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Is a celebrant led service right for you?

It’s certainly ‘a couples wedding’ these days. There is a lot more flexibility with locations, products on offer, talented suppliers that can tailor their services… great news for anyone out there that wants a wedding that isn’t traditional and restricted in any way.
If you do decide to break away from tradition, then perhaps having a celebrant is the way to go.
I have had the pleasure of interviewing the super lovely Kelly Hawes  (, an independent celebrant, to explain the benefits of having a celebrant at your wedding and just how personal it can be.

So, what is a celebrant?

A Celebrant will write and conduct a bespoke, fully tailor made ceremony for you.  They take the time to meet you both face to face (usually months beforehand) in order to get to know you and talk about your ideas for your ceremony.  As well as the wording, certain elements or rituals can also be added to the ceremony which are often used to symbolise the joining of two becoming one (such as sand, candles, water, hand tying and many others).

As well as using bespoke wording, your ceremony can include any music you like, any readings, poetry or excerpts from a favourite book.  We can include religious aspects if you wish – in fact, if the couple are from mixed faiths we can include a little from each religion or culture to blend into a ceremony to suit everyone.

Another very good reason to use a Celebrant is that we can perform your ceremony ANYWHERE – no wedding licence is required for the property.

This means you could book a community hall, golf club, a boat, use a marquee in your garden, even in your lounge!  Inside or outside with no rules to adhere to.

How is your service different to others?

If you wish to marry in a place of worship you will usually get to meet the vicar and although they may discuss your ceremony, you will have no input into the wording and the vows – you will however be able to choose your hymns and readings from the Bible.

You will usually meet your registrar for the first time on the day of your wedding.  You will be holding the ceremony either in the registry office ceremony room or a licenced building of your choice.  Only some venues will have an outside space for ceremonies, and they must adhere to strict rules such as being performed under a permanent structure. Once again, you will have no input into the wording, however you may have a choice for 2 or 3 versions of vows you may prefer.

A registrar will not allow any religious content, and no music that has the slightest hint of religious content (and they are very strict about this) in fact they will often have a list of music for you to choose from which is pre-approved by them.

Will I be legally married?

Unfortunately in the UK, a Celebrant cannot perform a legal marriage (though we hope the law may change one day!).  Therefore the couple would need to arrange for a statutory marriage at their local Register Office, often during the week of their Celebrant led ceremony.

There is no need to use the ceremony room, you simply book for yourselves and 2 witnesses to do the formalities and sign the register (30 days notice must be given first).

Fees for a statutory marriage vary county to county but in Hertfordshire the current cost is £56.  Once you have arranged your marriage you can invite your guests to your wedding celebration ceremony (which many couples class as ’the day they actually got married’). You can walk down the aisle, make your vows and promises to each other (which you could write yourself if you wish) or any other way in which you wish to declare your everlasting love to each other.

Just how personal is it?

To be honest it can be as personal to you as you wish – this depends on how much you want to share with your guests.  It is quite usual to tell your love story as to how you met and how you are now standing and exchanging your vows.  You could keep a traditional feeling of the ceremony – with an aisle, the vows and ring exchange – or you could do things completely differently;  let’s say, have your guests surround you in a friendship circle rather than sitting in rows, both enter via separate aisles either side of your guests or even abseil into the venue!

If you are having a theme to the wedding, we could incorporate this into the ceremony with wording, colour schemes or go full on fancy dress.

Really I cannot stress enough – you can do pretty much anything.  It’s your day, do it your way.

So to recap...

If you are looking for something different and very personal and want a full choice of venues for your special day a Celebrant is the way to obtain this.

If you have ever watched E4’s “Don’t Tell the Bride” (my guilty pleasure) often these ceremonies are performed by Celebrants.  I have seen them hold ceremonies in a circus, on a beach, in a nightclub, in a derelict building to name just a few.

Just in case the above sounds very daunting – don’t worry your Celebrant will be able to do all the writing for you as well as research to find the perfect poem or reading to match your theme or personality, after all – that is the part we love to do the most!

Hopefully this gives you a great insight in to how a celebrant could transform your wedding and enable you to have the day of your dreams without limitations.



I have had the pleasure of capturing some celebrant led weddings and they really do stand apart from other weddings for their intimacy and uniqueness. If you are having a wedding with a difference and still need a photographer, I would love to hear from you… get in touch.