This is perhaps a strange subject for a wedding celebrant to write about . My answer to the question is with another question. Why would you NOT use a wedding celebrant?
Before we get into the detail it’s fair to say that there is a growing desire for modern couples to move away from what was considered the ‘normal’ way of marrying. In church or by a registrar. Wedding celebrants are providing the solution and its a trend that is growing in popularity and with good reason.
What is this change?
An average of 250,000 people get married every year. There is a continuing decline of religious ceremonies and couples are looking to modernise the generic, outdated registrar led civil ceremony.
Many are turning to wedding celebrants who create meaningful scripts and are not defined by ticking boxes and outdated regulations and restrictions. They want their ceremony to be show stopping, filled with warmth, laughter and sincerity and provide the ultimate kick off to the celebrations that follow.
photo credit Kathryn Clarke McLeod Photography
So why should you NOT use a wedding celebrant?
1. If you want your ceremony to be practically identical to everyone else’s
I’ve lost count of how many times I have heard my couples telling me that they’ve been to some really dreary weddings, whether in church or officiated by a registrar.
The main reason for this is that they have heard it all before. Time and time again. Ceremonies like these are repetitive, unimaginative and monotonous. A church wedding ceremony can be saved by some beautiful music but the order of service and format vary little.
Now this wouldn’t be so terrible if you only go to one wedding a year. But the chances are if you are getting married so are all your friends. A fact well documented in ‘Four weddings and a ‘funeral’.
The ceremony should not and does not have to be like this. It should not feel like an endurance test but more a celebration of the couple, their love and their journey with their friends and family thus far.
Modern couples are getting wise to this and are choosing wedding celebrants to create something for them that is authentic with the belief that at its core is a celebration and by leaving out all the dreary rules and regulations there is room to focus on what’s important. Your guests will be so relieved that you haven’t put them through yet another ‘fill in the gaps’ ceremony.
Instead, they will leave enriched, talking about it, laughing, inspired, fullfilled and not tearing off to get their first drink thinking ‘we’ve got that done now the party can start’! Essentially they will have been reminded of why they are there and what they are celebrating.
Is that how you want them to feel? Or do you still want them racing to the bar having endured yet another templated generic ceremony?
Photo credit: Kathryn Clarke Mcleod Photography
2. If you don’t mind a stranger taking your ceremony
Vocabulary.com define the word “stranger as someone you don’t know or who doesn’t belong in a specific place”. Other definitions are even more disparaging. Why would you want a stranger to play such a pivotal role in one of your most important life events?
Working with a wedding celebrant during the months prior to the wedding is a very close and trusted collaboration and for me is the part of the job that is almost more rewarding than presenting the ceremony itself. This connection is essential in order for the couple to feel sufficiently comfortable to spill all the beans about themselves as a couple and as individuals.
It involves getting to know how they tick, bombarding them with questions and making them really think about ‘why they are getting married’. A simple question but absolutely integral to the creation of a ceremony that reflects them.
Wedding celebrants are also flexible. They are so invested in you they normally only present one ceremony a day. This allows for flexibility on timings and dates.
Do you really want to rely upon lady luck on whether you get a friendly, warm registrar? You are just as likely to get a hot and bothered one who is over worked and tearing off to their next wedding. You don’t get a choice. It’s whoever who’s on the rota that day. Don’t get me wrong they do a great job. It’s just the system. The words ‘being processed’ and conveyor belt springs to mind and you are just another couple.
Photo credit: Rockrose Photography
3. If you don’t care about the content of your ceremony
As a modern western society we are blessed with the freedom of choice. We get to decide where we live, what professional path to follow, who to marry and how many children to have or not to have. We even get to choose what type of dietary lifestyle we want to follow; but when it comes to the content of your civil wedding ceremony there is limited choice.
An independent wedding celebrant is free to include religious or non religious and spiritual content. Indeed celebrants themselves hold many differing beliefs. Some are Pagan, some Christian, some buddhist, some agnostic. So you can choose not only a celebrant that shares your values and beliefs but also the content. Perhaps too much choice but what’s not to love?
Surely in this modern world we now live with a growing number of mixed heritage couples being able to recognise a person’s heritage or please a family member is all the more important and relevant.
And this does not just relate to beliefs. Wouldn’t you like the freedom to choose whether or not to write your vows, your readings be it a quote from Harry Potter or from the bible. And we haven’t even got on to your music choices
So why would you choose to be shackled by rules and regulations when really you can have the ceremony that reflects your beliefs and values? Oh yes it’s because you don’t care about the content of your wedding ceremony.
4. If you are happy to compromise on where you have your ceremony
Yes there are undoubtedly some beautiful licensed wedding venues ranging from the luxurious where your every wish is catered for to the DIY blank canvas where you are completely left to your own devices and personalise to your hearts content – except for the ceremony.
And of course there are the churches for me, really the most beautiful venues for a wedding, atmospheric and brimming with traditions.
But you may have somewhere way more special and that is personal to you. Where is more personal than home? In your family garden, at home on the farm, on a riverbank, on the beach, in the woods. The possibilities really are endless. A wedding celebrant can literally present a ceremony ANYWHERE you want.
When you have a wedding ceremony you should reflect yourselves the best way you can and if that’s a particular location however crazy as long as its physically and practically possible so be it. A wedding celebrant will make it happen.
Photo credit: DHW Photography
Changed your mind?
And so are you still wondering why you should NOT use a wedding celebrant? For some there is one major reason why you should NOT have a celebrant led ceremony. The legals. I say get over yourselves. The signing of the marriage license that is required to create the legal bond of marriage, is a stroke of a pen. It takes a lifetime of love, commitment and laughter to make a marriage durable and eternal and that’s what a celebrant led ceremony celebrates.
So what are you waiting for? I’m here ready and waiting to bombard you with questions so that I can start telling your stories and create a ceremony with your chosen content and present it at a location that is deeply special to you or even a beautiful licensed wedding venue.