Wedding Planning Q&A

Wedding Celebrant Led Ceremonies Made Legal! with Steve Game-blackmoor


Wedding Celebrant Led Ceremonies Made Legal! Steve Game-Blackmoor from Holding Dear shares an amazing development for Wedding Ceremonies in Staffordshire!

Listen to Steve on the Wedding Espresso Awesome DIY Wedding Planning Podcast…


Steve Game-blackmoor from Holding Dear


Steve: [00:00:03]

Particularly my role as a celebrant is about ironing out those creases. One of the big creases that can happen, when arranging a celebrant led wedding ceremony, is the legalities of it.

And often there’s a huge misunderstanding. Because there is a distinction between a celebrant and a registrar. Now a registrar is someone who is there to look after the legalities of the occasion. To ensure that the marriage is legal and to register it. A celebrant on the other hand is there to enable them to facilitate the celebratory ceremonial side of things, to provide personal vows and devotion to one another in their own and unique way. 

Steve: [00:01:04] So that’s the distinction. Is that clear there that the registrar is someone who looks after the legalities and the celebrant is there to look after the celebratory dimension to the day? 

Steve: [00:01:20]

Now what often happens is if a person chooses for a celebrant led wedding ceremony, then they’re choosing something quite unique and something additional to what a registrar can offer.

A registrar can offer a very prescripted ceremony, a very basic ceremony. Whereas the celebrant led ceremony can be something quite unique. It can be indoors or outdoors, but a registrar can’t offer that kind of exclusiveness really. It has to happen within a licensed premises, and it has to happen indoors with a registrar. With a celebrant you can choose indoors or outdoors, by a lake, on the steps of a stately home, anywhere you like. 

Steve: [00:02:15]

And the problem’s been that a registration often has to happen separately. At a registrar’s office. That can be before the ceremony, or after the ceremony, or indeed sometimes, on a separate day. Which causes another problem because the bride and groom don’t know which day to actually celebrate their anniversary.

So it causes all sorts of problems there. But I want to talk briefly about something quite exciting in Staffordshire. That’s actually something that I’m involved in. Staffordshire County and in partnership with civil ceremonies, and myself “Holding Dear”, and a few other participating celebrants, are now offering to combine those two ceremonies at the same location. So that the ceremony now happens and the registration also happens, at the same time. It can be a part of the ceremony or it can be segregated, but at the same location. It’s quite exciting and something innovative. It’s only happening in Staffordshire at the moment. Something that we’re piloting and so that’s really good. It gives lots more options to people and a really good step forward. And a big huge thank you of course to the registration service at Staffordshire County for allowing that facility to happen, and of course in partnership with civil ceremonies. So this is something I’m really, really excited about. It offers all sorts of things really. 

Steve: [00:04:08] So within the ceremonies. Both the registrar and the celebrant work together which is quite unique. And they can have the legal formalities and the celebrant led ceremony in front of all their guests, all at the same time on the same day. Isn’t that fantastic! 

Steve: [00:04:42] Here we are again with me with my back to the audience again. Holding Dear, something unique. Is that quite clear about how we’ve brought those two roles together? 

James: [00:04:58] Yeah absolutely. I think that’s wonderfully progressive. That’s a step in the right direction for the UK definitely. So I’ve actually got a quick question for you Steve and that is

“Is there any reason why we can’t have registrar ceremonies outside?” Does it have the root in some tradition or law? 

Steve: [00:05:23] It’s UK law. It has to happen within a licensed and recognised Office. Licensed not in the sense of selling alcohol, licensed by the registrar service. That’s just the law in the UK at the moment. 

James: [00:05:48] Brilliant! So guys any questions you think that brides and grooms to be ought to be asking Steve before exploring their options with a wedding celebrant. 

Joey: [00:05:58] Yeah.

I mean one thing I wanted to ask you is “what do you see in the kind of trends in ceremonies and such”?

Because this year I’ve been to more weddings than I ever have. I think it’s because I’m 26 at the moment, and a lot of my friends seem to be getting married around the same time. And I’ve seen everything from incredibly traditional ceremonies to the weirdest stuff that’s been going on. I just wanted to know what your experience was in terms of, you know, are people still going traditional or are they trying new things? And what do you think is going to happen next year? 

Steve: [00:06:37] They’re moving away from tradition. I would say 80 percent have something unique, themed, and 20 percent traditional. I think there’s definite move towards celebrant led ceremonies because people are wanting something unique, something special. People already have in mind what their hopes and dreams are for their special day. And often the traditional doesn’t kind of scratch the itch, does it? And so the celebrant led ceremony gives license for people’s freedom of expression. So I actually think that the celebrant led ceremony is going to grow even further in popularity over the next 12 months. 

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