Your wedding ceremony is a celebration of you as a couple and your love for each other, and with a celebrant, the world really is your oyster when it comes to the content of your ceremony.
What makes a celebrant ceremony different?
The biggest difference between a celebrant ceremony and any other type of wedding you have probably been to is the level of personalisation.
Every wedding ceremony script is written completely from scratch and only includes the things that are important to the two of you.
Your guests will hear your journey: how you met, how you fell in love, and how you came to be standing there about to make such deep commitments to one another.
That means that by the time we reach the vows, you and your guests are feeling all of the feels and have experienced the story of your relationship with you. Just another way of making your ceremony all the more meaningful and special.
What can we include?
Your ceremony can be as alternative or traditional as you would like... or a combination of both.
You might decide that you don't want to exchange rings.
You might decide to write secret vows to one another which reference your favourite film or TV show.
You might want your guests to join in with a singalong as you walk back down the aisle together.
You might want your ceremony to look and feel like a traditional ceremony... only way more personal and with a lot more pizzazz.
You can also choose to include symbolic acts in your ceremony (in addition to or instead of the traditional ring exchange).
You might think about:
Wine ceremony (or whiskey... or tequila...!)
Incorporating your children into the ceremony with a family vow, a reading, a certificate signing, or joining with a symbolic act.
Including your pets in the ceremony (I love a doggy ring bearer... why not add a pawprint to a certificate?)
Flower or tree planting
Fire lighting (accompanying music by The Prodigy optional!)
Have a shared hobby? Got a different idea?
Let's create a bespoke symbolic ritual to include which truly represents you as a couple.
What can't we include?
There aren't many restrictions, to be honest.
We do have to avoid the legal contractual language used in a civil ceremony (but that's dry as stale unbuttered toast anyway, so why would we use it anyway?!)
As a Humanist celebrant, I don't conduct ceremonies which have religious or spiritual aspects - if you want that, you'll need an independent celebrant. Cultural aspects are different, if you wanted to include something from a traditional Hindu ceremony to represent your heritage, for example. As long as we're not bringing any gods into it then it's all good with me.
And with me there'll never be any 'giving away' of a bride. You can be walked down the aisle, of course, but I'll be in the cold hard ground before you catch me asking 'who gives this woman to marry this man?'. Weddings in general are still so full of patriarchal bull. We don't need to be adding to it.
Ceremonies from £1,200
What's the legal sitch?
In most parts of the UK including England and Wales, you can currently only legally get married in licensed venues with the ceremony conducted by a Registrar from the Local Authority, or in a religious church ceremony. Humanists UK is campaigning to make Humanist weddings legally recognised in England and Wales. Read all about it here!
So why use a celebrant if it's not a 'real wedding'?
The fact that your celebrant ceremony isn't legally binding doesn't mean that it isn't 'real'. Think of the legal bit as a transaction, a bit like signing the paperwork on buying a house. You don't have to exchange rings and can keep it really simple.
Your REAL wedding is the one which really means something to you, and that will be the one you have with a gorgeous ceremony surrounded by your friends and family.
I have had couples in the past where their family can't understand why they are 'doing it twice' and why they are having a 'fake' wedding. But every single time, those sceptical family members have been the first ones to come up to me and say how much they enjoyed it.
A celebrant, unlike a Registrar, will take the time beforehand to get to know about you as a couple and your relationship, meaning your ceremony is incredibly personal and heartfelt.
I will only ever do one wedding per day, too, so you get my full attention and flexibility.
You can be assured that with a Humanist celebrant, you are working with someone who has completed rigorous training, is fully insured, and has a huge network of celebrant colleagues to share ideas and advice with!