1. What is an independent celebrant? An Independent Celebrant is trained to provide a custom made ceremony which is unique and personal to you. Unlike a registrar, there is no legal limitation or restriction as to what you can include in a Celebrant Ceremony, or where you hold it.
2. Do we need the registrar to be present? Provided you have complied with the legal requirements and registered your partnership at the Registry Office then you don’t need the registrar to be present at the ceremony.
3. How long does an independent ceremony take? This is entirely up to you – you can keep it simple (15 minutes), - most people will book a half hour slot, a more formal ceremony with lots of music and readings could take up to an hour.
4. I’m not religious, but I’d like to include some aspects of our spirituality? In the past you had the choice of a religious service in a place of worship or a ‘civil ceremony’ where there could be no reference to religion, or religious poems, music etc. Independent celebrants can include aspects of religion or spirituality as part of the service.
5. What is handfasting? Traditionally this was a ceremony where a couple bound themselves to each other for one year and a day. If they were happy after that time they would then become husband and wife. Today the term refers to the binding of hands with ribbons as part of the symbolic joining together of a couple.
6. Who’ll give me away? You can go for a traditional entrance, where one person waits at the front and the other (usually the woman) is escorted down the aisle by their father and bridesmaids.
Too much? OK have both parents give you away, or walk down the aisle together – the point is there are no rules that you have to follow – but you can adopt any tradition you want, or make your own traditions.
7. This isn’t a ‘new’ part of our life. .. People enter weddings and Civil Partnerships for lots of different reasons - you don’t need to treat this as a ‘new episode’. You don’t need to give each other rings – why not wear something that have been gifts previously?
8. Don’t know where to start on selecting readings? You can pick up books, or use the internet to find a suitable poem – but don’t confine yourself to poems, there are wonderful descriptions of love in fiction –or I can provide some ideas.
9. Nervous about speaking out loud? Don’t want to read your vows out loud? – Get the celebrant to do it – you can repeat the words or just say ‘I do’
10. Involving my children? Do you have children, either together or from previous relationships? Depending on ages they can have an equal role in the ceremony to reflect their membership of their family