What is a wedding celebrant & how does a celebrant led wedding work?

Hello! It’s been a while since I did a Wedding Top Tips post. I have so many ideas for Top Tips I want to share, so watch this space, there will be more to come!

I wanted to kick off again with a guest post about wedding celebrants. Celebrant led weddings are becoming more popular as couples choose to have more unique weddings and plan their day their way. But, what exactly does a celebrant do and how does a celebrant led wedding differ? Wonderful celebrant, Jenny Knight of Knight Ceremonies, is the lady to answer all the questions. I have had the great pleasure to work with Jenny and she’s awesome! I can’t wait to photograph another wedding she officiates very soon. Over to Jenny…

What is a wedding celebrant?

A wedding celebrant is a skilled officiant, that has the ability to create completely bespoke and personalised ceremonies.  We are also warm and friendly people that love getting to know our couples and creating wonderful memories for everyone at your wedding.

How does a ceremony with a wedding celebrant differ from a civil wedding ceremony?

A celebrant has no restrictions in terms of the location, content, format or style of a wedding, and can, therefore, be completely personal and reflective of who you are. Civil ceremonies led by a registrar are government template ceremonies and contain no details about you as a couple, so using a celebrant opens up this part of your wedding to be just as fabulous and full of your personality as the rest of your day! My ceremonies contain many of the elements that you and your guests would expect to see at a wedding (exchange of vows and rings etc), but also lots of beautiful details about you both as well as the option to add in a few other lovely elements too. This all means that the ceremony is warm and relaxed, and ensures we create lovely lasting memories for everyone attending.  Why just have something ordinary when you can have something special and unique to you?

Wedding celebrant outdoor rustic summer wedding ceremony

Do I need to get legally married before I have a celebrant ceremony?

Yes, weddings with a celebrant will require a couple to arrange their legal paperwork separately from their actual ceremony.  Just as families do for the registration of the birth of a new baby, the legalities are completed and they then have a ceremony to celebrate this big life event.  Think of your legal element as the ‘marriage’, and the ceremony and reception as your ‘wedding day’.

I fully embrace diversity and so if one or both of you would like to acknowledge your individual faiths or indeed a family tradition, I can write with this in mind and create a beautiful personal element within your script.  It goes without saying that I am also completely LGBT friendly.  Whoever you are, and wherever you are from, I am here to make sure you have a day that is completely unique to you, and a ceremony that is delivered with warmth and a dash of humour too!


Do we meet you beforehand?

Absolutely!  I positively encourage it, and I thoroughly enjoy getting to know you.  Most of my couples prefer a skype chat to get the ball rolling and then once the date is secured we begin writing your draft ceremony words and arrange to meet at the venue for a walk and talk through of all of your details.  Being at the venue allows you to experience how it might flow on your day, plus we can chat about how you might feel when you arrive, and where you might stand or sit, as well as where everyone else that is involved will be positioned too.

Blank Canvas Venues range in style and capacities, and so having the option to meet with the person that is creating and conducting your ceremony, is of great benefit!  Having worked with the team at Blank Canvas for several years now, and knowing their venues as I do, I can help to ensure your ceremony runs smoothly, and that all logistical elements are covered.


How long does a ceremony with a wedding celebrant take?

This varies, depending on the content of your ceremony, but the vast majority of mine are around half an hour and are created with a fantastic flow.  My speaking parts are always creatively punctuated with guest readings or involvement in some other way so that the ceremony feels like everyone there has a role in the proceedings, and indeed in supporting you as a couple.  It becomes a lovely experience rather than someone just standing and reading to a group of people who can otherwise feel quite cold by comparison.

Outdoor rustic wedding ceremony hosted by wedding celebrant

Can any type of music be played with a wedding celebrant ceremony?

Yes indeed.  Why not walk down the aisle to your favourite song, a beautiful instrumental piece, or even have a friend or relative sing for you!  There are no restrictions on lyrics either (as you would have in a registrar-led ceremony).

If you aren’t having live musicians, you can have access to my fully portable and wireless PA system for your ceremony music if you wish.  I often use this for my outdoor weddings to ensure all guests get to hear what is being said so it is a great way to ensure you can have music no matter where you are tying the knot!  I have worked in the middle of the countryside in fields, and by lakes and on the beach too, and I don’t need mains power so we have complete flexibility!

Music adds a real ambience to the ceremony and so make sure you choose something that you both love, and not feel limited in your selection.


Are there specifications in terms of where, when and what time a wedding celebrant ceremony can take place?

Not at all, you can select the time YOU want, without restriction on time slots or indeed location.  This day is yours and I am dedicated to your wedding alone.  Many couples will still opt for an early afternoon ceremony time but I have some that prefer an altogether different plan for their celebrations and will perhaps have a roof terrace ceremony under the stars followed by cocktails and dinner for example.

More and more couples are thinking outside of the box, and doing away with tradition, and indeed opting for something a little more ‘unexpected’ and unique to them.  So far, I have conducted ceremonies in woodlands, on the beach, in barns, by lakes, on working farms, in the middle of fields (festival themed weddings), in gallery spaces, at luxury venues, vineyards, and even at family homes or gardens!

Smiling bride with groom sign register after outdoor wedding ceremony

Will we need to sign any documentation during our celebrant ceremony?

This is not obligatory but many of my clients like to sign a commemorative certificate as part of the ceremony and I present them with a beautiful keepsake folder at the end, with copies of their personal vows and readings inside too.  You can even have ‘witnesses’ to join you to complete the signing if you wish, and this is a nice way of involving other family members that perhaps were not part of the legal proceedings. It’s also great for getting a few keepsake photos on the ceremony day too.


How else could we personalise our wedding ceremony?

I love my couples to be completely themselves, and so if this means expressing themselves through the music, aisle décor, their vows, or adding in a completely unique element, then that’s what we do!

I have many ideas and there are several times during the ceremony where it is great to inject some of your personalities and I will happily guide you through these.  I have incorporated a Sri Lankan lamp lighting ritual into a ceremony, numerous Celtic mini-handfasting variations, Persian sugar rubbing rituals, Jewish blessings, sand ceremonies, Thai lantern ceremony, cocktail blending, gin toasts and many, many more!  You really can make it truly personal, and unique to you.

What about considering an alternative to traditional confetti?  Lots of venues don’t permit the throwing of petals nowadays, and so why not look at other ways to celebrate as you walk back up the aisle.  I have seen mini beach balls being thrown at a beach wedding, paper or polystyrene aeroplanes, jingle sticks being waved, percussion instruments used as an audio alternative, and lots more besides.

It’s your day so be as creative as you wish, and have a truly personal day.  Using a wedding celebrant means you will have a beautifully bespoke ceremony, created just for you and I am here to make sure your ceremony is truly unforgettable.

Jenny Knight

Knight Ceremonies


A massive thank you to Jenny for sharing her advice and guidance on working with a wedding celebrant. What do you think? Would you choose a wedding celebrant led wedding? If you are planning a wedding using a celebrant I would love to hear all about your plans.

Why not check out one of my other Wedding Top Tip posts Get the best out of your wedding photos during the ceremony or go to my planning guide page for lots of useful advice and recommendations for wedding planning.

Thanks for popping by

Fiona x