In many countries around the world it is normal to contract your legal marriage on one day and celebrate your wedding on a different day.
So if a designated official does the legal paperwork who officiates at the wedding? A celebrant, officiant or master of ceremonies, that’s who!
The difference between a marriage and a wedding
A designated official officiates the legal registration of your marriage.
You can contract your legal marriage with or without any additional wedding ceremony.
Traditionally a religious minister may have performed a religious wedding ceremony in a church or other place of worship.
Note that not all religious ministers have the authority to also register your legal marriage, you may still have to do this separately.
If you are not religious – or perhaps you and your partner both have different religious beliefs – you can contract your legal marriage and then ask an independent celebrant, officiant or master of ceremonies to create a symbolic wedding ceremony for you to say your own personal vows of commitment to each other.
What is a celebrant led wedding like?
A celebrant led wedding can be whatever you want it to be!
The ceremony can be:
- based on traditional words that wedding guests are accustomed to hearing – or with 100% bespoke wording written especially for you.
- a reflection of your personalities, influences and sense of humour.
- have zero religious content or mix customs from different religions to create a hybrid ceremony that respects both of the couple’s beliefs.
- wherever you want it to be!
The ceremony in our featured photo was a boho wedding in a field of a beautiful rural villa.
What can a celebrant include in your wedding ceremony?
Your script will be written especially for you and include as many different elements as you like, such as
- Music for you to walk to the altar space individually… and exit from together.
- Readings, texts and poems which can be read by the celebrant or by your guests.
- A ring exchange with words of commitment.
- Your own personal vows and promises for your new life together.
- A commemorative certificate signed by the couple and their witnesses as a memento of their wedding day.
- Rituals and other customs such as mixing different coloured sand together, wine drinking from the same cup, binding the couple’s hands together to symbolically “tie the knot of matrimony”.
Is a celebrant led wedding, my real wedding day?
Remember that your marriage is a legal contract and your wedding is a ceremonial celebration.
For this reason, whether you have your marriage and your wedding on the same day or on totally different days – it is always your real wedding day!
Time to start planning your wedding!
- Buy your dress
- Talk to a wedding planner
- Book your venue
- Choose your wedding photographer
- Find the best caterer
- And start the journey with a wedding celebrant to make your dream ceremony a reality!
Author bio: Debbie Skyrme is "Celebrant Spain". Award winning bilingual destination wedding celebrant officiating elopements, vow renewals and wedding ceremonies in the Spanish sunshine.