EXPERT ADVICE

FAQs and expert advice about celebrant

Here is a selection of Q&As from Your West Midlands 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 editor@yourwestmidlands.wedding

Hold me close

Hold me close

Q I'm slightly confused about what a celebrant does! Can you help?
A Louise Goode says: The best thing a celebrant brings to the table is themselves. People often overlook the fact that celebrants are individuals, and each bring something different to the industry. Before booking, look at their reviews, do some research on social media and take plenty of time to chat with a few.

Some celebrants are formal, some are warm and cuddly, some are subtle, some are colourful or funny, and some are just plain bonkers. You can do the legal stuff at your local registry office and then choose any venue you like for the celebrant-led ceremony of your dreams.

A good celebrant will take the time to listen to you and offer advice on poems, music, unity ceremonies, logistics, and lots of other things. They will tell your love story, help you prepare your vows, include the ring exchange and a commitment certificate and involve everyone as directed. They will take a genuine interest in your day and make you feel confident and at ease in their company. They will write you a script that suits your style and is special to you as a couple and work with you to create a ceremony that you will remember for all the right reasons.

Louise Goode, Louise Goode Celebrant

A timeless wedding

A timeless wedding

Q How can we add a personal touch to our wedding ceremony?
A Beryl Leeson says: Personalised ceremonies are gaining in popularity, with couples seeking alternatives to a traditional church or registrar service. The ceremony is the pinnacle of the day, yet can be the least thought about in terms of making it reflect your identities. I suggest you choose a celebrant who you can relate to and will develop something just for you.

A celebrant-led service weaves parts of your love story into the ceremony, which can contain humour as well as romance and bring relevance to the pieces of music you have chosen as the backtrack to the service.

Current trends include the use of rituals such as ring warming or candle ceremonies to honour relatives and friends that cannot be present. Little details like involving family and friends in rituals will make the day memorable for everyone who attends.

If you're a couple who have a beloved pet that is part of your family, then involve them in the ceremony either as a spectator or as a ring bearer. If your beliefs are leaning more towards the mystic, then vows said within a crystal circle might be perfect for you.

Beryl Leeson, Your Thyme

Hold me close

Hold me close

Q We're thinking of hiring a celebrant for our upcoming wedding, is there anything we should take into consideration before booking?
A Louise Goode says: The first thing you need to know is that celebrants are currently only able to offer symbolic ceremonies. This means to make your ceremony 'legal' you will need to arrange to give notice and a legal signing of documents at your local registry office. Some people prefer to arrange for a registrar to come to their venue in addition to the celebrant, but this is more expensive and reduces the possibilities of what time and place the service can take place.

There are lots of celebrants to choose from, and they all offer different things. A good celebrant will be interested in listening to your ideas and finding out what you're all about. They will take their lead from you and create a ceremony that is special and unique. Whatever, you choose the price is often reflected in the experience, quality, customer care, creativity and professionalism of the celebrant you choose.

Make sure you know what you're getting before booking. Ask for a no-obligation video call and speak to a few suppliers. Ask what their working and booking process is, and their contingency for unforeseen circumstances. Check out their Instagram and website, and don't be afraid to ask for references.

Above all, budget is important but never forget that cheapest isn't always best. You're spending a lot of time, effort and money on your wedding day and your ceremony is the most important part, so take your time, do your research and get a marvellous celebrant to help make your day magical.

Louise Goode, Louise Goode Celebrant

History in the making

History in the making

Q My wife-to-be and I are having a quirky wedding inspired by pre-Raphaelites. Do you have any ideas on how we can do this?
A Louise Goode says: The pre-Raphaelites period began in 1848 and lasted until the early 1900's, so look for venues of that era. Think Gothic revival-styled houses and those from the arts and crafts movement. Look for properties with amazing gardens and old walls, vines, wisteria or rambling rose walkways.

Influences were largely taken from the Medieval period, Christianity and nature. When adding touches to your ceremony, draw from the colours used in artwork by Burne-Jones and Waterhouse using free, natural shapes.

The look you want to achieve is of grace and beauty, with flowing, loose-fitting long dresses and slightly wild hair, often with flowers or jewels.

Castles are also perfect settings and lend themselves perfectly to unity ceremonies such as handfasting with cords in your chosen colours or wine blending.

The pre-Raphaelites loved lots of intricate detail and vibrant colours. Burnt oranges, dark teal and deep reds, but they equally embraced the polar opposites with ethereal whites, soft pastels, golds, silvers, coppers and bronzes. They were not keen on using extremes of dark and light simultaneously. The drama was essential but in a quiet and still way.

Readings are a must since poets were involved in the movement. You could also consider something by JRR Tolkien, as even though he was a much later writer, he was heavily influenced by the pre-Raphaelites. Talking of Tolkien, it would be very easy to add legend and fantasy to this style, think Game of Thrones or The Witcher.

There is so much beauty and grace to be had within this theme, and the possibilities are endless in terms of how you make it your own.

Louise Goode, Louise Goode Celebrant

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