FAQs and 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 editor@yourlondon.wedding




Q. Following the last 18months, how has the wedding industry changed?

A. Amanda Wheal says: There has been a fair degree of positive change for celebrants post-pandemic, and it's certainly an exciting time for couples and celebrants.

The demand for celebrants has increased not only because of the backlog of postponed weddings, but more importantly, couples want to celebrate differently. Couples really want to share their celebration with family and friends in creative and fun ways, having been through so much and waited so long they really want to go to town on their wedding.

Many want something more special, personalised and want to share their vows with as many people as possible, regardless of whether they have previously had their legal registry office ceremony. So I tend to get requests for more hybrid ceremonies with a mix of modern and traditional aspects, and it's a pleasure to create something different for each couple.

There's also more of an emphasis of involving family members within the ceremony and, for some, honouring those they have sadly lost.

Celebrant's solve many new dilemmas caused by the pandemic, so for example couples who married abroad pre-covid and had to cancel their UK-based celebration now want a special celebration created just for them which may or may not involve vows and ring exchanges given the time that has passed from their original date.

Some couples who legally married during lockdown in a small ceremony have since had children and so I am creating a new ceremony which combines a wedding and a baby naming.

It's certainly an exciting time and couples are embracing the flexibility and freedom that ceremonies without limits can give them. I hope that the recent changes in marriage laws continue so that the government passes legislation supported by the wedding commission that allows celebrants to perform legal weddings. 

Amanda Wheal, Amanda's Beautiful Ceremonies


Tying the knot

Tying the knot

Q. We're having a smaller wedding than planned, how can a celebrant help us make the ceremony extra special for those who can attend?

A. Jennifer Patrice says: A celebrant conducts a ceremony that has all the elements of a wedding, apart from the legal formalities, which you carry out at your local register office. Having a celebrant means that you can have a ceremony that's personalised and unique to you – the ceremony you always wanted but never knew you could have.

I take your relationship history and turn it into your ceremony, so when you and your loved ones hear it, you'll instantly recognise the journey you've been on together. You can have a bridal party, write your own vows and have religious content, if you wish. You can also incorporate songs and readings that you love and include friends and family in symbolic elements.

Your choices are varied and many. For example, you could light a unity candle together, have a hand-fasting, sand-pouring or ring-warming, which is where your rings are passed around your guests to imbue with good wishes. At the end of the ceremony, you can sign a certificate. I've been told that my ceremonies are loving, full of emotion, sincere and fun; it also brings me personal joy to create couples' perfect weddings.

Jennifer Patrice, Jennifer Patrice Celebrant


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

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