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Celebrant Confusion?

Have you heard or been told that registrar offices offer a celebrant service? Is this confusing you when independent celebrant tell you that we are the only ones at this time who can offer you truly bespoke celebrant services?


Read on to find out the differences between a 'registrar celebrant' and an ' independent celebrant' , Please note this blog does not address Humanist Celebrants, as they are grouped with belief ceremonies, as they are a none belief belief organisation and as such are not independent. Email or contact me if you would like further information about this.

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An independent celebrant is just that, independent, they generally work for themselves, or as part of a group of other celebrants. They set their own fees, arrange their own further training and insurance. A registrar celebrant is a civil servant who works for the council, The 'registrar celebrant ' is the name increasingly used for the person who reads the wording, and who works along side the registrar who over seas the legal process and the signing of the legal documentation.



A registrar celebrant can not give you a truly individualized ceremony, in the way you may expect! Whilst you may be told you can have an individual ceremony, a bespoke ceremony or a tailored ceremony, within a civil ceremony, there is a restricted format, restrictive wording and legalities you have to adhere to. Usually, if you choose one of the ‘bespoke’ packages within a civil ceremony, you can probably choose a poem, a reading and have music played. You can choose from a number of statutory and declaratory statements, but you can not alter the wording further. And remember, their is restriction on the content of poems and music. There can be nothing spiritual or religious included in a civil ceremony - This is currently set in law.

You are unlikely to meet you registrar celebrant before your big day, they will be one of a number of civil servants who work for the registration service. They will be allocated your ceremony as part of their ceremony, they will know very little about you. They also have a structured schedule. Whilst your ceremony is one of the most important days of your life, whilst the registrar celebrant will without a doubt care about you and your day, you really are just one of many appointments in a busy schedule. You have a time slot and this has very little leeway.

Elizabeth Anne Helping with microphone issues at a summer wedding


Couple ceremony outside in nature with  Elizabeth Anne the Garden Celebrant
One of my favourite weddings yet, last minute, outside during a momentary break in Covid restrictions.

With a celebrant ceremony, as long as your wishes for your ceremony are legal, there is no coercion of either party, and both you and your chosen celebrant are happy with the plans, there are no restrictions on content!!

With an independent celebrant, you can choose all of the content for your ceremony. The format, the type and quality of readings / poems, you can choose a piece or multiple pieces of music which can truly represent you, the wedding theme, or a piece that is important to a family member. You want rock and roll, Vivaldi or Ave Marie in the same ceremony? Go for it... the thing is, it is about you!! It doesn't have to make sense to anybody but you!





You can include friends or family within elements of your ceremony and you can have unity or mini ceremonies to add interest or traditional components. You may choose to have blended elements from your different faiths or have cultural traditions relevant to you or your families. An independent will be very familiar with most of these traditions, or will be happy to learn and to lead any number of elements, that you are simply not allowed to have in a civil ceremony.


With a independent celebrant, most of us book the whole day for you, this gives piece of mind. You can work your ceremony around your venue, photographer or other elements of your day.



One of the most important elements if having an independent celebrant, is that I get to know you! I often meet couples a year or more before the ceremony. I give as much or as little contact as is needed! I am at the end of the phone or email and can help iron out issues with how a ceremony will flow, and I can chat with your Videographer and photographer, ensuring they know when the key moments - that they will not want to miss.


Because I get to know you, I can write your story and your ceremony from scratch. Sure I have had couples who have removed all the personal content out of a ceremony, and paired it back to the "I do's", but if you are reading this, you are interested in having a ceremony about you, that keeps you front and centre! I do this by asking lots of questions, by letting you know what is possible and by allowing you to challenge what others tell you that you have to have. Remember use ceremonies your have been to as inspiration not aspiration! You should be aiming to have a ceremony that is all yours! This is where a celebrant stands out from the rest.



Outdoor garden weddings are a specialty of Elizabeth Anne the garden celebrant.
Outdoor Garden wedding

All of this content is current- However you may have heard that changes are afoot. Indeed wedding law reform are happening, but as yet no one knows the outcome, wedding law is outdated and discriminatory, but if you are planning your ceremony in the next 12-18 months, it is very unlikely that any changes will affect your ceremony!


UK wedding Law reform logo



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