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How to choose a wedding celebrant
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▷ 🥇 How to choose a wedding celebrant

To plan the perfect wedding, you need to surround yourself with the perfect team of vendors.

The wedding providers you choose will play a critical role in your day-to-day life, so it’s important that you do your research and choose the right people for the job. Especially when it comes to the person who will make your marriage official: your wedding celebrant!

Choosing a wedding celebrant is an extremely personal decision. This is the person who will be by your side at your wedding ceremony, during the most intimate, heartbreaking and exciting moments of the day.

The perfect celebrant will be able to communicate well with your guests and create the right atmosphere for your ceremony, while also helping to keep you cool under pressure.

Not only should your wedding celebrant be there to support and celebrate with you, there are also many hours of behind-the-scenes planning and paperwork before the ceremony. This means that the chosen celebrant will need to be highly organized, self-confident, knowledgeable, and detailed.

That’s a ton of boxes to check, so it’s important to do your research beforehand to find the best celebrant for your special day! But with so many different options out there when it comes to wedding celebrators, where do you even start with choosing your own?

We’ve compiled some helpful tips and information below, including a list of questions to ask yourself and a review of expectations before, during, and after the day. This will help you narrow down your search for the perfect celebrant!

Photography: Kate Holstein Photography

What does a wedding celebrant really do?

Before you start outlining your ideal wedding celebrant, take a second to think about what your role really includes.

It is a legal requirement for all marriages in Australia to have a ceremony performed by an authorized celebrant. Not only will they officiate your marriage and host your ceremony on the same day, they will also take care of all the legal documentation necessary for your partnership to be officially recognized in Australia.

If you are planning a destination wedding, the wedding celebrant will be able to help you comply with any rules or regulations that may apply to your chosen destination. Different countries have different requirements when it comes to making your marriage official, so your wedding celebrant can help you do the appropriate research here.

The simplest option for couples planning a destination wedding is for the wedding celebrant to complete all legal components and documentation here in Australia, either before or after the royal wedding. In this way, they can continue to participate on the wedding day by organizing a “symbolic” ceremony in their place.

Along with all the required legal obligations, your celebrant will also be there for you on a more personal level. They will get to know you and your partner, learn all about your stories and your relationship, and help you customize your ceremony to fit any religious or cultural tradition.

When you say it like that, it is a lot of responsibility for a person, and such an important role in the day. This is why choosing the perfect celebrant is so important!

Photography: LoveHer Photography

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Where to find a wedding celebrant

Not sure where to start looking for the perfect celebrant for your wedding? There are hundreds of registered celebrants to choose from, so narrowing down your search is the hard part. We recommend starting with the following:

Recommendations from friends and family

A wedding celebrant cannot sound good on paper. They need to have the right personality and the right presence for their ceremony to come to life! If you want to know exactly how a celebrant works that day, you will have to ask people who have had first-hand experiences with them.

Begin your search for celebrants by asking your newlywed friends and family for their recommendations based on your own marriage experiences. Ask for their honest opinion on everything from their personality back in the day, to organizing, planning and communicating behind the scenes.

Wedding Fairs

Attending a wedding fair should be the next step in finding the perfect celebrant. Yes, there are tons of directories online and the right celebrant might just be a Google search – but a wedding fair actually allows you to meet and chat with the celebrators in person. This is invaluable when you think about how personal and intimate her role really is for your big day.

With many local wedding fairs operating annually, use this as an opportunity to chat with a few celebrants and see how they communicate with each other. Do you feel relaxed, comfortable and safe? Or is it awkward and tense? Use these wedding fairs to find a celebrant you really click with in person.

Provider Recommendations

The wedding industry is a tight knit community and you will find that everyone knows everyone!

Use it to your advantage by asking any wedding provider you have already booked, such as your venue or your wedding planner, to recommend the best celebrators.

Chances are, your chosen providers will work alongside a variety of different celebrators each weekend and can give you an honest recommendation based on your previous experiences. Pay attention if the same name keeps popping up, as it is possible that you will come across a winner.

Photograph: The image is found

Questions to ask

Once you have narrowed down your search for celebrant to one or two options, the next step will be to organize an initial consultation. An in-person consultation really allows you to connect with this person and see how well they communicate and work together.

It also means that you can ask all the essential questions in advance to avoid surprises later. From legalities to deposit payments and liabilities, there are a few topics that must be covered in advance before signing any contract.

