How to have a beautiful, heartfelt and unique wedding ceremony.
It might not be the first thing you think about when planning your special day, but choosing to have a celebrant, instead of a registrar, can really make your wedding unique to you. By separating out the legal aspect of the marriage, couples are able to have a beautiful, heartfelt and unique ceremony.
What is a celebrant?
Celebrants are self-employed and conduct non-legally binding celebration ceremonies.
Can a celebrant legally marry you?
Standard wedding ceremonies have to follow a very strict format in order to meet the necessary legal requirements. If you decide to opt for a celebrant, the legal part of the proceedings is done beforehand, leaving you free to work together to devise a bespoke ceremony written just for you.
“With the decrease in religion in the UK, many couples are looking for an alternative to a registrar-led service and want a ceremony that is personal to them,” explains Nikki Wood, an independent wedding celebrant we are delighted to work with here at The Barn at Botley Hill.
Do you need a registrar to get married?
In this scenario, the legal part of the proceedings usually involves a short, standard, civil ceremony at a registry office, where you will make your declarations in front of two witnesses and receive a marriage contract. Most couples do this during the week before their wedding celebration as part of the preparations.
The cost is normally around £60 for a standard ‘no-frills’ ceremony – where you can wear casual clothes and there is no requirement for exchanging vows and rings. This can be saved for on the day itself.
How can I make my wedding day special?
“By separating out the legal aspect of the marriage, couples are able to have a beautiful, heartfelt and unique ceremony.”
It’s worth bearing in mind that, with the legal part now dispensed with, you don’t have to follow normal protocol at all. Working with a celebrant, you have the freedom to create a ceremony that perfectly reflects your own beliefs, values and personalities.
You may wish to incorporate elements such as:
- A family tradition
- An acknowledgement of your culture or heritage
- The story of your romance – from how you met and what drew you together
- Your reasons for getting married
- Any other special aspects that resonate with you
A celebrant ceremony enables you to weave in a special unity ritual to symbolise two lives coming together as one.
“At one recent wedding, the groom wanted to acknowledge his diverse heritage, as his mother was Fijian and his father was Scottish,” says Nikki. “So the couple included the Fijian tradition of ‘Butubutu’ – or the ‘laying of matts’ – for the ceremony. To acknowledge his Scottish heritage, for the evening reception, the groom changed into a kilt in the family tartan!
Examples of unity rituals include:
In a sand ceremony layers of coloured sand are poured into a pretty glass container by each participant. This is a lovely way to include a couple’s children.
A handfasting is an ancient Celtic tradition where the hands are bound together with cord. This is also where the saying ‘tying the knot’ originates.
A unity candle is lit from two separate candles
What should I say in my wedding vows?
“Some couples like keep their ceremony simple and traditional, and that is absolutely fine,” says Nikki. “Alternatively, you may wish your ceremony to be alternative, elaborate or unusual, and that is also perfectly fine. It is so important that your ceremony reflects you and your personal style.”
“Either way, I will spend time getting to know you beforehand, and then we will work together to carefully craft and fine tune your vows and words, so that they are perfectly suited to you.”
Whatever you have in mind, you can be sure that by working with Nikki, you can create the ceremony of your dreams!
Tie the Knot at Botley Hill Barn
The Barn at Botley Hill is a brand new luxury wedding venue on the Titsey Estate. Within easy reach of London, the new Surrey venue enjoys spectacular views of the North Down. The Barn accommodates up to 125 people seated.