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




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


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