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| MAKE YOUR CEREMONY UNQIUE | Celebrate with a Celebrant


Issue 49: When It Was Just You

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| MAKE YOUR CEREMONY UNQIUE | Celebrate with a Celebrant

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Between all of the grandeur of weddings; the styling and the florals, the outfits and the menus, it can be easy to get swept away and forget what the true essence of the day really is! The ceremony is the true heart of the day, the part where you make your promises and romantic declarations in front of your closest friends and family so it makes sense to pay it special attention.

Image – Georgi Mabee

Well, did you know that as well as a religious officiant or registrar, there is an increasingly popular third option for creating your wedding ceremony; working with a celebrant lets couples design something that suits them perfectly, reflecting their unique relationship, interests and values.

Rather than a registrar using a fixed script that’s been heard many times before, celebrants work with couples as part of their core wedding team, to write and deliver a bespoke ceremony.

Image by Dani Louise Photography

Karen Faulkner, a humanist (non-religious) celebrant of Stand Out Ceremonies says “As well as traditional ceremony elements, in a humanist wedding we can include special features that make the ceremony super memorable: whether that’s including family, guests, your precious pooch, or symbolising your marriage by doing something a bit different! Every element is personalised; I tell a couple’s story to reflect on the adventure and relax everyone, and I support couples to write their own, meaningful vows if they want to.

On the big day I’ll set the tone, be a friendly face at the end of the aisle, and always try to keep out of those important photos!  Your ceremony doesn’t need to be inside a licenced structure; it can be outside, or somewhere truly unique.

Celebrants are committed to making the ceremony an enjoyable highlight of the day, not the bit some couples (and guests!) might dread!”

Image by Matt Horan

Humanist weddings are still relatively niche in England and Wales, their popularity restricted by their lack of legal recognition. This means that couples need to make a separate appointment at a registry office to take care of the legal paperwork either before or after their wedding day.

Karen explains “The lack of legal recognition is something Humanists UK (the charity I’m accredited by) have campaigned to change for many years, culminating in a successful high court case in July 2020 that recommended humanist marriage should indeed have legal status. So we are confident the situation will change to bring us in line with countries such as Scotland (where humanist marriage accounts for over 20% of all marriages), but the timescale is unknown. Until that time we have to ask couples to take care of the administration separately; but to thousands of couples every year this slight compromise is worth it for the benefits in how their ceremony is created and delivered.”

Of course, we couldn’t let Karen go without a word on the pandemic and how the celebrant community has responded: “The main difference to my couples is that they are calling me – an accessible, flexible and committed member of their wedding team – to discuss how we can adapt or change the celebration, while ensuring it is still an incredible, once in a lifetime event. This is quite different from dealing with the council registry office who have a huge workload and many thousands of both marriages and other registrations to deal with. With many unusual situations arising from the pandemic (such as proceeding with a small legal ceremony and then having the ‘main event’ later) there has been an increased awareness that we can create something for the ‘sequel ceremony’  that more than makes up for splitting the event in two. We have also worked closely with venues that want to open up using larger or outdoor spaces for ceremonies (without a licensed structure in place), something that we are able to do”


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Issue 49: When It Was Just You

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