•A personalised celebrant-led wedding that reflects your personality, values, and the love story you share. Unlike traditional ceremonies, celebrants have the flexibility to create a ceremony from scratch, that is truly one-of-a-kind and allows you to add your personality and heart into your special day.

Throughout the wedding planning, your celebrant will spend time getting to know you to build a personal connection for the most important day of your life. This relationship allows the celebrant to truly understand your love story and create a ceremony script that provides a more heartfelt and emotional wedding experience. Couples love that they have the option to write their own vows too. It is your day, your way.

Celebrants can incorporate creative and meaningful rituals into the ceremony, whether it's a unity candle ceremony, a hand-fasting ceremony or personalised vows that express your deepest emotions. This allows you to make your wedding a profound and memorable experience for you and your guests. You can even involve your guests, giving them a key role on the day, with special readings, songs, a part to play within your rituals or a limoncello shot halfway through the ceremony!

With a celebrant, you have the freedom to choose your wedding venue, whether it's a picturesque outdoor location, a historic site, a castle, the beach, a woodland, or your favourite hidden gem. This flexibility allows you to select a setting that gives you your perfect day.

Celebrant-led weddings are known for their inclusivity. Regardless of your gender, cultural background, neurodiversity, beliefs, or religious affiliations, a celebrant can craft a ceremony that respects and incorporates your wishes. This inclusivity fosters an intimate atmosphere, making everyone feel connected to the celebration.

In choosing a celebrant-led wedding, you will create a meaningful and tailored ceremony that sets the tone for a lifetime of shared happiness. It will be like no other ceremony.

It's worth noting that in England and Wales, at present, celebrants are unable to legally marry a couple. You would need to register your marriage elsewhere, such as at a register office. Many couples have a small register office ceremony a few days before their wedding, where they legally get married. But watch this space – The Wedding Celebrant Commission and Humanists UK are lobbying the government to extend the rights of celebrants in the UK and Wales to legally marry couples

Sue, Sue By Your Side Celebrant

Love birds

Love birds

Q What are the benefits of booking a celebrant?
A Fiona Solomon says: It's amazing how many times I am asked the question 'what does a celebrant do' and it makes me realise that we need to help couples to understand the options for their wedding day. I believe that life is all about choice but many people are not aware that they can choose to have a celebrant-led wedding, completing the legal paperwork at another time. Below is a definition of the options open to couples:

- A minister of religion in a church - this may be the right choice for you and includes the legal registration of your marriage.
- A registrar wedding in council offices - this is often referred to as a 2+2 because you repeat short legal wording with two witnesses and sign the marriage register. You are then officially married and this is usually only available Monday to Thursday with the fee ranging from £60 to £95 depending on the location.
- A registrar-conducted ceremony at your chosen venue (if it has a wedding licence). With this option, usually you won't have met the registrar who attends and they may be conducting several ceremonies that day at set times. As above, you'll repeat the legal declaratory wording and sign the marriage register. You are now officially married and it will cost from £455 - £708 (in Cornwall).
- A wedding ceremony led by an independent celebrant – that's me! Everything I do is about getting to know you as a couple and helping you to pick what you would like to include in your ceremony. There'll be plenty of love and laughter and you can also choose to have your ceremony on any day at any time, for example, a Sunday afternoon, and to hold it anywhere you like (within reason). What about your favourite beach or your gran's garden? The venue does not have to be licensed. You might like to also consider:
- Warming your rings with love before the ceremony
- Including family or friends in the ceremony
- Having personal readings or poetry
- Lighting a memory candle for somebody who can't be with you
- Having a hand-tying ceremony with bespoke ribbons - possibly with family or friends joining in
- A family sand ceremony if you now have a blended family to celebrate
- Writing secret vows to share (I can help!)
- Planting a tree together to take home with you for your patio or garden

This is only a snapshot of the types of symbolic gestures that you can choose within a celebrant-led ceremony. Together, we can explore what is right for you and, as we get to know each other, you know that you can trust me on the day to look after you both – and any nerves you might encounter.

