Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the questions most commonly asked about Celebrant led ceremonies. If you cannot find an answer to a question you have please do not hesitate to contact me by phone or email.
WEDDINGS

Why choose a celebrant instead of a registrar?

Choice! By separating the legal registration from your wedding ceremony, you have the freedom to create a ceremony that includes anything you want, in any location you choose. A celebrant will spend time getting to know you and making sure that your personalities, your ideas, values and any beliefs are reflected in your ceremony. Your ceremony will be unique to you. A registrar will only be able to offer a limited choice of what can be included in your ceremony. You can ask for certain words, poems, and readings to be included, but often time is short and this limits what can be included.

Why should we choose you?

I am an imaginative, creative celebrant who will be open to all your ideas and wishes. I have undertaken a professional qualification and work to a recognised code of ethics. I believe that only the best is good enough for ceremonies marking such significant events. I am a member of the Fellowship of Independent Celebrants.

Can we meet you before making a decision?

Of course! I offer a free face to face consultation meeting within Gloucestershire and neighbouring counties. If you live further afield we can schedule a skype conversation or I am happy to travel throughout the UK and abroad if travel costs are met. At cost price if flight tickets or an overnight stay in hotel required.

Will we be legally married if we have a celebrant led ceremony?

The law in this country currently requires that the legal requirements are carried out either by a religious minister in a church or by a registrar in an approved marriage venue or registration office. However, you can arrange to complete the legal requirements in your local register office before or after you have your celebrant led wedding ceremony. Many couples do this in casual clothes, jeans and t-shirts are fine, dressing up is saved for the wedding ceremony. By choosing to separate the legal requirements from your ceremony you have the freedom to create a ceremony that is truly magical.

What do we need to do to complete the legal requirements in a register office?

For most marriages or civil partnerships you must give at least 28 full days’ notice at your local register office. You each need to pay a small fee when you attend the register office to give notice. Your notice will be publicly displayed in the register office for 28 days. When you attend the Register office to register the marriage or civil partnership you will pay another small fee. You will be asked to repeat two sets of vows repeated after the registrar in the presence of two witnesses.

Do I need to register my marriage on the same day / at the same venue as my Celebrant Wedding Ceremony?

No. You can do this any day before or after your wedding day at any register office in the UK. You do not need to have a registrar attend your Celebrant Ceremony or be present at your venue. Often it is cheaper to register your marriage at your local register office on a weekday, rather than at your venue.

What will we have to say at the register office?

You will be required to choose one from each of the following legal statements: Declaratory Words  “I do solemnly declare that I know not of any lawful impediment why I, AB, may not be joined in matrimony to CD.” or “I declare that I know of no legal reason why I, AB, may not be joined in marriage to CD.” Or By replying “I am” to the question “Are you AB free lawfully to marry CD?” … Contractual Vows  “I call upon these persons here present to witness that I, AB, do take thee, CD, to be my lawful wedded wife (or husband).” or “I AB take you CD to be my wedded wife (or husband)” or “I AB take thee CD to be my wedded wife (or husband)” …

Do we have to say our own personal vows at the register office?

No. When you attend your legal registration, you can save your personal vows and your ring exchanges, along with all other personal details for your Celebrant-led ceremony.  It is not a legal requirement to do this when you sign your papers. Just inform the register office that this is what you will be doing.

Will our Celebrant Wedding Ceremony seem less ‘real’ if we have already signed the register in a register office?

No. Signing the register is simply process of signing the legal paperwork behind the marriage. The most meaningful part of your wedding will be when you stand up in front of your family and friends and say your vows together and declare why you have chosen to commit to each other as partners for life.

Our local register office is offering an enhanced service and they say we don’t need a celebrant ceremony – we are confused, what should we do?

An enhanced service may offer more choice, but it will never offer as much personalisation as a bespoke Celebrant led ceremony. Working with a Celebrant over many months will result in a ceremony that is as unique as you are and that includes all the elements you want. You may want a certain song, a unique ritual to enable your children to join in or a special woodland location that is your special place. Remember, anything is possible with a Celebrant led ceremony. Ultimately the choice is yours.

What if we want to have our ceremony abroad?

