Celebrant or Registrar for your Ceremony?


Choosing a Celebrant means you really can tie the knot anywhere – not just at a licensed wedding venue.  Whether it be at a posh hotel, grand manor house, rustic barn, local village hall, restaurant, family home, marquee, private garden, lakeside, or surrounded by nature in a paddock or woodland setting.  Perhaps you’d prefer a twilight wedding late into the night, or a couples-only wedding at your favourite romantic location?

A Celebrant ceremony is all about celebrating love! Unlike a Registrar’s wedding, the celebrant will get to know you as a couple before the big day and you’ll ultimately know who marries you. A rehearsal is arranged a few days before the ceremony to ensure you know exactly what to expect, where to stand, what to do and what to say in all the right places. Personalised comments may be incorporated within the ceremony script which you and your guests can relate to, so this makes the whole day feel more relaxed and totally unique.

A traditional Registrar’s ceremony can often feel restricted and sometimes appear rushed – especially when Registrars have several weddings to officiate during the same day. The local registration service will always allocate a duty registrar to attend a licensed wedding venue to marry you. But you’re never introduced to the registrar before the big day, so it can feel rather uncomfortable. The ceremony will typically have simple, legal wording too, and adding personal touches is rather limited.   Registrar ceremonies don’t offer rehearsals at a wedding venue as part of their service. Some registration services may offer a brief rehearsal within their offices, although this isn’t quite the same as at the actual venue, and the registrar conducting the briefing isn’t necessarily the same registrar who will officiate your ceremony on the big day.

If you prefer to have a ceremony at one of the licensed wedding venues you’d be legally married on that day by a Registrar, although it’s quite expensive and very restrictive due to Registrar’s availability. Should you find that Registrars are not available to officiate on a particular date/time to coincide with your venue’s availability, a Celebrant can be used as an alternative to undertake your ceremony. Simply book the venue as a private wedding and inform the wedding coordinator that you’ve opted for a Celebrant-led ceremony rather than a Registrar’s ceremony.

Celebrant ceremonies are becoming increasingly popular and can provide financial saving for you as a couple. Are you aware that the option to have a legal statutory marriage would cost just £46?  If you opt for a statutory marriage, it’s not essential to exchange rings or even dress up (do this on your ceremony day!). You’d sign relevant legal paperwork with two witnesses, on any date before your meaningful wedding ceremony. Or, if you choose, the legal paperwork can be signed on a later date. The method of ‘signing on the dotted line’ at the register office followed by a Celebrant wedding ceremony at any location, any time of the day, is becoming increasingly popular and it’s quite straightforward.  It’s also worth pointing out that a statutory marriage does not have to be on the same day as your wedding ceremony, no more than a birthday party must be on the exact day you were born!

I’ve worked as a Registrar for 15 years in Yorkshire & Nottinghamshire, and officiated hundreds of legal wedding ceremonies in a variety of venues at wonderful indoor and outdoor locations, so I fully understand the need for more creativity, romance, and genuine sincerity within a wedding ceremony. Fortunately, I have the experience to guide you through the process of marriage and to help arrange a legal statutory marriage officiated within a registration office.

If the traditional Registrar’s wedding system leaves you feeling restricted, and you’re looking for creativity, inspiration, and support, then a Celebrant ceremony means you have no restrictions or limitations on timing, format, style, content, location, and your ceremony can be tailored to include your own ideas.  A celebrant-led wedding is all about YOU as a couple, sharing a ceremony in ANY location, and in your own STYLE.

       As a Celebrant I can help when:

  • You’d really like to know WHO is going to perform your marriage ceremony.
  • Your preferred venue is not a licensed wedding venue.
  • You’d prefer a ceremony in your own home/garden.
  • Registrars are not available on the date/time you prefer to hold your ceremony at a licensed wedding venue.
  • Already married elsewhere but would like a local ceremony to celebrate with friends and family.
  • Married abroad but would like a second wedding ceremony in the UK.
  • You’d like a ceremony to renew your vows or to celebrate a special anniversary.
  • You’d like a ceremony to celebrate naming a child.

Your wedding day should begin with a perfect ceremony, and I’d love to help you make that happen. I will guide you through the whole process to ensure you not only look and feel good, but you’re relaxed and enjoy every moment of your special day.  Even the simplest weddings cost a small fortune, but the photographs last a lifetime, so it’s imperative that the bridal party look their very best. See my ‘other role’ as an image consultant and how I can help to create colour harmony for your wedding:

Over the years I’ve often combined both roles by styling a bridal party with appropriate colour schemes; providing guidance on how to pose for those all-important wedding photos, and occasionally “marrying” some of my clients as well as customers of my daughter’s bridal boutique. Seeing the wedding through from beginning to end! Read the newspaper article here 

I genuinely LOVE being part of a couple’s special day and creating beautiful memories.  A celebrant is obviously one of the most significant people at your ceremony and it’s important to choose someone who you can connect with, so I’m more than happy to meet for a friendly chat with absolutely no pressure to discuss a wedding ceremony/renewal of vows/baby naming ceremony to be held at any location within Nottinghamshire/Yorkshire/Lincolnshire/ Derbyshire.

Sue Burton

Celebrant & Wedding Stylist




I hope you enjoyed this blog by Sue Burton. Please read her article on how to choose the right colour wedding dress here