FAQs and 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 editor@youryorkshire.wedding


Words of wisdom

Words of wisdom

Q. I'm having an outdoor ceremony. I don't know whether to book a humanist or an independent celebrant. Can you help?

A. Rachael Meyer says: A celebrant led wedding ceremony is meaningful, relaxed, fun, totally personalised and engaging. Both humanist and independent celebrants write and conduct celebratory wedding ceremonies that focus on the couple and their story.

In Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Channel Isles, the ceremonies that humanist celebrants conduct are legally recognised. Right now, the national human rights charity, Humanists UK is fighting for legal recognition of all humanist weddings, to bring England and Wales in line with the rest of the UK. There is a Law Commission Review due out in summer 2022, that will hopefully help to realise this long overdue change in law.

Until laws are changed, couples having any celebrant led wedding ceremony will need to arrange the legal documentation of their marriage with the Registrar, and this can be done for around £50.

The main difference between humanist and independent celebrants is that humanist celebrants are trained and regulated by Humanists UK, which has been delivering non-religious, inclusive, bespoke ceremonies for around 100 years. Budding celebrants are interviewed for their skill set and values, and trained and mentored by other humanist celebrants in the network. They're accredited shortly after delivering their first ceremony and once up and running, are subject to regular peer reviews and annual CPD. The national network of humanist celebrants works together to assure quality and reliability of all celebrants and all celebrants must be accredited and a part of the national Humanist Ceremonies network in order to operate. Ceremonies are meaningful, but non-religious and inclusive.

If you choose a celebrant to conduct your wedding, you're already on the right path to having an amazing wedding day with the ceremony as its beating heart! If you're not sure whether to book a humanist or an independent celebrant – please don't just go on price. Draw on reputation, word of mouth or do some online research. Go onto a celebrant's website and social media – or ask your wedding venue if they've seen celebrants in action. Online, look at a celebrant's style of writing, photos of weddings they've carried out, watch any videos they've posted, and most importantly, read their reviews. If you like their style, give them a call or set up a Zoom meeting before you book!

Rachael Meyer, Rachael Meyer Celebrant


A tailor-made ceremony

A tailor-made ceremony

Q. We aren't getting married in a church and need a formal ceremony but don't know where to begin. I really want my ceremony to reflect us as a couple. Please help!

A. Mark Gregory says: Three words: find a celebrant. Religious couples should find their local religious leader and get married in their nearest religious buildings. That's fairly clear. Non-religious couples have two choices: a short, unoriginal registry office ceremony led by someone who has three or four other weddings to officiate that day; or, an original, personalised ceremony led by someone whose sole job is to make your big day as good as it possibly can be.

If you want your ceremony to reflect you as a couple, then you can't go wrong with a celebrant. Celebrants will meet you months (even years!) in advance of your ceremony and get to know you as a couple, and as a result, craft a meaningful ceremony that truly reflects you both.

This will involve telling the story of you as a couple (as much as you're willing to share with parents and grandparents, of course!), as well as helping you to write your vows, and even including special ceremony elements such as a hand-fasting, a unity sand ceremony, or even live vocals to sing you down the aisle.

One drawback is that celebrants can't legally marry you at this time, but this has plenty of benefits too – not least that, as a result of not having legal constrictions, you can have your ceremony literally anywhere you want. Clifftop? – Sure. Ski slope? – Why not? In your back garden? – You do you!

Mark Gregory, Mark Your Occasion




Q. Following the last 18 months, how has the wedding industry changed?

A. Scarlett Kolavinsky says: Demand for a celebrant-led wedding is certainly on the increase; it's important to note however, that a celebrant-led ceremony is not legally binding and the couple would need to have a registrar legally marry them. Typically couples get legally married at the local Town Hall, with just the two of them and two witnesses (or close family members) and have the larger celebrant wedding with all their family and friends.

Couples I've been speaking to have a number of key reasons why they wanting a celebrant:

- Availability of registrars. Due to the increased pent up demand for weddings, couples are finding that registrars do not have the capacity to conduct legal weddings on a day and time that suits the couple.
- Couples who contact me have been to a celebrant wedding and like the personal and bespoke touches that a celebrant can add to their special day. Whether the couple want a traditional formal ceremony or a non-traditional and relaxed day with humour, the celebrant will find out exactly what the couple want and the ceremony will be tailored exactly to their personalities. The celebrant can also discuss adding mini ceremonies such as handtying, including family members and help with poems, readings and vows.
- Couples want a ceremony in a venue that is not licensed and so a registrar cannot conduct a legal ceremony in the venue. Couples who have sought me out are wanting to have their ceremony in their favourite venue which might be a garden, a woodland or their local village hall.
- Due to Covid, couples may have been legally married in the last 18 months , but due to the restrictions they had very few family members attending. They now want a larger ceremony with all their family and friends and are looking for a celebrant to conduct their ceremony.

Scarlett Kolavinsky, Memorable Ceremonies