If you wish to complete a legal marriage registration abroad, you will usually have to complete documentation and visit several government offices and associations to satisfy their requirements.  Alternatively, if you separate the legal signing and complete this in the uk you can avoid all the red tape at your wedding destination and have the ceremony you desire.

We are marrying overseas but would like a ceremony on our return for our family and friends who could not join us. is this possible?   

Yes, I will plan a very special ceremony where you can renew the vows you made overseas whether that was one week or one year ago.

We are coming over to the UK on honeymoon after our wedding in Japan can we have a ceremony in the UK?

Yes, I will plan a very special ceremony where you can renew the vows you made in your home country whether that was one week or one year ago.

I have been married before and have children is that ok?

Yes, it would be lovely to include your children in the ceremony too.

We are not sure where to start, can you help?

There are many different ideas for what to include in your wedding ceremony and I understand that it can be difficult to decide when you have so much choice. My role is to offer just as much support as you need. We can explore options together to ensure that we create a ceremony that is just right for you.

We want to write our own vows is this ok?

Choosing to have a celebrant led ceremony gives you the choice to contribute to the words spoken as much or as little as you like. Writing your own vows means that they will be truly personal and meaningful to you both. I will encourage you to personalise your ceremony as much as possible.  

Can we hold our ceremony outdoors?

Yes! You can hold your ceremony wherever you like; in a wood, on a hill, in your garden or by a river bank. It is likely you will need to organise seating for your guests so this may influence your choice. Also consider the weather and how rain will impact on your day.  

Does the venue have to be licensed for weddings?

No  – you can get married in any venue that hires out rooms for social events or gives you permission to do so – hotels, museums, galleries, somewhere that has special meaning to you.

Is there a restriction on the time of day we can have our ceremony?

I can perform wedding ceremonies at anytime of the day or night.

How long will the ceremony be, we don’t want to feel rushed?

As long as you want it to be, it is your day and there are no time constraints.

Are you happy for other people to participate in the ceremony?

Yes, it is entirely up to you who contributes. I would recommend that this is planned before the day but sometimes people do choose to add spontaneous comments!

Are there any restrictions on music, readings, photography?

There are no restrictions of any kind.

Can we have some religious/spiritual content in our ceremony?

Yes, the choice of content is up to you. I will offer as much support and guidance as you need to ensure the religious/spiritual elements that are important to you are included. I will ensure that the ceremony that reflects your religious/spiritual beliefs.

Can you incorporate elements from another culture or religion, or two religions into the ceremony?

Yes of course. There are many wedding customs and traditions from other cultures and religions and I would be happy to incorporate appropriate elements into your wedding ceremony.

We have heard about handfasting – is that something you do?

Yes. There are a number of ‘mini’ ceremonies that we could include in your ceremony – take a look at my wedding page where they are outlined in more detail. I would be happy to incorporate these in your day at no additional cost.

If we decide to have a ‘mini’ ceremony such as handfasting do you provide the necessary materials?

You are responsible for providing any “props,” such as handfasting cords, that your ceremony requires. Making your own choices makes the ceremony personal to you. Most of the items used are readily available from local wedding shops or crafts stores and you can also purchase them online. I can suggest some suppliers if required.

Do you perform marriages and/or civil partnerships/ceremonies for couples who identify as LGBTQ+?

Of course, I pride myself on my inclusive approach. I would be delighted to work with you to create your perfect day.

Will we always be able to contact you if we have additional questions or need more information?

Absolutely! Once you have made a booking with me my fee includes unlimited phone and e-mail support. I am available to speak with you both at any reasonable time of the day or evening.

What time will you arrive on the day?

I usually arrive 1 hour before the start of the ceremony. I will introduce myself to the key people participating in your ceremony including the photographer.

Will we meet with you before the ceremony?

I would like to meet with you individually before the ceremony just to reassure you and offer any words of encouragement needed. You do not need to worry about what to say when, I will guide you throughout the ceremony. I would recommend that you are both ready 30 minutes before the wedding is due to begin.

What will you wear at our wedding?

Something that does not distract attention away from you! I aim to look formal and elegant but am also happy to be more creative if you have a wedding theme that you want me to get involved in. I am happy to share my outfit with you before the day if you would like to approve it.  

