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Much like a barman will ask “What are you having?”, so too will you need to ask yourself the same question when it comes to planning your ceremony. What you’re having depends on your taste, your beliefs and your values as well as your vision for your day – you don’t want a massive headache trust me!

You have decided to get married, that is so exciting! If you wish to have your marriage legally recognised in Ireland listen up, you’re going to want to read this. With so many wonderful people available to conduct your ceremony, each with a different title, it can be hard to know who’s who. The most important thing is that you find someone you gel with and who you trust to hear you and respect your wishes and incorporate your fabulous personality into the ceremony.

In a nutshell; a Celebrant is someone who officiates ceremonies. As you can imagine the term Celebrant is quite a broad one. An Independent Celebrant like me works with couples to create bespoke ceremonies free from any restrictions or regulations. I am not affiliated with any religion and so I welcome all faiths and none. Together we can create a ceremony that is reflective of your values, your personality and you as a couple. Whatever you want goes, and more importantly, whatever you don’t want does not!

I am not a Solemniser. What is a solemniser you ask? Someone who can legally marry two people and who appears on the registered list of Solemnisers. Solemnisers are usually governed by an organisation e.g.but not limited to; humanists, spiritualists and interfaith ministers. Some Celebrants are also Solemnisers because whichever organisation they trained with grants them solemnising status. Always check with them what restrictions may be imposed on your ceremony in terms of content etc just so the signing of the paperwork is taken care of. Registrars are HSE officials who work for the state and conduct legal weddings in the registry office generally. I work closest with the Registrar for my couples who also wish to be legally married. When getting married in Ireland there are certain things that everyone needs to do which you can read about here.

The only difference in terms of paperwork when working with a Celebrant like me is that yourselves and two witnesses return to the registry office after you’ve completed your marriage notification appointment to sign the marriage license with the Registrar. It is a very brief civil ceremony, 10-15 minutes and can be very casual or you can make it a more special affair – whatever you like! Your marriage will be recorded as a Civil Marriage, instead of religious or secular. My couples complete this legal signing in advance of or after their bespoke ceremony with me, some couples opt to complete this stage on their existing anniversary to keep the date special. In separating your ceremony and legalities you can have a fully personalised ceremony that is free from admin and that truly captures what you want. Working with an Independent Celebrant like me ensures you don’t have to compromise on anything during your ceremony from written content, music choices, location, date or time.

Many of my amazing couples are not based in Ireland, they’re spread across the UK, Abu Dhabi and the U.S, so generally for them it is easier to complete the legal element in the country in which they are resident. For them, choosing a Celebrant like me who is not a Solemniser is the ideal choice because they’ll have all the creative freedom they want.

My couples are choosing to work with me because of me – you’ll see why, I’m mighty craic and very good at what I do – and doing the legal paperwork separately is just part and parcel of that. As I said, working with the right person is the most important part of choosing a Celebrant, not whether or not they can sign on the dotted line.

I guide my couples through the legal process too during our consultations so don’t fear you will be left on your own. Signing your paperwork separately is a compromise but it is so worth it as you can rest assured you will not compromise on anything during the ceremony itself. The ceremony will be everything you always wanted and more. It will be crafted with you and for you with me guiding the process, and above all – it will be really good fun!

Alison

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