Expert advice about celebrant

Here is a selection of Q&As from Your Sussex Wedding magazine whether it be about flowers, hair and makeup, fashion, wedding themes, health & beauty, cakes, stationery, legal advice. If you would like your question answered by our experts, please email it to


Be bold, be brave, be you

Be bold, be brave, be you

Q. How can we inject our personalities into our ceremony so that it's uniquely ours?

A. Merie Brown says: If you have a church or register office ceremony, you'll know what to expect. It's all about the process that every couple needs to follow to make your union legal. You'll have a set service following rules and guidelines. I myself had a register office ceremony; it was lovely but filled with words set by a stranger.

The main difference with a celebrant-led service is that it's not a legal marriage, but a wedding ceremony for each person to declare their feelings in vows they make to each other. My job is to make sure that they're the most important words of your day and they can take as long or as little time as you wish. I'll also spend time getting to know you, learning as much about your personalities as possible. Everyone has their own style and some ideas are more unique than others – what do you say to the couple who want a nudist ceremony, or the lady who wants to be Princess Leia?! But it's ok if that's what makes it personal to you. So be it Luke Skywalker or Minnie Mouse your personality will shine through on your day. So go for it. Be unique and have the ceremony that means the most to you both.

Merie Brown,Orange Rose Ceremonies


Using a celebrant

Using a celebrant

Q. What are the benefits of using a celebrant rather than a registrar?

A. Rachael Thompson says: Simple! Celebrants will work alongside you to ensure your ceremony lives up to your dreams. There are no restrictions on venue, date, location or time. You can hold your “I dos” where you chose. The venue doesn’t have to be licensed, so that special place may be a beach at sunset, a woodland glade, or even your own garden.

You’ll find that your celebrant will take the time to get to know you as a couple, so that they can create a loving and meaningful ceremony totally reflective of you. There’ll be no standard script, no rules, and no wondering who’s going to turn up on the day to perform your nuptials. You also have the option to include any symbolic rituals, or perhaps you prefer to keep the more traditional elements, it’s completely up to you. What’s more, my ceremonies are dog-friendly so your best buddy doesn’t have to miss out on the fun.

It’s worth noting though, that celebrant-led ceremonies aren’t legally binding, but a quick visit to the registrar to complete the legalities is all that’s necessary.

Rachael Thompson


Bind us together

Bind us together

Q. I've heard about a handfasting ceremony as an alternative to a traditional service but don't know what it entails. Can you tell me more?

A. Claire Bradford says: Handfasting is a beautiful ceremony with roots that go way back in history. It's the origin of the phrase “tying the knot” and symbolises a couple binding their lives together in love. You can opt for a full handfasting ceremony, which includes aspects such as “calling in the quarters,” where your union is blessed with the qualities associated with compass directions. Alternatively, you can choose to incorporate it into any ceremony style you wish.

Some couples opt to have the handfasting cord wrapped around their hands as they say their vows. It's then tied to signify the binding nature of their promises to each other. Others will have guests come up and add ribbons so that they end up with a colourful pompom. There's a wealth of possibilities.

The handfasting cords themselves can be made from football scarves, lengths of family tartan or plaited ribbons to match the day's palette. One couple even knitted their own in the colours of their respective Hogwarts houses! Ask your celebrant how to make your ceremony personal to you.

Claire Bradford


Getting married in our own back garden?

Getting married in our own back garden?

Q. Can we get married in our own back garden?

A. Patricia Bentley says: You can get married just about anywhere. You need to give notice at your local register office. Everybody has to do this regardless of ceremony plans. Once you've given notice, you will have a simple ceremony at the register office of your choice with two witnesses a few weeks later. You'll sign the register and receive your marriage certificate.

Before you do any of that, I recommend that you talk with a celebrant to arrange for your own personal and meaningful ceremony to take place after the legal ceremony just about anywhere you want, licensed for marriages or not. It can be your favourite pub, forest clearing, beach, hotel, your garden – anywhere. When a celebrant conducts your wedding, it will be just as you want it. Your vows can be traditional or personal; you'll exchange rings and be presented with a certificate. Your day – your way.

Patricia Bentley