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FAQs and expert advice about celebrant

Here is a selection of Q&As from An Essex 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@anessex.wedding




Q. Following the last 18 months, how has the wedding industry changed? Our local suppliers, experts in their field, give us the lowdown...

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. They 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.

Regardless of whether they have previously had their legal registry office ceremony, many want something more special, personalised and to share their vows with as many people as possible. 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.

Celebrants solve many new dilemmas caused by the pandemic, 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, so I'm 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


Love wins

Love wins

Q. After postponing our big day, we've found that there's a huge backlog of weddings and we may have to wait even longer for a registrar. What are our options?

A. Shelley Bell says: We're living through difficult times, with registry offices struggling with demand in some areas and personnel changes meaning that they are unable to accommodate as many bookings. This is when a celebrant is a great option.

As people across the country prepare to celebrate with their nearest and dearest again, wedding suppliers are diversifying to meet the needs of their couples, while staying as true to your wedding vision as possible. With a celebrant, you can have a ceremony anytime, any day and almost anywhere. You can get friends and family involved and hold it in front of a small or large gathering of loved ones. Couples can state their vows for married life, exchange rings and even sign a certificate commemorating the day. The choice is yours and there are no limitations, you'll just need to sign the legal paperwork when you can. If you've had to reschedule or your original date is fast-approaching, get in touch to see how we can make your dream day a reality.

Shelley Bell,Shelley Bell Independent Celebrant


It takes two

It takes two

Q. We aren't sure how to plan for our wedding because of the pandemic. My friend suggested a sequel wedding, but what exactly does this mean?

A. Clive Burgess says: Sequel weddings are becoming increasingly popular as a way to meet the needs of modern life. They're great for couples who want to mark this important life event under COVID-related restrictions or as a way of having a more personal ceremony after the formality required in a religious or short legal ceremony. Perhaps the wedding took place abroad and excluded friends and family?

After a formal legal ceremony, the following sequel wedding offers an opportunity to create a very personal expression of love that can acknowledge different beliefs and tastes in a way that a traditional ceremony can't. It can be held at any time and in any place – there are no restrictions. It can be as formal or relaxed as you like and can incorporate elements from varying faiths and ethnic traditions. It can also allow the acknowledgement of the blending of families and enables couples to fully express their personalities and values.

As a celebrant, I will work with you to create a unique and memorable wedding that's full of expression, shared stories and love.

Clive Burgess,Special Moments Celebrant


Your day, your way

Your day, your way

Q. We've found out we can't legally get married outside. What are our options?

A. Amand Wheal says: Currently, celebrant-led ceremonies are not legal. However, they offer the most freedom of choice in terms of ceremony content and location. Anything goes, whether you want to get married on a farm at sunrise, in your back garden or under a woodland canopy at night.

If you book a registrar to conduct your ceremony at a licensed venue, it's basically the same as what you get in a registry office, just in a venue; all the same legalities and restrictions apply. Even if you want to tie the knot outside, you'll have to do so under an approved structure such as a gazebo or pavilion.

Instead, many couples will have their standard legal ceremony at a registry office on a weekday when it's least expensive. Then, they'll splash out on their personalised celebrant ceremony for themselves and their guests at a venue or location of their choice. They will then have total freedom in all aspects to have the bespoke ceremony of their dreams.

Amand Wheal,Amanda's Beautiful Ceremonies


Tying the knot

Tying the knot

Q. We were hoping to have our special day in our garden, but we've found out that we can't legally marry outside. What are our options?

A. Nichola Collinson says: A celebrant-led ceremony would be the perfect option for you. You can book an inexpensive statutory ceremony at the registry office to complete the legal paperwork, and then you're free to have a celebrant conduct your wedding in your garden.

As a celebrant, I'd meet you ahead of the day to find out what you want included in your ceremony. You may not know what that is, but I'm here to help and guide you through the process. You can have a ring exchange, say vows and sign a certificate if you'd like – there are no restrictions on what you can include.

By getting to know you, I will get a feel for your personalities to ensure your story is told through your ceremony script. You and your loved ones will enjoy a memorable, engaging ceremony, which is filled with love and laughter.

Nichola Collinson,Bespoke Celebrant Ceremonies