‘Busiest year’ for non church ceremonies

Brian Barr, of Irish Ceremonies says more and more people are opting for an alternative ceremony.
Brian Barr, of Irish Ceremonies says more and more people are opting for an alternative ceremony.

A retired Derry registrar, who now performs birth, marriage renewal and commitment ceremonies across the North West and beyond says this year will be his busiest year to date as more and more people locally opt for non traditional ways to mark the major events in their lives.

Brian Barr, who served as Derry registrar for over 40 years, says he’s now taking “more requests than ever before” for marriages and naming ceremonies.

“Naming ceremonies are definitely proving a big hit. A lot of the time, couples want to name the new baby who’s come into their family but if they’re not religious, they want a way of doing that reflects what’s important to them and a ceremony where the baby is given its name.

It’s always a lovely experience for the extended family too because they can tailor the ceremony to what they want it to be.

“A traditional ceremony isn’t for everyone and that’s why I offer something different. Regardless of your circumstances or beliefs, everyone wants a day where they can welcome their baby into the world with family and friends, and more people are choosing alternative ways of doing that.”

Brian says when it comes to deciding how to mark life’s major events, he’s been “incredibly busy” with more and more couples preferring commitment and non church wedding ceremonies.

“I work closely with the local registrar’s office, so while they look after the legal side of things, I work with the individuals in question and help them script what they want to happen on their big day. I’ve been inundated with requests from couples who want non traditional marriage ceremonies and I’ve even performed traditional Irish hand fastening ceremonies. Generally, what I’m seeing is that people are more forward thinking and that births, marriages and other occasions are certainly not the ‘one size fits all’ way that they once were.”

Brian says he still takes great pleasure in being involved in the happiest moments in life for the people he works with.

“The greatest day in any couple’s life is when each promises themselves to each other forever, and when people approached me to become involved in their wedding, even after I was retired, was a huge privilege. I certainly didn’t envisage there being the demand there has been for alternative ceremonies across the North West and beyond and I think that says a lot about the way the world is changing. Generally, people are more accepting and open minded, and I think that’s reflected in the work that we do here at Irish Ceremonies.”

Visit www.irishceremonies.com for more information.