Registrar or Celebrant – which is best for you?

Oct 4, 2021 | Weddings

Why wouldn’t you choose a celebrant over a Registrar?  To be honest for me this is a no brainer but I do appreciate that many don’t see it that way that the legals are their priority resulting in the majority of civil ceremonies being officiated by Registrars.

Please read on and I’ll explain not only how easy the process is of having a celebrant led ceremony but also why it will be one of the best decisions you make in your wedding planning.

 The legal side of getting married

This is most definitely the Registrar’s domain.  If your priority is the convenience of having the legal contract of your marriage taking place on the same day and the party is your main focus there is little point in even considering a celebrant.   That’s a fact.  A Registrar is definitely best for you as currently only a Registrar can legally marry you.

registrar or celebrant

Photo credit Maryanne Weddings

There’s a price to be paid for convenience

This is the price you pay.   Your registrar led ceremony will be an overall controlled environment, with restrictions and approval needed on content, words, music, readings and little or no flexibility on timings, dates, locations etc etc.  I could go on. But I won’t because I want to explain what you are missing and why you must read on!

So what’s the alternative to a registrar?

A celebrant.  It’s not a complicated process.  There are no restrictions on anything.  There’s total flexibility.  You can choose who conducts your ceremony.  You can have your ceremony literally wherever you want.  And it’s a whole lot more fun.   More authentic.  More memorable.  And absolutely you.

What’s the catch?

There’s isn’t one.  All you do is separate or remove the legal wording from your ceremony on your wedding day.  This is easily done by booking the statutory ‘ceremony’  at the registry office and be legally married at a time or date that suits you before or after your wedding.  It is hardly a ceremony.  More a registration.   It’s short, cheap and efficient.  Not dissimilar to registering a death or birth. Oh yes and you need to take a couple of witnesses.

I recommend a good lunch with them afterwards!

Amazingly these are the only words that need to be included to legally contract a marriage.

First the declaration which is said both by parties.  Traditionally groom first or if a same sex couple the eldest first.  “I declare that I know legal reason why I …… may not be joined in marriage to …… “repeated by both partners.  And then the contracting words repeated by both parties.  “I take you to be my wedded wife/husband”

That’s it. It makes you realise the compromise you are making to the overall personalisation of your ceremony for the privilege of including these few words.

celebrant or registrar

Photo credit: Caught the Light Wedding Photography

Do licensed venues only use registrars?

No.   Some venues do have celebrants on their preferred suppliers list but venues will assume that couples will want the Registrar.  It is therefore up to you the couple to say you want to use a celebrant.   Celebrants are still a relatively new phenomenon and there is still a massive shortfall of knowledge on what celebrants offer even within the wedding industry.

It seems that still despite every couple being different just like every venue’s different and every photographer’s and florist’s style it is assumed that each and every ceremony should be exactly the same!    Surely that’s crazy mad?  Who wants the most important element of the day exactly the same as everyone else’s?

So what’s so great about a celebrant-led ceremony?

Now you are talking.  Well, it’s not just the fact that there are absolutely no restrictions.  It’s the entire process.     The ceremony is after all the whole point of your wedding.  So to make it special, unique and not prescriptive like the Registrar’s regulated ceremony, celebrants HAVE to really get to know you as individuals and as a couple inside and out.

This very fact reinforces how vital it is for you to have a real and proper connection (over used Love Island word but relevant here!) with your celebrant.   So, choose wisely.  By the way you don’t meet the registrar who officiates until the day of your wedding.

The information the celebrant gleans from you will ultimately result in a highly personalised and bespoke ceremony.   It won’t be yet another endurance test of familiar words but an experience that will be enjoyed by all.  Indeed, guests will have a deeper understanding of precisely why they are there, and it naturally becomes the reason for the fabulous celebrations that follow.

celebrant or registrar

What sort of stuff does a celebrant want to know?

All sorts of stuff to get to the root of YOU but starting with ‘why are you getting married’ This may seem like a strange and possibly a rather obvious question but for me it is the most important.   It’s the bricks and mortar of your ceremony script.   A celebrant worth their salt will bombard you with questions like this and many more ….. why have you chosen the venue? Why did you propose when you proposed? Why did you say yes? Why are you marrying now? Why is your wedding so important to you?  Why do you love one another?

Don’t be alarmed there are fun ones too!  Humour is a huge part of a celebrant led ceremony.  And it doesn’t come from me cracking jokes it comes from you, your anecdotes and your story.

I was described once by a couple as their ‘unofficial therapist’.  Joking apart though I have been told by many that they have found it a carhartic and important process which brings to the fore the very essence of why they are getting married and enables me to create a script that really does you both and your story justice.

So what will it be Registrar or Celebrant?

Have I converted you?  Or will you at the very least just to talk to your partner and/or a wedding celebrant to find out what you might miss out on.

And consider this are you someone who has always wanted a really personal ceremony but doesn’t know where to start on creating their own special script?   If that’s the case you don’t have to worry we’ll have a lovely chat you’ll tell me your story and I’ll write the ceremony for you.

Perhaps you are someone who didn’t know you had an alternative to the Registrar?   Get in touch and I’ll tell you all about the service I provide.  And if your partner is doubting – I’ll help convince them.

Have you always dreamed of having your wedding ceremony in your family garden or somewhere equally personal but not licensed?  I’d love to help weddings at home are my absolute favourites.  There is no reason why you shouldn’t have your wedding at home, on the beach, in the woods or wherever is special and deeply personal to you.

Whoever you or whatever your circumstances I guarantee it will be best decision you make and you will join those who regularly say why would you want to marry any other way.  xx



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