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The difference between a Registrar and a Celebrant

Thank you for stopping at my website to see the kind of service I can offer you as a couple.

Firstly it is important to understand what happens when you are planning your special day. In the UK you will need two parts to consider, the legal part with a registrar, and the wedding ceremony with your celebrant. .

It’s important to understand the difference between Registrars and Celebrants so you know what each one offers. So let’s have a look at these differences and what they mean to your wedding.

Is there a difference between Registrars and Celebrants? What do Registrars do?

A Registrar is responsible for registering births, deaths and marriages, and are employed by the local authority, and is legally binding .Their work must take place in the registry office or licensed premises. They do not offer bespoke vows and are not permitted to deviate from their official script. Religious and spiritual references are also prohibited and as is live music is allowed.

What does this mean for me?

If you plan to marry in a registry office then it will be in front of a registrar., so is a legally binding. However, if you choose to have a bespoke ceremony in front of a celebrant, you must also be married in front of a registrar, either before or after the registration.

Marriage by Registrar

You and your partner must be 16 or over. If you are under 18 you will need your parents consent. Firstly choose a registry office or licensed venue. Then give notice at your local registry office that you wish to be married. You must do this whether you plan to marry there or at another registered venue, even if it is another registry office.
You need to prove your identity and you then sign a legal statement at your local registry office to say you intend to get married. This is known as ‘giving notice’. You must give notice at least 29 days before your ceremony.
Then you have 12 months from the date you gave the notice to marry. The legal marriage will take 10 to 15 minutes., and you will need 2 witnesses. This makes it official

What happens next?

Once completed you will be officially married then you can choose to say you and those at a wedding ceremony with your Celebrant
Having a Celebrant create and conduct your wedding ceremony is much more more popular now as coupes want something unique for their special day. This way is ideal because couples can get the legal marriage done and then enjoy their big day exactly how they want it when they want it and where they want it
This is perfect if you are planning a multi-faith wedding, are more spiritual, would like to include rituals or symbolic ceremonies, have your heart set on a location which isn’t registered or want a personalised ceremony.

The difference between Registrars and Celebrants in a Nutshell

Registrars have the power to marry you in the eyes of the law. Celebrants will help you to create a personalised bespoke ceremony, taking place wherever you would like. As they start with a blank canvas, you can include personalised vows, live music and family. It’s very important to understand the difference between Registrars and Celebrants, now that you do, you’ll be able to make the right choices for your special day.

Remember – you can have a ceremony with a wedding celebrant and still make your marriage official by a registrar

What our clients say

We just wanted to say a massive thank you for the incredible job you did for our wedding!!


The ceremony was absolutely beautiful! You did an amazing job Suzanne! You really show your passion for what you do in your work.


I had a wonderful experience it all worked like I pictured it in my head. I would definitely recommend you in the future.


Fellowship of Independent Celebrants