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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!