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What is a Wedding Officiant / Celebrant?

Congratulations on your engagement! By now, you are probably spending the better part of each day planning everything about your big day – from sending the wedding invitations to planning the food service at the reception. But before you start getting into the gritty details of your wedding, one of the most important things to decide on is who is going to perform the ceremony.

It’s an easy question to dismiss, as you may have already assumed that a priest or registrar would do the honor's. But there are a multitude of other options if you don’t want to go the traditional route.

You’ve already heard of priests and registrars, but what about officiants / celebrants? There are several different types of officiants to choose from, including Independent, Civil or Humanist Celebrants.

So, before you make any final confirmations, why not take a look at what a wedding officiant / celebrant is, and what they can help you do with your wedding?

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How does a Wedding officiant differ from others?

Simply put, a Wedding Celebrant is a person who performs and officiates formal ceremonies. Although they are commonly seen in weddings, they can also conduct other ceremonies like vow renewals, baby naming, and funeral rites.

What’s the difference between a Wedding Officiant and a Priest?

There are a few key differences between officiants and priests, the biggest difference being that the former is not a member of the clergy. While the priest receives formal training to perform ceremonies, a officiant participates in seminars and conferences as dictated by his or her celebrant organization. A more important difference for your wedding however, is that whereas a priest is bound by the religious conventions and rites of their faith, a celebrant can tailor the wedding to your own specifications, pulling in a number of themes, ceremonies and concepts as you’d like.

There are, also, similarities between the two. Just like a priest, a officiant can be as involved, if not more so, with the entire planning process of the ceremony. From planning the structure of the ceremony, double checking the vows – even offering informal counselling.

Why should you use wedding officiant?

 Here’s why a wedding officiant may be a better fit for you and your wedding ceremony. 

  • Wedding officiant do more than just preside over the ceremony. While priests just perform the mass and the registrar is more interested in the legal side of things, wedding officiants give you the works. If you want them to, they can stay by your side from the moment the engagement is announced, to after the reception before you go off to your honeymoon. Wedding officiant have been known to assist even with wedding planning.

  • Wedding officiants are the best option for couples who think traditional wedding structures are not for them. While priests and registrars have to follow specific religious and legal structures, wedding officiants can deviate when it comes to running the ceremony from start to finish, meaning you have more of a say over what you want to include and exclude in the ceremony.

  • Officiants are more versatile. Do you want a fantasy-themed wedding with costumes? Officiants are always happy to join in, dress the part and even act a certain way if you want them to. Other officials are more likely to say no to an outrageous concept, a remote location or unique wardrobe; however, officiants make sure that the big day is exactly as what the couple imagined it to be.

  • With officiants, the event is all about the two of you. Just like your partnership, your wedding should be unique to you as a couple. With a officiant, the only parameters your wedding sticks to is are the ones that you decide.

Gone are the days when weddings are done by the book and each ceremony looks similar to the next one. A wedding officiant will not only ensure that your wedding runs smoothly from the paperwork to the actual ceremony, they will guarantee that the experience and memories that the event will impart upon you and your guests will surely be one of a kind.

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