How far in advance do we need to book you?

I suggest that as soon as you have decided on the date you contact me to check my availability. If I have availability I will hold the date for you for a limited period. This will enable us to meet each other and for you to make a final decision.  

Do you ever accept bookings at short notice?

Occasionally! Dependent on my availability however to be sure you can have the date you want I highly recommend booking in advance.

Are your fees negotiable?

I believe that the quality and standard of my service and the ceremonies I provide warrants the fees I charge, so it is unlikely I would negotiate. However, I can offer lots of suggestions that will help you create a day that is magical without breaking the bank!

RENEWAL OF VOWS

Do vow renewals/commitment ceremonies have any legal status?

No. They are ceremonies led by the wishes and ideas of the couple themselves and are a public commitment to each other usually made in front of friends and family. They are usually deeply moving, memorable events.  

Why should we choose you?

I am an imaginative, creative celebrant who will be open to all your ideas and wishes. I have undertaken a professional qualification and work to a recognised code of ethics. I believe that only the best is good enough for ceremonies marking such significant events.   I am a member of the Fellowship of Independent Celebrants.

Can we meet you before making a decision?

Of course! I offer a free face to face consultation meeting within Gloucestershire and neighbouring counties. If you live further afield we can schedule a skype conversation or I am happy to travel throughout the UK and abroad if travel costs are met. At cost price if flight tickets or an overnight stay in hotel required.

We are marrying overseas but would like a vow renewal ceremony on our return for our family and friends who could not join us. is this possible?   

Yes, I will plan a very special ceremony where you can renew the vows you made overseas whether that was one week or one year ago.

We are not sure where to start, can you help?

There are many different ideas for what to include in your vow renewal ceremony and I understand that it can be difficult to decide when you have so much choice. My role is to offer just as much support as you need. We can explore options together to ensure that we create a ceremony that is just right for you.

We want to write our own new vows is this ok?

Choosing to have a celebrant led ceremony gives you the choice to contribute to the words spoken as much or as little as you like. Writing your own vows means that they will be truly personal and meaningful to you both. I will encourage you to personalise your ceremony as much as possible.  

Can we hold our ceremony outdoors?

Yes! You can hold your ceremony wherever you like; in a wood, on a hill, in your garden or by a river bank. It is likely you will need to organise seating for your guests so this may influence your choice. Also consider the weather and how rain will impact on your day.  

Does the venue have to be licensed for weddings?

No  – you can have a vow renewal ceremony in any venue that hires out rooms for social events or gives you permission to do so – hotels, museums, galleries, somewhere that has special meaning to you.

Is there a restriction on the time of day we can have our ceremony?

I can perform vow renewal ceremonies at anytime of the day or night.

How long will the ceremony be, we don’t want to feel rushed ?

As long as you want it to be, it is your day and there are no time constraints.

Are you happy for other people to participate in the ceremony?

Yes, it is entirely up to you who contributes. I would recommend that this is planned before the day but sometimes people do choose to add spontaneous comments!

Are there any restrictions on music, readings, photography?

There are no restrictions of any kind.

Can we have some religious/spiritual content in our ceremony

Yes, the choice of content is up to you. I will offer as much support and guidance as you need to ensure the religious/spiritual elements that are important to you are included. I will ensure that the ceremony that reflects your religious/spiritual beliefs.

Can you incorporate elements from another culture or religion, or two religions into the ceremony?

Yes of course. There are many customs and traditions from other cultures and religions and I would be happy to incorporate appropriate elements into your vow renewal ceremony.

We have heard about handfasting – is that something you do?

There are a number of ‘mini’ ceremonies that we could include in your ceremony – take a look at my wedding page where they are outlined in more detail. I would be happy to incorporate these in your vow renewal ceremony  at no additional cost.

If we decide to have a mini ceremony do you provide the necessary materials?

You are responsible for providing any “props,” such as handfasting cords, that your ceremony requires. Making your own choices makes the ceremony personal to you. Most of the items used are readily available from local wedding shops or crafts stores and you can also purchase them online. I can suggest some suppliers if required.

