Diana Saxby, Grace the Day
“What IS a Celebrant?” is one of the recurring questions since I started out, along with “So you are a Humanist?” and “Are you a Registrar?”
So, along with a smattering of public speaking accompanied by my trusty short presentation film, I welcome any opportunity to address these misconceptions, starting with what a Celebrant is NOT!
I am not a wedding planner
Wedding day co-ordination, seating plans etc are definitely the responsibility of the wedding planner or the venue co-ordinator and if these have not been addressed early on and a celebrant is asked to advise, then it may be wise to re-think who you have engaged for these priorities. As a trained celebrant I will only take responsibility at the venue for choreographing the entrance, exit and positioning of the bridal procession throughout the ceremony and officiating on the day by performing the ceremony as agreed with the bride and groom. While it’s important to have a good working relationship with everyone involved, it’s equally important that I don’t tread on anyone’s toes in the hope that they won’t tread on mine. Everyone has a useful purpose and a valuable role to play which I respect.
I am not a Registrar
Celebrants offer alternatives to Church and Registry Office weddings and have a great deal more freedom than registrars, including the freedom to conduct ceremonies indoor and outdoors without a licence. Their ceremonies can contain religious or spiritual readings and music. A registrar is still required to legally register the marriage and authorise the marriage certificate in a simple and inexpensive visit to the local registry office, either before or after the ceremony. A celebrant ceremony will include all the meaningful exchanges of rings, vows and pledges and will finish with a blessing or reading which can be spiritual, religious or non-religious.
I am not a Humanist.
My own opinions are not reflected in the ceremony, which is designed entirely for the couple and no one else.
The ceremony script is written either for them or by them and their input, contribution and approval makes it totally bespoke and unique. My practice is to keep the script absolutely private and confidential until it is delivered on the day of the wedding. I have learnt from bitter experience not to work when a third party is present as my brief is taken from the couple and much of what is discussed is intimate and private until shared on the day. I will include any reading or vows which the couple choose as appropriate to reflect their own identity, beliefs and hopes for the future.
In my opinion, a good celebrant should be open-minded, flexible, adaptable, creative, articulate and a confident orator. They shouldn’t be bigoted or prejudiced, nor should they impose restrictions, particularly when working with other professionals, such as photographers and film-makers. A registrar or vicar may limit the number of photographs taken during a service and stipulate where a photographer should stand. I don’t make stipulations and believe in working in harmony with others, so that we enhance each others work, not hinder it.
My previous work history included the organising of functions attended by the Royal Family and liaising with members of the Royal Household, so while I have knowledge and respect for protocol, I am neither bound nor restricted by it as a celebrant. I’ve valuable links with reputable professionals who I’m happy to recommend once I’ve worked with them and can personally endorse their work and professionalism. I also have links with a number of beautiful venues, some of which are private homes with large and beautiful gardens, and I’m listed as an approved supplier with a number of well known and well-kept secret venues in several counties.
A creative mind helps to visualise beautiful, elegant ceremonies in unusual and romantic settings and I am happy to suggest locations and venues from my portfolio when we meet personally to discuss planning the bespoke ceremony for two unique individuals.
Diana Saxby is a Civil Celebrant and is the founder/owner of Grace the Day
We work with Diana and have great pleasure in doing so and believe that Diana’s ceremony services offer a really personal and unique element to your wedding day.
You can contact Diana to discuss your own personal ceremony requirements 07760 110007 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also visit Grace the Days website