Love by Name, Love by Nature – An Interview with a Celebrant*

Do me a favour and imagine your wedding day. This may be the wedding day you’ve already had or the hypothetical one you’ve been planning since you were small with a pillowcase for a veil. Or perhaps marriage isn’t for you – to each their own – in which case, please bear with me for a moment.

When you imagine the ceremony part of your wedding day, is it in a church or a registry office? A swanky hotel or maybe a rustic barn? Of course if you choose to have the “classic” church ceremony, you’ll need a suitably ordained individual. This clergy member has a strictly regimented script to follow. For a registry office wedding, you’ll need a registrar, who is similarly restricted and can’t make any religious references. If you pick somewhere else that has a marriage licence – a barn, hotel, theatre, boat – a registrar will come out, say their piece and that’s it. The business transaction is over.

But what if you want something a bit more personal for the big day? Or you have a faith that doesn’t conform to an organised religion? That’s where a civil celebrant comes in.

What is a Celebrant?

A celebrant is an individual who’s been professionally trained and insured to conduct ceremonies. A celebrant can’t perform the legal part of the wedding – you’ll still need to go to a registry office for that – but that’s just a formality. The content of a celebrant led ceremony is bespoke and unrestricted. It can be as religious or non-religious as you like and contain as many spiritual, family or Star Wars references as you see fit. Moreover, if you want your guests to do the Macarena as you make your vows, a celebrant can help make that happen.

Gorgeous ceremony space at Kings Weston House. Decorated by Amaranto Flower Design, Elizabeth Weddings and The Vintage Sash Company.

The Fake Wedding

I recently had the pleasure of attending The Holistic Wedding Hub’s fair – The Fake Wedding. Suppliers advertise their services by literally putting on two fake weddings. It’s fun, unique and totally effective.

Some of my favourite suppliers showcased were:

The two fake ceremonies were conducted by celebrant Rosalind Love. With a name like that, could she really have done any other job? I had the lovely opportunity to not only watch Rosalind in action, but to interview her afterwards. You can watch footage of this interview below in a fantastic video created by Dai Treharne.

A Little More About Rosalind

Rosalind became a celebrant when, after leading a naming ceremony, she was told: “it’s such a darn shame you don’t have a religion, because you’d make a great vicar”. When she initially researched the celebrant role, she could only find it in a Humanist context. As soon as she discovered there was such a thing as a civil celebrant, she got herself qualified.

Watching Rosalind lead the two fake weddings was an absolute joy. Her enthusiasm and skill was evident and she kept the attention of the “congregation” throughout. As the couples being married at the event were acting, Rosalind had to devise the scripts herself. Even though the couples’ stories were entirely fabricated, I wouldn’t blame anyone for thinking otherwise – they were natural, heartfelt and humorous.

In the “real world”, Rosalind meets with a couple months before the wedding to discuss their ideas for their ceremony. This also gives her a chance to get a feel for them as a couple and as individuals. After hearing her fabricated ceremony script, I can only imagine the wonderful ceremonies Rosalind writes when she has the input and inspiration of a real couple.

I wasn’t surprised to hear that Rosalind won runner-up “most promising celebrant” at the 2018 National Celebrant Awards. She has a real passion and love for her role: love by name, love by nature.

Photograph by Victoria Kuti Photography (click image for link)

Other Events

As alluded to earlier, celebrants don’t just lead wedding and civil partnership ceremonies. You can hire a celebrant for naming ceremonies, funerals, renewal of vows – to name a few. Essentially, any event you’d like to mark with a meaningful and heartfelt ceremony.

My Wedding

I had no idea celebrants existed when making our wedding arrangements. We’re getting married in a licensed woodland structure in a ceremony led by a registrar. Unfortunately, this had all been paid for and arranged prior to meeting Rosalind. If we were doing it again, I think we’d book a celebrant. If you think a celebrant is your cup of tea, have a look at Rosalind’s website.

Until Next Time

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*Disclaimer: I received payment for attending this event and creating content.

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