What is a Celebrant?

If you’re in the middle of planning your wedding, you may have come across the term and be wondering what exactly is the role of a celebrant? I had the pleasure of interviewing Cotswolds celebrant Julia Hawkes and have shared all of her answers below.

How would you summarise the role of a celebrant?

A wedding celebrant offers a wedding experience that is entirely different to that offered by a local government Registrar. A celebrant creates wedding ceremonies that are personal, unique and heartfelt. They write the ceremony from scratch based on their knowledge of the couple, their story and their wishes for their wedding.

What are the benefits of a celebrant-led ceremony?

Opting for a celebrant led wedding means a couple will have no legal red tape to abide by. There are no restrictions on what they can include in their ceremony. The ceremony can take place anywhere at any time. It can include anything they choose and it will be entirely bespoke.

Are there any legalities or restrictions we should be aware of?

Celebrant led ceremonies do not currently include a legal marriage registration which is why they can be so creative. Couples requiring a legal registration complete this separately at a Register Office. This is usually done in the week preceding their wedding ceremony.

“We don’t want the ceremony to be religious, but my parents would like us to sing a hymn”. Is that possible? 

Absolutely, the beauty of a celebrant wedding is that you can include anything you like. This makes it the perfect choice when you wish to weave in some religious or spiritual elements. 

“We’d like our wedding to be held in our friend’s back garden.” Can you help? 

Definitely. A celebrant wedding can be held wherever you have permission from the landowner. Weddings in gardens are wonderful occasions – uniquely personal and often very intimate and romantic.

 Can a celebrant conduct a mixed faith wedding?

Yes, the creative nature of a celebrant wedding is perfectly suited to weaving together traditions from two faiths into something uniquely personal.

How long do you need to prepare your service? 

I usually work with couples over many months, taking time to get to know them well before writing their ceremony. However occasionally, due to circumstances, I have only a short period of time to create a wedding ceremony. 

How do you get to know the wishes of your couples in advance of their ceremony? 

If possible we meet in person, alternatively we meet on Zoom or Skype. In addition we speak on the phone and the couple complete 2 short questionnaires for me. Their answers give me information about their ceremony preference and also their journey as a couple. Once the couple receive a first draft of their ceremony we are in regular contact to make any amendments or additions they would like.

If you are considering a celebrant for your wedding or need any assistance with your ceremony or wedding, please do get in touch via my contact page.

Love, Lucy x


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