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Frequently asked questions

Q. Is a celebrant led ceremony legal?

A:  No, and so this allows total freedom in your ceremony. UK law requires marriages to be registered. You must give notice at your local registration office, and allow 28 days to pass before you attend the office for a short statutory service. This can be done before or after your celebrant led ceremony, but must take place within a year.

Q. What’s the difference between a registrar and a celebrant?

A:  Registrars must marry you in a licensed venue, and conform to legalities. There are restrictions in what can and can’t be said during the service, for example there can be no religious content at all. Their time is limited as they’ve usually got another wedding to officiate if the marriage is in the registration office, or they may need to get to another venue. Registrars can attend up to seven weddings in one day! You will not know who will conduct your ceremony until your wedding day. Therefore, no relationship can be created.

Independent celebrants have no restrictions or legal obligations. No rules, rights or wrongs. You meet with your celebrant and create a personal relationship, so on your wedding day you are totally relaxed. You are encouraged to write your own vows and contribute your own thoughts, ideas and desires to your ceremony.

Q. How long will the ceremony last?

A:  A typical ceremony will usually last between 20-40 minutes. However, your ceremony can be as long or as short as you wish, as simple or as detailed as you would like.

Q. Where can we marry?

A: You can hold your wedding ceremony wherever you wish. Inside or outside, in a favourite place, at home or under your favourite tree. In a place which holds special memories or is significant to you both. If you choose a venue, then there will of course be hire charges.

Q. Can religious beliefs be incorporated into the ceremony?

A: One of the lovely things about using an independent celebrant is that we are able to blend ideas, religions, modern or traditional beliefs, to create a truly personal ceremony with no restrictions.

Q. Does a renewal of vows need to be done legally?

A: No. Once you are legally married, however long ago (or short), there is no requirement to do this again. Vow renewals are a beautiful way of re-committing your promises to each other, alone or with loved ones and friends. Your ceremony can incorporate new poetry or readings, or the same ones you used at your wedding ceremony, if you had them. You may be hosting a ceremony after being married abroad, or celebrating a specific milestone or anniversary. Renewing your vows is the perfect way to celebrate the strength of your partnership and love for one another.

Q. Can we include music &/or hymns?

A: You can include as many songs, hymns, or any type of music you like!

Q. Do you offer same sex weddings?

A: Yes of course! I am proud to offer wedding ceremonies for any couple of any sexual preference or gender orientation, and have experience of marrying many couples as a registrar.

Q. Do we have to legalise our marriage?

A: No. A celebrant led wedding ceremony is not legally binding. It is about celebrating your love and relationship in a way that is truly personal and special to you. If you wish to confirm your commitment to each other without legal ties, this is entirely possible, and will be beautiful and meaningful to you both.

Q. How far do you travel?

A: I cover West Sussex and Hampshire. Please contact me to discuss specific areas.

Karen Jay Celebrant in Hampshire & West Sussex
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