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Wedding Celebrants: FAQs
Wedding celebrants offer an alternative to traditional wedding ceremonies, which are either a religious ceremony or a civil ceremony. Celebrants lead bespoke, personal and meaningful commitment ceremonies that celebrate each couple’s love. They write a script which tells the story of the couple’s relationship and their promises for the future and may lead a commitment ritual such as a sand ceremony or a unity candle lighting.
Unlike a registrar, a celebrant is not restricted to licensed venues. A wedding celebrant can marry you anywhere, for example, a forest, a back garden or on a narrowboat, and at any time of day. If you want a midnight or sunrise ceremony, you can have one!
There are two types of wedding celebrants: humanist celebrants and independent celebrants. Humanist celebrants offer ceremonies for couples who follow the Humanist belief system or ascribe to its main ideas. Independent celebrants, however, will conduct ceremonies for any and all couples, including ones who have a faith. In fact, an independent celebrant-led wedding can be the perfect compromise for interfaith couples who wish to include parts of both cultures and faiths.
Are Wedding Celebrants Legal?
This depends on which part of the UK you’re in and also on the type of celebrant.
In England and Wales, celebrants cannot conduct legally-binding wedding ceremonies. Couples will need to have a legal civil ceremony before or after their celebrant-led wedding, but this can be done in less than 10 minutes at the register office.
However, Humanist celebrants who are accredited by Humanists UK can conduct legal weddings in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Jersey, although independent celebrants still can’t.
Don’t worry about the legal aspect too much. Many couples consider their celebrant wedding to be their ‘real’ wedding. Celebrants explain it in the same way as registering the birth of a child - the legal registering is done on a different date, but you celebrate the birth date, just as you would celebrate the day of your celebrant-led wedding.
What Does a Celebrant Do at a Wedding?
You’ll meet with your celebrant before the wedding and go through your love story with them. They will then write up a first draft, which you can check and refine before the ceremony.
On the day, the celebrant will lead your ceremony. They will introduce the couple, read out their love story, oversee the exchange of vows and perform a symbolic act. In between these, you may have readings or poems, and at the end, the couple will exchange rings.
How Much Do Wedding Celebrants Cost in the UK?
The cost of a wedding celebrant varies greatly depending on how experienced the celebrant is and what part of the country they live in. Celebrants range in price from £450 to £1,300.
You should choose your celebrant based on how comfortable you feel with them and how well they understand you as a couple, rather than their cost. A celebrant really is an investment and your guests will remember your ceremony forever.