Humanist, Celebrant & Non-Legal Weddings - Chris Morse Photography

Humanist, Celebrant & Non-legal Wedding Ceremonies

wedding ceremony on the beach

Humanist, Celebrant-led & Non-Legal wedding ceremonies are the way forward until wedding venue rules are updated. Outdated wedding vows, meaningless traditions and legal restrictions are the enemies of individuality!

One of the big restrictions when it comes to weddings is the law. The rules around what makes a wedding legal or not can really restrict your options when it comes to getting married. This can be super annoying, especially for couples who want to do things differently or for those who don’t conform to tradition.

Well, I want you to know, you are not the only one to feel like this! Religious ceremonies have reached an all-time low, only 24% of all weddings in 2016 were religious. More and more people are choosing to get married in alternative ways…

Non-Legal Wedding Ceremony

humanist ceremony in north Wales

And there are alternatives! The basic idea is to get legally married at a registrars office a couple of days beforehand and with the legal restrictions out of the way, you’re free to plan your wedding however you like.

There are many reasons why you might want to take this route. It could be that the place you’d like to get married doesn’t have a marriage licence. Perhaps you’d like someone you know to conduct your ceremony (the next chapter explores this idea in more detail). Or perhaps you have different traditions you’d like to be included within your ceremony.

Celebrant-led Wedding Ceremony

It’s this idea that has led to a growing number of professional celebrants. A celebrant is someone who performs personal ceremonies for important milestones, such as weddings, naming ceremonies or funerals. However, they aren’t legally allowed to marry people, which means they are not restricted by the law. They bring personality, experience but most importantly flexibility!

And because they’re not performing a legal ceremony, they can combine cultures as well as other traditions. You can have a ceremony that’s personal to you and performed exactly how you want it.

Through this guide, I want to show people that weddings don’t need to be the same. You don’t need to do something, just because that’s what’s done – you can make it meaningful to you!

Wedding ceremony in the woods

Jennifer Walker is a Celebrant based in North Wales. She’s noticed a rise in celebrant-led wedding ceremonies too…

“Historically, celebrants were only really sourced if there was a really alternative couple that wanted something completely different. The ever increasing celebrant-led wedding is down to how we have changed as a nation. We don’t conform to the 2.4 children after marriage, white British, heterosexual Christians like when these laws were created. We are a wonderfully diverse and cultured nation and it’s our uniqueness that should be celebrated”

Having to get legally married before your wedding could be seen as a bit of a faff. I asked Jennifer what she thought about that? And how her couples respond to the idea.

“When I’m describing the registrar element, I usually call it ‘the legal bit’ and honestly, it was where I thought I’d get the most push back from clients. However, each of them has embraced having another little memory & story to tell along their wedding journey – most of them make a really fun time too.”

It’s the freedom to personalise a celebrant-led ceremony that makes them so special. I wanted to know how Jennifer personalises her ceremonies.

“I like to learn as much as I can about my clients and relay the ‘story of them’ during the ceremony. I go back a few months prior to them meeting, it’s crazy how some people have almost met, like the movie sliding doors, or how close they almost came to never meeting at all. It adds a little ‘we’re one in a million’ to their loved up bubble.”

Jennifer revealed a few other little tricks that she uses to tailor her ceremonies specifically to each couple, but I don’t want to reveal all her secrets here 😬

When choosing a celebrant, as with most suppliers, I think it’s really important to meet them and make sure you click. If a meeting isn’t possible, then a phone call or video chat is the next best option. Have a think about what you want to know, and make a list of questions to ask them beforehand.

back garden wedding ceremony

Chris Morse’s Ultimate Guide to Planning Your Wedding