Humanist ceremony or Registrar?
I am going to take the bull by the horns and put this out there. Registrars are now promoting ‘non religious non-legal celebrations’. In other words, they are marching into celebrant territory – mostly because the Register Office is a revenue raising operation and numbers are falling. But – and I ask you to consider this in all seriousness – A Registrar led ‘celebration’ does not compare like-for-like with a Humanist ceremony. Let me explain.
What differentiates a Humanist celebrant approach from that of a Registrar is time, relationship and personalisation. We spend up to 30 hours with you and writing your ceremony from scratch. We don’t use templates. We will meet with you face to face and regularly, develop a relationship with you, we will meet you at your home, talk about what you want, advise, offer resources, the benefit of our experience in incorporating symbolic elements into your ceremony.
We will travel miles and miles to your ceremony, we will offer you a run-through a day before the ceremony, we will coach you on writing your own vows, we will write a ceremony with you and about you and your ceremony can last as long as you want.
We will not cut and paste, we will not slot in readings without a context that links to the ceremony script, we will guarantee to be the one who performs your ceremony, be there a good hour before the ceremony, know the name of your family and contributors, and will already have contacted anyone who is contributing to the ceremony. We will add little touches like ensuring that the readings are in a folder so that those contributing are not holding scrappy bits of paper. We have the expertise to check out sound systems and to make sure that the music you want actually works on the equipment you are using. We will have advised on the seating layout, the potential impact of wind direction on acoustic, and the sun/time of day in regard to shadows and potential for ‘’squinty faces’ if your ceremony site is facing in the wrong direction. Photographers love that we go into that level of detail.
So. When you are tempted by the Registrar’s promotional material and the offer of doing a ‘personalised’ ceremony for under £400 be sure to read the small print.
Remember that the key selling point of a Humanist celebrant is that it is not only an opportunity to choose a ceremony without religious reference but also to choose a celebrant who is committed to knowing YOU. Who gives you the time to work through ALL the elements that make a ceremony memorable. Who choreographs the whole ceremony and doesnt simply fetch up and deliver the words on the page. And who writes a ceremony that reflects who you are and not offer ‘personalisation’ that is really only about the choice of extra readings and a ceremony in the place of your choice (so long as it is no more than 15 miles from a Registrar!). You only have to read the reviews of happy couples about their Humanist ceremonies to know that there is no comparison.
You really do get what you pay for.