If I had a penny (not a pound) for every time I get asked this question, I would be a wealthy woman by now – so where do I start?! There are so many reasons why you should hire a Celebrant that I think the question should be, ‘Why didn’t you hire a Celebrant’?
Historically, when couples get engaged, the majority think of the two traditional routes of getting married – in a church or with a Registrar (whether that’s at a Registry Office or licensed venue). Don’t get me wrong, both options are lovely – in their own right – but there is the third, and excellent, choice of having a Celebrant led wedding. [It’s called a Wedding Celebration Ceremony because once the couple has given their notice of intent to marry, they need to complete the legal formalities at their local registry office.]
If you regularly attend church, then it stands to reason that you would want to get married there, but what if your partner isn’t a churchgoer? What if your partner is of a different faith from you? What if you want a different ceremony from what the church provides? Suppose you decide to have a Registrar marry you. Do you want, more or less (in my head, I always say this in Brazilian Portuguese, “Mais ou menos”) to have the same generic script as every other couple with some, but not much, flexibility? Do you want someone you met 15-20 minutes beforehand to marry you?
The real question is, what if you want a completely bespoke ceremony? If you answered “I hadn’t thought of that or no” to most or all of those questions, read on, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
A Celebrant gives you the wedding ceremony you have always dreamed of and wanted but never knew you could have. There’s a veritable wealth of Celebrants, all utterly different from the other apart from the fact that we all do one thing. We all tell a story. We all tell our personal stories. We take your relationship history and transform it into your ceremony.
First, however, you have to find a Celebrant that’s right for you and that you click with. At this point, some of the lyrics of *‘Getting to Know You sung by Dame Julie Andrews in ‘The King and I’ come to mind:
Once you have decided on what kind of ceremony you would like (there are two types of Celebrant – Humanist; does not include religion in a ceremony, and Independent [I’m an Independent]; does or doesn’t include religion all depending on what you would like), done your research on Celebrants and carried out some preliminary interviews you make a connection and decide who you are going to book.
This can happen anything from three months to three years or more before your ceremony, and we begin to build a relationship, a rapport; we become friends who hold your hand and support you over that time to – inevitably – write the perfect bespoke script which when you, and your loved ones, hear it will instantly recognise your story – the story that is unique to you.
A Wedding Celebration Ceremony can have all the traditional elements such as a bridal party, the father or mother walking the bride or groom up the aisle, vows, ring exchange readings/poems, signing of a certificate, but most importantly, as well as your story, woven into your script is family, friends and a little bit of theatre with something like sand pouring, a ring warming, a unity candle or even a wine blending or cocktail mixing.
The other added benefit is that a ceremony I conduct can be, but does not have to be, in a licensed room. Unlike Registrars, we Celebrants can conduct Wedding Celebration Ceremonies anywhere with no time restrictions [for me, at least, there is no such thing as running late as I never book more than one ceremony a day, and I always tell my couple not to rush, this is your moment, savour and enjoy it].
Whether on a pristine white beach, in a lush green vineyard, an iconic landmark in London, or the castle which was the location for the Crown, why stop there? Why not on a cliff edge (elements permitting), or the top of a building overlooking your favourite city, or, when we can travel and survive there, space?
Let your imagination run wild. To quote Albert Einstein, “Imagination is everything; it’s the preview of life’s coming attractions”. It is, after all, your wedding day. One of life’s most important moments, so with the vision of your ceremony in your heart, the one you have always wanted but never knew you could have, why would you not hire a Celebrant?