For a marriage ceremony to be legally binding in the UK it must take place with an authorised person or superintendent registrar present (e.g. vicar or priest) and have at least two competent people, who will be required to sign the marriage register as witnesses. For most people that means a choice of three options; a religious ceremony in a place of worship, a register office wedding or, since 1994 when the laws changed, a wedding performed by a registrar in a licensed venue such as a hotel or a stately home.
While you may have more choice over venues you still don’t have much say over the content of the ceremony which is pretty much the same for each of the above and is largely dependent on including declaratory and contracting words (I do solemnly swear etc). It is likely to be a pretty quick affair not allowing you much input, choice or flexibility, and there are often restrictions such as not being able to have food or drink in the same room within an hour of the ceremony or the registrar can prevent you from having photographs taken during the ceremony, or not allow certain readings, music or vows.
However the good news is that provided you have the legalities covered by a registrar in a register office this opens up an exciting opportunity to have the rest of the service including the exchanging of rings and vows in a quite separate event that is entirely more personalised and presided over by a Wedding Celebrant. Whilst Wedding Celebrants are not widely known about in this country they have in fact been in existence for 40 years.
Once you have married ‘officially’ you are free to design the wedding ceremony of your dreams. Given that in a survey*asking brides about their wedding day memories it revealed that almost half of brides (45%) considered their most treasured memories to be associated with the act of getting married clearly the conventional ceremonies clearly don’t offer the flexibility that many couples would like. The top memory was walking down the aisle (21%) followed by the ceremony (16%) and the exchange of vows (8%).
The good news is that using a wedding celebrant to preside over your wedding allows you far more flexibility. It gives you more choice over your wedding venue (yes a couple have got married in a shark tank), you will be able to have your wedding wherever you choose, at whatever time, and you will be able to decide exactly how you want the whole occasion to flow, You will be consulted about every aspect of the ceremony, with personalised vows and your choice of readings and poems without restriction.
Celebrants are becoming an increasingly popular choice for couples, especially those who want a ceremony that reflects their beliefs and lifestyle. A celebrant will work closely with you in helping you write your vows, will preside over the whole occasion ensuring that everything flows perfectly and exactly as you would want.
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