Will we always be able to contact you if we have additional questions or need more information?

Absolutely! Once you have made a booking with me my fee includes unlimited phone and e-mail support. I am available to speak with you both at any reasonable time of the day or evening.

What time will you arrive on the day?

I usually arrive 1 hour before the start of the ceremony so that I can introduce myself to the key people participating in your ceremony.

Will we meet with you before the ceremony?

I would like to meet with you individually before the vow renewal ceremony just to reassure you and offer any words of encouragement needed. You do not need to worry about what to say when, I will guide you throughout the ceremony. I would recommend that you are both ready 30 minutes before the ceremony is due to begin.

What will you wear at our ceremony?

Something that does not distract attention away from the couple! I aim to look formal and elegant but am also happy to be more creative if you have a theme that you want me to get involved in. I am happy to share my outfit with you before the day if you would like to approve it.  

How far in advance do we need to book you?

I suggest that as soon as you have decided on the date you contact me to check my availability. If I have availability I will hold the date for you for a limited period. This will enable us to meet each other and for you to make a final decision.

Do you ever accept bookings at short notice?

Occasionally! Dependent on my availability however to be sure you can have the date you want I highly recommend booking in advance.

Are your fees negotiable?

I believe that the quality and standard of my service and the ceremonies I provide warrants the fees I charge, so it is unlikely I would negotiate. However, I can offer lots of suggestions that will help you create a day that is magical without breaking the bank!

FUNERALS
Why should I choose you?

I am sensitive, compassionate person who has had personal experience of the overwhelming nature of grief and loss. I recognise the unique nature of bereavement and know that my experience is not yours and it is your experience that matters. I am an imaginative, creative celebrant who will be open to all your ideas and wishes. I believe that only the best is good enough for your ceremony. I have undertaken a professional qualification and work to a recognised code of ethics.  I am a member of the Fellowship of Independent Celebrants.

How should I contact you?

You can do this one of two ways. You can contact me directly either by phone or by email, whichever suits you. We can have a no fee, no commitment chat if you like so that you can get to know me. Alternatively you can tell the funeral director that you would like me to conduct the funeral and they will contact me to instruct me.

How do you put a funeral ceremony together?

I will meet with you to find out about the person that has died and discuss options for the ceremony. I will write a unique ceremony script based on the wishes, beliefs and values of the person who has died.  I will agree music, readings and all other content with you. You will proof read the script and it will be amended until the you are happy with it.

Will I always be able to contact you if I have additional questions or need more information?

Absolutely! Once you have made a booking with me my fee includes unlimited phone and e-mail support. I am available to speak with you at any reasonable time of the day or evening.

Are you able to include hymns, prayer and religious readings in the ceremony?

I am happy to include whatever you wish – this is your ceremony and it needs to reflect your wishes, beliefs and values and those of the deceased.  

Can you incorporate elements from another culture or religion, or two religions into the ceremony?

Yes of course. There are many customs and traditions from other cultures and religions and I would be happy to incorporate appropriate elements into the funeral ceremony.

My wife was not religious but she was a spiritual person can you reflect this in a ceremony?

Definitely, the ceremony will be individually crafted to reflect her beliefs and values. There are many readings and poems that could be used to capture the nature of her beliefs.  

My husband was a scientist with no religious beliefs at all, can you create a secular send off that will do him proud?

Yes, working with you I can create a fitting, dignified and appropriate send off that truly reflects him.

Can my fathers golf clubs be placed on the coffin in the chapel during the service?

Yes, including much loved personal items or photographs is a wonderful way to personalize the ceremony.

Can everyone sing the Welsh National anthem?

We can include any music choices you like. If the congregation is small, it can be difficult to successfully do justice to some songs. I may suggest that you choose to include them in a pre- recorded form as a time of reflection but I will always be guided by your wishes.

My father has written his own funeral plan can you accommodate this in a ceremony?

Of course, I would be delighted to honour his wishes.

I would like you to create the ceremony but I would like to write, and read, the Eulogy myself is this ok?

Wonderful, this will make the ceremony truly personal and unique. I am happy to give you any support you need before or on the day.

