What type of wedding ceremony will you choose? There are so many to choose from, such as a Minister, Humanist, Registrar, or Celebrant-led Wedding? Let’s look at the differences between them all to help you make the right choice for your special day.

A Minister-Led Ceremony

Firstly, A Priest, Vicar, Minister, or any other religious leader, will of course be bound by their religious beliefs, rites, and rituals according to their individual religion.   Secondly, the minister leading your wedding ceremony may or may not allow you to personalise it with readings, poems, or music which is non-religious.

You need to give notice that you wish to marry, this is known as a reading of the banns. These are read out in church on three Sundays during the three months before the wedding. Banns are a legal requirement and they are also placed in a prominent public place where the public can read them.

Humanist-Led Ceremony

Of course, you may want to personalise your ceremony. Firstly, with a Humanist Celebrant, this is possible. Secondly, with the choice to have your ceremony anywhere you want, a hotel, a barn, a mountain, or a beach, you will be spoilt for choice?  it doesn’t have to be held at a licensed premise, and you won’t be able to incorporate any “nod” to religion in the form of ritual, prayer, or music. A humanist ceremony is a completely non-religious ceremony.

Registrar-Led Ceremony

In England and Wales, you must give Notice of Intent to marry 29 days prior to your ceremony at your local Register Office.  Here you have the choice of two ceremonies. Now, there’s the basic ceremony which includes the wedding couple and two witnesses. This covers what you need to say to be legally married. It’s a quick ceremony of around ten minutes and is what most wedding couples choose before they go on to have their personalised Celebrant-led wedding at home or abroad.  

Then, there’s the longer ceremony, here you can also exchange vows and have readings and poems. Did you know you don’t have to exchange vows to marry in a Register Office, just saying the legal declaration and contracting promise is enough?  Finally, the readings, poems or music mustn’t contain any mention of religion.

Celebrant-led Ceremony

If you choose to have an independent celebrant for your wedding ceremony, the sky’s the limit!  It’s up to you whether you hold your ceremony inside or outside, it does not have to be at a licenced premise.  Think Beach, Mountain, Barn, or at sea, the world is your oyster. Your Celebrant will work with you to write a ceremony that fits in with your beliefs and values.  Not only that, if you want a prayer at the end because that’s what grandma expects, then your Celebrant will include that for you.


So many for you to choose from! A handfasting, which is an ancient Celtic ritual. Did you know this is where the term tying the knot came from?  What about incorporating the traditional Jewish ritual of the breaking of the glass? You may want to consider the Spanish tradition of Las Arras which is a ritual where 13 coins are given to the bride?  If you want to totally break with tradition, why not ask your celebrant to write a ritual just for you!


Any music goes, live, taped, or acapella.  Have you thought of having a guitarist playing as the guests mingle before the ceremony? What about a violinist while you sign your symbolic wedding certificate or, a soloist singing as you walk down the aisle to your life-long partner.  All this followed by dancing the night away to a DJ. It’s your day, you choose!

Not sure whether to have live or taped music? The Celebrant or Wedding Planner you work with will be able to give you some ideas, you only have to ask. 

Your celebrant is there to support you!

A Celebrant is there to give support no matter how you choose to celebrate your wedding ceremony. They’ll write your ceremony exactly as you want it.  Guide you seamlessly through your ceremony, providing you with the support you need. Holding your hand every step of the way, they even provide handkerchiefs if required!  The only limitation to your day is your imagination!

I love nothing more than to celebrate life’s special moments. If you would like to know more about a Celebrant-led ceremony in Southern Spain, you can contact me here. I would love to hear about all the plans you have for your special day.


The Celebrant Directory
UK Register Office Marriages