Are Celebrant Weddings Legal?

This is a great question and not a straightforward answer, amongst other things it depends on which part of the UK you are in and the type of celebrant.

Independent celebrants can’t perform legally binding weddings in the UK, and Humanist celebrants are currently not legally recognised in England and Wales. However, if they are accredited by Humanist UK they can perform legally binding weddings in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Jersey

BUT many couples who want a celebrant wedding ceremony choose a simple solution to resolve this issue.

How do I have a legal celebrant ceremony?

The couple make the standard legal declarations and register their marriage with a registrar (legal ceremony) either before or after the day of their celebrant ceremony. It takes about 15 minutes and can cost from as little as about £46 for the ceremony with the cost of the marriage certificate around £11.

You will need two witnesses for the marriage ceremony (no witnesses are required for a civil partnership registration). All the details can be found on the registry office website for your area.

Most couples feel that the legal wedding is just a formality, something they might do in their lunch hour, a bit like registering the birth of a child. So, parents register the birth of a child at the registry office by taking documentation and signing forms, they then decide to have the real ceremony of a Christening or baby naming later with family and friends.

Couples who choose a celebrant wedding ceremony say that their “real” ceremony is the one on their wedding day with me and in front of all their family and friends!

Many couples will have their standard legal ceremony at the registry office on a weekday when it is least expensive. Then they will splash out on their personalised celebrant ceremony when it is most convenient for them and their guests, at the venue or location of their choice, be it licensed or unlicensed. Then, they will be able to have total freedom of choice in all aspects!

How much does a celebrant cost?

The cost to hire a celebrant depends on the experience of your celebrant, the area you live in, which season your wedding is in, and what they offer within the ceremony.

Celebrants who specialise in just one type of ceremony, for example hand fasting, may have a set charge. I offer a range of ceremony choices, so I offer 3 different price packages starting from £610. This includes as a minimum, a choice of ceremony enhancements, and all the meetings, the writing, rehearsing, printing and officiating the ceremony. Please see the details on this page of my website

However, because we love working with you and supporting your wedding goals most celebrants offer at least one type of ceremony for a similar price as having a registrar ceremony at your venue.

It’s important not to be led by the price when you’re choosing a celebrant, remember without a ceremony there’s no wedding. The ceremony sets the tone for the day, it’s the first time your guests see you on your big day and it’s what everyone comes to see.

Your guests are full of excitement and anticipation before the ceremony, some of them may be involved not only as a bridesmaid or best man but they may be reading or performing. They may even be actively involved in your ceremony enhancement such as a sand ceremony.

So, it’s safe to say the ceremony is the main event, an authentic and happy public commitment of love in front of family and friends. It’s your beautiful narrative, full of everything you value and created with you for you. The walk down the aisle (processional), the readings, vows, ring exchanges and all the other aspects of ceremony you would expect, with your photographer capturing all the special moments!

About the Authour

I’m Amanda a modern celebrant who helps couples have the ceremony they deserve with real freedom of choice and personalisation. As a friendly award-winning celebrant, you’ll be guaranteed of a professional and stress-free approach to your big day. I have been featured in several newspapers and regularly write/blog for wedding magazines. To find out more check out my website