Free Advice for couples who didn’t have the foresight to book a Celebrant.
AKA…OMG my baby’s getting married!
Here comes another blog motivated by a huge life event….my son’s just announced his engagement!
OK, nothing unusual there I hear you mutter, well, no, but YES….This is MY son! – “Charlie”, and he’s going to marry Amy, whom he’s known for, well, not quite a year!
Oh, and they’re both in their teens. Nineteen and eighteen, to be precise.
Yes, it was a shock, but yes I’m delighted for them; what an adventure! I wonder how many of you are wondering whether they’re having a celebrant – led ceremony? No, they’re not, and this is where I come to the main subject I want to address.
How do you make a civil (as opposed to religious) wedding ceremony “personal” without a celebrant creating it? OK, their venue is fun (– Gretna Green – I’m really looking forward to seeing what this anvil is all about!) but, still, it will be led by a registrar.
This what Charlie asked – “how can we make our wedding ceremony personal?”, knowing what I do! I gave him a few ideas and he followed up by asking if the information is on my website. Oops! It will be when I’ve finished writing this! The fact is, unless you have a good (well, great!) celebrant writing your ceremony, it will certainly come from some sort of template. You’re unlikely to know in advance exactly who will be your officiant on the day, either.
So, just for you, Charlie and Amy, a few notes on how to make your ceremony more personal – without the aid of a celebrant!
Use a celebrant (OK, you’ve got the point!)
Choose your own readings from your favourite author.
“Themed” celebrant weddings are becoming increasingly popular, but you can easily “dip into” a theme without going the whole hog. Talking of “hogs”…Hogwarts! Harry Potter is a rich seam to dig into when you want some good quotes. I’m sure that your combined knowledge of the books would be enough to find your own meaningful tracts. (oh, and, don’t be too proud to use Google, lol!)
If you’re not Charlie, and you’re still reading this…. There are other authors, of course! Shakespeare would be fab! I remember quoting A Midsummer Night’s Dream at a wedding; “Though she be but little, she is fierce!” I can’t remember the context, however! Perhaps my boy and his fiancée could answer those questioning their very young marriage with ““And yet, to say the truth, reason and love keep little company together nowadays…” Or, maybe not……
There have been themed weddings around Lord of the Rings, and more books, films and authors than I could mention. It’s a very popular way to make a ceremony richer for the couple and their clan, although the term “geek” usually gets in the description of the day somewhere!
Use literature to inspire your promises
Perhaps you could even create your own vows on a chosen theme? For instance, many registrars will let you put in your own vows alongside the legal ones. If you know a book or film that well, you’ll be able to come up with a promise reflecting the values you share with your literary heroes. A celebrant would happily help you with this, of course……
Dress to Impress
Charlie and Amy are marrying in Gretna Green, so he’ll be wearing a kilt of Welsh tartan. I don’t know what Amy’s wearing, but I’m sure Charlie could lend his half-sister his Harry Potter wand if she wanted to carry it with her flowers and cast a flower-girl magic spell on bride and groom! (Sorry, did I just publicly let on that Charlie still has his wand?) However, I dare say you could dress in any style you wanted to! Perhaps the guests could be instructed to be mad hatters to your Alice………
Take it to the reception
Of course, if you don’t have your ceremony themed as you’d like it (it’s only the most important part of your day, ok, back off my soap box!), you could theme your reception any way you like. May the force be with your wedding cake.
Create your Theatre
A great ceremony has a sense of theatre. By now you won’t be surprised to hear that in my view this is created by the celebrant! However, careful decoration of your venue and careful use of props could go a long way to establishing the theme you’re looking for. Of course, a venue using a registrar may have their own restrictions on what they’d allow. Personally, I’d employ a professional for this as well!
If Music be The Food of Love……
Talking of theatre, you can use music to create your theme, something very subtle like the Star Wars Theme as the bride makes her entrance?
So, there you have it. Don’t just put up with what you’re given. Make it your own. If possible, with me as your celebrant (– or mother – delete as appropriate!).
Seriously, I wish all the love in the world to my boy and his girl. And I wish it to you, too if you’ve read to the end and are inspired to take those personal touches to your own ceremony, whoever is officiating!
Please, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, call me on 07986 526732 or through my website if you’d like to know more.
Please bear in mind, that register offices throughout the country have different ways of working, so anything I write may be different in your area, please check with them first!