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7 Reasons to Choose a Wedding Celebrant to Lead your Ceremony

People often ask me why couples choose to get married by a wedding celebrant rather than going down the more usual routes of a church, a registry office or a civil ceremony.

The answer is usually quite simply, freedom of choice!

With a wedding celebrant leading your ceremony, you get to choose every aspect of the ceremony yourselves, without any civil or legal restrictions whatsoever. This means that you can choose the time, day, venue and other ceremony elements that are most suitable and acceptable to you as a couple.

Lets look at some of these choices in greater detail.

1. An Endless Choice of Location and Venue

Your wedding ceremony is such an important moment in your life and you want to be absolutely certain that the venue you choose is simply perfect for you both. Traditionally, wedding ceremonies take place in a church, at an official registry office or nowadays in a specialized hotel wedding venue. For many couples, these options are just too narrow or predictable.

Today, couples are looking for venues that are more personal or unique to them. Official rules state that a civil marriage ceremony must take place in a recognized building, or associated garden or outdoor space that is open to the general public and complies with planning permission, health and safety, etc. These rules are quite restrictive and only allow for certain venues to be considered.

But what if you want to get married in your favourite woodland glade, at a spectacular beach or even in the wonderful personal surroundings of your own home? Then this is where you have the choice to choose a celebrant-led wedding ceremony.

As an independent wedding celebrant, I am happy to perform your ceremony in the venue that means the most to you. It might be that this venue is one of the more traditional options mentioned above, but equally, it can be a venue that is unique just to the two of you.

In more recent times, when we all need to stay close to home some couples have chosen to get married in uniquely local venues such in the familiar surroundings of their own homes; the quirky but amazing venue of their favourite bookshop; in a local park with gorgeous riverside views; or at one of the many amazing beaches or cliff-top locations around the Irish coast. With a celebrant-led wedding, the choice of venue is totally up to you, no restrictions and no questions asked. It's your wedding after all!

2. Day and Time - 24/7 Availability

It often happens that the day or time of your wedding is dictated by someone other than you - by the ceremony venue, by the priest or registrar. For instance, civil marriages can only be conducted by registrars Monday to Friday at specific times and cannot be held at the weekend. Equally, church weddings are rarely held on a Sunday and must usually take place in early afternoon. What do you do if you chosen date or time falls outside these strict criteria. Suppose you want a sunset ceremony on a date that happens to fall on a Sunday?

As a Wedding Celebrant, I do not impose any such restrictions on couples. You are totally free to choose the day and timing of your wedding it a sunrise or sunset ceremony to coincide with the great Celtic festivals of Bealtine or Lughnasa, or even a ceremony under the stars in the Kerry Dark Sky Reserve. You have the freedom to choose whatever day of the week and time of the day that is most appropriate for you to celebrate your wedding. With me as your wedding celebrant your choice is 24/7, so you don't have to compromise.

3. Tell Them How You Feel About Them with Personalized Vows

Choosing what to say to your partner as your wedding vows is a wonderful way to fully understand the meaning of marriage and why, of all the people on the planet, you are choosing them in particular to be your husband or wife. The traditional church or civil vows are so commonly heard that they have almost lost their meaning and for many couples, they simply do not convey the depth of love, gratitude or respect they feel for the person standing opposite them.

With a Wedding Celebrant leading your wedding ceremony, you can choose to write your own vows, choose from a list of prepared options that might just express the exact sentiments you are trying to convey, or indeed decide on a mix of personally written vows, pre-prepared vows and traditional vows. Either way, you will get to express your own unique vows to your partner and they express theirs to you. As your Wedding Celebrant, I will be delighted to work with you both to help you draft the most appropriate vows for your ceremony and guide you through these vows on your wedding day with the love, care and reverence that this most important moment deserves.

4. Make Your Ceremony Unforgettable with Bespoke Enhancements

Adding a bespoke wedding ceremony enhancement really helps to personalize your wedding and ensures that you and your guests will remember your particular ceremony with great joy and fondness for many years to come. I covered Ceremony Enhancements in a previous blog post, but it is worth giving a brief summary again here.

As an independent Wedding Celebrant, I specialise in creating unique wedding ceremony enhancements that truly reflect your individual personalities and your unique family circumstances. Enhancements such as a Family Sand Ceremony can symbolize the blending of different family members into the new family formed by your wedding. Other enhancements can ensure that your dearly departed loved ones are remembered and included in the ceremony with candles and their lights can be used to light a Unity Candle. My own personal favourite, the Ring Warming ceremony, asks various family members to infuse your wedding rings with good wishes for you both as a married couple. But nowadays, this one is possibly best reserved for the post Covid-19 era to come!

5. Music and Readings - Music is the Food of Love, so Play on!

Choosing the music and readings for your wedding ceremony is one of the really fun aspects of wedding planning. When you choose a Wedding Celebrant for your ceremony, you get to choose any music you like, be that traditional religious music, classical pieces, pop songs or indeed even music you or your partner have composed yourselves. When thinking about the music, make sure you choose pieces that are important to you or your wedding party. For instance, for my own entrance music, I choose my Dad's favourite song, Moon River, as he was walking me up the aisle; there wasn't a dry eye in the house!

Similarly with readings, you get to pick any reading or poetry that you love. Or if you need some help or inspiration, as a Wedding Celebrant, I have a large collection of pieces to choose from. When deciding on the readings, keep in mind who you will ask to read them. If the reader is known to be theatrical then you could choose a funny or humorous piece that you know they will be able to deliver well. If your reader might be a little more nervous, then perhaps a shorter piece might be more appropriate.

6. Elements of Cultural Significance - Poignant and Meaningful Symbolism

With religious or civil marriages, the ceremony format can be fairly rigid with little room for adding in other elements that might be of great cultural significance to you and/or your partner. The ancient Celtic marriage rite of handfasting is again becoming increasing popular and can be performed by me as your Wedding Celebrant. The symbolism and wording of a handfasting ceremony is particularly poignant and meaningful and also the ritual makes for great photo opportunities towards the end of the wedding ceremony.

Incorporating a Jumping the Broom ceremony into your wedding can be of great cultural importance if one of both of you are African American. Again, as an Independent Wedding Celebrant, I would be delighted to work with you to incorporate this important element into your wedding. We can also work together to create other elements from a variety of different cultures to ensure your wedding ceremony is a true and proper reflection of your values and traditions as a couple.

7. Endless Choice leads to a very Memorable Wedding Ceremony

Traditional church weddings or civil marriages can be meaning and beautiful. But if you feel that your choices with these options are somewhat limited or restricted, why not consider a bespoke wedding ceremony crafted for you by an Independent Wedding Celebrant such as myself, Helen Murphy. I take the time to get to know you both as couple. I ensure that your own unique Love Story takes center stage on your wedding day and I am able to weave your own specially chosen elements into your wedding ceremony to ensure that when you say "I Do", you do so in a ceremony that is symbolic, meaningful and very memorable for you and your guests. So contact me to set up a no-obligation consultation to discuss your ideas and plans for your wedding ceremony.

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