Expert advice about celebrant

Here is a selection of Q&As from Your London Wedding magazine whether it be about flowers, hair and makeup, fashion, wedding themes, health & beauty, cakes, stationery, legal advice. If you would like your question answered by our experts, please email it to


The great outdoors

The great outdoors

Q. We wanted to get married in one of London's green spaces, but we've found out we can't have a legal ceremony outside. What are our options?

A. Sue Walder says: It's true that you can't legally marry outdoors in England and Wales. Current laws require there to be some sort of licensed shelter such as a gazebo or a bandstand. If your heart is set on the great outdoors, then you can work with a humanist celebrant to create a bespoke and personal ceremony that truly reflects your values and style.

As humanist weddings are not yet legally recognised in England and Wales (unlike Scotland, Northern Ireland and Jersey), you can have this type of ceremony anywhere – including parks and green spaces. You simply complete the statutory paperwork at your local register office before or after. Despite this, my couples always regard their humanist wedding as the real thing. I have conducted ceremonies in some of London's most fabulous green spaces such as Woodberry Wetlands in Stoke Newington and Rembrandt Garden in Little Venice.

Sue Walder,Sue Walder - Humanist Celebrant


Open air but not open ended

Open air but not open ended

Q. We're hoping to host our big day outdoors next summer but, while we're aware the ceremony won't be legal, we'd like it to have the same gravitas. Can you talk us through the role of celebrant and the legal formalities we'll need to complete too

A. Rosalie Kuyvenhoven says: Congratulations on your engagement! It's great to learn that you're considering a celebrant to create and conduct this special moment for you.

A celebrant-led ceremony is built around you and your story together and will create a lasting memory for you and your guests. You can choose your own music, readings and ways to express your vows. If you'd like to add some extra magic you can add a symbolic ritual. A celebrant travels anywhere and you can have your ceremony wherever you want.

When a couple decides to work with me, I first ask them a lot of questions to get to know them, such as: What makes them smile? How did they meet? What dreams do they share? We typically meet a few times, in person or virtually if they live abroad. We also talk about the structure and logistics of the ceremony. Do they have a theme? Who would they like to involve?

After I have a good picture of the couple's story and their wishes I write a draft script. I send this to them to check it reflects the tone, sentiment and content they're looking for. Anything can be changed at this stage but most of the time, they're amazed to see how it all comes together.

We tweak content until they're absolutely happy with the ceremony script. Closer to the date, I liaise with the other suppliers who are involved in the ceremony: wedding planner, venue manager, photographer, videographer, musicians, and others. I make sure everyone understands the logistics and flow of the ceremony so things run smoothly on the day.

A celebrant-led wedding is not legally binding. You'll need to sign the paperwork with a registrar, which you can do at any time before or after the celebrant-led ceremony. Many couples I work with keep this very simple and most registrar offices offer a very basic option. Your local council will be able to tell you more. Happy planning!

Rosalie Kuyvenhoven

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