Hopefully answers to your questions are contained below, but if you have any other queries please feel free to contact me.
We love the idea of a personal wedding but we don’t know where to start
As your Wedding Celebrant I will lead the process and I can give you as much help and guidance as you need to work out what would suit you and your situation. I can advise you on readings, music, vows promises and more.
Do we need to pay for the whole celebrant’s fee up front?
I do not require the entire fee to be paid up front. I ask for a £50 deposit after our initial meeting with the remainder of the fee to be paid 2 weeks before your event.
What services are included in the celebrant’s fee?
I normally meet with you up to a couple of times including the initial consultation. I contact your venue 6 weeks prior to your event to check that everything is in place, e.g. that a PA system is in place and the signing of your certificate table is going to be available.
I remain in contact with your for the duration of time leading to your event so I am available if you need to speak with me.
How long should the ceremony be?
Most ceremonies are between 20 and 45 minutes but this is up to you. Couples who have particularly musical friends sometimes invite their friends to perform a suitable song at the ceremony, which obviously extends the length of the ceremony. However, most guests prefer short and sweet ceremonies. You can look forward to partying the time away with your friends and family at the reception.
Is there a certain wedding program that we need to follow during the ceremony?
I will discuss the options or elements for your ceremony with you and we can create a ceremony program which suits your personalities and preferences.
Where can we have our wedding?
You can have your wedding anywhere you fancy, indoors or out.
Can we get married outdoors?
Yes. Outdoor weddings have a wonderfully relaxed and intimate feel to them. That said, in case the British weather lives up to its reputation, we always advise there is a plan B: this might be an indoor venue close by or simply the provision of lots of umbrellas! We can discuss this when we meet.
We want to get married abroad. Can we take a celebrant with us?
I will be happy to officiate at a wedding overseas at a destination of your choice. Please contact me to discuss this.
What happens at a wedding ceremony?
You ceremony is written specifically for you; there is no set format. Some couples like to include readings; special words, poems or psalms. Special words will be about both why you are choosing to marry (or re-marry). Music plays a special part in your ceremony too. You will make vows or commitments to each other and often exchange rings.
Does having a celebrant wedding involve a lot of work?
It definitely takes more time and thought to arrange a celebrant ceremony than a standard church or civil wedding, but it’s well worth the effort. You will end up with a ceremony that reflects the two of you, what you value and your hopes for the future, and an occasion that is truly unique and personal.
What does the wedding fee include?
Celebrants work in slightly different ways but as a guide each celebrant’s fee will cover:
- A planning meeting to discuss the ceremony in depth
- Drafting and editing a personal script
- Attendance at a rehearsal at your chosen venue
- Delivery of the ceremony on the day itself
- A Celebrant Wedding Certificate to sign after the ceremony
- A presentation copy of the script.
Do you offer same-sex weddings?
Yes, I do offer these weddings which are a similar format as other weddings.
We got married abroad and want another ceremony for friends and family here. Can you do this?
Yes, I will be happy to create such an occasion for you. Your other wedding will be a celebrant wedding in itself and you might want to think of it as a celebration of your marriage abroad – whatever suits you best.
Some of my family are religious and I don’t want them to be offended. Will a celebrant wedding be okay?
Nearly every ceremony is attended by guests of different faiths and of none, and feel passionately that everyone present should feel comfortable and involved.
The focus of your celebrant wedding will be on the two of you and your relationship and what you value. Underpinning it all are my own celebrant values of long-term partnerships being strongest when built upon support, equality and honesty. I feel confident that your family and
and guests will not have a problem with that.
Do you have any rules about the ceremony being photographed / recorded on video?
I do not have any rules about this, what matters is that you get the pictures / footage that you want. Many photographers love celebrant weddings as there is a lot of interaction for them to capture, particularly since couples often face their guests.
Can we have music during the ceremony?
Music is an important element in your ceremony whether it is a live performance, listening to a piece of reflection music or having something for everyone to sing along to. I can help you to choose your music.
I’m worried I’m going to cry during the wedding?
A personal wedding is an emotional occasion and it’s not at all unusual for there to be both tears and laughter during the ceremony. This is fine – it’s a big moment and you’re allowed to show your feelings! I will be there as a reassuring presence (and also to pass tissues if necessary).
Many couples find that the rehearsal helps them prepare for the big day emotionally as well as practically. You may be surprised by how relaxed you feel! But if you do cry, it’s absolutely fine.
We’d like to include a ritual from another culture. Is this okay?
Celebrant ceremonies are non-religious or semi-religious with spiritual elements and there are many rituals from other cultures that can be incorporated, such as Chinese tea ceremonies or the Jewish ritual of glass-smashing. I will be happy to discuss your ideas with you.
Can we write our own vows?
Personal vows are often one of the highlights of a celebrant wedding so, yes, I absolutely encourage you to write or choose your own words, and will give whatever help and support you need to do so.
Do we have to write our own vows?
No, not if you don’t want to. As your celebrant I can provide a range of sample vows for you to look through and you might want to use some of these or adapt them slightly: it’s entirely up to you. But if you do decide to write your own vows, I can help you to get started with these and, if you want me to, I will be happy to act as a sounding board for your ideas.
We really like traditional vows. Can we use these?
Traditional vows can be adapted slightly to make them fitting for your celebrant ceremony. Parts of the register office words can be used too and, if you wish, these can be incorporated into your vows or during the ring exchange, if you are having one.
I have trouble with speaking in public and I am really worried about it. Can you help?
There is no requirement for you to say anything at your wedding if you really don’t want to. That said, most people feel that the public declaration of vows or promises is one of the most important parts of the ceremony. If one or both of you are worried about speaking, the easiest way to accommodate this is for your promises to be written in the form of questions to which you each answer ‘I do’ or ‘I promise’. The promises themselves can still be personal, but spoken by the celebrant.
Will we be legally married after a humanist wedding?
Celebrant weddings do not currently have legal status. Couples are encouraged to take care of the legalities at a local register office and consider their celebrant wedding their real wedding. And there really are some advantages to your celebrant wedding not having legal status. For example, there is no restriction about what can or cannot be included and where you can or cannot marry. It makes the whole occasion much more flexible and so much more personal.
I love the idea of a celebrant wedding but don’t want the hassle of getting married twice?
This is a common concern, and I look forward to a time when celebrant weddings are legally binding. That said, a register office wedding to legally register your marriage doesn’t have to be long or expensive and you can do this without making a big deal of it if you choose.
If we have to get married legally at a different time and place, will a celebrant ceremony actually feel like a real wedding?
A lot of couples tell us that their celebrant wedding felt like their ‘real’ wedding, as what mattered most to them is being surrounded by those they love as they make public commitments to each other.
How far in advance do we need to book a celebrant?
There’s no rule but I tend to get booked up, especially on Saturdays during the summer. If I am busy I will always be happy to recommend someone else.
How do I find a celebrant?
Many celebrants have their own websites so you can read more about them. You can then phone or email celebrants directly to check their availability and ask them more about how they work.
What should I ask when we first meet?
Feel free to ask me what you want to know. Or you can ask me to talk about how I put a ceremony together to get a sense of how I work. You can let me know your initial thoughts about what you want from the occasion and let the conversation go from there.
What do celebrants wear?
I will dress smartly, professionally and appropriately. If you’ve got a particular dress code for the occasion please do let me know.
We live overseas but will be returning to the UK for our wedding. Can we work together from a distance?
Yes, that’s fine. We can communicate via Skype or email. It will be good if we can meet before your big day if possible, say, at your wedding rehearsal.