Justin and I have been planning our Cheshire wedding ever since we met! We love to talk about it, what it will sound like, what will be going on around us, and how we feel from moment to moment. We very much appreciate Churches and love visiting them and admiring their history, but we’ve always pictured having a personal, funny and downright soppy ceremony where we get the chance to share our love story with our guests!
In August 2020, when the lockdown restrictions were eased, we got to meet the beautiful Cheshire Wedding Celebrant Jen Walker of JW Ceremonies and watch her perform the most gorgeous ceremony for Lottie & Charlotte Cheshire elopement, on the cliff tops of Angel Bay in North Wales, read my blog on this amazing day here!
Her approach made such an impact on us and we looked at each other and agreed that we’d love a ceremony like that! It was my job to photograph the super heartfelt service but I have to say that the impact of the couples story and Jen’s words, really made an impact on me!
We’d love to share everthing we’ve found out about celebrant weddings and hope that it helps you to decide if a celebrant wedding is right for you! Please share this blog with anyone planning a wedding and looking for something special!
For now, I’ll hand over to Cheshire wedding celebrant Jen who has kindly added to our top 6 reasons why we are going to hire a celebrant for our Cheshire wedding!
What is a wedding celebrant?
A celebrant is someone who has the training and experience to design and officiate a ceremony in place of a member of Clergy or local council registrar.
What makes a celebrant ceremony so special?
All aspects of a couple’s wedding ceremony can be completely personalised. There are no restrictions in terms of content or time which means right from the processional music (Grand entrance) to recessional (leaving the ceremony) everything can be completely tailored to reflect what’s important to a couple.
OUR 6 REASONS TO HIRE A WEDDING CELEBRANT
- BEAUTIFUL WORDS
What is your particular process for putting a wedding together Jen?
I have a 12 week process that is completely designed around getting to know my couples and their style. I’m also a life coach and whether a couple realise it or not, the process has been designed to ensure they themselves are in a more mindful and positive mindset on the run-up to their big day! Weddings are stressful and even the most positive or chilled out couples will have lots to think about in those last few weeks so my process is purposefully created to keep positive momentum so a couple can enjoy the process.
The ceremony should be the heart of the day, it’s the reason people are there after all! It will set the tone for the rest of the day so it’s important to get it right! My objective for every ceremony is to keep the congregation feeling engaged, elated, and feeling truly grateful that they have been a part of this amazing event in the couple’s lives.
2. SUPER PERSONAL & TAILORED TO YOU
Tell us a bit about how you ensure the ceremony is so personal to the couple?
There is so much choice out there for all aspects of a wedding and to add more choice to the mix with more freedom & choice for the ceremony can be completely overwhelming for a couple which I want to avoid at all costs. Most couples I speak with know what they don’t want, but aren’t sure what an alternative could look like either and that’s where I help. I make sure that the whole process is more enjoyable, I find out what is important to the couple and design the entire ceremony from start to finish – my style is not just to officiate on the day!
I get to know the couples wedding party too, there will be lots of people that have well-wishes and messages of love for the couple but aren’t public speakers. I have spent time coaching family members who really want to contribute to the ceremony themselves, or I can read messages on their behalf.
3. YOU CAN GET MARRIED ANYWHERE YOU WANT!
What kind of locations have you performed a ceremony?
Lakeside, clifftops, family estates, unlicensed venues alongside a river, sunset fields, beaches.
4. FREE FROM STUFFY LEGAL LANGUAGE!
Is a celebrant wedding legal?
No, as is standard practice in many countries for a wedding, a couple will need to arrange their legal paperwork separate from their actual ceremony. In America, this would be done at the courthouse and they would leave with their marriage license, it’s the same in many countries across Europe. In the UK, a couple would arrange this at their local registrar’s office. This can be done at any time, will take approx. 10 mins and will cost approximately £55 depending on their local authority rates. Some couples choose a date close to their wedding day, whilst some decide to choose a special date to them such as the anniversary of when they met. Some choose not to tell friends and family and treat it like a romantic elopement, some see this as an additional opportunity to add another celebration in their wedding journey with their very nearest and dearest. It really is a personal choice for you as a couple.
5. BRING ON THE ROMANCE!
We love a bit of cheese but if you’re not comfortable with this, what do you advise?
Romance means something different to everyone. Some couples don’t think of themselves as romantic but when we discuss what they love about each other, it is! For me, romance isn’t about big grand gestures (don’t get me wrong, the odd big gesture in a lifetime is wonderful) but the everyday care of one another is so important. The little rituals and love we show each other every day is what bonds couples together. The bag of Randoms when you’ve had a bad day because you know it’ll put a smile on your other half’s face or making them a brew each morning to let them know you think of them – these are the little things that make us feel loved and accepted.
6. RELAXED AND STRESS-FREE WEDDING CEREMONY
As a wedding photographer, I’ve seen registrars literally run away after the first kiss as they have 3 weddings on that day and it can really be a vibe kill! How do you as a wedding celebrant operate in comparison?
This happened to us at our wedding and is one of the reasons I became a Wedding Celebrant. The pace and flow of a ceremony is something that truly matters – it’s subliminal. Not pausing for profound moments in the ceremony allowing those moments to invoke feelings that it’s intended to… not feeling like you can take composure moments during vows and rushing through them …these are all feel-good moments and memories that could be lost. It just wouldn’t happen at one of my ceremonies. It also shouldn’t go on for too long either, having balance is key! Quality of content is the most important thing to consider and not just timings. Keeping a congregation engaged, laughing, and being in the moment is a skill, and it’s one that’s taken me years to master but I love seeing a sea of faces completely memorised on the edge of their seats for what’s coming next!
I’m sure you can agree that this blog was super helpful and I hope you are one step closer to deciding if a wedding celebrant is the right option for you!
Thank you so much for reading and happy wedding planning!
Sending so much love from Sarah & Justin!
We are aware that the UK might be changing the legalities around celebrants so this blog is relevant to the law up to April 2020. If anything changes, you will be the first to know and a whole new blog will be posted on what those changes mean for future wedding ceremonies!