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Choosing a Celebrant

Congratulations you are engaged! You have high-fived, shook hands and clinked glasses of exultation with your nearest and dearest. You’ve booked the venue of your dreams…..But now what? There are so many options for your ceremony you just don’t know which one is right for you and your partner. Well let’s start with the basics.

Symbolic wedding celebrations

Symbolic wedding celebrations are non-legally binding ceremonies where a couple can choose rituals and symbols to show their unity in marriage. Couples who choose to have a symbolic wedding celebration do not sign the legal marriage certificate on the day of their celebration. These celebrations are chosen for many reasons. A couple may have fallen in love with a celebrant who is not a solemniser (a celebrant with the official capacity to officiate a legal wedding) and so they choose to sign the legal paperwork with a HSE Registrar and have their wedding celebration in front of all their guests with the celebrant of their dreams. A couple may be coming from abroad to marry in Ireland and they choose to register their marriage legally in their country of residence instead. A couple’s dream venue may be the side of a cliff, the bank of a river or their very own back garden. None of which may meet the criteria for an acceptable venue for a legal marriage ceremony. Couples also choose symbolic weddings when they have had a legally binding wedding with a small number of guests but would like to perform some rituals such as handfasting or ring and vow exchanges to kick off their big wedding celebration day. A symbolic wedding celebration isn’t tied to any legalities and so this can allow couples more freedom in venue and officiant. Without the legal marriage certificate as part of the celebration there is also more time to add more rituals, readings, songs or whatever the couple’s hearts desire.

Legal wedding ceremonies

Legal wedding ceremonies are carried out by Registered Solemnisers in registered venues around the country. A legal wedding ceremony, depending on the choice of Solemniser, can look and feel very much like a symbolic ceremony with the all important addition of the marriage certificate. The solemniser, the couple and two witnesses sign the marriage certificate during the ceremony which is then sent back to the HSE by the couple to legally register their marriage. Legal wedding ceremonies are right for those who don’t want to split the rituals of their ceremony from the legal side of marriage. A legal wedding ceremony can be just as beautiful as a symbolic wedding celebration if you pick the celebrant/solemniser that’s right for you.

Choosing the celebrant or solemniser that is right for you

As you will be working closely with this person to plan your wedding you must make sure that they are the right fit for you and your partner. Do they put you at ease when speaking with them? Do you like their voice? Do they seem interested in your way of thinking? Are they helpful with ritual ideas and are they open to your suggestions for what would make your wedding truly unique to you both? Do they live close by so you can meet up with them face to face prior to the wedding day? Is that something that’s important to you?

Where to start

You can search for celebrants and solemnisers in many ways but here are some helpful sites where you can start the hunt for your perfect wedding officiant. Make sure to check out their Instagram or Facebook accounts. Watch videos they have posted and read their websites to get a feel for their personality. Make contact with those who jump out at you and book a discovery call. Good luck!!

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