Written by Judi…
My name is Judi Sheppard and I live in the area of Bury, Greater Manchester. I am an Independent Civil Celebrant and as such I perform and assist in the arrangements of a range of non denominational celebratory services including weddings, renewal of vows and naming ceremonies.
I have successfully completed training in Marriage and Family Celebrancy and I am a member of the Fellowship of Professional Celebrants. I have over 35 years experience working with people in a responsible and professional capacity. People who use a wedding celebrant normally choose to do so in order that they may have a much more personal wedding / civil partnership ceremony that reflects their own beliefs and lifestyle and have the ‘legal’ aspect done, before that event, at a registry office. I’m looking to offer you greater choice, added value and other opportunities. You may want something more unique, more individual and bespoke rather than the ceremonies offered by the registrar. I pride myself in offering a very friendly, personal and professional service.
You’re a what?
This is the reaction I get from about 95% of people when I tell them I’m a celebrant. Some think I’m confessing about my lack of love life (celibate) or I’m a celebrity. For those of you who don’t know, a celebrant is a person who conducts weddings, civil partnerships, renewal of vows, baby namings, funerals… basically anything which requires someone to lead a service or ceremony.
I mainly concentrate on the weddings, civil partnerships and renewal of vows side of things; some of my fellow celebrants only conduct funerals. I am a member of the Fellowship of Professional Celebrants. Unfortunately in this country, anyone can set themselves up to be a celebrant, without any training or signing up to a code of ethics. Being a member of the Fellowship means that I have signed up to a code of ethics, I have professional indemnity insurance, and I am fully trained.
A lot of people get confused by the difference between celebrants and registrars when it comes to a wedding or civil partnership. I’ve done up this table which hopefully helps somewhat in explaining the difference.
- Delivers an off the shelf ceremony
- Cannot allow any religious music or readings
- Is allocated to your ceremony with no input or choice from you
- Only deliver in registry office or registered venues. Registered venues have to be permanent static structures with four walls and a roof
- Deliver a standard ceremonies which last only 10 to 15 minutes
- Arrives just before ceremony starts
- Will not do a rehearsal
- Delivers a fully bespoke ceremony
- Will allow any religious music, readings, rituals or references
- Is chosen by you and develops a relationship in the run up to your ceremony
- Can hold ceremony in your garden, your favourite park, on a boat, in a hot air balloon, on a bus, by a pool, in another country, in a marquee, in the grounds of a stately home – the choices are never-ending
- Can deliver a service which is as short or as long as you would like
- Arrives an hour prior to ceremony and ensures all readers, bridal party members including best men, women, etc are all aware of what they need to do.
- Does a rehearsal, usually a day or a few days prior to the ceremony, and runs through the ceremony with the couple to ensure they feel assured as to what they need to do, and when
- Will look at the venue where the ceremony will be held and uses their skills to consider where couples would be best placed so guests are able to see them throughout the ceremony and the photographer and videographer are able to capture the best shots.
- In most cases, celebrants charge less than registrars, yet offer so much more.
I’m always happy to answer any questions about celebrancy or have an informal chat. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have some queries or would like further information.
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