I was pleased to hear that the outcome of the High Court Action by Humanists UK has had the best outcome at this time for everyone, including the six couples who bought the action.
I feel strongly that couples, who choose to marry, should be given the freedom of choice to celebrate their marriage in a way that they feel is both significant and reflective of them. They should also be able to select from a range of ways in which their ceremony is delivered and by whom, including Church, Registrar, Humanists and Independent Celebrants.
The decision to refer the judgement offers a possibility that this issue is being seriously considered.
I will await with interest the final judgement.
How do you feel about this ?
No, the legal aspect of your marriage must be done first at a registry office. You can choose a "two plus two" ceremony which takes place in an office and takes approximately ten minutes. This fulfils all legal requirements.
There is no reason why you cannot have a Celebrant led ceremony at a licensed venue. The venue has paid a fee to hold Marriage Services which are conducted by a Registrar. This fee should be stated separately to other costs, as different Local Authorities make different charges and you can opt out.
A Celebrant led ceremony can be conducted anywhere within the venue meaning you are not restricted to the areas which are licensed. So if the venue has woodland area or grotto or fabulous garden these can be used (weather permitting).
Please remember that to ensure your Marriage is legal you will need to undertake the legal requirements at your local registry office. All offices conduct statutory services which are very simple, cost effective ways of undertaking the legal requirements. I would suggest contacting your local authority for an informal chat.
As Celebrant-led ceremonies are all bespoke it is possible to include all the people you wish to be included. Friends and family can be involved by reading poems or performing songs.
You may also wish children from previous partnerships to be included and acknowledge the new roles and relationships that have been created.
Where numbers permit you can also involve everyone using a symbolic action; within a Naming or Welcoming ceremony the invited guests may form a circle of support around the parents and child and Ring warming is a good way to include guests when undertaking a Wedding or Commitment ceremony.
And don't forget the role your dog might take - bridesmaid's escort or ring bearer.
Choosing a Celebrant is a very personal choice; if you are able to speak to a couple of Celebrants before making a decision then do so.
I would advise you to do a little research. Currently there are no requirements for Celebrants to have completed the National Qualification for Celebrants. Qualified Celebrants have had to undertake an extensive course and demonstrate that they can create and perform ceremonies to a high standard.
Personally I would try to avoid “script only” services. These companies offer an off the shelf ceremony which can then be read by a friend or member of the family. Using a friend or family member to conduct your ceremony can add pressure to your day for you and them.
I would also advise that you use a Celebrant who belongs to a recognised Professional Association.
Recently, I have been following with interest the reports and research being undertaken on the review of Marriage Law in England. Something I feel is long overdue.
As an Independent Celebrant I conduct wedding celebrations following a legal ceremony at a Registry office. These ceremonies can contain any form of content the couple wish including religious readings, songs or actions.
The ceremonies I conduct are as diverse as the couples themselves and recognise these differences. They celebrate each person as an individual with their own heritage and culture.
I was therefore very dismayed that after months of work by the Wedding Commission and researchers there is to be a case bought before the High Court by Humanist UK, before the Commissions report is completed. If this action is successful it may relegate Independent Celebrants permanently to the sidelines.
In my opinion, the impact on the wedding industry as a whole will be that it would be diminished if Independent Celebrants are not recognised as key partners and given the right to undertake legal marriages within their ceremonies in the future.
How do you feel about this ?
Why choose a Celebrant-led ceremony ?
The reasons for choosing a Celebrant-led ceremony can be as diverse as the couples who choose them. However, the one thing which connects all of them is the wish to create a ceremony which is meaningful and personal.
Choosing a Celebrant-led ceremony gives a couple more choice about the content to be included. It also means there are fewer restraints on time and place. So if you wish to celebrate your event at home, at an unusual venue or outdoors - a Celebrant-led ceremony would be ideal. Possibly, you would like to hold your ceremony as the sun rises, or weave together two different cultural or religious heritages. All things are possible.
When considering the person who will lead your ceremony my advice would be to have a discussion with a number of Celebrants and then choose the person who you feel you can work with. Each Celebrant has their own style and approach so it’s just a case of finding the person you have a connection with.
If you would like to discuss your ceremony please feel free to contact me.
For couples planning a summer wedding in 2021 or beyond the next few months are an ideal time to start putting your plans together, particularly if you want an outdoor wedding.
Outdoor weddings are becoming increasingly popular with many licences premises now offering this option. Registrars will conduct a Civil Ceremony within a "structure" (usually a gazebo).
Equally you may wish to hold your wedding in a place which is special to you such as your own garden, a piece of woodland or field. My advice would be to complete the legal requirements first by booking a simple “two plus two” ceremony at your local registry office and then having a Celebrant-led ceremony at the venue of your choice.
Many couples are now holding Wedding festivals where guests have the option to camp overnight and there are a growing number of venues who offer this.
If you choose a venue in Staffordshire you can combine the Legal ceremony with a Celebrant -led ceremony. For further details check my website or visit Staffordshire Council website.
Wherever you plan to hold your celebration make sure that if the weather is inclement you have some cover - just in case.
It's becoming very popular to send "save the day" cards to alert guests about your planned wedding celebration. With next year looking as though it may be very busy now is the time to set your date.
Once you have all your plans finalised you then need to send a more formal invitation. The invitation should state your venue, date and time and information about the reception.
There is also the question of who will be hosting the celebration. Some couples follow a traditional route and the bride's parents host the wedding, especially if the bride's parents have made a major financial contribution.
Alternatively you may prefer to send the invitations from you as a couple.
When composing the wording for your invitations you can use the word "Marriage" if the Registrar will be present alternatively if the ceremony is Celebrant led then "Wedding Ceremony" is more descriptive.
Choosing a Celebrant to help you create that special ceremony is an important step towards making your occasion a really memorable one. Why not take advantage of the free initial meeting I offer ? I believe it is important to meet informally to discuss your ideas and what I can offer. Meeting also gives us an opportunity to explore the type of ceremony that would best suit your needs.