You have made a choice for your special day to be fabulously different.
Choosing your own Celebrant is a really special and unusual approach. And you probably still have some questions about how it all works… hopefully you’ll find the answers here!
WHERE ARE YOU BASED?
I’m based in Cambridge but I travel all over the UK (and, occasionally, internationally) to deliver wedding ceremonies. Although it’s lovely having face to face meetings with clients, a lot of the background work can be done over Skype and email. So, it’s not an issue if you’re further afield.
WHAT DO YOU CHARGE FOR YOUR CEREMONIES?
I charge £1200 for a bespoke wedding ceremony and £450 for a naming (UK based).
DO YOU CHARGE TRAVEL?
Yes. I charge 0.50p per mile. I also charge accommodation if your ceremony is beyond a certain distance, meaning I’d need an overnight stay. This is all made clear before you book – there are no surprise costs!
ARE YOU INSURED?
I have full Public Liability and Professional Indemnity insurance through my association with the Humanists UK Celebrants Network.
ARE HUMANIST WEDDINGS LEGAL?
Unfortunately, humanist weddings are still not legal in England and Wales (I’ve written about this here). Humanists UK is campaigning hard to change that but, at the moment, you would need to have a separate civil service, in addition to your humanist ceremony. You can get married at your local register office for as little as £48 if you go for the very basic service. Often couples will have their civil ceremony a week or so before the big day to deal with the paperwork. They usually save all the ‘fun stuff’ – the dressing up, the vow exchange, the rings, THE PARTY – for their humanist ceremony.
Can you marry me legally in scotland and NI?
Yes, I just need to apply for a temporary license in advance of your day.
DO YOU ALLOW RELIGIOUS CONTENT IN YOUR CEREMONIES?
Humanist ceremonies are non-religious so the short answer is: no. However, there are many rituals from other cultures that can be incorporated. I often work with mixed-faith couples, for example, who want to include elements from their respective cultures (e.g. Jewish ritual of glass smashing, Chinese tea ceremonies) – and I’m totally happy to do that, with a humanist spin! Equally, for baby namings, I understand that the term ‘godparent’ is one that is more culturally familiar than the alternatives. However, I draw the line at actually referencing any religious material in the ceremony. For example, I would be uncomfortable including hymns or Bible readings.
WHAT DOES A WEDDING CEREMONY 'TYPICALLY' INVOLVE?
Every ceremony is totally different and is written specifically for the couple! There is no ‘typical’ ceremony or set format. Some couples will want a ceremony that feels quite traditional in its content and set up. Others are determined to throw traditions out of the window and do something really offbeat. Every ceremony I work on is hyper-personalised and tells the couple’s story through a combination of words, readings, music and symbolic gestures.
HOW LONG ARE YOUR WEDDING CEREMONIES?
They are usually between half an hour and 45 minutes long.
DO YOU OFFER A WEDDING REHEARSAL?
I don’t as standard because I just don’t think they’re necessary. We go over all the logistics, in the process of devising your ceremony script, and I always arrive at least an hour early on the actual day to make sure everything runs to plan. However, if your ceremony turns out to be quite complicated, and we think a rehearsal would be a good idea, it can be arranged later for an additional cost.
THERE ARE NO REGISTRARS AVAILABLE FOR OUR DATE AND WE JUST WANT A REPLICA CIVIL CEREMONY. DO YOU OFFER THAT?
This scenario crops up a lot… and you should see it as a great opportunity! You can now have a much more special and personalised ceremony than you would have otherwise got with a civil service. If you really want to stick with the pared-back approach you would get with a civil service, then I suggest getting in touch with another Celebrant because super-duper, bespoke ceremonies are my jam – and I want to work with couples who really dig the MAGIC!
DO WE HAVE TO WRITE OUR OWN VOWS?
I always encourage couples to write their own vows because the words you say about each other, the promises you choose to make for yourselves, will always surpass whatever I have to say about your relationship. They will just be so much richer. Lots of couples are uneasy about the idea of writing their own vows – I get it! You might not know where to start, or maybe you just feel a bit weird about laying your feelings on the line if you’re not that type of couple (although, c’mon, a wedding is the ULTIMATE PDA – embrace it!). I’m here to help you write them. And trust me, every couple who has written their own vows has told me afterwards how grateful they were for having done it! Having said all that, if you’re totally adamant you want to use traditional vows, we can do that too!
I’M INTERESTED IN BECOMING A CELEBRANT. CAN I PICK YOUR BRAIN?
Firstly, yay, go you! Secondly, er… no… I’m sorry! I’m sure you’re super lovely but, as the kids say, I got boundaries babes. Right now, ALL my energy is being spent working with my amazing couples, looking after my family… and squeezing in dates with my friends where I can (sorry, Kirsty/ Shelley/ Lily if you’re reading this. I totally will text you back about that overdue dinner/ drink/ comedy night!) If you’re interested in becoming a humanist wedding celebrant, specifically, my best advice is to visit the Humanists UK site – there’s a tonne of information there.
WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE MOULIN ROUGE TRACK?
Elephant Medley, of course!
HOW SOON SHOULD I GET IN TOUCH?
ASAP darling! I often get booked for weddings two years in advance and I don’t want you to miss out!