Becky: Did you know you can hire someone to lead your wedding ceremony? In our experience, most couples don’t even know that’s an option. They think they have to have the registrar assigned to them at the registry office but nope. That’s not the case. Meet Jennifer Patrice. She’s joining us today to tell you all about the benefits of hiring a wedding celebrant; from the personalisation of your ceremony to having more flexibility. With over two decades of experience in helping to plan weddings, Jennifer knows a thing or two about how to make your day special.
If I had a penny (not a pound) for every time I get asked this question, I would be a very rich woman by now – so where do I start?! There are so many reasons why you should hire a Celebrant that I think the question should actually be ‘Why didn’t you hire a Celebrant’? – Jennifer Patrice
Historically, when couples get engaged the majority think of the two traditional routes of getting married – in a church or with a Registrar (whether that’s at a Registry Office or venue). Don’t get me wrong, both of those options are lovely but there is the third, and wonderful, choice of having a Celebrant led wedding. It’s actually called a Wedding Celebration Ceremony, because once the couple have given their notice of intent to marry, they need to complete the legal formalities at their local registry office.
If you regularly attend church then it stands to reason that you would want to get married there, but what if your partner is not a church goer? What if your partner is of a different faith to you? What if you want a totally different ceremony to which the church provides? If you decide to have a Registrar marry you do you really want, more or less (in my head I always say this in Brazilian Portuguese “mais ou menos”) to have the same generic script as every other couple with some, but not much, flexibility? Do you want someone that you have just met 15-20 minutes beforehand to marry you? If you answered “I hadn’t thought of that or no” to most or all of those questions read on.
A Celebrant gives you the wedding ceremony you have always dreamed of, always wanted, but never knew you could have. There’s a veritable wealth of Celebrants, all completely different from the other apart from the fact that we all do one thing. We all tell a story. We all tell your personal story. We take your relationship history and transform it into your ceremony.
First, however, you have to find a Celebrant that’s right for you. At this point some of the lyrics of *‘Getting to Know You” sung by Dame Julie Andrews in ‘The King and I’ come to mind:
“Getting to know you
Getting to know all about you
Getting to like you
Getting to hope you like me
Getting to know you
Putting it my way
You are precisely
My cup of tea”
There are two types of Celebrant – Humanist; does not include religion in a ceremony and Independent (I’m an Independent); does or doesn’t include religion all depending on what you would like. Once you have decided on what kind of ceremony you would like, You’ve done your research on Celebrants and carried out some preliminary interviews you make a connection and decide who you are going to book. This can happen anything from three months to three years or more before your ceremony (although, when I was booked to appear on Don’t Tell the Bride, I got the phone call on the Friday and the wedding was on the Sunday) and we begin to build a relationship, a rapport, we become friends who hold your hand and support you over that time to – inevitably – write the perfect bespoke script which when you, and your loved ones, hear it will instantly recognise your story.
‘Thank you so much for this whole experience and making it so easy.”
– Bronte and Cody Norton-Broderick, 2019
‘We were always impressed with her outstanding professionalism, attention to detail, limitless compassion and patience.’
– Eser and Jordi Clopes-Masjuan, 2019
‘From our first meeting with her we knew that she was the perfect fit for our wedding.’
– Amanda and Ebrima Njie, 2019
“The ceremony? It was like poetry from beginning to end.’
– Groom’s father after the wedding , 2018
A Wedding Celebration Ceremony can have all the traditional elements such as a bridal party, the father or mother walking the bride or groom up the aisle, vows, ring exchange readings/poems, signing of a certificate, but most importantly, as well as your story, woven into your script is family, friends and a little bit of theatre with something like sand pouring, a ring warming or a unity candle.
The other added benefit is that a ceremony that I conduct can be, but does not have to be, in a licensed room. Unlike Registrars, we, Celebrants, can conduct Wedding Celebration Ceremonies anywhere. Whether that’s a pristine white beach, in a royal park, an iconic landmark in London, or the castle which was the location for the Crown; but why stop there? Why not on a cliff edge (elements permitting), or the top of a building overlooking your favourite city, or, when we can travel and survive there, space!
Let your imagination run wild. To quote Albert Einstein “Imagination is everything, it’s the preview of life’s coming attractions”. It is, after all, your wedding day. One of life’s important moments, so with the vision of your ceremony in your heart, the one you have always wanted but never knew you could have, why would you not hire a Celebrant?
Becky: Thanks so much to Jennifer for enlightening us this afternoon. I’m sure her words and experience will spurn you to look into hiring a wedding celebrant for your day. If you’d like to find out more about Jennifer you can visit her website here and be sure to follow her over on Instagram as well.