Hello again – I have had a very busy year and summer full of lovely ceremonies, and one of the questions I will still be asked by guests afterwards is, ” so what does a Celebrant actually do?” I thought it would be a good idea to refresh a blog piece I wrote a little while ago and include some lovely photos too of ceremonies in a variety of locations, which may help you to understand a little more about what I do 🙂
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your services?
I have a background in HR and Training, and loved helping people move into the next stages of their lives. Becoming a Celebrant was a great fit for my experience and personality and my plan eventually to work in a role that allowed me to write creatively. In 2003, I was invited to attend a friend’s wedding in Australia, which was simply wonderful – held in a beautiful Vineyard on a mountain top overlooking the ocean, at sunset. Truly magical! Their Celebrant delivered a beautiful ceremony, full of meaning and storytelling as well as allowing the couple to express themselves exactly how they wanted to. This really excited me, and when the time came for a change in career direction, I discovered the UK College of Celebrancy and in 2011 I became a Marriage and Family Celebrant. I just love creating unique ceremonies for all of life’s milestones.
How is a Celebrant different to a registrar? What are some of the advantages to hiring a celebrant?
A Registrar is interestingly a Building, and not a person. The Civil Marriage Act determines the wording and the format of a Civil Marriage, and does not allow any religious or spiritual content, extending to vetting vows, music and poems or readings. The 32 Declaratory and Contracting words are delivered the same way, whether in the local Registry Office or at a licenced Venue.
Many couples are now looking for something that is more meaningful and personal, and therefore choose a Celebrant style wedding ceremony. They will go along and sign their marriage licence at a local register office with two witnesses, a day or two before their Celebrant Ceremony, which they see as their real Wedding Day.
Choosing a Celebrant offers the couple the freedom to express themselves without any restrictions in terms of format, content, time of day, or location. The ceremony can be held almost anywhere, from elegant Manor House to the summery simplicity of your own garden and of course can be created around a “theme”. Popular themes in the past year have been Harry Potter, Disney, Game of Thrones, and Star Wars 😊.
We can include traditional or modern wording and styling, religious content, spiritual content and do not vet the content of the ceremony in any way. I have written ceremonies that include Blessings from the couple’s ministers, working with the clergy to create a ceremony that is exactly what the couple are looking for.
The Wedding Ceremony is celebratory and ceremonial – it can include personally written vows and promises, involve children and other guests in the ceremony itself, giving meaning and memories, and of course telling the couple’s unique love story, what marriage means to them, what inspires them about each other, and what they are looking forward to in the future.
What do you love most about being a wedding celebrant?
The totally unique and personal story telling is always beautiful and emotional. Each couple’s love story is wonderful , and sharing it with their family and friends is always a lovely moment, during the writing and when I deliver the ceremony itself. I also love how a Celebrant can offer this completely flexible service at any time or place and allows the couple to really express themselves completely. After all, the wedding ceremony is why their guests are there!
What are some of the different internal ceremonies you have experience with? Do you have a favourite? If so why?
I have created many internal ceremonies, including the Rose, Beer, Wine, Sand, Candle, Canvas and Handfasting Ceremonies. My favourite is the Unity Candle as it signifies the flames of passion, the warmth of love and family and the undying love between the couple. I also love the Ring Warming Ceremony as when each guest holds and gives their warm loving wishes to the couple, every time they look at their rings, they can remember the love and support each person gave them that day.
Can you explain the process for a couple who book with you?
I like to meet them in person or on skype first, then if they are happy to choose me as their Celebrant, I send a booking form and questionnaire so I can find out more about them. After that, it is really a case of working together to create the magic. I am happy to chat on the phone, offer unlimited editing of the ceremony and also offer a rehearsal if the couple wish to hold one. On the day I am there an hour before, helping with any ushering, introducing myself to the wedding coordinator and family members who might be taking part in the ceremony. I present the couple with a Certificate of their Ceremony along with their Ceremony Script in a Presentation format and folder, as a keepsake.
How do you work with the couple to create their vision for their ceremony?
I take on board their ideas and style, the venue and size of ceremony, and we work together to create something that expresses their plans, ideas, values and beliefs, and gives them full control over this element of their wedding. Their story is unique, and even if it is traditional, it will always be “personal” for them. With my experience of over 6 years as a Celebrant I can advise on format and content, including helping couples choose readings, music, and help with the creation of their own vows and promises, or offer examples for them to choose and adapt.
Yvonne Beck Celebrant is a Member of the Fellowship of Professional Celebrants and can be contacted for free consultations about your wedding, vow renewal or baby naming ceremony:
By email at firstname.lastname@example.org
By phone at +44(0)7800543426
Via her website www.celebrantinlondon.co.uk