I have the best job in the world and I love driving away after a ceremony knowing it was perfect for the couple.

* At this time, a celebrant cannot legally marry you. However, the Government is reviewing the marriage law and we hope that things will change in the future. If you would like to know a little bit more about this, you can check out this website:

Fiona Solomon, Fiona Soloman Celebrant

Your ceremony, your way

Your ceremony, your way

Q Please can you give us some ideas for a bespoke, celebrant-led ceremony?
A Sabine Smith says: Congratulations on your engagement! You've agreed on the date, booked the venue and you're now wondering about what you want your ceremony to be like. The promises you are going to make to each other on the day are important and you want to get it just right.

Some couples are happy with traditional vows and promises used during church weddings and register office ceremonies because something is comforting and familiar about the words, however, others are looking for something more personal to reflect them as a modern couple. An independent celebrant like myself will write and create your bespoke ceremony that tells your own love story.

Celebrants cannot legally marry you but I, as your celebrant, will make sure that your wedding, civil partnership or vow renewal service is bespoke and memorable for you, your family and friends. You can write personal vows and select readings and poems. It's worth considering a celebrant-led ceremony because it's less restrictive and often less expensive because you can be flexible about the venue or setting for your ceremony. Why not consider getting married outdoors in your garden, a field or the woodlands or even on a boat. A wedding celebrant can deliver a ceremony anywhere that has a special meaning to you both.

Once you've completed the legal bit, which can be inexpensive at the register office if you chose a midweek appointment, you can then go ahead with your ceremony. Instead of traditional rituals such as the exchanging of rings, why not consider more symbolic rituals like a sand ceremony, ring blessing, jumping the broom, lighting unity candles or involving your guests by asking them to contribute to the ceremony with a poem or a special reading. You can also include children and pets - dogs make very cute ring bearers and music-lovers can book a live music performance.

As your celebrant, I will write your entire ceremony and create an order of service. I can compile your vows or promises to each other with you although some might prefer to write their own but will request that the celebrant read them out loud. It's entirely up to you, there is no right or wrong!

Sabine Smith, Perfect Day Ceremonies

Celebrant or registrar

Celebrant or registrar

Q What are the benefits of a celebrant-led ceremony?
A Frances Cave says: Unlike a civil ceremony which can only take place in a civic registered venue, a wedding ceremony with an independent celebrant can take place anywhere. This could be in your garden, on a beach, on a farm or in a woodland area which is a popular choice. There are no limitations, meaning that you can both choose somewhere that is personal and special to you as a couple.

Your ceremony will be entirely bespoke and all about you, written specifically for you, celebrating your love story and your relationship with each other but also with your friends and families and there are no templates or restrictive words. The choice about the content of your ceremony is entirely yours. It doesn't have to be devoid of tradition or familiarity, it can be structured to your exact wishes. This also applies to music, readings, writing your vows and including symbolic rituals. Some couples want certain traditions to be incorporated and some want religious and spiritual elements to be reflected in it while others don't want any. The script will be crafted to reflect you, your values and beliefs and can be light-hearted, solemn, formal or informal.

Unlike with a civil ceremony when you're allocated a registrar for the day, you get to choose who to work with on your ceremony and who will lead it. An independent wedding celebrant is like any other wedding supplier and is likely to be the one that you'll get to know the most. To create that bespoke script, they need to get to know you both well which will involve meetings before the wedding so choose a celebrant with who you feel comfortable and happy to share your story and whose style and character aligns with your own.

Most wedding celebrants only commit to one ceremony a day and are not governed by time. This flexibility means that you can have your ceremony at a time and date that suits you and your venue.

It's worth bearing in mind that an independent wedding celebrant cannot legally contract the marriage, this is easily done by booking the statutory ceremony at a registry office with a couple of witnesses to become legally married at a time or date that suits you. This doesn't have to be a ceremony, it's a registration and is short, budget-friendly and efficient.

Frances Cave, Fanfare Ceremonies

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