There are so many reasons why couples choose to have a celebrant, mainly to have a very personalised ceremony and we have had many here at Danby Castle. However, right now, due to the pandemic, couples are choosing a celebrant for their wedding day ceremony as there is a lack of registrar availability, especially for those wanting to get married between midday and 2pm. For the legal part you could go to your nearest registry office and sign the paperwork before or after your actual 'wedding day'. We have provided many different options to our couples, and manage everything so guests have no idea you are not getting legally married when you are married by a humanist celebrant.
We have worked with Karen King from www.kingscelebrantservices.com for many, many years so the spotlight is now on you Karen!
How long have you been in business Karen?
I have just celebrated my 12th anniversary.
Why did you start King's Celebrant Services?
I was approached by a group of local celebrants having been recommended to them by our local MP. I realised instantly that I could help couples put into words their thoughts, feelings and emotions and offer them something truly unique and personal, which was not available in traditional ceremonies. I could also offer more flexibility on locations and timings of their ceremony, include their family and friends and make it fun and enjoyable and most of all memorable to them and all of their guests. For my first and second wedding’s I was approached by Danby Castle, one was held on the lawns with the guests overlooking the fabulous views of the Esk Valley and the other was held in the Castle ruins, we also had the flexibility of moving the ceremonies inside to the beautiful Court room at short notice, should the weather decide to change at the last minute.
What is your favourite thing about your business?
It has to be helping bring to life a ceremony like no other, tailor made to suit the personalities of the couples, adding themes and little touches and seeing the smiles on the faces of the couples and their guests when they exchange their vows which are reflective of them rather than standard words they would never say to each other, and of course receiving the feedback and reviews when people comment that it was the best wedding ceremony they have ever been to.
Are you happy to travel for weddings (UK and abroad)?
I work predominantly in Yorkshire but am happy to travel anywhere. I have written wedding scripts for couples marrying on a beach in Goa and written and officiated at weddings for couples living in Australia, America, China, and Palestine amongst many other countries, who have chosen to celebrate their weddings in the UK. I have also worked with interpreters, welcomed the guests in both English and their spoken language and had readings which guests have shared, one of the most memorable ones being in Welsh.
Couples can also exchange vows in their chosen language too if they prefer, especially if their guests all speak it, and in those cases there is not need for and English translation unless requested.
How far in advance do couples need to book you?
I think the quickest was a couple I met on the Friday and married on the Sunday, but I have taken bookings up to 3 years in advance. It is imperative to confirm bookings as soon as possible, especially with key dates in the Summer as they tend to get booked up well in advance, and I have often had to turn down 2 or 3 on the same day as I already have one in the diary.
What are your expert tips for couples?
I would always say, relax and have fun throughout, and don’t be afraid to ask for exactly what you want. It is after all your day and you want everything to be perfect. Also listen to the professionals, they can offer you ideas you may not have thought of which can add elements of fun to the proceedings and they will also know if an idea might not work as well in practice as the idea initially sounds.
How has Covid-19 affected your business?
Sadly, most of my 2020 weddings were postponed, and a few were cancelled, especially when the couples were travelling from abroad due to the uncertainty. Early 2021 bookings are now being moved to the Summer or next year and I have been happy to accommodate the new dates. As the pandemic has also restricted registrar ceremonies, it will be more difficult in 2021 and 2022 for couple to get a time which suits their
needs for the legal aspects, which is where I can help out as I can offer more flexibility and a time which suits the couple’s itinerary better.
What are you most looking forward to when weddings can start again?
I think the most important thing is to realise the impact the pandemic has had on couples and the stress it has caused having to cancel or have very restricted numbers in attendance. I think seeing the joy of couples finally getting married after the uncertainty of the last year will make these moments every more special and memorable, and what a story to tell future generations as to how their love survived throughout everything and they finally had the day of their dreams.
Do you have any special offers for Danby Castle couples?
As Danby Castle was the place I officiated my first ever ceremony it will always hold a special place in my heart and as I know how professional the management and teams are in making everything run smoothly, it is always a pleasure to return so I offer any couples choosing to marry there a 10% discount on all ceremony prices, I also do not charge for mileage if the couple wish to meet me there for their consultation or if they would like a rehearsal.
Do you think the government will ever make it legal in England and Wales for a celebrant to legally marry a couple, as they can do in Scotland?
I do think inevitably it will become legal, that will however require certain legal wordings to be used which are not required in a Humanist Ceremony at the moment. I personally love the flexibility that the legal aspects being done separately affords the couples I work with, but will embrace any changes which allows celebrants to officiate legal weddings in the future, as it gives couples more choice.
Thank you Karen, we really appreciate you taking part in our Supplier Spotlight and we hope you are in for a very busy 2021 and 2022. You can contact Karen on 01642 272823 for further information, or take a look at her website and Facebook:
The photos used in this article were all taken from the Danby Castle Facebook page