How to: Choose a Celebrant or A Registrar?

Phil Martin, an Independent Celebrant near Rugby, in the Midlands, explains the differences between a celebrant and a registrar, and why you may wish to opt for a more personal ceremony.

Do you want just a legal procedure or would you prefer a civil wedding ceremony to make it the most memorable day of your lives?

The Registrar

A Civil Partnership is normally undertaken in a registry office by a Registrar; it will contain no religious content, no hymns, and works from a script that cannot be adapted to suit you or your partner.

If you wish, your civil ceremony can be held in a wedding-licensed venue rather than a registry office; typically this allows you to conduct your ceremony in a designated room at a hotel or similar venue.

The Registrar is obliged to use the same scripted procedure as they would use in the registry office, and fees can be expensive, particularly if you choose to hold your ceremony outside of office hours or at a weekend.

The Celebrant

A celebrant can conduct your wedding ceremony in an expanded form, tailoring it to reflect the unique relationship you and your partner share, and help you plan your ceremony with the music, vows and readings that truly mean something to you both. They can do this in two ways:

  • at a licensed venue with a Registrar present – the celebrant can conduct your ceremony, but a Registrar must be present to witness the ceremony to ensure it contains certain elements that make your partnership legally binding, but other than that, you have control over how your ceremony takes shape.
  • at any venue of your choice – if you don’t want to be restricted to venues that are licensed to holding civil weddings, you can become registered as civil partners at a Registry Office beforehand (which means the legal sides of your union is completed), and hold your celebratory ceremony later.

The ceremony you create with your celebrant can be held on the same day that you register your civil partnership, or at any future time after you have become registered civil partners, and affords much greater flexibility than a traditional registry office ceremony.

Your day, Your way

This is our company motto, and it explains exactly what we believe: that the best method for a wedding ceremony is for it to be designed especially for you.

It doesn’t matter whether you are gay, bisexual or transgender, heterosexual, inter-religious, spiritual or even pagan. We want to create the perfect ceremony for you.

Venue Options

Where you choose to hold your ceremony is entirely up to you; unlike a civil ceremony taken by a Registrar, you are not restricted on holding your ceremony in a licensed room. In fact, the venue you choose can be anywhere you wish, providing permission is obtained from the owners. You could, therefore, choose to hold your civil ceremony at a favorite spot, indoors, or outdoors; on the ground or in the air.

Ceremony Content, Style & Theme

Your celebrant will advise you on the content you might like to include, but you are free to write your own vows and even music. Your ceremony can include readings – religious or not; poetry and various parts of the ceremony can be taken by family and friends.

Some couples even theme their ceremony, asking guests to dress up as characters from a favorite film or book, for example. With a celebrant, the potential for your ceremony is endless because each one is completely bespoke and can be as traditional, or as alternative, as you want it to be. Your day, your way.

About the author

Phil Martin is an independent celebrant at Dignity Services, operating near Rugby, the Midlands and beyond. Find out more about Dignity Services.

Image by Erica Tanith Photography

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