How to choose the perfect marriage celebrant for you (hint: it could me)
I know I sound biased BUT your celebrant is one of the key vendors for your wedding day.
Without them it’s just a big party. If you want to actually be married, well you need us to make it all legal.
Take time to choose your celebrant. They will set the tone not just for your ceremony but for the rest of the event. So you want someone who is a great fit, that you trust and will get your party started the right way. You also want someone who is going to guide you and support you but tell YOUR story. Not just re-hash a ceremony they have done hundreds of times before.
So here are my five big tips –
#1 Know what you are looking for – ask yourself two important questions a) How do you both want to feel on the day? Relaxed? Upbeat? Laugh? Serious? Loved up? AND THEN b) How do you want your guests to feel? Are they just watching on? Do you want them engaged? Laughing? Crying? Quiet? Dancing?
Once you know what sort of tone or mood you want and how you want that will help you narrow down your celebrant. You will want similar traits right.
If you want a fun, laugh riot ceremony with guests up and engaged then you need a celebrant who is upbeat and fun and enjoys a raucous ceremony.
If you want a ceremony that’s just about you two in a loved up bubble and everyone else are just watching on then know that so you can sound out a celebrant that can do that.
So knowing your type of ceremony (not necessarily what’s in it) is really KEY.
To be honest a really good celebrant should be able to adapt their style regardless……
Which brings me to #2
#2 Do your research first and start building a shortlist
Recommendations are a great place to start. And ask around. Put a request out on social media for recommendations from your friends and family.
Then hit up Google and look over those recommendations for yourself. Check out their website and socials. Look for the words you used to describe what is important to you in step #1. But don’t just skim their websites, dig in. There will probably be videos from previous wedding, galleries of them in action, reviews and their social media presence. Do you gel with what you are seeing and reading?
Make your list. You need to have a few options in case your date isn’t available. It could take a few emails before you find someone available and then you have to meet. Of course then there is budget.
#3. Reach out to your shortlist and start chatting
Say HI. Email or call. Firstly ask about the date. But then lay out a few of the things that are important to you for the ceremony and ask things like;
Have they been to your venue before?
Ideas they have on including kids/pets/grandparents?
Tell them you are big Star Trek fans, do they have any ideas?
What kind of sound system do they have?
Can they help with writing vows?
Let the celebrant know about some of your 'non negotiables' so you can start a dialogue with them and get a feel for them. Don’t forget to check you junk/spam folders for their response (this happens to me all the time).
If they respond, they’re available on your date and you get a good vibe then why not set up a chat. Face to face is better (in my experience) but a lot of celebrants do Facetime or Zoom meetings initially now days.
#4 Time to meet up
This meeting is about checking fit – both personality and budget and scoping out how they operate. You have probably a pretty good idea of whether they are a good fit by now but meeting up with a few celebrants never hurts. But be honest so they all know where they stand. The good ones will follow you up to see if you have questions.
Have some questions prepped like;
- Why did they become a celebrant?
- What do they love about it?
- Do they do rehearsals?
- How will you get to know us?
- What is their process for working with couples?
- Do you charge extra for parking or travel time?
- What happens if they get sick or if you have to postpone or cancel?
At this meeting you want to form a relationship with that person as well as finding out about their service. A great connection will ultimately lead to a great experience and a wonderful day.
#5 Lock them in ……
If you have found THE ONE then don’t delay locking them in. And don’t delay paying their booking fee or deposit. Nothing is locked down until you have signed their T&C’s and a booking fee. Especially if you are picking a popular date or a really popular celebrant.
Some couples will only meet with one celebrant and if they like them, will lock it in. Others will meet a handful of celebrants before making a decision. There is no right or wrong way to do it. It’s an important decision, so go about it whichever way works for you. Ultimately, you’ve just got to trust your gut.