What is a Civil Celebrant? Frequently Asked Questions

A civil celebrant will offer a ceremony for every stage of life. From performing naming ceremonies, funerals, weddings or renewal of vows, they can also help to shape your ceremony into something that’s far more reflective of you or your loved one.

Here’s some of the more frequently asked questions of Civil Celebrants.

What’s the difference between a Civil Celebrant and religious clergy?

Members of religions are given formal training to perform ceremonies, as are celebrants who will have trained with a celebrant organisation they will also have attended seminars and conferences for continued professional development and will be a member of a professional celebrant organisation.

What’s the difference between a Civil Celebrant and Humanist?

While quite similar, both being purely secular, the major difference is that Humanists don’t believe in wedding traditions and religions, whereas Civil Celebrants don’t favour one wedding or ceremony type over the other. By choosing a Civil Celebrant you’ll have the freedom to include some, all or no religious tradition into your ceremony, allowing to create a ceremony more tailored to you.

Is a Civil Celebrant ceremony legally binding?

If you have a Civil Celebrant ceremony for your wedding for example, you will need to register your intent to marry with the registry office and book an appointment to sign the legal documents.

The legal element of your marriage doesn’t require you to exchange rings and vows, so these can be kept for your wedding ceremony with your Celebrant. However, the legal side of things will require you to say a few contracting words in front of two witnesses who you can choose.

What is a Civil Celebrant funeral?

A Civil Celebrant led funeral comes from a humanistic perspective, allowing family or the deceased’s beliefs to be prominent without having to involve traditional religious rites. However, many Civil Celebrants can and will add a religious element into the service and will discuss with the family their wishes for the service.

A Civil Celebrant offers something that others can’t and that is choice.

A Celebrant led funeral also allows the bereaved to create a ceremony that helps loved ones come to terms with their loss, with the aim of achieving closure.

If you have any questions about how a Civil Celebrant works or what they could bring to your ceremony, please feel free to get in touch on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Jeanette is a member of The Fellowship of Professional Celebrants.iko