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We knew before we got married we wanted to do things differently – here’s why we chose to have an Independent Wedding Celebrant
Wedding are so expensive and it’s important to consider whether the money your’re spending is actually getting you everything you want for your big day. We knew for a long time before we got married that we wanted certain parts of our wedding to be different to what is considered ‘the norm’. This included having an independent Wedding Celebrant performing the ceremony on the big day instead of a Vicar or a Registrar to give the day a more relaxed and informal feel.
The great thing about having an Independent Wedding Celebrant is that it meant that we could have our ceremony wherever we wanted – outside, on the beach, on mountain – the sky’s the limit when there are no legalities to consider. It also meant we could say and do whatever we wanted during the ceremony – it could be religious, non religious, or a combination of anything we liked. We actually opted for some ancient pagan tradition
The legal bit
The only drawback to having an Independent Wedding Celebrant is that they can’t legally marry people. To be legally married the ceremony has to be performed by a Vicar or a Registrar and it has to be inside a licensed structure, which is why many wedding venues have small arbors even if you are getting married outside (this is different in Scotland).
There are a few ways to get around this though. Having a Celebrant do the main part of the ceremony but also having a registrar present to tend to the legal side of things is one way. We chose to quietly do the registry office bit on our own a few days before what we considered to be our actual wedding day.
We chose the cheapest and most basic option for our registry office ceremony as we wanted to keep all the pomp and fuss for the actual ‘big day’ a few days later. This meant only being able to have two family members with us, no readings, just the legal necessities and nothing more. We didn’t even exchange rings.
Now, I would like to point out at this stage that a few members of our family really struggled to get their heads around our choices. They felt that the registry office ceremony was the important bit and were upset not to be invited. We explained that we didn’t consider it our wedding day, we wouldn’t be dressing up and that having a celebrant do the ceremony as we wanted it a few days later was what was really important to us.
It can actually cost a huge amount to have a registrar to come out to your chosen venue or to get married in church. Having the cheap ‘2+2’ ceremony in the registry office and then having a celebrant on the day actually saved us money. It also eradicates the need for a licensed premises to hold the ceremony at. If you’ve always dreamed of a relaxed backyard wedding or beach themed day this could be the perfect option for you while also saving loads of cash.
The Main Event
To us, the legal bit was just a formality. The important bit was the promises we were making to each other in front of all our friends and family. The celebrant we chose is actually a regular in the pub we both work at so we already knew him well.
I love that when we got married, it was someone we consider a friend up there with us, performing the ceremony and helping us start our journey into married life.
The ceremony was written especially for us and included a beautiful hand holding ceremony;
‘Fiona, would you please hold Pete’s hands, palms up, so you can see the gift that they are to you. These are the hands that will work alongside yours, as you build your future together; These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes, tears of sorrow and tears of joy; These are the hands that will comfort you in illness and hold you when fear or grief engulfs your heart; These are the hands that when wrinkled and aged will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch’
We added some fun elements too such as ‘jumping the broom’ a tradition which we had wanted to include. We also singed a certificate provided by the celebrant to recreate a signing of the register photo opportunity for everyone.
Hand fasting Ceremony
Something else we wanted to include in our day was a hand fasting ceremony. This is another ancient tradition in which the couples hands are bound together with rope which is then tied in a special knot, never to be undone. We gathered everyone together and had this performed just before our first dance. Including it in the main ceremony earlier in the day would have made it very long and it was lovely for evening only guests to see part of a ceremony too.
The celebrant we used was David Parker of Somerset Ceremonies. While we already knew Dave prior to our wedding we could not fault his professionalism on the day. As well as providing us with an interesting and unique ceremony he also acted as a Toast master for the rest of day, announcing things like the first dance and our entrance to the room for dinner.
David will make the day as formal or informal as you would like and we cannot recommend him highly enough. As well as weddings David also does naming ceremonies, funerals and offers his services as a toastmaster for more formal events. He would also be a perfect choice for a vow renewal as there are no legalities are required. A couple that attended our wedding actually liked David’s service so much they have booked him for their own wedding which we look forward to attending in the next few weeks. Having an independent celebrant gives you the freedom to have you ceremony exactly as you want it and we couldn’t have asked for more on our special day.