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Which is which? Registrar vs. celebrant

Bride and groom in the woods on a misty day We posed the following question to local celebrant Julie Bisacre...

Help! We're getting confused about the difference between a registrar and a celebrant. Can you shed some light on this for us?

Julie says: Until recent times, couples could either book a religious ceremony in a church, or a secular one at a register office. The only other other option was a licensed venue, which a registrar would attend. That's not the case any more.

Firstly, let's examine what a registrar is and what they do. A registrar is an official who oversees and keeps records of births, deaths and marriages. They often work in a register office and officiate the paperwork/licence pertaining to your legal marriage. These are set words and procedures and are often rather impersonal. What many don't realise is that you can go into a register office, sign the legal paperwork and then use a celebrant to write and deliver a ceremony to suit your personalities.

So, what exactly is a celebrant? A professionally-trained celebrant will meet with you and discover exactly what your dream wedding would look like. They'll include as much or as little as you wish of any element whether it be religious, spiritual or secular. If you've always dreamed of a woodland wedding, then that's what they'll design for you. If you fancy a themed wedding, maybe Star Wars or Disney, then the celebrant will enter into the spirit of your ceremony and make it a reality.

Currently, a celebrant can't do the legal paperwork, so organise a quick visit to the register office to complete this. Once it's all signed, you can have your ring exchange, vows, readings, meaningful songs and everything your hearts desire – a wedding that you and your guests will remember for the rest of your lives.

Julie Bisacre, www.celebrantjuliebisacre.com

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