Deputy Superintendent Registrar at Warwickshire County Council
‘Marrying people’, now that would be rewarding, I thought when I spotted the job on social media about registering and conducting wedding ceremonies. I got the job and rewarding it certainly is.
I’m Jenny. I’m a Registrar. People make appointments to see me to record and legally register three major life events: births, marriages and deaths. These are required to be registered face to face so I’m there for people at these big milestones, the times of great happiness and also of great sadness too.
In the same day I can share the joy with parents seeing their baby’s name written, maybe for the very first time, on the birth certificate. We use a fountain pen and special ‘registration ink’ that doesn’t fade on the official document. I also see extreme grief too when a parent comes to see me to register the death of a child or a stillbirth.
It’s this range of emotions that make the job so demanding, yet so rewarding. One of the things I love most is helping people to plan their ceremony – whether that’s a marriage or a civil partnership.
One ceremony I did recently was extra special; the lockdown had delayed the wedding and instead of just two people getting married, it was a celebration of their lockdown baby’s arrival as well. The sign to guests said it all. ‘Welcome to our wedding. We’ve waited an extra two years for this, do please party accordingly!”
I also do rather sadder occasions called ‘death bed weddings’ that involve marrying a couple before one passes away. They can be at someone’s home or a hospice with only close family there.
The pandemic brought many challenges. Deaths became the only focus as other registrations were put on hold. That was really hard especially as there were no face-to-face meetings allowed, so we were registering all deaths over the phone. We were often someone’s first contact after they lost their partner; they were calling afraid and alone.
Post the pandemic restrictions we are busy catching up on weddings and civil partnerships across all our licensed venues, as well as our register offices, where people can tie the knot.
It’s a real privilege to serve the community. Every day is so different because every person that comes through our doors is different. There’s great training too, from public speaking to legal aspects of registration. You’ve really got to love people, be able to empathise and support people too. I’m keen to continue my career as a Registrar.
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