Our venue blog for ideas, inspiration and real weddings.

Our venue blog for ideas, inspiration and real weddings.

Celebrant led weddings

Ever heard of a Celebrant before?

Don’t worry, you won’t be the first to be confused by all the different wedding terms if you have just started on your wedding journey.

We caught up with the wonderful Fan (not Fran!) from Fanfare Ceremonies to learn more about being a Celebrant, her role during the ceremony and why she loves being a part of your wedding journey from start to ‘I do’.

Tell us a bit about you and how you became a Celebrant.

The truth is I slightly fell into it.  My husband and I had been running a marquee and event hire business for 20 odd years and frankly, we’d had enough.  He decided to farm full time and I was looking for something else but within the wedding industry.  

My sister in law suggested I look into becoming a registrar; she thought I’d enjoy it.  I duly started researching and that’s when I fell upon wedding celebrants.  I, like so many, had never heard of them.  The concept intrigued me; I loved the idea of getting to know the couples properly, having a real connection with them and playing such a unique role in their special day.  The registrar idea was swiftly ditched. It was way too restrictive and uncreative but I shall always be grateful to my sister in law.  Thanks to her I trained with the UK Society of Celebrants and began my new found career.  

Sadly though, it is still a little known profession, not within the wedding industry I hasten to add, but the wider public who still think that the only recourse for a civil wedding is the registrar option.  I am therefore so grateful to Huntsham and other venues who actively promote celebrant led ceremonies to their couples and recognise what an amazing service and option we offer and help spread the word.

I led my first ever ceremony at Huntsham Court in March 2017 for Bex and Gavin who now have to 2 beautiful children.  For that reason alone Huntsham will always hold a special place in my heart.

Luna weddings

   Celebrants, Humanists and Registrars can be confusing terms to couples just starting on their wedding planning journey. Can you summarise the differences?

Yes it can be confusing.  Especially the humanist and independent celebrants.  The simplest way to explain is to start with the registrars.  They can legally marry you but their ceremonies have to follow guidelines on content – most notably no religious references at all and any additions to their script needs to be authorised beforehand.   This means that their ceremonies can be formulaic and generic.  

This is very different when it comes to independent and humanist celebrant led ceremonies where the focus is entirely on the couples not on compliance with guidelines on content.  Both work closely with their couples over a period of time and, within their ceremonies, celebrate their story.  Each and everyone is entirely unique.  

The difference between the two lies in religion or the lack of it.   Humanist ceremonies are based on humanity and reason.  They have no religious beliefs so there is no reference to it within the ceremony whereas independent celebrant will do so if that the couple’s wish.

Ceremonies led by humanists and independent celebrants in England and Wales are not legally binding however.

Helen Rose

What’s your favourite part about being a Celebrant on the wedding day?

Goodness there’s so much I love.  Reuniting with the Groom, seeing the expression on his face when he first sees his Bride/partner.  Seeing the pride in the father of the bride when he walks his daughter down the aisle.   Meeting all the people that I have heard all about during the process of getting to know the couple and the interactions between them all.  It is such a massive unique privilege to be a part of such an intimate moment in a couple’s life.  There are so many golden moments and I am there to witness them all. 

I never take this work for granted and I’m so grateful to every single couple who have trusted me with an intimate view into their lives.

David Pullum

Tell us about your process when it comes to clients.

A couple will contact me and then our first meeting will be on zoom.  This is the opportunity for us all to check one another out!  A bit like a speed date.  It’s essential that we all get on and that we are on the same page.    Assuming we all love one another, the next step a few months before their wedding day,  I send across a questionnaire for the couple to complete.  This questionnaire covers a wide range of questions everything from what did they feel when they first clapped eyes on one another to their hopes and dreams for their future together.  The answers give me a really good insight into the couple and I’m told by clients that it’s a very cathartic process and much enjoyed.   

We then make a plan to meet face to face.  This meeting is the important one.  I run through the questions again and watch them carefully, how they interact with one another,  listening to anecdotes, their loves, their dislikes.  I want to know all about their families, their friends and how they lead their lives. Through listening, I learn so much and I love the process!  It’s when the trust is established.  Everyone relaxes, it’s exciting and most importantly I make sure it’s fun, for all of us. It can take anything up to 3 hours.   

I then return home and create a script that weaves everything I have been told together.  Some couples like to see their script, others don’t and want the whole thing to be a complete surprise.  On the day I always arrive in very good time to lead the ceremony.  Then all that’s left is for me to deliver the script on the day.   This may sound a bit twee but it’s true my role ends when I utter the words “You may kiss the bride/groom” for them it’s the beginning of a new adventure.

Luna Weddings

What do you love about Huntsham Court and why?

Well as I have explained above Huntsham will always have a special place –  not just because it’s where I led my first ceremony and that Clair trusted me with her clients, it is special on so many levels.  It has the most wonderful warm feeling about it – a real home from home, perfect for the country house party vibe or destination wedding.   My clients have commented that they are made to feel so comfortable that the only difficulty is not to get too stuck in the night before their actual wedding! 

I love the concept of a blank canvas and exclusive use giving couples total freedom to celebrate how they want with the added reassurance and knowledge that they have a fabulous team to support them with their wealth of experience in planning and their trusted network of suppliers.  I’m proud to be one of them.

Helen Rose

Do you have any top tips for the wedding day, ceremony or otherwise?

Enjoy it and don’t get overwhelmed – choose suppliers that you have a real connection with  and that share your vision; trust them and let them take the strain – wedding suppliers are a lovely group of people and they genuinely want to make your day the very best for you.  Most importantly try and remember there are no rights and wrongs and to have your wedding your way.