Frequently Asked Questions

Weddings, Partnerships, Commitment to Love, Blessings and Vow Renewals

How long does a celebrant ceremony take?

Most ceremonies last for half an hour to an hour the time can be creatively punctuated with guest readings music or even surprises.

How does a ceremony with a wedding celebrant differ from a civil wedding ceremony?

A celebrant ceremony has no restrictions in terms of the content format or style of a wedding the Seven minute can be completely personalised

Ceremonies can contain many different elements that you or your guests would expect to see at a normal wedding ceremony or partnership such as an exchange of vows or rings and whatever symbols you require but also lots of beautiful details about the couple.

The ceremony is warm and relaxed and ensures loving lasting memories for everyone attending.

Is the wedding or partnership legal?

A celebrant cannot legally marry or undertake a partnership this can only be conducted by a registrar or recognised religious officiant such as a vicar, priest or rabbi. To have a legal marriage or a civil partnership, you must register your intent within 12 months of your official ceremony and no later than 28 days prior to the day you complete your civil registration. This is then recognised in law.

Can a celebrant take a wedding ceremony without the couple being married or having a civil partnership?

The simple answer is yes but this is not usually my preference. Normally the official paperwork will have been completed before the civil ceremony. However, if this has not been possible a ceremony can still take place. A celebrant should announce to the people gathered that is not a legal ceremony.


Can I have the same word and content as a registrar or vicar users?

The words used in a formal marriage or partnership can only be used for this purpose.  It is possible to include something similar such as how you take your vows and the introductions.  A ceremony can still appear as formal if that is what you want.

You can still include religious elements to a civil ceremony even when you’re not in a religious building.  So, your music, your readings and your prayers can all reflect what you believe.


Can a ceremony with a wedding celebrant be held both indoors and outdoors?

It certainly can, and it’s extremely popular now for outdoor weddings. A celebrant can often unlock the potential of a venue such as a wedding barn, a garden, at beach and even a mountain. I’ve even known them take place on a boat in a Lake.

A celebrant ceremony can be anywhere so long as the wedding venue has granted permission Remember, the venue does not need to be licenced if using a celebrant, it is only required when a registrar is being used. So, you can have your ceremony in your dream location.

Where when and what time can the ceremony take place?

You can select the time you want without any restriction.  Want to get married at sunrise? Want to get married at sunset? Want to get married on New Year’s Eve? All are possible.

When should I book my celebrant?

You should book your wedding celebrant as soon as possible to ensure your date is reserved. You will be asked to make a deposit to reserve your date and time.  As part of the booking process, a signed agreement will be exchanged to agree the terms of engagement.

Who writes the vows?

Vows are a very personal part of the ceremony. It is entirely up to you how these are written. You may want to write your own vows individually and read them out to each other from the heart. Or you may ask the celebrant to help you write them and repeat the vows after the celebrant.  You can say “I do” or you can write something of your own choice, put in your own sentiments, and even involve relatives.  If a couple are coming together, and there are children from previous relationships their new parents may want to make a promise to their new family.

Will I see the script of the ceremony before the day?

The celebrant will draught your script and you will see a copy of your ceremony before the day.  You will have the opportunity to make any reasonable alterations, amendments or additions to make your day perfect. To help you remember your day you will receive a keepsake copy of your ceremony along with your certificate.


Naming Ceremonies

Where can a naming ceremony take place?

The choice of venue is entirely up to the family.  Think about who you will be inviting and what will suit their needs as well as yours. You could have the ceremony in your local village hall, community centre, a woodland, your garden or a hotel. There is no right or wrong for where this can take place it’s down to personal preference.

Can our child have godparents?

Yes. You can call them whatever you like whether that is God parents, guardians or supportive adults.  What is important is the intention for their role in your family.  Are these people there to help you and your child?  They can be asked to make promises to your child, to support their upbringing, their education, their values and to just have fun.

Can my other children be involved in the ceremony?

Of course, they can. The more they feel included, the more special the day.  They can be given jobs to do, they can say some special words to their new brother or sister or to do something symbolic like write a message on a wishing tree.


What is the difference between a humanist and a civil celebrant?

For clarity, I am a Civil Celebrant.

Humanist Celebrants and other Celebrants (such as Independent or Civil Celebrants) are very similar in the way in which they approach writing and officiating ceremonies, in that they ALL offer a very personalised Ceremony in any location. Humanist Celebrants like all other kinds of Celebrants, deliver a Ceremony that offers an alternative to a registrar or church service.

Independent Celebrants work independently, giving them the freedom to include whatever the family require in their Ceremony. It can include an act of worship e.g. a prayer, religious reading or a hymn. Independent Celebrants are equally comfortable creating and conducting non-religious ceremonies. The content is led by the family’s belief system and not the celebrants.

Humanist Celebrants offer secular/non-religious ceremonies only, believing that life is based on humanity and reason, and that moral values are founded on human nature and experience. As they have no-religious beliefs, they therefore do not include any religious acts of worship in their ceremonies.

How do I decide who I want to take a funeral?

If you are using a funeral director to arrange the funeral, they may suggest someone to take the funeral or you can tell the funeral director who you want to take the ceremony.  You are not obliged to accept the funeral director’s choice.  Make sure you get the type of ceremony that will develop and deliver a funeral that matches your values.

I don’t know any appropriate music or poems to include in the ceremony

A celebrant has a wealth of resources available to help you decide the content of the funeral, burial or memorial. 

Just because we have traditionally included these elements doesn’t mean you have to have them.  Make your ceremony personal.

What type of funerals can a celebrant conduct?

A celebrant can take any ceremony, burial, scattering at sea, cremation, memorial and celebrations of life ceremonies.

Anyone can call themselves a celebrant and there is no formal registration regulation at the moment.  I have taken the top qualification currently available to ensure I deliver a quality ethical ceremony with dignity. It is always good to get feedback about the celebrant you are going to use and good celebrants will be able to provide this.

Do I need to have a formal funeral?

There is no requirement to have a ceremony of any sort.  You could have what the industry calls direct burial or cremation where the body is interred or cremated without formal ceremony.

Can I plan the content of my funeral before I die?

Yes.  I work with clients who want to plan this in more detail.  You can plan your music, style and type of funeral and readings/poems before you die. 

I will sit with you and listen to your story and chat with you before drafting your ceremony or your ceremony wishes.  This process can provide peace of mind to know that you have made the arrangements for your own funeral.  Sometimes families are left with gaps in knowledge and make assumptions about their relative’s wishes.

In our very British upbringing, death is not something we easily and openly talk about.  I support people and their families on their terminal pathway to plan and prepare for a good death.  For there is nothing surer than we are all going to die at some point. 

Andrea Jackson The Holistic Celebrant

Contact me by phone or email

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