What is a Civil Celebrant anyway?
In the UK, a civil celebrant is an independent individual, unconnected to any religion or movement, who creates and delivers person-centred ceremonies, most usually weddings, funerals, namings and vow renewals.
Civil celebrants cannot legally marry couples in UK law (though they can in certain other countries); this needs to be done by an authorised registrar, just as a death has to be registered separately from a funeral. A legal marriage in the UK can occur after 28 clear days’ notice at your local register office and a simple 10-15 minute legal registration thereafter where the couple say the required legal wording and sign the marriage register along with two witnesses. This can be easily arranged by calling your local register office and making an appointment to give notice of a marriage. You will find full details on your local council’s website.
The beauty of using an independent civil celebrant like me is that you are not restricted as to venue, time of day, or the rules of any religion or other organisation - unless you choose to be! You can have completely unique and original content, or as much traditional religious or cultural content as you wish, and you can mix it up and shake it all about to produce your perfect ceremony!
Registrars use an empty book rather than a real register for the traditional signing the register photograph, so of course a civil celebrant can recreate this if you would like to incorporate a signing ceremony and photography into your day.
Why should we choose you?
Good question! I know that there are many excellent celebrants out there and you may find cheaper ones too, but let me try to answer this:
I have a genuine love of meeting people, turning their wishes into a superb ceremony and filling a room with all the emotion, either the joy or the gentle compassion, required to make a memorable occasion. It’s a privilege to celebrate your momentous life event, and I take the responsibility very seriously.
At the risk of sounding soppy, I offer ceremonies from my heart which I hope in turn will touch yours and everyone else’s at the ceremony.
I offer a preliminary meeting where we can have a long chat with no charge and no obligation on your part. Why? It is important that you find the right celebrant for you. Trust your instincts – it’s your ceremony!
You will find me friendly, professional, completely reliable and prompt. I always do what I say I am going to do, and then I do it well!
I craft your ceremony from scratch after listening intently to what you want – every word, every step of choreography and note of music is approved by you and we fine-tune it until you are completely satisfied.
I plan every single element thoroughly in order to make it look natural and flowing on the day, with rehearsal if desired.
You get my lovely speaking voice, engaging presence and high-level presentation skills throughout the ceremony. Your guests will hear every word and feel every nuance of emotion or humour you choose to include.
As well as my academic qualifications, I am a qualified UK Civil Celebrant trained by the Fellowship of Independent Celebrants (FOIC) and accredited by the National Open College Network. This illustrates the commitment and investment I have made to being the finest civil celebrant. I also have a continuously updated enhanced DBS Certificate which you are welcome to view on request.
I bring you first-hand experience of several different religions and denominations and an appreciation for the diversity of humankind. I have 5 decades of life-experience and adventure to draw upon.
You will know you are genuinely being heard. I am a trained as well as a natural listener – I have been a Samaritan volunteer and trainer and am a bereavement volunteer specialising in children and young people’s bereavement care - and your wishes and needs will be heard.
You will be offered compassion and respect if your occasion is a sad one. I have a big empathetic heart and there is always room to offer comfort.
I am not afraid to talk about the sadder and more tragic side of life and death, and I welcome enquiries from people who have suffered traumatic bereavement and offer to stand by your side and support you as best I can.
How does it work and what do I get?
For your wedding, I will be pleased to offer you up to an hour’s complimentary meeting, face to face where possible but Skype if not, for a long chat where you can decide if I am the celebrant for you, and I in turn can learn about your vision and ideas for the ceremony. This is without any obligation to proceed on your part. I will then hold your wedding date for a period of seven days while you make your decision.
When you decide upon me as your celebrant, the great fun of creating your ceremony begins! We sketch out the components of your ceremony and then fill in the details, with you having the ultimate approval of every single word and step until it is perfect. Then we plan the ceremony within an inch of its life to make it look easy and relaxed on the day!
My wedding ceremony fees, which start from £1200, include:
- An initial consultation
- Unlimited email and telephone access
- The benefit of my extensive resources and contacts
- Creation and delivery of a bespoke wedding ceremony and fine-tuning
- Final meeting with rehearsal if required
- The back-up of the Fellowship of Independent Celebrants
- A calm and collected Niki to hold it all together!
I arrive at your venue at least an hour before the first guest is expected, to check arrangements and troubleshoot as necessary. Potential travel delays are avoided by my travelling the day before a ceremony away from base in the UK, and two days before a ceremony abroad. After the ceremony, if you require no further services or photographs with me in them, I will mingle with your guests for a short time and quietly leave.
What areas do you cover?
I am based in Cardiff but cover the whole of the UK, Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean, and the Americas.
What are your fees?
I charge realistic fees with no hidden extras, payable in advance by bank transfer. These exclude travel expenses and should be seen as a guide only, as every ceremony is unique, just like you!
- Wedding ceremonies from £1200 (deposit of £300 payable on booking)
- Funeral ceremonies from £395 (I waive my fee for funerals for children and babies)
- Naming ceremonies from £395
- Renewal of Vows from £395
- Pet funeral ceremonies from £195
- Speech Writing from £250
- Speech Coaching from £50 per speaker
- Bereavement support – by arrangement
Are you a Humanist?
I enjoy creating memorable humanist ceremonies but do not limit myself to these. I want to be able to include any elements of spirituality, religion and belief that my clients desire in their celebration to create truly bespoke ceremonies without rules. Humanist ceremonies do not allow for these elements to be included.
What do you believe?
What you as the client believe is what drives my ceremonies. That’s the beauty of a truly bespoke ceremony from an independent celebrant – it’s a reflection of you in all the richness of your values and beliefs. I believe absolutely in this freedom to be.
Do you perform same-sex ceremonies?
Of course! In fact, I just call them ‘ceremonies’. I seek to celebrate love and life in all its (legal!) forms.
Can we have prayers?
You can, from any religion or none, spiritual prayers, prayers of hope, sung or recited, traditional or bespoke. You can have inter-faith and mixed faith ceremonies as well as, for example, a largely humanist ceremony but including a loved one's favourite hymn.
Can you work with my priest/imam/vicar/rabbi/etc?
If the other celebrant is happy to, it is my joy to incorporate ministers of religions into your ceremony. In fact, I have had two inter-faith wedding ceremonies myself – Jewish-Muslim-Christian!
What do you wear as a celebrant?
I will offer you choices so that I complement your vision for the event, reflect the tone of your ceremony and don’t clash or upstage anyone!
What if you are taken ill or suddenly can’t make it?
Perish the thought! However, I am a member of the Fellowship of Independent Celebrants and have many talented colleagues who would step in if necessary.
Are you insured?
Yes, I have £5M Public Liability Insurance and £1M Professional Indemnity Insurance. You are welcome to view the certificates on request.