Why should you choose a celebrant for your wedding?

Well, let’s see… shall we start with 12 reasons why a wedding celebrant will make your ceremony rock??

Why should you choose a celebrant for your wedding? ~ Sussex celebrant Claire Bradford of Creating Ceremony
Carl Thomson Photography

1. You get to choose who will be there at the end of the aisle

You put considerable work into researching and hiring the people who are going to be around you on your big day. You choose the photographer whose style you love and who is well known for their punchy, colourful images, for example. You choose the caterer who makes the yummiest food you’ve ever tasted and can cater for your vegan friends. You choose a florist who makes you think twice about tossing the bouquet because you don’t want to let go of it. So doesn’t it make sense to choose a person who’s totally up your street to be the one to deliver your perfect ceremony and kick the day off in style?

No offence whatsoever to hard working registrars, but when you book a wedding ceremony with them, you will get the person who is on the rota to work on your big day.

You probably won’t have met them before, but they’ll be there at the end of the aisle as you walk in, and right next to you as you say your vows to your partner. They will be the one who sets the tone for the first (and most important) part of your wedding day – your ceremony. So wouldn’t you prefer to choose who plays this role, rather than leave it to chance? Someone who makes you go ‘hell yeah’ instead of ‘meh’? Of course you would!

2. You get to know your celebrant and your celebrant gets to know you

Having chosen a celebrant who you both think is the bee’s knees is just the first part of the journey. Along the way, your celebrant will be getting to know you, your likes and dislikes, your personalities, your worries, your love story, your interests, your family dynamics… all so that they can weave this information into a ceremony that fits you perfectly. 

If one of you is anxious about speaking in public, or worried that your deaf grandma won’t be able to hear, your celebrant will help to find a solution. 

If one of you is religious but the other is not, your celebrant can weave your contrasting beliefs into the ceremony so that you are both reflected in it.

If you want to involve your siblings in some way but you’re not sure how, your celebrant can come up with ideas that will suit you and them.

Why should you choose a celebrant for your wedding? ~ Sussex celebrant Claire Bradford of Creating Ceremony
Stephanie and Nicole Photography

3. Your wedding ceremony will be all about you and your story

I’m sure you’ve been to lots of weddings in the past where a priest or a registrar says words about love and the meaning of marriage and the couple’s names are shoehorned into the script, much like the next couple’s will be. These wedding ceremonies can still be emotional and meaningful for the couple, because they’re in love and they’re committing to each other in front of their family and friends…

…But how much better would it be to have not only the enormity of the public commitment but to have a ceremony that was built around you two and your love story? That included the things you geek over together, the in jokes, the things you adore about each other? And that showed not just what marriage means, but what marriage means to you, what’s making you take the leap and what you’re looking forward to?

4. The party will start with your ceremony, not after it

Let’s be real, when you go to a non-celebrant led wedding, the most exciting part is seeing the couple for the first time, and maybe the kiss. The rest of it is, well, not particularly interesting normally (unless there’s a teary vows moment or the little bridesmaid does something super cute). It’s just the bit you sit through that makes it into a wedding rather than a big party. The bit that, when it’s over, means you can get stuck into the canapes and fizzy wine. 

So what if the couple made a particularly spectacular entrance, for example? (I’ve seen a groom enter ‘Tony Stark in Iron Man 2’ style), complete with confetti cannons and dancing girls, then his Mrs arrive at the end of the aisle on the back of her dad’s motorbike – bloody awesome.) What if, instead of an address about the meaning of marriage, they had their friends laughing and crying with funny and moving stories of their adventure so far and what they’re planning next? What if everybody sang a song together, there was a surprise poem written by a sibling, or the vows were written by the couple, from the heart, in their own words?

Wouldn’t that be even more awesome??

5. You have creative input into your ceremony

When you work with a celebrant, you don’t just get the ‘standard script’. You get to suggest things that you’d love to include and, as there aren’t any ‘rules’, your celebrant can weave them into your ceremony and/or suggest other ideas that would tie in with your personalities, likes and dislikes and the sort of ceremony you’ve described. 

Most celebrants will work closely with you and get to know you and what you want before they start writing. Most will send you a first draft for you to be able to change as much as you wish. And if you choose me to be your celebrant, you get to hear your ceremony in full, read by me before your big day – if one or both of you are in tears by the end of it, I know I’ve done my job well!! (Of course, if you want it all to be a surprise on the day, we can do that too… It’s your call completely.)

6. There will be a lot of laughter

Your wedding is a ‘moment’. Not just any moment, but one of life’s biggest moments. For you to be making this commitment to one another is huge. As the church liturgy goes, ‘marriage must not be entered into carelessly, lightly or selfishly but reverently, responsibly and after serious thought.’ This is BIG!

