Why choose an independent celebrant?

one word answer:  choice...

There is a myth that the only alternative to a registrar-led wedding ceremony in England and Wales is a religious ceremony. Both ceremony types have restrictions regarding what can and cannot be included in the ceremony, and where the ceremony may take place.

Many couples want more choice in their wedding ceremony and want to create something that is unique and personal to them, reflecting them as a couple. Some couples would like to include family traditions or rituals to reflect their cultural heritage.  By choosing a celebrant to create and conduct your ceremony, the sky’s the limit and you can include any content you wish.

An independent celebrant-led ceremony can take place wherever and whenever you like - you are not limited to council-approved venues, and you can make significant cost savings in choosing alternative venues.

Most couples choosing this route often have a ‘statutory’ (no frills) ceremony through their local council registration service about a week or so before their big day. This covers the legal bit.  And then they have their big day their way.


important legal bit:  A celebrant-led wedding ceremony is not currently legally-binding in England and Wales.

How are celebrants and registrars different?

both do a great job...

A registrar is employed by a council's Registration Service to conduct legal civil marriage and civil partnership ceremonies.  There are strict rules about what can and cannot be included in a civil ceremony (e.g. religious content is not allowed).  Civil marriage ceremonies may only take place in a register office or at a venue approved by the council.  Two registrars attend each ceremony:  one conducts the ceremony whilst the other deals with the legal paperwork.  Civil marriage ceremonies are typically short (around 15 – 20 minutes, or sometimes even shorter). 

Couples are usually able to personalise their ceremony to a limited extent by choosing:

- the wording of the legal vows they wish to exchange (from a choice of three)

- any promises they wish to make to each other (but with no religious content)

- any readings or music that they would like to include (again, with no religious content).   

So much planning goes into a wedding, but one of the most important bits can be down to pot luck.  Couples usually meet their registrars for the first time only minutes before their ceremony.  Unless you personally know a good registrar whom you can request to officiate at your ceremony, you get whoever is on the rota that day...


wherever, whenever, whatever....

An independent wedding celebrant is a self-employed, qualified and insured professional whom you can personally vet and choose to work with you.  They will talk with you in the months and weeks before your big day to create and deliver a truly individual ceremony made just for you.  Your ceremony can take place wherever and whenever you want, and with whatever content you choose.

The big difference between an independent celebrant-led ceremony and that delivered by a registrar is... choice.

click below for a comparison of celebrant-led vs registrar-led ceremonies

Comparing Types Of Wedding Ceremony Pdf
PDF – 1.0 MB 23 downloads

the important legal bit...

It is important to emphasise that an independent celebrant-led ceremony is not legally binding - in other words, you will not be legally married afterwards. 

a word of advice...

If you intend to get legally married, think about where and when you will complete this and how you will explain your celebrant-led ceremony to your guests, if at all.