What I should look for in a Wedding Celebrant?

I have worked with lots of different Celebrants/Registrars/Humanists over the years as a wedding photographer. I think I have a good idea of what I believe, makes the ideal wedding celebrant/humanist to be a part of your big day!

Obviously not all celebrants/registrars/humanists will fit into my ‘ideal’ mould, and perhaps after reading this ramble you may agree. Every celebrant/registrars/humanist has their own style and you have got to like their ‘style’ and most importantly their personality.

I put this post together just to give you some ideas. You can pick and choose from what you think is important to you in a celebrant/registrars/humanist much the same as you did before hiring your wedding photographer….., or ignore everything in this post if you prefer – It’s your day so it’s your way!, after all. ??

So for me as a wedding photographer my advice would be ….

The Celebrant/Registrars/Humanist should know when to get out of the way

Before every wedding I introduce myself to the wedding celebrant/registrars/humanist and politely request at certain important moments (exchange of rings and your first kiss) they move far enough to one side.
Their replies are always the same – something along the lines of, “don’t worry! I’ve done lots of weddings and I know what to do …”
Whether they do it is a different story! –
Recently photographed a wedding where the celebrant led the bride and her father down the Aisle! By walking down in front of the bride I got NO pictures of her entrance! Did not get any better throughout the entire ceremony when it came to exchanging rings or the first kiss!

It really helps if you speak with the celebrant/registrars/humanist and say you’d like a picture of the first kiss (at least) without their pretty face in the background! This means they will have to move a couple of metres to the side …
Remember, some churches do not allow kissing and the wedding photographer is not allowed to step onto the sanctuary/chancel area of the alter. All in all Humanists are much more obliging than some church officiants. If you are getting married in a Church I would discuss wedding photography shots with you at our pre-wedding meeting.

DO NOT Speak for too long!
How long is too long! I’m not sure and again it depends upon the type of ceremony. It’s like speeches, when I see your guests starting to become restless and squirming it’s probably too long!
At a recent wedding a best man’s speech came to an end when the battery in the microphone died after an hour!
This is just a personal preference, but I think that succinct celebrants/registrars/humanists keep the wedding ceremony flowing well, involving your family and guests making the wedding celebration about you as a couple getting married and not about the celebrants story!
Your families and guests will look way more engaged in the pictures as well!!

Do NOT use an iPad
Again, this is a personal preference, but I think that iPad’s look a bit naff in your pictures especially if you have asked your guests for an unplugged wedding (no iPads or Phones!) and there is your celebrant/registrars/humanist reading their message from an iPad.

Like Photographers and Videographers the celebrant/registrars/humanist is a big part of your day … The day two souls become one! ??

We all need to work as a team on the day to ensure that your day is the best ever. I always say there is no place for ego’s to get in the way! I always try and stay out of the way of the celebrant/registrars/humanist and I am sure that celebrant/registrars/humanist’s have many a story about photographers. 

A humanist relates the story where a photographer stopped the service to show the bride pictures of her walking down the aisle on the back of his camera!! UNBELIEVABLE!!!!

I appreciate that celebrants/registrars/humanists needs to do their job, and sometimes they may not like me asking them (politely) to step to the side and so on and so forth, as your photographer I am totally cool with that but those key moments may not be captured at the time.

If you have read this tale you will now know that when you meet your celebrant//humanist for the first time (hopefully) you will have some idea of what to ask him/her and discuss what is important to you and a married couple too take away from the ceremony!

Would I recommend any Humanist?

I have worked with some of the best (and worst IMHO) in the business –
I would not hesitate to recommend:

Lesley Anderson

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Based in Lanarkshire, photographing weddings pretty much anywhere.

Tel: – 0044(0)7962071632
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Steve Gauld Photography
ML11 7PW


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