But just because it’s big doesn’t mean your ceremony has to be solemn and serious. This is a moment of joy and celebration after all! A good celebrant will make the tone fit exactly what you want it to be, and there will probably be a lot of laughter along the way, even whilst allowing for the deeper feels. This doesn’t mean that your wedding won’t be taken seriously, or feel like the ‘moment’ it should – it absolutely will, but in a way that fits both of you like a glove. And your celebrant will handle the flow perfectly so you and your guests don’t feel like you’re riding an emotional rollercoaster along the way.

7. Your ceremony will be memorable, for all the right reasons

Rewind your mind and go back to your memories of the weddings you have been to over the years. What do you really remember about the ceremony? The chances are, not an awful lot, unless it’s something like having to mime the words to the hymn because you don’t know the tune, the wedding rings being lost or laughing inwardly because the person taking it is so terrible it’s funny

Because, though they’re lovely enough, there’s not a lot that’s memorable about one-size-fits-all wedding ceremonies, whereas celebrant-led ceremonies pack a really memorable punch because they’re unique, highly personalised and fun. I’ve had several couples tell me that, sometimes years later, people will tell them how much they remember their wedding ceremony and how great it was. Now that’s a better option, surely?

8. You can involve your kids, your friends, your dog… 

Want your dog (or your tortoise, your cat or your llama) to be your ring bearer? Want to involve your children and/or perhaps celebrate that you’re a newly blended family? Want your auntie to sing to you? Want to show your friends your appreciation for their support by involving them in some way? Want to honour a parent, other family member or friend who is no longer with us in the ceremony somehow? Talk to your celebrant – all of this can be arranged with style and creativity.

9. You can include religious or spiritual content if you want to

Now if you’re both fully religious, you’re probably going to want to get married at your church, temple, synagogue or wherever is your spiritual home. But what if you can’t do that because one of you is divorced, for example, or you’re a same-sex couple and your religion doesn’t recognise your union? Or what if one of you is religious and the other isn’t? Or if you’re from differing religions?

Register office weddings do not allow any religious or spiritual content whatsoever (did you know that, in some areas, even Robbie Williams’ ‘Angels’ is not allowed?!?), so for a long time, couples who couldn’t get married in church had no chance of including elements of their faith(s).

Working with an independent celebrant allows you to include religious elements into your wedding, from a ‘nod’ (Uncle Brian reading a prayer) to weaving in readings, hymns, prayers and anything else you’d like to include. And if one of you is religious and the other isn’t, we can work your vows and other content to include that too.

10. You can have your wedding anywhere you like

As I write, the Law Commission is reviewing the current state of UK weddings and hopefully things will be changing soon. But right now, you can only have a registrar wedding in a licensed venue, and a religious wedding in a place of worship. 

With a celebrant-led wedding, because we don’t do the legal part, you can have your wedding in a field, in your back garden, at your local Comic-Con, in a Big Top… wherever suits you both best. The choice is entirely yours. 

(And hopefully, the changes will mean that we CAN do the legal part AND still do it wherever you want… so keep everything crossed!)

11. You can be as nerdy, as silly, as out there or as traditional as you like

There are no ‘shoulds’ with a celebrant ceremony. Your day is a blank canvas waiting to be painted however you want it. Want a full-on white wedding with all the traditional trimmings? Go for it! Want to have R2D2 and C3PO as your wedding party? Let’s do it! Either way, your ceremony will be tailor made to fit you both perfectly.

The only rule is that there are no rules. If you love tradition, let’s weave it in. If you don’t, let’s chuck it out or change it.

12. You get extras 

When you book a celebrant, you get so much more than ‘just’ an awesome ceremony. Here’s what else you get with me as your celebrant:

  • My time! I will arrive at least an hour before the ceremony starts, rather than skidding in with 5 minutes to go (who needs that stress?!?) and I’ll stay for as long as you need me afterwards. I only conduct one wedding a day, so I won’t be rushing to or from your wedding, my head full of another couple’s ‘stuff’ – you have my full attention all day.
  • My ideas and suggestions. Whilst it’s not my show but yours, I’ve been doing this for several years now and I’ve got some really cool stuff up my sleeve if you’re looking for some inspiration. Try me!
  • Two meetings. Face to face over a cuppa or on Zoom, we’ll get down to the nitty gritty of what you want in your wedding – and have a lot of fun whilst we’re at it. In the second meeting, I’ll read you the first draft of your script. You might need tissues… We can also chat or email as much as you’d like in between.
  • The ability to use me as a human Pinterest board – send me ideas, questions, thoughts or whatever you want and I’ll weave it all into your ceremony.
  • A questionnaire you’ll actually want to fill out. Seriously, I have been told that every couple should do it – and I’ve often had them back complete with wine stains or bantery arguments scribbled in the margins!
  • Help with writing your vows, if you’d like it. These suckers can be hard!
  • A presentation copy of your ceremony script afterwards.

So… shall we?!

If you think you’d like to work with me as your celebrant, get in touch and let’s arrange a no-obligation chat. I cannot WAIT to hear all about your wedding plans!