With more couples personalising their wedding day and vows, many are opting for a celebrant led ceremony. We caught up with our friend – and wonderful celebrant – Frances Cave to find out more.
- What’s the difference between a celebrant and registrar
The main difference is the legal aspect. At the moment in England and Wales wedding celebrants are unable to legalise the marriage.
It is little known but there is a significant difference between a legal marriage and a wedding. The marriage is the legal contract. It consists of 40 or so words, the couples names and witnessed signatures to the register and officiated by the Registrar.
Some say that without the legal contract the ceremony is not real or it’s fake. The truth is that the very act of ceremony is not legally binding. It is often defined by culture, heritage and religion and is performed at certain times in life’s cycle. Be it births, deaths or marriage.
Ceremony should not be confused with ensuring that the due diligence of registering these acts is fulfilled. The funeral, christening and marriage ceremonies are stand alone celebrations. The fun part! There is no such thing as a fake wedding.
To many couples it seems however that the convenience of combining the legal marriage and the wedding is a priority despite the many restrictions that are imposed upon them for this privilege.
The alternative is to simply attend the Registry Offices whenever convenient and sign the marriage license just like you would for a birth or death. Couples are then free to have their bespoke ceremonial celebration, religious or non religious on a completely different day, venue or even country
This personalised ceremony can reflect their beliefs, faith, no faith, mixed faiths, spirituality or cultural traditions.
2. Why choose a wedding celebrant?
Couples should consider the celebrant led option for many reasons but our flexibility is a significant. one.
The registration services are always busy but even more so now. They have only have so many slots and there are only so many registrars, let alone the registers themselves. Throw the availability of the venues and the other wedding suppliers into the mix and the problems for couples intensifies.
Unlike the Registrars typically wedding celebrants present only one ceremony per day and are flexible on location, timings and dates.
Once the couple have signed the marriage licence we can offer a very real solution to wedding planning and availability issues. This is obviously particularly relevant now and will be for the months ahead.
Not only are we flexible but a couple actually gets to choose will officiate their civil ceremony.
In every other aspect of wedding planning whether it’s the venue, photographer or florist the couple choose their supplier. They are not able to choose the person who will present the actual ceremony despite it being such a significant and important role.
The registration services will simply allocate a Registrar. A couple can hand pick their wedding celebrant. Similar to other suppliers each celebrant has their own style and a couple should choose someone that resonates with them and their vision for their ceremony.
This neatly brings me to the ceremony itself. With a celebrant led ceremony you can choose your content. There are no generic scripts. No templates to follow. No exclusions. No rules. The ceremony will have the couple’s story at the heart of it and reflect them as individuals and as a couple making it totally unique and bespoke.
3. What do you most enjoy about working with couples?
I love the relationship that develops between us and I cannot emphasise enough how important that relationship is. I work really closely with my couples from the moment I am appointed to the moment I present them as married.
I meet them at the very least three times and throughout the process I am available to them for advice, support or just a chat.
A real bond develops especially after our main meeting for which I ask that they spare me at least three hours. To be honest this is my favourite part of the entire process. It’s when we really get to know one another as they share their story with all it’s inevitable ups and downs. I listen carefully and watch their interaction and body language so that ultimately, when crafting their ceremony, I can bring that story to life.
It really is a collaboration. This rapport and connection is vital so that they feel relaxed and happy to share personal elements of their lives and amusing anecdotes with me.
I am absolutely committed to what I do and respect the responsibility that is being entrusted in me. I am honoured to be so involved in one of the most important and intimate days of their lives.
I am proud to say that some of my clients have said that they feel they have made a new friend in me which I consider a massive compliment.
4. What is the most unusual ceremony you have been asked to conduct
My ceremonies are very very personal, informal and filled with fun and laughter. However I don’t think I have done any which I would describe as unusual.
My client base are those who don’t want to stray too far from a traditional and familiar format of a wedding ceremony but importantly want the freedom to express themselves within it.
This can be writing their own vows, including a hand fasting or specific readings reflecting their beliefs or simply by holding their ceremony somewhere which is personal to them such as at home in their family garden. Their story always though is at the heart of it.
5. Do you have any stand-out favourites
Stand out favourites – gosh that’s a tricky one. Every single ceremony is different because every single couple and their stories are different. That’s what makes the job so special. Honestly there are no real stand outs; they really have all been special and in different ways. Sometimes it’s the location, I do love weddings at home, sometimes the couple’s story itself, sometimes it’s just because the connection between myself and them was particularly close, sometimes it’s the guests themselves or the atmosphere.
6. What made you become a celebrant
I am undoubtedly a ‘people’s person’, I also have a love of storytelling so being able to combine the two is a dream come true.
I also wanted to bring something different to the table when it comes to civil ceremonies. I feel strongly that couples should have a choice of where and by whom they are legally married and celebrant led ceremonies provide that choice.
Don’t get me wrong the Registrars do a phenomenal job but many couples are not aware that they actually do have an alternative. They do not need to ‘settle’ for the restrictive templates and regulations.
There is a very evident shortfall of knowledge surrounding celebrant led ceremonies. In the main sadly couples still think that civil ceremonies are conducted by Registrars and that is the only option they have. The services provided by celebrants are still little known and under-estimated.
Celebrant led ceremonies need all the exposure they can get and so thank you again for giving me the opportunity to showcase them here. I am hugely looking forward to the weddings I have booked at Mapperton and hopefully there will be many more to come.
7. If couples would like more information how can they get in touch?
I have a beautiful sparkly new website for them to have a look at and if they think my style and personality resonates with their own to give me a call or email me. I’d love to hear their plans for their wedding, explain how I can help and to start getting to know them.
This content was originally published here.