At wedding fairs you often meet some very lovely and interesting people and have some equally interesting conversations. Not surprisingly, given what we do, some of those conversations revolve around questions such as ‘what is a celebrant’ and ‘what do they do'?
At a recent Wedding Fair at Flaxmill Maltings in Shrewsbury, we were asked whether the wedding ceremonies that we hold are ‘pretend weddings’. The answer of course is no, but the question got me thinking about what people think is the real moment of a wedding – when do a couple actually ‘feel’ married?
In a church, wedding rings are exchanged and vows are agreed to with the phrase ‘I do’. Now, certainly for the Church and for religious couples, the wedding is real because it is a union ordained by God, taking place in the presence of God and the couple receive the blessing of God.
In a wedding conducted by a Registrar in a Registrar’s Office, or at a venue approved by the Registrar, the wedding is real because it meets the requirements of law to be a legal marriage. The signing of the register completes the legality.
In a Celebrant led wedding, the wedding is real because the couple have chosen to publicly declare their love for each other in front of their family and friends and to commit their futures together. They have chosen how to express their love for each other and what rituals they wish to participate in to symbolise their union. For me, it is these elements that make the wedding both personal and real and for the couple it is real because it is about them expressing their love and commitment to each other in a very intimate setting. The promises they make are real because they are their own promises; it is more ‘I will’ than ‘I do’.
The option exists for couples to have a basic ceremony within the registry office to change their legal status and then to have a real wedding conducted by a celebrant. Such a wedding is free from the constraints imposed by law and the church such as where it can be held, what can and cannot be said/sung/drunk.
It is your ceremony, make it your own by getting it to be exactly like you want it. Our mantra is - your ceremony – your choice