Tim Downer Celebrant performing a sand ceremony for a couple at their wedding ceremony

You may have heard about a wedding celebrant, or you may not have! What is one and can they help you?

registrar is a government official, responsible for keeping legal records. A wedding ceremony performed by a registrar must take place within a registry office, or a venue licensed for marriage using specified contractual wording to legalise the union. Religious or spiritual content is not allowed in a registrar wedding ceremony.

celebrant is an independent individual who is trained in providing you with a custom made ceremony designed to celebrate any special moment in your life in a way which is personal to you, without legal obligation or government restriction. There are very few limitations as to what can be included in a celebrant wedding or life event ceremony and your ceremony can be in a venue, or in your garden, or on a beach or in the forest. ANYWHERE with or without a licence can be performed with a celebrant.



A celebrant is someone who is trained to provide a custom-made ceremony, which is tailored to be unique and personal to you. Unlike a registrar, there is no legal limitations or restrictions as to what you can include in a Celebrant Ceremony. No couples are the same, your path to love is unique and why would you want your ceremony to sound like everyone else’s?

Celebrants do not marry couples – We celebrate the marriage. We will start with a blank page and together, create a unique, bespoke wedding ceremony with you. The Wedding Ceremony is there to celebrate a couple committing to themselves in front of their family and friends.

Therefore you have the freedom to create a ceremony which is appropriate to you as a couple, your personalities and your way of life, and you can both celebrate in a more meaningful way with a bespoke ceremony which encompasses your love, style, and personality.

Tim Downer Celebrant performing my very first wedding ceremony for a couple in shropshire


So the advantage of a Celebrant led wedding ceremony is that it will be personalised to you. The Celebrant will write the whole script after discussing the wedding with you both, and will help you compile your special vows if needed and you get to approve every word of the ceremony.

You can if you wish include religious content (which a Registrar cannot). You can include your family, your children, your friends or your pets. You can really go for a theme – the more creative, the better – if you want to conga down the aisle, then go for it. As we say in the world of Celebrants - the only limit is your imagination! 

A Celebrant can conduct ceremonies at any time of the day and at any venue. So you can marry at dawn on a cliff top or at dusk in a forest, if you want to. Venues do need a licence to have you married there, so having a celebrant for your ceremony you can have your ceremony anywhere, so the options are truly endless. 


WHO MIGHT PREFER TO USE A WEDDING CELEBRANT?                                   

A couple looking for something Memorable – Any couple wishing to celebrate their commitment in a way which is more unique and personal to them.

A couple who would like something Symbolic – Any couple wishing to include a symbolic ceremony such as a Hand Fasting, a Sand Ceremony, a Dove Release, or any other symbolic, religious, or cultural tradition which meaningful to them.

A couple wanting to get married somewhere meaningful – Any couple wishing to marry in an area of a venue which is currently not licensed for legal marriage, or out in the woods, or have a beach wedding . . . . or even in the restaurant they had their first date in. 

NOTE: A celebrant ceremony is not a legally binding ceremony.
For a couple to legalise their marriage, they must book an appointment to visit their local registry office to register their marriage. In my home town in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, this is currently less than £50.00 for the couple and two witnesses to go through the formal legalities, which is about 8 minutes long! 

What is not so commonly known or understood in this country, is that only the ‘declaratory words’ and the ‘contracting words’ have to be said in a registry office or licenced venue in order for your marriage to be recognised in law, and for a marriage certificate to be issued.   

The rest of the service, including the exchanging of rings and saying the vows to each other, is purely ceremonial and can therefore take place literally anywhere . . . you are only limited by your imagination!

There is NO LEGAL REQUIREMENT for the registrar to attend the couple’s wedding venue or be present at Celebrant Ceremony.

Further help and advice?

Personally, I’m excited about creating ceremonies that are unique and individual. I love to meet with couples like you to find out your love story and the things that make you unique as a couple, and helping all my couples like you to celebrate in a way that feels right for you all.

If this sounds like something you would like to have for your ceremony, or you wish to know more, then please give me a call on 07557 803814 or fill out the contact me  form and I will get back to you.

1 comment

  • I appreciate your explanation when you told us that it is the role of a celebrant to provide us with a custom-made ceremony without government restrictions or legal obligations. My sister is getting married here in Byron Bay this December, and so, she decided to find a celebrant to hire in the area as well to make things simpler. I’ll keep this in mind while I look for a modern marriage celebrant in Byron Bay to recommend to my sister for her special day.

    Clare Martin

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