What is the difference between a celebrant and a registrar?

One of the biggest confusions and misconceptions is the difference between celebrants and registrars. The difference between the two roles often gets misconstrued, so let’s clear everything up. 

Firstly, let’s start off by saying that celebrants and registrars both want you to enjoy your ceremony. However, despite their shared interest, the service they offer can differ greatly. 


Registrars can legally marry the party and are normally employed by the local authority. Unlike celebrants, the way in which they can conduct the ceremony is very limited, meaning the religious and spiritual content is kept to a minimum. Also, they conduct many ceremonies each day, which means you have to stick to a very strict time schedule. Given the strict aspects of the ceremony, it’s also unlikely you’ll have time to build a bond with the registrar before the day of the event. 


Although celebrants can only provide a non-legally binding ceremony, their freedoms allow them to tailor the ceremony to your needs. They will take the time to know and understand the couple weeks before the celebration, meaning the special day is entirely unique. 

It’s often refreshing that, given the legalities are kept separate from the ceremony itself, the main event can be a focus of fun and excitement. Choosing a celebrant also provides a huge range of variety. Nowadays, there are an incredible wealth of options to choose from, meaning no two ceremonies are the same. 

Finally, in contrast to registrars, celebrants can include both religious and spiritual elements to the ceremony. This means that, regardless of whether you’re religious or not, you have the choice to pursue any avenue you wish. 

The special day and legalities

If you would like the freedom of a celebrant led wedding, but require the legally binding power of a registrar, its normally the case that the legal aspect is taken care of before the ceremony itself. 

Many people choose to book a room at a registry office, alongside witnesses of the event. They then have the wedding day a week or so afterwards, meaning they can design it however they choose. 

In order to avoid the legal format that registrars are bound by; celebrant led weddings are the ultimate way to have the day of your dreams. It’s also important to consider that the celebrant will take time to know you before the event, meaning the personal connection is there to conduct the all-important celebration. 

To learn more about celebrants and the incredible service they provide, visit our website today. If this sounds like a career path you’d be interested in, then explore our website for a wealth of useful resources.

about the author

Copy of meet Stewert

Hi, I'm Jennifer, the Founder of the AMC and a massive lover of all things celebration! Are you interested in embarking on a career as a celebrant? Take the Quiz to find out if you have what it takes!

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