Wedding Ceremonies, Couple Ceremonies, Vow Renewals and Commitment Ceremonies

What is the difference between a Marriage and a Wedding?

Marriage is a legal contract where a set of vows or a set of declaratory and contracting words are made between the couple. Your signatures are witnessed in a register/schedule. In the UK and Isle of Man, these must be conducted by a person, or in the presence of a person, authorised to register marriages in the registration district. To be legally binding there must be two witnesses present. Marriage binds the couple legally and financially.

A Wedding is the ceremonial celebration of the union between the couple. No formal legalities are contained within the ceremony. The ceremony can consist of either just the couple or include their family and friends.

Why choose a couples/wedding celebration ceremony?

Many reasons! A couples/wedding celebration ceremony is perfect for couples who want a unique ceremony that is special and relevant to them. Unlike register offices or venues approved for weddings which prohibit the inclusion of religious, spiritual, cultural traditions or symbolic elements, our ceremonies can include these. Couples can decide on the content, location, include loved ones and bring in elements that have a special meaning to them.

A couples/wedding celebration ceremony can also be a suitable choice for those who do not wish to be legally or financially bound to each other, those who simply want to publicly affirm their life-long commitment to each other, keeping their love separate from church and state.

It is also a great option for couples who wish to renew their vows and promises to each other, at a special time and place.

Are Handfasting and other couple ceremonies legally binding marriages?

Handfasting and other wedding and couple celebration ceremonies are not legally binding for marriages, civil ceremonies or civil partnerships in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man.

You can have the wedding ceremony of your choice after you have done the legal formalities with the registrar. The legal formalities are commonly referred to as a ‘2×2’ marriage or a ‘basic statutory ceremony’.

There are no legal requirements for you to have your ceremony with the registrar.

We want a legal marriage or partnership, but we want a unique ceremony special to us. What do we need to do?

Your ceremony must take place AFTER the legal formalities have taken place at the Register Office.

  • You must contact the Register Office (or Registrar General if in the Isle of Man) to give Notice of Marriage (28 days) and to book the date and time.
  • You must have at least 2 witnesses for the legal formalities.
  • A registrar must carry out, or be present. You can book a registrar yourself or the venue may do this for you.
  • You must exchange vows if you’re getting married.
  • You do not need to exchange vows for a civil partnership.
  • Once your legal marriage/partnership documentation has been signed, you can then choose any Celebrant to perform your ceremony at a venue/location of your choice.

We do not require a legal marriage or partnership and want a unique ceremony. What do we need to do?

Simply contact us to arrange your sacred ceremony!

What type of ceremony can a Handfasting or Handbinding be used for?

Handfastings and Handbindings can be used as:

  • wedding celebration ceremony
  • vow renewal ceremony
  • couple commitment ceremony
  • declaration of love ceremony

Naming Ceremonies

Why choose a Naming Ceremony for a child?

Naming Ceremonies for children are suitable for parents or guardians who do not want a baptism or christening which focuses on the relationship between child and church, but instead want to celebrate the relationship between the parents/guardians and the child. They are also suitable for families who want both baptisms, christenings and Naming Ceremonies.

The ceremonies support each parent/guardian in committing and announcing their roles in their child’s life, plus the roles of any supporting adults or mentors.

They announce the child’s name to the wider family and community as well as strengthening family and friendships.

Are Naming Ceremonies just for children?

Naming Ceremonies are for all! Children, adults and pets! View our Naming Ceremonies page to see how you can benefit from your own ceremony.

Are there any legalities for Naming Ceremonies?

There are no legal restrictions on Naming Ceremonies whatsoever and these can be held anywhere, at any time, on any day and be conducted by anyone at all.

Passing Over Ceremonies

Are Passing Over Ceremonies funerals?

No, Passing Over Ceremonies are not funerals. They are memorial services to remember loved ones who have passed over, in a sacred setting contained within the four elements.

When can a Passing Over Ceremony be performed?

A Passing Over Ceremony can be done before or after a funeral of a loved one. There is no time limit.


Can I have a Celtic-Shamanic funeral instead of a religious, non-secular, secular or civil one?

With regards to the actual ceremony, you can have whatever type of ceremony you wish, at your chosen place. Whilst the disposal of the remains must be in accordance with the law, the ceremony part can be wherever and whatever you choose.

Both Fiona and Izzy have been trained in Celtic Funerary Rites as well as Civil Funeral Celebrancy.