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Celebrant-led weddings offer inclusivity for you and your guests.
When picturing your big day growing up, what did you imagine? A beach wedding? An enchanted forest? Your back garden? A boat? The spot you first set eyes on your soulmate?
If you’ve ever dreamt of a wedding like one of these, or even something a little less conventional, you’re likely dreaming about a celebrant-led wedding.
Considered more inclusive and personal than either traditional or civil ceremonies (the ones that take place with registrars officiating the ceremony at a licensed venue), a celebrant-led wedding offers the flexibility to tailor your ceremony. Infuse your ceremony with games, poetry readings, religious rituals from different faiths or a symbolic act, have it outdoors, or write your vows- it’s entirely up to you what to include. We heard about one celebrant-led wedding that included the couple and their pet goose ceremonially stepping over a broom together into their new lives. While it might sound bonkers to some, so long as your venue agrees and your celebrant is up for it, the sky really is the limit.
photo by Rich Howman Photography
For same-sex or non-binary couples there is a particular allure in the ability to shape the language of the ceremony to suit your union. Choosing the wording gives you the freedom to celebrate your love and present yourselves in marriage in exactly the way that best represents you. You’ll be able to pick and choose the traditions that mean something to you, or ignore them entirely – something you’re not always able to do in traditional wedding ceremonies.
What actually is a celebrant-led wedding?
A celebrant-led wedding ceremony is the ceremonial (or celebratory) part of your wedding, not the legal part. It is called ‘celebrant-led’ because it is officiated by a celebrant, a professional who conducts formal ceremonies. A good celebrant is a creative performer, able to capture your guest’s attention and focus it on you and your partner.
A celebrant-led wedding should be enjoyable for everyone involved.
Celebrant-led weddings are officiated separately to the legal signing of the registrar, which takes place either just before or just after your wedding ceremony. It’s usually a very simple and affordable process to become ‘legally’ married – you’re just doing the paperwork – freeing you up to conduct your ceremony however you like. This does mean though that the celebrant-led ceremony in itself isn’t legally binding – you’ll still need to go to a registrar to complete that part of your marriage.
photo by Marie Lloyd Photography
Who are celebrant-led weddings for?
Absolutely anyone. Or at least, couples who want the freedom to choose how to conduct their ceremony. Without the rigid requirement of religious or legal rules and conventions stipulated in traditional or civil ceremonies, you’re free to mould your ceremony any way you want.
Ditch the prayers and religious passages for something a bit more ‘you’. But that doesn’t mean that your wedding should be devoid of faith.
A celebrant-led wedding ceremony can also be the more appropriate choice for couples who might come from different religious backgrounds and want to incorporate aspects of both faiths into the same ceremony. Equally, if you’ve always considered yourself more spiritual than religious, your celebrant will be able to help you design a mystique-infused ceremony.
What does a celebrant-led wedding look like?
We’re not sure if we’ve stressed it enough already, but celebrant-led weddings really are tailored to you.
You can decide how you ‘enter’ your wedding, write your vows and incorporate symbolic acts to validate your love. Prior to your wedding, you’ll discuss your plans with your celebrant, who’ll be able to support you in the planning and preparation of the day.
No two celebrant-led weddings are alike, and that’s their biggest benefit.
Typically though, you might expect to have entrances, a reading of the couple’s love story, exchanging of personalised vows, poetry, and a special tradition. Packed with personality, the celebrant-led wedding ceremony is a deeply intimate and enjoyable experience for you and your guests.
Does this mean I can get married outdoors?
Yes, you can. And some of the most beautiful ceremonies take place outdoors. With a celebrant-led wedding at Tower Hill Barns, you’re not hindered by weather constraints, timings (meaning yes, you can have that twilight wedding on the lawns at dusk), or stipulations that don’t feel relevant to you. Instead, we encourage you to curate an experience that 100% feels like you. Read more about our outdoor ceremonies.
photography by Clara Cooper
How do I choose a celebrant?
Choosing a celebrant is a highly personal decision and will depend on the tone of your wedding and the kinds of values you want to incorporate in your ceremony. For instance, if you’re passionate about having a skydiving wedding, you won’t want a celebrant afraid of heights.
Celebrants often work closely with you to design your wedding, getting to know you as a couple. You’ll need to feel comfortable with your celebrant, so it is worth asking about their experiences and the previous ceremonies they’ve officiated. It may also help to meet a few celebrants before making a final decision. Ask yourself, do I feel listened to? Do I feel comfortable with this celebrant? Do they understand what we’re looking for? Are they helping us make decisions together?
Celebrants at Tower Hill Barns
We love celebrant-led weddings at THB, and we especially love all the inclusivity and creativity that comes along with them. We’re ready to learn more about your love story. If you’d like to find out more, please get in touch with us as we’d love for you to come and see us, have a tour, and chat about your wedding plans.
Outdoor ceremony officiated by celebrant Susan Foxall; photography by Marie Lloyd
With thanks to Susan Foxall, of Susan Foxall Ceremonies, who we chatted to recently in prep for this blog. Susan is an independent celebrant in North Wales and the North West and is truly passionate about a day (but most of all, a ceremony) that’s unique.
Susan, recommends that you “…..save the personal vows, the rings and anything symbolic and beautiful that you would love to have on your wedding day for just that – your wedding day”. Your wedding day should be about the celebration of your love, rather than the signing of any legal documents.