What Is A Celebrant Wedding Vs Officiant

The answer to what is a celebrant wedding is that it’s a person responsible for performing and even officiating formal ceremonies like weddings. We will discuss this role in more detail below, and we’ll also compare the celebrant to a wedding officiant as the two terms are mentioned interchangeably. 

And if you happen to get ordained to officiate someone’s wedding, here is a guide on what to wear to officiate a wedding. In addition, there is etiquette on the proper outfit, especially when you’re part of the ceremony. 

what is a celebrant wedding


What Is A Wedding Celebrant?

A wedding celebrant is a person that performs and officiates the wedding. A wedding celebrant can also conduct similar formal ceremonies like vow renewals. 

Therefore, there is no difference between a wedding celebrant and a wedding officiant. The different terms are mainly geographical since the role is called a wedding celebrant in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, while US weddings often call the same role as a wedding officiant. 


What is the difference between a celebrant and an officiant?

Any person who officiates a wedding can be called an officiant or celebrant. However, it would also be more valid to call professional officiants celebrants. 

Professional officiants are experienced in performing the marriage ceremony. And because they differ from religious and civil wedding officiants, couples doing spiritual, interfaith, or secular weddings choose a celebrant to officiate their wedding. 

They can help you customize the ceremony according to your liking, and you can even ask them to guide you when making and practicing your wedding vows. We wrote a separate discussion regarding what is a spiritual wedding if you’re interested.


Types of wedding officiants


  • Religious wedding officiant

When doing a religious wedding ceremony, you will have a religious officiant in that particular faith to perform your wedding in your place of worship. It can be a priest, pastor, rabbi, imam, minister, or reverend, but the wedding location varies depending on the religion.  

For example, having a pastor officiate your wedding even if the ceremony is outdoors is possible. On the other hand, some religious leaders won’t officiate your wedding unless it’s held in the place of worship, depending on the rules of the religious organization and denomination that he’s from. 


  • Civil wedding officiant

If you want a non-religious and more straightforward type of wedding ceremony, then you can consider a civil wedding. A civil officiant will perform the ceremony, typically someone in the government who can legally do so according to your specific state’s laws. 

A civil wedding officiant typically includes a judge, city clerk, justice of peace, notary, magistrate, or mayor. As for the location, civil weddings are done in the courthouse.  


  • Ordained wedding officiant

Both the professional wedding officiant or celebrant and ordained wedding officiant are ideal for overlooking non-traditional weddings. The difference is that the celebrant is a professional, while an ordained wedding officiant is typically someone close to the couple that becomes officially ordained for the marriage to be legal. 

Note that it’s essential that your chosen friend or family member be officially ordained, and the requirements will vary for every state. For example, some allow online ordination, while some states won’t recognize online ordination. 


What Is The Difference Between A Celebrant And A Priest?

The main difference between a celebrant and a priest is that a celebrant is an individual who’s not a member of the clergy like the priest. The priest is also a religious wedding officiant, while a celebrant is not tied to any specific religion and can perform weddings regardless of faiths. 

That being said, getting married by a religious officiant means you must adhere to the religious traditions that must be performed in your wedding while getting married by a celebrant offers flexibility with the wedding structure. Lastly, religious officiants like priests often receive formal training for performing ceremonies, while celebrants underwent seminars by the celebrant organization of his country. 


What Is The Difference Between A Registrar And A Celebrant?

A registrar is among the type of legal people who can officiate a civil wedding ceremony. Therefore, he differs from a celebrant performing a ceremony without following a standardized short wedding ceremony, typical to a civil wedding. 

Can you have a celebrant and registrar for your wedding? Some couples choose to have both, so the registrar covers the legal aspect, then they can personalize the ceremony more with a celebrant. 


Is A Wedding With A Celebrant Legal?

Take note that while an officiant and celebrant are interchangeable terms since both can officiate a wedding ceremony, a celebrant-led wedding ceremony is not a legally binding ceremony. 

Therefore, you must have a marriage license and a signed marriage certificate for the marriage to be legal. Nonetheless, couples still consider having a celebrant for the flexibility in the wedding ceremony. 

They’ll get legally married beforehand, and the ceremony for the wedding becomes a celebratory event afterward. You can also have a civil ceremony before a celebrant-led wedding. 



And that’s it! We just discussed what is a celebrant wedding: it is a person who can perform and officiate a wedding, so it’s also the same as an officiant. 

However, note that a celebrant-led ceremony is not a legally binding wedding. To ensure the validity of your marriage, secure a marriage license and a signed marriage certificate. 

Leave a Comment