Celebrant or Registrar ? What's the Same ? What's Different?

A Wedding Celebrant’s Perspective
Toni and John's Hauser and Wirth Wedding
Louise and Ian's wedding t The Stack - Trelion
Toni and John's Hauser and Wirth Wedding

Several photographers have recently told me how much they have enjoyed my wedding ceremonies and how, following it, would always recommend a celebrant-led wedding to couples. 

But then they ask – how can we explain the difference !!

So, Celebrant of Registrar ? What’s the same ? What’s different ?

Both a registrar and a celebrant want you to enjoy your ceremony, but what they offer is very different.
A registrar is employed by the local authority and is able to perform the legal part of a marriage. The service must be held in a licensed area.
Registrars may perform 3 or 4 wedding services a day, so you get given a time slot, and you probably will not meet them before the day.
The format and content of the ceremony is dictated by legislation and no religious or spiritual content can be included. Any readings must be seen and approved before the ceremony.
An Independent celebrant is self-employed and is unable to perform the legal part of the ceremony.
Some couples choosing a celebrant-led wedding tend to get the legal part out of the way a few days before, leaving them free to enjoy their wedding day as they truly want it. This can give them more days of celebrations.
Other couples want to keep the legal part low key and choose the cheapest option, which is the 2+2, and costs about £57.

What is a 2+ 2 Ceremony?

The 2+2 is a short ceremony that includes the legal elements needed to perform a marriage. The only people to attend will be yourselves, your two witnesses and the registrar. It only includes a declaration, contracting words and an optional ring vow, chosen from a short standard selection.

Separating the legal side of your wedding ceremony, enables you to have a bespoke ceremony that is truly unique and memorable. A ceremony that truly reflects who you are as a couple and incorporates your ideas, values and personalities.
A celebrant gives you the freedom to hold your ceremony in a place that’s significant to you, a beach, a forest, a bluebell glade, your farm or garden, stately home, tipi – I have led some weddings in the most stunning hidden gems.


The process of planning the ceremony
When a couple contact me, we usually set up a meeting to get to know each other and chat about their plans and ideas for the wedding. It’s essential for each couple to feel that they have chosen the right celebrant for them, one that ‘gets’ them and one they have confidence in.
Planning and writing the ceremony takes around six months and can include many emails, and phone calls and sharing of suggestions, resources etc.

Getting to know you both over this time ensures that your ceremony is truly personal and individual and reflects who you are as a couple. For together we craft a beautiful, bespoke, ceremony that reflects your ideas, your values and your personalities.

You may want to arrive up the aisle together, or on a horse, or finish with a whisky toast, or have everyone sing, or do the conga – all things my couples have chosen!

A celebrant wedding is a positive move away from set scripts, limited choices, timing deadlines and restrictions.

 Wedding Celebrant -  Renewal of Vows Ceremony

Thank you so much Carol for such an amazing day, the words were so special, and all meant the absolute world to me! Graham was so surprised and hasn’t stopped talking about how amazing you were! Xx

Sue and Graham, The Pier House, Westward Ho! 25th May

Hi Carol,

Thank you for your kind words. We had such an amazing time, and wish we could do it all again! Thank you especially for such a wonderful ceremony. Everyone who witnessed commented on what an amazing ceremony we had, even with me forgetting the rings (people thought it had been scripted haha).

Ben and Tasha Neenan Streamcombe Farm Dulverton 26th August 

Hi Carol

Thank you so, so much for everything you did for our wedding! You really were so calming and went above and beyond, which ultimately made everything feel so much more special.

Alice and Henry,  River Cottage 8th September 

Thank you to Carol for providing a wonderful wedding ceremony for my new wife and I. Carol curated a beautifully intimate ceremony for our exchange of vows, ensuring that all bases were covered in order to provide a seamless service that left us worry free. Her attention to detail was flawless and she really took the time to understand our story.

We couldn’t have asked for a better service, so thank you again to Carol for all of her efforts.

Will & Melissa Ivy House Farm – 22nd December


Wedding Celebrant - Destination Wedding
Wedding Celebrant - an Intimate Garden Wedding

Your Wedding Ceremony

Your day – your way !

Some couples want a traditional wedding and often choose to have a parchment signing, to represent the signing of the register.

Other couples want to celebrate an aspect of their uniqueness, for example,  their heritage, family, traditions or beliefs within their ceremony and incorporate different elements to reflect them.

The most important thing is that your ceremony will be unique and meaningful for you.

Elements to truly personalise your ceremony.

I enjoy creating or adapting different elements for couples, to surprise and delight wedding guests and ensure the ceremony is unforgettable

For example, spiritual and religious elements, like prayers, or handfastings or breaking the glass, or symbolic elements like sand ceremonies and unity candle ceremonies, to symbolise the blending or uniting of two families.

A lovely way  to thank special people, is through  a First Kiss / last Kiss for the mums or by presenting roses to grandparents.

You can include all your guests through a ring warming ceremony or remember  missing loved ones with a memory tree or candle ceremony.

Having enjoyed Tea Ceremonies, watched lucky piglets walk up the aisle, seen Arras Money being distributed, tied hands in Celtic handfastings, drank whisky from a Quaich, it’s no wonder my couples tell me their guests will never forget their wedding ceremony !

For my six top tips for writing your own wedding vows – click here !!

For my six top tips for reading your wedding vows  – click here !!

T's & C's

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