Bridal Industry Q&A’s With The Wedding Celebrant Charlotte Pennefather
Even with over 10 years experience within the bridal industry, the pace of the industry is fast and forever changing, and so my journey of discovery and broadening knowledge is an ongoing journey. This has been one of my favourite topics to research, the opportunity for a couple to create the most unique and perfect ceremony that will reflect their love through every little detail. I had the pleasure of chatting with Charlotte Pennefather, a civil celebrant to find out a little more about the ceremonies she and other celebrants offer…
Hi Charlotte, lets start with who is @cpcelebrant?
Hello, I’m Charlotte! I am a Wedding and Family celebrant based in Cumbria and Northumberland. I have two small children who take up most of my time and you’ll often find me sneaking chocolate in the kitchen when they’re not looking!
Can you explain what a celebrant is? And how did your path lead you to become a celebrant?
Well a celebrant is someone who takes your love story and transforms it into the most beautiful and unique ceremony. I have always worked in and around the wedding industry, and when I had my first child I knew that I wanted and needed to do something for myself…I love a wedding and so, this seemed like the perfect path at the perfect time.
What is the difference between the ceremonies you perform and the more traditional ceremonies we have seen for so many years in churches and venues?
I think the big difference when you choose to work with a celebrant, is that they make your ceremony all about you. They get to know you, they work closely with you and more often than not, you are their one and only ceremony of the day. They tell your story and each ceremony that is created is unique, truly meaningful and beautiful.
Photography Credit- Steven Rooney
Are celebrant ceremonies legally binding?
Unfortunately not. And sometimes this is a sticking point for couples. However, the way I see it, is doing the legal paperwork on one day and having your celebration, your wonderful wedding day on another. Much like when you register the birth of a baby – the legalities, the paperwork are done on another day. Signing your paperwork at the registry office, frees you up to have the most magical ceremony, anywhere you like.
It appears that couples have an endless list of options to make their ceremony unique to them, is this the case?
In terms of what is included within your ceremony, then yes! You’re free to choose what you’d like to include to make it your own and your ceremony will be completely tailored to you.
What do your ceremonies typically look like? Do they include vows?
Absolutely, if you want to include them! I always encourage my couples to write their own vows, but this isn’t for everyone. Couples can exchange wedding rings, say their I Do’s, say their vows, engage their guests in some singing, try a Handfasting, Jump the Broom – anything goes really!
Where would a celebrant ceremony normally be held?
Anywhere you desire!! As it’s not a legally binding ceremony, the doors are open to hold your ceremony anywhere, at anytime. Beach, mountain, woodland, your garden at home or one of our many beautiful wedding venues around the county.
Photography Credit- Matt Parry
Does this type of ceremony typically suit a certain type of couple? With certain beliefs?
Not at all. I create ceremonies for couples with a range of beliefs, backgrounds and ideals.
How far in advance would you recommend booking a celebrant?
Ideally 12-18 months in advance if you’re looking for a Saturday wedding during peak wedding season. Many celebrants only take one wedding per day, so when the date has gone, it’s gone.
How would you suggest a couple choose the right celebrant for their day?
Find a few you like the look / sound of and arrange a video chat or a phone call. Follow them on social media as this will give you a good idea of their style and how they work. Find someone you click with and feel comfortable with!
Lastly, what do you love most about the ceremonies you perform?
I adore meeting new couples and hearing their story! We develop such a lovely bond throughout the creation of their ceremony and seeing them on their wedding day, full of love and bursting with happiness is truly magical.