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A Wedding Celebrant or Registrar? What's the difference?

celebrant-led wedding ceremony

People often ask me "Whats the difference is between a registrar and a celebrant?"

Under the current law in England and Wales, a marriage ceremony can only be performed by Clergy and local council registrars.

For now, wedding celebrants like myself, can officiate wedding ceremonies, but we cannot register the marriage. We can however, help you arrange your statutory legal marriage registration with your local council or at a registry office of your choice.

So why use a celebrant for a wedding?

There are three main reasons why couples choose to have a celebrant to conduct their ceremony, then complete their marriage registration at another time (either before or after the wedding).

  1. A wedding ceremony led by a celebrant is more personal and it doesn’t have the restrictions that a wedding with a registrar might. A celebrant takes the time to get to know the couple. I will find out about how you met, your loves and pet hates, and create a ceremony all about the both of you. Registrars often work from a limited number of scripts.

  2. A celebrant-led wedding can take place in any location – a beach, a clifftop, or at home… You name it (with the land-owners permission of course)! A registrar ceremony can only take place in a registry office or licensed venue.

  3. Celebrants are not bound by time restraints and don’t have to rush off to another wedding or ceremony. A celebrant is completely committed and devoted to your day. The wedding can also be at a length that suits you, there are no restrictions. Often registrars have packed diaries, meaning couples have to work their arrangements around them, not the other way around.

So, to summarise many couples choose to go to a registry office before the big day, but it’s completely up to you what you tell your guests about the legalities of the day and when that took place. You may even choose not to and keep it known by only close friends and family.

A celebrant-led wedding is not restricted at all, so you can choose exactly how you’d like your ceremony to be, right down to the finest detail.

It's important to remember that your wedding ceremony is your day, nobody else’s. So, if you're looking for something unconventional, bespoke or slightly unusual – Go for it!

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