Expert advice about celebrant

Here is a selection of Q&As from Your Yorkshire Wedding magazine whether it be about flowers, hair and makeup, fashion, wedding themes, health & beauty, cakes, stationery, legal advice. If you would like your question answered by our experts, please email it to


Would-be wed

Would-be wed

Q. We're starting to think that we may have to postpone or alter our wedding because of coronavirus. What options do we have for our ceremony?

A. Lisa Bourne says: All is not lost! Here are some ways a celebrant can help you have a meaningful ceremony despite the situation…

- Virtual ceremonies. I recently led a Zoom wedding ceremony for the wonderful Ann and Mark, which included music, personalised vows, readings, a handfasting and an exchange of rings. The pair have postponed their celebrations, but this ceremony will now be celebrated as their wedding anniversary.

- Smaller ceremonies outdoors. As lockdown eases, small socially distanced outdoor ceremonies are permitted. At the time of writing, groups of up to six people can gather in private or public spaces. Think gardens, parks, beaches – and champagne!

- Elopement. Perhaps you want it to be just the two of you, away from it all, focusing on one another. You could bring a couple of extra people if you wish, and a celebrant will make the elopement extra special.

- Commitment ceremonies. Not a full wedding ceremony, but a marking of your intention to marry in the future. Held on your original date, this is a beautiful way of celebrating all the reasons why you love each other and a reminder of why you decided to marry.

- If your registrar is no longer available. I've had bookings from couples who didn't know about humanist celebrants when they initially booked their registrar. Now, arranging a postponed ceremony but with no registrar available on the new date, celebrants are saving the day! Celebrant-led ceremonies are not yet legally recognised in the UK, so you'll need an appointment with a registrar to complete the legal side, but the important part is that all of your other suppliers are available on your new date and your celebrant can help you create a bespoke and meaningful celebration.

Lisa Bourne,Lisa Bourne Humanist Celebrant


The great outdoors

The great outdoors

Q. We'd love to get married outside, but we've found out it's not legally recognised. What are our options?

A. Piers Lane says: There's something really special about being outdoors for your wedding ceremony, isn't there? A summer meadow, the grounds of a stately home, a peaceful woodland, or simply a special family garden – being outside allows you to say your vows in a setting that's romantic, timeless and deeply personal. But you're right, the law in England and Wales states that a legal marriage ceremony cannot take place outside. Problem? Not necessarily! Look at it this way – when a baby is born, the birth is registered before a christening or naming ceremony, in the same way that you can separate the legal registration of your marriage from your ceremony.

Unless you choose to make more of it, the legal occasion can be short with only a couple of witnesses. This means you can save your vows, exchange of rings and any other elements you'd like to include for your al fresco ceremony.

As a professional celebrant, it's been my privilege to create and lead many outdoor weddings – under ancient trees, by lakes, on hilltops, in vineyards and in private gardens. There are so many options to explore.

Piers Lane


Pomp and ceremony

Pomp and ceremony

Q. We're having a humanist wedding, but with no limitations we don't know where to start. What are your favourite aspects to include?

A. Lisa Bourne says: I'm currently planning a wedding for a couple who were stuck for ideas, so when they mentioned that they love gin, and the fact their nuptials are being held in a botanical garden, we knew a gin ceremony was perfect! As well as being creative, there's meaning in the action; the blending of ingredients symbolises the two lives that are now inseparable.

Here are a few of my other favourite ideas:

- Sandblending ceremony. This is the act of pouring different coloured sand into a container so the grains can't be unpicked and multiple people can be involved. It makes a great keepsake of the day.

- Seed ceremony. The couple pour different seeds into a container so they mix together and can be given out as favours to their guests. It symbolises new beginnings and the growth and care that's needed to nurture a marriage.

- Herbs and spices ceremony. Great for those who love cooking, newlyweds make their own bespoke mix so they can cook for friends and family after the big day.

- Button ceremony. Vintage lovers and crafty types will love this idea. The pair ask guests to bring a button to add to a jar, which can then be used to decorate thank you cards or décor around the home. The buttons represent holding things together.

Lisa Bourne


With this ring...

With this ring...

Q. We love the idea of tying the knot outdoors but since researching it we've found out it's not legally recognised. What are our options?

A. Christine Berrisford says: A humanist ceremony, written and conducted by a celebrant, would be a great option for you. It gives you the opportunity to marry how you want and where you want – including outdoors.

For non-religious couples looking for a flexible, personal celebration, it gives you complete control. Unlike civil ceremonies at a licensed venue, humanist weddings are completely bespoke. There are no script templates and very few restrictions on location. You choose every element: the venue, your story, vows, symbolic or celebratory traditions, music and how to include your loved ones.

This type of wedding is not yet recognised by law in England and Wales, so couples must attend the register office to take care of formalities before or after the big day.

Humanists UK celebrants are highly trained, experienced people who'll guide you through the whole process and create your day your way.

Christine Berrisford


Do it your way

Do it your way

Q. We feel quite limited by a civil ceremony, as we don't think it reflects our relationship. What are our other options?

A. Lisa Bourne says: A humanist ceremony is a great option for those who want non-religious nuptials that are meaningful to them.

Celebrants accredited by Humanists UK are trained to work with couples to create bespoke ceremonies from scratch – no tick boxes in sight! This means I can develop a ceremony that focuses on you and your love for one another.

Celebrants will meet with you to discuss exactly what you want from your big day. Weddings can include music, poems, readings, personal vows and other symbolic actions such as handfasting.

After the meeting, you'll receive a draft script, which you get to edit as much as you like. I also like to liaise with your wedding party and key suppliers to ensure your day runs as smoothly as possible.

In England and Wales, humanist weddings do not currently hold legal status – so you'll also need to register your marriage at the registry office. This is no bad thing, it means you don't have to host your wedding at a licensed venue. Why not choose your favourite picnic spot, your garden or a field?

Lisa Bourne

When it's time for you look for local businesses to help you with your wedding, take a look at our advertisements below. Most will have links to their own websites. These advertisements are updated regularly so please revisit often and mention Your Yorkshire Wedding when making any enquiries.

Forever To Hold Ltd
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Forever To Hold Ltd