Celebrants should not be asked to “be Registrars” yet I am often asked to act like one. This totally denies the quantity and quality of work that I provide, compared to Registrars. Modern and thoughtful couples appreciate the value, energy, creativity and love that a Celebrant-led ceremony brings to their day. Other couples book a Celebrant to impersonate a Registrar. This happens when there is no flexibility from the Register Office and a couple don’t want to explain this to their families.
So here are 6 reasons Celebrants should not be asked to “be Registrars”.
1. We create a relationship with our couples!
We are people people! We work with our couples to write a ceremony that is true to their values. A fundamental part of creating this relationship is meeting with them and finding out how they came to the decision to marry. We include their love story, their joy, their laughter, their challenges. Friendship and trust is important here and we build that with our couples.
A Registrar will book couples in via email for two impersonal meetings – the Notice Meeting and the Marriage Ceremony. This is purely the legal administration and the contract. There are no connections made – it is purely a process. Couples do not even know who will conduct the legal contract with them on the day.
2. Celebrants are more creative!
The work that we do is really really creative. We ask, listen and research, write paragraphs, cross them out and start again! Additionally we write about how the couple’s love transcends all the challenges they face in their lives. We get to the nitty gritty. Sometimes we get writers block but, more often than not, our creativity kicks in naturally. By gut instinct, we know how to share the fun, the joy and the love through the words we write.
A Registrar provides a maximum of three standard, heavily templated ceremony scripts, in which the only requirement is to “insert name here”. Where is the joy in that? Being part of the creation of your ceremony is part of the fun. That is where a Celebrant will fully engage with their couples.
3. We can conduct a ceremony wherever you want!
Yes! We have no restrictions on where we can conduct ceremonies, as long as permission from the landowner is given. Celebrants should still act in a professional manner and provide you with a ceremony that has gravitas when it comes to the vows. Your ceremony can include the content you want around that. Whether your ceremony includes lots of humour, a Harry Potter theme, a sophisticated and serene vibe, or elements from different faiths, it is your decision as to what it should include.
Registrars are restricted to licensed venues and can conduct ceremonies in the licensed rooms of those venues, or within the grounds of that licensed venue. You will only get the standard templated **insert name here**ceremony. And you can’t have a Registrar led ceremony on a beach, in the woods or in your garden, in the same way that you can with a Celebrant.
4. We make Registrars look good!
With all the work we put ino each ceremony, we often hear guests comment on how wonderful the ceremony was. It’s not a case of just standing up there and reading a standard script, but I’ve heard the comment “I never knew that a Registrar could deliver such a wonderful ceremony.” They absolutely do not. It’s not their fault – they can only deliver the standard template. Celebrants should not be asked to “be Registrars” because we tend to put in between 20-50 hours of work into each ceremony. We also make sure that it is what the couple want.
5. We have extensive professional training!
Couples who book a Celebrant do so because they really really care about their ceremony. It kickstarts the celebrations and, if it’s slapdash and unprofessional, the rest of the day will be off balance.
Celebrants should be professionally trained, so that they are fully aware of their responsibilities to their couples.
There are many elements to get to grips with, including health and safety, equality and diversity, time management and crowd control. Couples do not want a Celebrant who thinks that being a Celebrant is “just standing up there and having a bit of a laugh”.
Registrars get trained purely in the legal aspects of marriage and the administration of a contract. They are then sent out to be a talking head.
6. Impersonating an official is not a good idea!
Yes, it’s as simple as that. Celebrants should not be asked to “be Registrars”! But if you really want a Registrar with their standard templated ceremony for the legal contract, you just need to make sure your wedding date and time suits your Registrar’s availability. Flexibility on the day is rarely an option, whereas Celebrants normally conduct just one ceremony a day, meaning that they can adapt to your needs. And when it comes to the adaptability of Celebrants – well, that’s a whole new blog just waiting to happen!
Those are the 6 Reasons why Celebrants should not be asked to “be Registrars”. We are so much more than that!
Your wedding ceremony is much more than a boring legal templated script. Separate the legal admin from the ceremonial. Ensure your Register Office knows that you want the basic minimum ceremony, which is called the 2+2. It is your statutory right to get married and the 2+2 is a ceremony Register Offices must provide, regardless of what they tell you. A 2+2 is where you as a couple and two witnesses attend a six minute ceremony in which you create the marriage contract.
And if you struggle to understand this, compare it to when you register the birth of a baby. Families register the birth of a baby. They don’t take 150 guests with them but have a joyful Naming Ceremony with a Celebrant at a later date. It’s as easy and as beautiful as that.
If your family and friends think that your Celebrant is a Registrar, you are misleading them and that is stressful. Relax and immerse yourself in the joy of co-creating your unique and distinctly wondrous ceremony with your professionally trained Celebrant, and be proud of the decision you made!
For more information, contact me!