Frequently Asked Questions
Many people are still unsure about the role of a Celebrant, and how this differs from the role of a registrar.
A wedding ceremony performed by a registrar must take place in a venue licensed for marriage, using specified contractual wording to legalise the union. Religious/spiritual content is not allowed and the ceremony must take place during the working hours of the registrar.
A wedding ceremony performed by an Independent celebrant does NOT contain the legal elements (see below) but can take place anywhere and at any time. This ceremony will be personal to you without legal obligation or government and church restrictions so it can include religious/spiritual content if you so wish. There is no rule book. An Independent Celebrant is not the same as a Humanist to check out the differences click
Is my Celebrant Wedding Ceremony legally binding?
No. You will need to register your marriage in a Register Office before or after your celebrant wedding ceremony in order to make your marriage legally binding.
How do I legalise my marriage?
You will need to give notice at your local register office and arrange to have a ‘Statutory Ceremony’ to legally register your marriage. This is the ‘admin’ part of the process and does not need to be treated as a formal ceremony (i.e. you don’t need to exchange rings or dress up) but you will need two witnesses.
Should I be legally married before I have my Celebrant Wedding Ceremony?
Not necessarily. Most couples do prefer to register their marriage before the Celebrant Wedding Ceremony. However, if you would prefer to register your marriage afterward, that’s OK too. It often works out cheaper to register your marriage at a register office on a weekday.
We don’t want to legalise our marriage at all, is this allowed?
Yes. You don’t have to legalise your ‘marriage’ or union. A celebrant ceremony is about celebrating your love for each other in a way that is true and special to you so, if you wish to confirm your commitment to each other without legal ties, that’s not a problem
Will my celebrant ceremony be ‘real’ if we have already done the legal bit?
Doing the legal bit is purely the admin side of the process. The real celebration and the most meaningful part is your ceremony. The moment you stand up in front of your family and friends to declare your love for each other, to make your vows and commit to each other for life, you’ll know it’s real.
Do you offer LGBTIQ Weddings?
Does it matter what culture, faith, or religion I am?
No. The content of a celebrant ceremony is not restricted to any culture, faith, or religion. If you wish to mix religions, cultures, and traditions into your ceremony, you can.
Where can I hold my Wedding Ceremony?
Anywhere you wish! Your venue does not need to be a’ licensed for weddings’ venue as your ceremony is not legally binding (this can also work out cheaper). Just be sure to have permission from the venue or landowner. I’m not quite as fit as I used to be so climbing a mountain might be pushing it a bit far for me 😊
Can I hold my ceremony outdoors?
Yes. Indoors, outdoors, in a woodland setting, on a beach, by a river, up a tree, on a double-decker bus, in your own garden, at the zoo, … the options are endless. I’m not averse to turning up in my wellies but it may be wise to have a back-up plan for really bad weather though!
When can I hold my ceremony?
Anytime and any day! There are no restrictions so if you wanted midnight under a full moon I’m fine with that, if you wanted in a field at sunrise I’m fine with that too.
Can I include a symbolic ceremony/ritual?
Yes, you can. Celebrant ceremonies often involve symbolic ceremonies such as Handfasting, Unity Candles, Sand Ceremonies, Ring Warming, Wine or Water blending, Memory Boxes, planting flowers or trees… etc.
Can I include a family pet at my ceremony?
As long as the venue allows it, so do I (as long as I don’t have to hold spiders!)
Can I include readings and poems in my ceremony?
Yes. You can include as many readings as you wish – whether religious or non-religious, silly or sentimental. They can be read by guests (including children), myself, or you.
Can I include music?
You can include as many songs, music or hymns you like, and can choose to play these either on a PA System or have live musicians, you can even have a sing-along with your guests, it’s up to you! Please note though that you are responsible for providing your own PA System and music, and for the booking of any live musicians on the day.
Can I write my own wedding vows?
Yes! Your vows can be as loving, silly, or sentimental as you wish. I’m here if you need help. If you don’t want to write your own I can use traditional ones or write some for you.
I’m very shy and hate public speaking, will I have to say much?
I will make your ceremony as comfortable for you as possible. If this means you just want to say, ‘I do’, repeat line by line after me, or read from a card that’s fine. We will work this together.
I want to keep my ceremony short, simple and traditional, is that OK?
Absolutely. Whatever feels right for you.
I want my ceremony to be alternative, extraordinary, and elaborate, is that OK?
Oh yes! Your ceremony is about you and your personal style. I don’t mind quirky, unusual or just a bit mad at all!
How long will my Wedding Ceremony last?
A typical ceremony will usually last anywhere between 20 – 40 minutes, depending on how many readings and songs you choose to include, and whether you wish to involve a symbolic ceremony.
What should we wear for our ceremony?
There are no rules. Traditional, informal, fancy dress, the choice is yours.
Will we meet you before the ceremony?
All being well, yes you will. If we cannot meet in person we can Zoom/Skype/Messenger Rooms etc and we will keep in touch by email and phone. You have access to me whenever you need it (but midnight on a Saturday night as you come home from the pub might not be the best time…. for me ….. or you!!)
Will we be able to have a rehearsal before the ceremony?
Yes. This can be either a few days before the wedding or on the day itself but will mean an extra cost to cover my time and if necessary accommodation.
How far are you willing to travel to assist with our ceremony?
I mainly cover the areas on the map below (Northumberland, Durham, Lancashire, Yorkshire, North Lincolnshire, North Derbyshire, North Nottinghamshire, Mersyside and the Scottish Borders) but will travel further. All journeys are subject to expenses if the round trip is over 50 miles from CA28 West Cumbria @45p per mile
What is your process regarding payments and deposits?
For all ceremonies:
An initial non-refundable deposit of £50 is required to secure your date. This will close off the option of this date for other people, yours will be the only ceremony that day.
A second deposit of 50% (approx.) of the remaining balance will be due 10 months prior to the ceremony date to enable me to commence working on your ceremony.
The balance of the remaining fee plus costs for materials and travel is due no later than one calendar month before the ceremony.
Ceremonies booked within 10 months of the scheduled date will require the initial and second deposit to be paid immediately)
Round-trip journeys over 50 miles will be charged at 45p per mile.
Overnight accommodation (if required - normally if over 3 hours driving time) will be charged at cost (depending on the time of the ceremony and distance travelled, or a rehearsal is requested, this may involve two nights)
For other Terms & Conditions click
I am a member of the Association of Independent Celebrants and fully insured
I hope I've answered all of your questions, but if I haven't please let me know. Feel free to contact me for a no-obligation chat to discuss your ideas.