What is a 'Celebrant?

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You're what sorry?!






Choosing to work with a Celebrant for your ceremony will start conversations....I've been having them for six years, and they go like this...I have to repeat myself A LOT

"I've never heard of it before, what was it again? Celebrant...? What does that mean?"

"'Celebrant', it means someone who 'Celebrates', it isn't a very helpful title really, but no one has thought of anything better..."

"Oh, thats a lot more expensive thought...it's an awful lot for someone to just come and stand there and say the vows, they're only there for half an hour! I suppose I just thought it would cost about £200. I wish I earned that much for an hours work...." I could do that! Your Auntie Margaret reads in Church, can't she do it instead?"

If someone says this to you, ask this question in return: "Why do you think that?".

 But the simple answer to "it seems an awful lot!"  is that it takes a lot more than standing 'at the front' for half an hour....20 hours of work, excluding travel, in fact.

So, it's like a Wedding Planner? an Event Planner...organising the whole thing, flowers, cakes and all that? 

No, a Celebrant only works on the Ceremony or 'Service' and no other aspect of the Wedding. 

So, what does that involve exactly? 

"Is it a 'Proper Wedding'?"

It all depends upon what a 'Proper Wedding' means to you. Usually it means 'The Real Thing", which means different things to different people. If you are asking if it is a 'legal' ceremony, or a Church wedding, then it isn't that, although the legal part is usually completed anyway before the day. So in a sense it is already 'proper'. If you are asking about emotional significance, transformation, transition  new beginnings, meaning, healing... and public declaration...absolutely. For my families their back-garden Wedding Ceremony IS The Proper Wedding. Rarely does anything feel so 'REAL'.

"Don't you just 'stand there and say the vows instead of the Vicar?" Yes and no...95% of my work  is preparatory. Standing at the front and saying "You may Kiss the Bride" is a very small part of my role, but I do sometimes refer to myself as 'The Vicar who isn't a Vicar'.

"So, how many of these do you do each year, on average?" it varies, but I value quality of relationship over quantity of ceremonies. I never do more than one ceremony per day. It means I get to know you really well and stay in touch. Because I often work locally, I often bump into my families ...this is Hannah and Rachel, I see Rachel every time I visit our local bakery, where I buy a loaf of her home-made sour-dough bread. Many of my couples and families come to the Arts Centre where I work, so I catch up with them there too. I like having the time with which to build that kind of connection.

"So, you do the Legal Bit? you're a Registrar?

"No, I'm not a Registrar....they do the formal bit and I do the fun bit"

Is there anything you can't or won't do...? I once did the CBBC 'Marrying Mum and Dad' show for some parents who dressed up as kangaroos at the behest of their 13 year old son & abseiled from the ceiling of Media City in Manchester. I basically 'sold my soul.'

True Story!

NEVER AGAIN, although it will impress your kids. (I also won't jump out of a plane!...ever)

How much do you charge?
I like to support the local economy and keep my carbon footprint to a minimum if possible.(unless you invite me to Portugal, at which point all my values will fly out of the window).  
If I can cycle to your venue with my folder in my wicker basket and support a local venue at the same time I like to do that. If you decide to get married in a Digbeth Wedding Venue for example, I charge a discounted rate. For local Brum Weddings at Brummie venues I charge £550, for further afield  I charge £650 plus expenses. For International Weddings we would have to work something out together and plant a tree to offset the carbon.

Daisy the Pashley bicycle dressed up for a local wedding, posing with a Brazilian guest who entered into the spirit of a Scottish wedding

"Do you use templates, and just 'copy and paste'? NO, I DON'T...EVER

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"So, what you do, is it LEGAL?"

I suppose they're mostly the same, I mean, a wedding is a wedding isn't it?...no, every single wedding ceremony is different because every couple's story is different. Otherwise I wouldn't do it

The 'Legal bit' has to happen separately, at a Register Office, especially if you are using an 'unlicensed venue'. 

HOW DOES IT WORK? I DON'T REALLY UNDERSTAND HOW IT WORKS....!" I mean, writing the ceremony, how do you do it, how do you start, what happens?

We start with a blank page, plenty of time, we all get a cup of coffee and I listen for about 3 hours to you and your story, and to who you are, how you met, how you got to this day, why now? and how you are as a couple...then, we write something together based around what you 'DON'T want...and incorporating ideas relevant to who you are. It is a creative listening process. Eventually that ceremony ends up in one of these hand made folders which I commision from local Artist Helen Bent, who makes them to order especially.


The legal registration takes place separately in the Register office at a cost of approximately £50, plus the cost of having your Banns read in your Parish, and then the Ceremony takes place elsewhere with family and friends

I hope you found this helpful!