I am keen to make it a truly memorable and personal ceremony but are not sure where to start – can you help?

Yes, I can offer you as much advice and guidance as you need whilst all the time ensuring I listen carefully to what it is you want.

Is there a way to acknowledge the people who are unable to be with us?

Yes, very often a candle is lit to represent absent friends or those that have died.

Can her children do something as part of the ceremony?

Yes, I can suggest several ways to involve children.  

My mother didn’t want any black can you dress in brightly coloured clothes?

I will make sure that I fit in with whatever dress code you want for the ceremony – it is your day not mine. My job is to accommodate your wishes.  

Can I hold my sister’s funeral ceremony at home?

Yes of course. I am happy to conduct a ceremony anywhere that is suitable for you. If you are planning to be outdoors, give consideration to wet weather arrangements and seating.  

If I choose to have a funeral ceremony at home what happens next?

After the ceremony the deceased will need to be transported to the crematorium or the cemetery. This can be arranged with the Funeral Director. As many or as few people can accompany the deceased for the final committal or no-one at all. I can lead the committal, which will just be a few brief words of farewell for you if you so choose.  

Do you conduct burials?

Yes. Wherever the ceremony is to take place I will ensure it meets all of your requirements.  

Would you conduct a green burial?

Yes, I am a supporter of the Natural Death Centre and am very comfortable with the idea of green funerals.

Do you offer memorial services?

Yes. I can conduct memorial services at a venue of your choice. A memorial service can give you greater flexibility about how, when and where your ceremony is conducted.  

I would like some help to write my funeral wishes in advance is that something you do?

Yes, it is always a great privilege to work with someone to create a plan for their own funeral. People take great comfort knowing that they have left clear instructions for their family at a time of great sadness.

NAMING
Why choose you?

I am very comfortable with young children and people from all walks of life.  I am an imaginative, creative celebrant who will be open to all your ideas and wishes. I believe that only the best is good enough for a ceremony marking such a special event. I have undertaken a professional qualification and work to a recognised code of ethics. I am a member of the Fellowship of Independent Celebrants.

How do you create a naming ceremony?

I will meet with you to find out you and what you want for the ceremony. I will write a unique ceremony script based on your wishes, beliefs and values, agreeing music, readings and all other content with you. You will proof read the script and it will be amended until you are happy with it.

Where to start? can you help?

There are many different ideas for what to include in your naming ceremony and I understand that it can be difficult to decide when you have so much choice. My role is to offer just as much support as you need. We can explore options together to ensure that we create a ceremony that is just right for you.

Are you available if additional questions arise or more information is needed?

Absolutely! Once you have made a booking with me my fee includes unlimited phone and e-mail support. I am available to speak with you at any reasonable time of the day or evening.

Is it possible to meet you before making a decision?

Of course! I offer a free face to face consultation.

We are not religious so feel a christening would be hypocritical but we would really like a ceremony to welcome and name our baby is this possible?

Yes. Many couples are in your position and opt for a baby naming ceremony as an alternative to a christening.

Can we elect friends as Godparents for our baby?

Yes of course. In a non-religious baby naming ceremony the term ‘guide parents’ or ‘supporting adults’ is often used but it is entirely your choice. I am happy to use the term you are most comfortable with.  

My parents would be upset if there was no religious content – can you include a prayer and a blessing at the end?

Yes, the choice of content is entirely yours: religious, non-religious, a mix of both.

Can our other children/grandparents/friends be involved in the ceremony?

Yes, there are lots of creative ways to involve others, I can make some suggestions when we meet.

We want to write our own promises for our baby is this ok?

Choosing to have a celebrant led ceremony gives you the choice to contribute to the words spoken as much or as little as you like. Writing your own promises means that they will be truly personal and meaningful to you both. I will encourage you to personalize your ceremony as much as possible.  

Can the ceremony be held outdoors?

Yes! You can hold your ceremony wherever you like; in a wood, on a hill, in your garden or by a river bank. It is likely you will need to organise seating for your guests so this may influence your choice. Also consider the weather and how rain will impact on your day.

I have an unusual idea I would like to incorporate is that possible?

Try me! I aim to yes, it is your day and I want it to meet all your requirements.