Make the Most of your Civil Celebrant

Jan 24, 2023
outdoor wedding

To make the most of your civil celebrant, you need to have some idea what they offer! They don’t come with an instruction manual, so you need to ask some questions to find out why they can make such a difference.

As next best thing, here are some answers to a few of the questions you might well be asking.

Why use a Civil Celebrant?

As for your officiant, you currently have three options.

You can go down the religious route and marry in, say, church. There is a standard procedure for that, and you buy into that.

You can be married by the registrars, either at their office or at a venue of your choice (provided it complies with certain official regulations). This will be something of a ‘conveyor-belt ceremony’, usually lasting a quarter of an hour and offering a one-size-fits-all service. Of course, this ceremony will be totally secular.

The last option is to use a Civil Celebrant. In short, this offers you flexibility and choice. Depending on your celebrant, you can include religious elements, rituals from whatever source, the participants that you want, humorous stories, solemn declarations – the lot!

Just bear in mind that, it’s still the case that such a wedding has no legal validity (and you would still need to go down the Register Office route additionally).

What about humanists?

Civil celebrants broadly divide themselves into humanists and independents. The humanist service should not mention the name of God or contain religious references (although there are some that bend the rules a bit!). The independents are just that – able to include, for example, as much or as little religion as is desired.

How does the Civil Celebrant ensure quality?

No civil celebrant works identically. Each has their own style and way of working. (Results can be gauged by testimonials etc.) Some will offer an Elvis-style, razzamatazz sort of ceremony; others a more serious tone; others prefer mystical, while some offer a combination.

Whatever their leanings, a good civil celebrant belongs to a reputable association that covers their insurance needs as well as ensuring that minimum standards are met. I belong to the highly reputed AOIC, for example.

A good civil celebrant will have followed thorough training and also CPD, as well as boasting plenty of experience. Most do the work because they love it (even if they are happy to be paid for it too). This passion shines forth as they work. That is why they can make any occasion unique.

What do I look for when choosing my Celebrant?

As indicated, you will be looking for the individual celebrant who meets your needs. If you don’t have personal knowledge of them, or recommendations, then have a look at their website. In particular, references or reviews.

Making personal contact with them is important. You want to judge if you’d feel happy working with them (after all they will be marrying you on your big day!). Are they friendly, but professional? Do they listen to you (rather than dictating what you ‘should’ do)? Are they likely to be able to present well?

Ask your questions and go with your heart.

That way, you can make the most of your civil celebrant.

Talk to me, by all means!