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Celebrant-led Wedding Ceremonies At Dove Barn. New For 2021!


From February 2021 Dove Barn is changing from being a venue that offers civil ceremonies to one that only offers ‘Celebrant-led wedding ceremonies’ and Receptions and Wedding Receptions following a Church Wedding. It will no longer be able to conduct the legally binding civil ceremony that is administered by a Council Registrar.


What does this mean for couples?


Currently most couples choose to be married either in a civil or religious ceremony. These ceremonies are sanctioned by the state and therefore a couple is ‘legally married’ after the ceremony. However, there is an alternative way to get married that offers couples:

• Greater flexibility
• A more personal wedding service, including choice of vows and readings
• Potential cost savings over a Civil Ceremony at a Licensed premises

But, it is a slightly more long-winded process!


What’s the hitch?


A celebrant-led wedding ceremony is not legally binding! This means that after the much more ‘personal’ ceremony, in which you can write your own vows and choose any readings you won’t be legally married. You will have to go to a Registry Office separately and have a ‘quickie’ civil ceremony to make it legal!


Why would I want to do that?


Have you been to a civil ceremony recently? They all sound the same and are generally designed to ensure the Registrars can get the job done and leave in 20 minutes! If you choose a celebrant-led wedding you can design the ceremony to reflect your values, thoughts and principles. You are in-charge. You can either use a professional ‘celebrant’ who will write and conduct the ceremony after taking time to get to know you personally or you can ask a friend to conduct the ceremony.

If you want you can choose a reading or music from a particular religion, be it Christian, Muslim or Buddhist you can. That is not allowed at a ‘non-secular’ civil ceremony!

Commenting on the reasons for this change in policy at Dove Barn, owner Adam Dixon-Smith said:

‘Having been to five ‘Celebrant-led’ weddings in 2019 I have been struck by how much more personal, meaningful and emotionally involving these ceremonies are for both the happy couple and their guests. If I was getting married today I would definitely choose this way.’

What’s more, at Dove Barn this means you can now choose an outdoor ceremony in the wedding meadow or an indoor ceremony in the barn.

Anna Dixon-Smith added ‘We are really excited by this change. As well as offering couples a more personal service it is often a cheaper way to get married. Having a registrar conduct your ceremony at a licensed premises like Dove Barn now costs around £500.00. A celebrant might charge £350 for their services and a small registry office ceremony might be as little as £50.

If you would like to discuss the new ‘celebrant-led’ ceremonies at Dove Barn please call us on 01787 210007 or email


Come & have a look at Dove Barn - we'd love to show you around


Dove Barn is a truly unique venue and really benefits from you having a look around so please get in touch and we will be happy to show you around the venue.  Please call 01787 210007 or email if you would like any further information.


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Houchins, our sister venue, just 30 minutes from Dove Barn.


Houchins is situated just outside Coggeshall in Essex. Slightly bigger than Dove Barn, Houchins is licenesed for civil ceremonies both inside and outside for up to 120 people. Its dining area, in the old grainstore seats 150 in comfort. In addition to the venue, tastefully converted from an old barn, Houchins offers luxurious accommodation for up to 14 guests in the historic listed grade 2* farmhouse and additional accommodation for the bridal couple in the adjacent, newly converted Honeymoon Lodge .


Last Minute



If a long engagement is not for you, why not consider our special 'quickie' discount. Subject to availability, we offer a 20% discount off the venue hire (only) when you book and marry in 4 months or less! 

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“We loved Dove Barn - the Venue is absolutely amazing! It gives you a blank canvas to create a personalised wedding. Jayson was helpful in the run up to the wedding, helping to organise props and giving us tips on local suppliers. Both Jason and Adam were great on the day, helping everything run smoothly. We would definitely recommend this beautiful venue!”

- Emma -