I sometimes hear couples asking whether Celebrants can ‘do a real wedding’.

If, by this, they mean a legal ceremony, then the answer in the UK is ‘no’, we can’t. Not yet anyway.

But can we do a ‘real’ wedding?

Yes, we can - because what makes a wedding ‘real’ is not the presence of a registrar, a vicar, priest or rabbi, nor the certificate given at the end.

What makes a wedding real is simply this: two people who love each other, standing in front of people who love them, declaring their love for one another and making promises to live as a couple for the rest of their lives.

That’s it. That’s all you need.

It was only in 1753 that a law was introduced, stating that, in order to be valid and registered, all marriages were to be performed in an official ceremony in a religious setting. Registry Office weddings came even later - 1836 - when the authorities realised that not everyone was happy being married in a religious ceremony they didn’t believe in.

Before the church and the state claimed the exclusive authority to perform legal marriages, centuries had passed where couples would simply stand in the presence of their witnesses and pledge their love and intention to live as a married couple.

Of course, I understand the need to register marriages so that the state can keep track of its population in terms of who is who and how families are formed. That’s why Registry Offices are called that. The clue’s in the name.

I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t pop along to the local registry office and register the fact that you are or will be married to one another, but the idea that the only place you can BE married is in a setting authorised by the church or the state lacks a good understanding of history and logic.

You can be married wherever and however suits you.

And if your preference is for a unique, joyous, creative day of celebrating your love away from the authorities, then this perspective is liberating.

And if your particular kind of love isn’t welcomed in the religious place you’d like to be married, then it’s time to be liberated and find or create your own space.The spirituality you believe in will be there - and multiplied by your authenticity and truth.

So when the question is raised, ‘Can celebrants do a real wedding?’, I say, ‘Yes, we can, because a wedding is something that you create by your love.

We’re simply helping you claim marriage back where it belongs - in the hands of lovers who intend life to be lived as one’.

Of course, for tax and legal reasons, you’ll need to go through the formality with a registrar - but your wedding belongs to you and no one else.

Discuss and share. Let’s talk about this - I’d love to know your thoughts.

...why a Celebrant-led wedding may be the best option for you.

Telling a couple's personal story is part of the role of a Celebrant. Here I am telling the story of Jen & Dave!


  1. Awesomely unique, creatively different, perfectly you! No 'off-the-peg', 'insert-name-here' for you!

  2. Somewhere that is different - at home, on a beach, in your garden, on a lake, in a woodland, up a mountain. And why not?

  3. Outdoors! Did you know the Registrar or the Church can't marry you outdoors? Or even in a Marquee/tepee/yurt!

  4. Spiritual, but not religious. You want something that expresses your beliefs and values not just a legal ceremony.

  5. In the evening, or even at night. You'll struggle to find a Registrar or Church who will marry you at midnight.

  6. Fun! Filled with laughter rather than legalities, smiles rather than seriousness, celebration rather than regulation.

  7. To last more than about 10 minutes and to be the centre of the day, not just a quick legal formality.

  8. Led by someone who is experienced, confident with a crowd, who your guests warm to (that's me btw!)

  9. To be the product of your creativity, not just what you are given by the authorities

  10. Because someone in your family would benefit from more flexibility than other options might allow.

After three seasons of weddings and events in France, where I've traveled thousands of miles and enjoyed working at some of the most impressive Chateau venues alongside other top wedding suppliers, I'm back in the UK for weddings in 2020 and beyond. Although I'll still be taking some weddings in France and elsewhere internationally, a large focus of my work will be in the UK.

I'm delighted with this move and looking forward to creating more of the bespoke weddings that I've become known for in France. And, of course, I'll be taking my skills as a Wedding Day Coordinator and Host with me, ensuring that couples who want everything in safe hands can enjoy their wedding, stress-free. This is the sort of review that explains why what I do is so popular:

Where to start! We got married on the 7th of June in Chateau lá Caniere. Piers came onboard about 3 weeks before our wedding not only as our celebrant for the day but also also as our master of ceremony and wedding day coordinator. He was an absolute gem, our wedding day simply wouldn't have happened without him! He kept us updated every step of the way, pulled together a last minute ceremony that had every one in tears and laughing at all the right moments. And because he hadn't shared the full wedding script with us it was so special for me and Haitham to listen to his words. We had planned an outdoor wedding but unfortunately last minute the weather let us down. But Piers was there to rescue the day! Our guests commented throughout the weekend that he was such a lovely person, so friendly and all round just amazing. He was even chipping in at the pre wedding event showing everyone where to go. He went above and beyond.

He was calm and professional when talking to me on the morning of the wedding and he really made us feel at ease even with the last minute movement indoors. Having him there as the wedding coordinator really allowed me and Haitham to relax and enjoy the morning of the wedding with our wedding party.

He will forever be a huge part of wedding day and memories made for a lifetime! I really could not recommend having him there on your wedding day or any event really! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts Piers, hopefully we will meet again! All the best lots of love The Mclays! Xxxx

Chateau La Caniere where the McLays were married.

I'd love to talk to you if you are a couple looking to enjoy your own bespoke wedding day in the UK, or a wedding planner, or a venue who enjoys working with professional, experienced and dependable wedding suppliers. Let's talk! Call me on +44 (0)7967 327230 or email me at pierslane@gmail.com. Booking now.

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