I wanted to talk about the exciting Meghan and Harry interview by Oprah that happened this year. As a Celebrant, one of the things that really got my attention with that interview was when Meghan said that they were actually married three days before their big televised white wedding, in a private ceremony in their garden with the Archbishop of Canterbury (Justin Welby).
Now, I’ve checked online, and am right in saying that wouldn’t have been a legal wedding ceremony, because their home at the time, Nottingham Cottage, is not an authorised licenced wedding venue, and also, they would have needed witnesses.
So, what Meghan was talking about there, was exchanging private, heartfelt vows and promises that they had written themselves, and that they said they now have framed and in their room.
So what I took from that was that this ceremony, this Blessing, if you like, meant more to them than the legal wedding.
As a Celebrant, that is music to my ears! Because in the UK, currently we are not legally allowed to perform the wedding for you; we’re not registrars. But most of our couples tend to do the legalities a day or two beforehand, and then together we arrange the big celebration Wedding Blessing for everyone. Where you can have it anywhere, say whatever you like, you are not bound by the rules, and you can have as many or as few people (or none!) present.
It just frees you up to do whatever you like, wherever you like, whenever you like! Some people like to renew their vows on special anniversaries, some couples didn’t have the wedding they wanted at the time, or would like to just have another fresh start… Plus there’s all kinds of things you can do; people you might want to include, to be involved and active in it, children, grandparents, you name it. There’s anything you like available with us.
So as a Celebrant, I just thought I would let you know that these are Ceremonies that are becoming more and more popular, and increasingly common. For example, when you see the big splashy weddings in Hello or OK Magazine, in someone’s garden or private residence, that’s probably not their legal wedding. But to them it is their wedding, because they’re making vows and promises to each other, often in front of friends and family and loved-ones. And that means more to them. That’s their anniversary, that’s their wedding, rather than signing the piece of paper.
A bit like when you have a child, and you register their birth at the registry office, and it all becomes official, which is lovely. What you really celebrate is when you have their Naming Day (sometimes a Christening) and that’s when everyone welcomes the child into the family. That’s their celebration, not the registry office.
I just wanted to bring you all up to speed on what Meghan and Harry were talking about, and let you know why a Celebrant-led Exchanging of Vows, Blessing or Wedding Celebration can mean so much more to you as a couple, and give you the freedom and space to say and do whatever you wish. So that’s it, really! Take care, hope you all stay well, and we look forward to the world reopening this year, and weddings getting beck to normal.
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Both images are reproduced with permission.
- The Wedding Day photo is by Aaron Chowngetty Images.
- The Oprah Interview photo is by Joe Pugliese/Harpo Productions.