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The registrar is fully booked. What can we do?

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After the chaos of the last year it’s no secret that registrar services are struggling to cope with the demand for weddings.

Many local councils have hired extra staff to try and cope with the backlog but there’s only so many members of staff available at 1pm on a Saturday.

Just this week I had a couple enquire about their August wedding as the Lancashire Register office was only able to offer them a 10am ceremony. Taking into account the 2 plus hours in hair and make up and other wedding day prep, that would likely mean a 4am wake up call. Ain’t nobody got time for that on their wedding day.

Understandably many couples are turning to google to ask “ What can we do if the registrar is fully booked?”

Well…. Fear not.

A celebrant like me could be the perfect solution.

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What’s a Celebrant?

A celebrant like myself is an alternative wedding officiant.

We are fully trained in writing and delivering bespoke ceremonies for all occasions, completely tailored to you as a couple or family.

Many celebrants perform weddings, namings and funerals.

Think of us like a Vicar, but without all the preachy religious stuff.

So can a celebrant lead my wedding ceremony instead of a registrar.

The simple answer is Yes.

A celebrant can write and deliver a wedding ceremony for you, on your chosen date, at any venue you so desire. We’ll get to know you as a couple, listen to all your stories about how you met, that first date, and how your love has changed over the years you’ve been together. We’ll help you with your music decisions, offer you readings or poems to include in the ceremony and even help you write your own heartfelt vows.

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So what’s the difference between a Celebrant and a Registrar?

Some local authorities have now taken to referring to the person who officiates your wedding ceremony as the Celebrant, but strictly speaking that’s not true. If you’ve booked a member staff from the register office, you’re booking a local council employee whose paid an hour salary to officiate your ceremony.

They will deliver a ceremony from a set script, which may include readings and some personal vows, but due to COVID restrictions most current wedding ceremonies are required to be as short as possible.

A Celebrant on the other hand is a self employed trained professional, usually running their own business and completely free of any of these restrictions or limitations. They can include deliver a ceremony that’s filled with elements that reflect you as a couple.

There are no restrictions on time length of ceremony, venue location, or even the content you can include. You can add tons of jokes, blend two religions together, say F you to tradition or even worship Satan if you so choose.

Literally anything goes!!

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Is all this legal?

In England and Wales in order to make a marriage legal you must complete the legal paperwork with a registrar, but this does not need to be done at your chosen venue or even on your chosen wedding day.

Many couples still completed the legal paperwork last year when their original wedding couldn’t go ahead and this year are choosing a celebrant to lead their big day.

All register offices are required to offer a basic legal ceremony.

You can find the info on their website, but you might need to look carefully.

It’s often referred to as a 2 x 2 ceremony, or a basic legal ceremony. It’s literally 10 minutes, and a couple of signatures and can often be done for around £50. My local register office in Lancashire charges £51 plus £11 for a marriage certificate which will be posted to you a few days after the paperwork is processed.

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I’m still confused… so what’s does a celebrant do that’s different from a registrar?

I’ve put together a couple of little graphics to show how my own services differ from Lancashire registration service. Each individual council offers different services so it’s important to check your local council website for exact facts specific to your location.

Our wedding is this year, won’t the `celebrants be fully booked too?

Whilst it’s true celebrants only book one wedding per day (unlike registrars who can often officiate 5 plus weddings per day ) there are hundreds of celebrants working in the UK.

If the celebrant you like isn’t available they’ll happily refer you to another celebrant they know and recommend who can help instead.

You could also check out places like The Celebrant Directory, which lists hundreds of celebrants all over the world, you can even search for celebrants by area and ceremony type.

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Will it still feel like a real wedding?


Signing a piece of paper isn’t what makes your wedding feel real.

It’s standing at the front of the aisle, hand in hand looking into each other’s eyes.

It's making promises to each other about your future.

Exchanging rings and sealing the vows with a kiss.

A celebrant led wedding won’t only just feel real, it will feel absolutely magical!

That’s a promise!

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We love the idea of a celebrant…how do we book?

Once you find a celebrant you love…..and hey …. I happen to know a good one, arrange a video or face to face consult and get to know each other. See if you have a connection, can chat openly, share your ideas for the ceremony and feel like you’d be happy with this person as a big part of your wedding day.

If you think they’d be the perfect fit then don’t waste any more time and book them quick, before somebody else does! I promise you wont regret it!

Want me as your celebrant ?? I still have a few dates left for 2021 and some peak summer 2022 weekend dates too.

I’d love to chat about your ideas.

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