The Real Value of a Civil Celebrant

Dec 5, 2022
celebrant-led wedding at Hedsor House

There’s a lot of confusion about what a civil celebrant offers and, indeed, why you should use one. I’d like to clear things up now.

This does add to the mix, but we are awaiting a possible change in the law, due to be promulgated in July 2023. This could allow civil celebrants to conduct weddings that would be legally recognised. But for the moment we have to wait and see, so I shall proceed using the facts currently in place.

A lot of people mistake a civil celebrant for a registrar. Currently, couples have to be married by the registrars (or in certain religious venues such as C of E churches). This can be in the Register Office (with two witnesses) or at a licensed venue (but rules have changed somewhat for these recently).

The registrars are civil servants who are not necessarily trained in presenting professionally. They often conduct a standardised service that lasts around a quarter of an hour. It is purely secular (God – or even religious motifs – may not be mentioned).

You may wonder why it’s worth having a celebrant-led ceremony too, if you have to have a registrar-led one (even if the latter may not be very special).

The big advantage for many couples is that they want their wedding to be the biggest day of their lives. They may have a vision for the ceremony that the registrars simply cannot offer. A civil celebrant is independent and can therefore fulfil most needs. So you can have the ceremony of your dreams (in the place of your dreams).

The celebrant can provide religious elements (or none). You can include rituals that you want and involve the participants that you want. You may choose to mention “absent friends”. Do you want to write and recite your own vows? Not an issue. You can personalise the ceremony with your story (how you met, for example). The tone can be flexible (a mix of solemnity and humour, for example).

The point is that, with a civil celebrant, you can be sure of having a unique, personalised ceremony on your special day.

Michael would be glad to have a (non-obligation) call with you to discuss how he can help realise your vision.

Photo: Matt Penberthy