What is a Celebrant?

Published by Beverley on

celebrant performing a wedding

In my younger years I had no idea what a celebrant was and no indication of what the concept of using a celebrant actually meant.

I used to think that if you wanted to get married you had a choice of either a church or registry office wedding and if you died it was a church ceremony or a cremation with a vicar leading the proceedings.

I had attended funerals where a celebrant led the ceremony, and also a wedding in a registry office and never really gave it much thought, but now I have a greater awareness of the difference so I felt it would be a good idea to have a go at clearing up some of the confusion that shadows the world of Celebrants and their true value.

So here goes – As I understand it, on one end of the scale we have a church or faith minister, i.e. a Vicar, Priest or any member of the clergy.  And then at the other end of the spectrum we have a Humanist Minister, who has no religious faith and holds a belief in one life, with no room for spiritual or religious beliefs in between. But – in the middle of these two extremes, we have the wonderful world of Celebrants.

Celebrants may call themselves Independent Civil Celebrants, Civil Celebrants or Independent Celebrants, but what they offer is the freedom for you to choose, without restriction, the content and theme of the ceremony you are planning.  Whether you prefer to have a traditional wedding or with all the guests dressed as Star Wars characters, or for funerals, your preference may be to have a more formal ceremony, or a celebration of life with songs from Meat Loaf.

In using a celebrant for your special occasion, there are many options available, but this just gives you a taste of the diversity you can experience when choosing a celebrant to lead your ceremony.

Some people prefer not to have a full religious service and as a result assume that they require a Humanist Minister (or Humanist Celebrant as they are sometimes called), when in actual fact they may wish to include The Lord’s Prayer, a Hymn or a religious poem/reading in their ceremony, as they are not total non-believers or atheists, but just not wishing to have the full blown religious service.

It’s my understanding that a Humanist Minister would not entertain a prayer, a hymn or a religious reading, so this would be where the diversity of a Celebrant would come to the fore.

Of course I am probably quite biased here – being in the role of an Independent Civil Celebrant, but the expansion of what we offer to our clients is quite special, and with the high standard training received from a training body such as the UK Society of Celebrants, you can always be assured of a ceremony that is personal, meaningful and professional.


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