When it comes to the most important questions to ask a potential celebrant, don’t forget the following:

  • Are you available for my wedding date?

  • What are your fees and what does it include?

  • Are there additional costs to be aware of?

  • Are you officially registered and qualified?

  • How many weddings have you officiated so far?

  • What kind of paperwork do you require from us, for example, birth certificates, identity documents?

  • What is your process when it comes to writing the ceremony? Do you collaborate with us or do you work from a standard template?

  • Can we read the ceremony before the day?

  • How will you personalize our ceremony to reflect us as a couple?

  • What do you want to know about us as a couple?

  • Do you have a public address system and a microphone?

  • Do you have a table to sign and chairs to sign?

  • Do you have insurance?

  • Do you need a ceremony rehearsal?

  • What will your role be that day?

  • What if you are unwell or there is an emergency during the day? Do you have a backup celebrant and how will this work?

  • Can you offer to help us write our wedding vows?

  • Why did you decide to become a celebrant?

  • How well do you deal with any unexpected problems in the day?

  • Do you accept more than one ceremony reservation per day? What does this mean for us if our hours are late?

  • Do you accept a deposit and how much is this?

  • When is the final payment due?

  • What do you like best about being a celebrant?

Don’t forget to download a printable version of these questions so you can bookmark them during your consultation! If your celebrant can reassure you with these questions, you can be sure that they will be the most suitable for the job.

Photography: Aaron Delesie

What to expect from your wedding celebrant

So what role will your wedding celebrant play in your wedding journey? It’s not just about that magical moment where you and your partner say “yes, I do.” Your wedding celebrant will be a critical part of your planning process before, during, and after the big day.

It is important to know exactly what to expect from your wedding celebrant, to identify who is responsible for what and when. Having clear expectations will help you stay organized and keep the planning process running smoothly.

Before the day

After reserving your celebrant and locking them in with a deposit, your wedding celebrant will first get to know you as a couple. They will want to know the ins and outs of how you met, how you set out, the memorable moments you have had, and what it is that you love about each other. This will help you tailor your ceremony to reflect your unique personality and the bond you both share.

They will then need to gather some documentation from you, such as your birth certificate and identification forms. This will allow them to prepare all the necessary legal documents before the big day, including your marriage certificate. Your celebrant will also need to witness and receive your Projected Marriage Notice.

To start writing your ceremony, your celebrant can send you some questions to answer and help you fill in the blanks and customize the procedures. They should also appreciate any input or collaboration on your part as to how you want the ceremony to unfold. This will allow them to present a first draft of the ceremony to you for your approval (you may get goosebumps reading it!)

Once your ceremony has been approved, you may choose to rehearse it with your celebrant as a rehearsal before the day. You’ll also send your wedding spreadsheet to your celebrant so they know when to arrive and how the day is going to run.

On day

On your wedding day, your celebrant will arrive at the venue to set up your PA systems and any other agreed-upon equipment, such as a table or chairs for signing. As they will be one of the first people to arrive at the ceremony location, they will also greet and mingle with your guests as they arrive.

The chosen celebrant will stand next to the groom and help calm their nerves while they wait for you to arrive. After your arrival, they will conduct your ceremony. This includes making sure all legal requirements are met, helping you with your votes if necessary, and making sure everything runs smoothly. Then you will be officially announced as married!

After the ceremony is over and your certificate has been signed and witnessed, your celebrant will pack his gear and leave the venue.

After the day

After the big day, your celebrant will send your marriage certificate and any other documentation to the appropriate registry to officially register your marriage. That’s it – now you’re married!

Photography: Brett Heidebrecht

Final thoughts

Choosing a wedding celebrant is a very personal decision, and not one that should be taken lightly. It could be one of the most important decisions you will make when it comes to choosing the best providers to help make the wedding of your dreams come true.

When you look at the amount of work behind the scenes and during the day, it shows why the best celebrators are in such high demand. Your celebrant will be a part of one of the most special and memorable moments of your entire life, so choosing the right setting is crucial.

Think about what personality traits are important to you in a celebrant. Do you want someone with a bubbly attitude and sense of humor? Or would you prefer a more sophisticated and professional approach?

Each celebrant will have their own unique personality and perspective on marriage, so take the time to find the celebrant who best matches your vision of the wedding and how you envision the day that unfolds.

It may seem like a daunting decision at first, but keep the tips above in mind and you’ll know exactly where to look and what to ask to find the perfect celebrant for your needs. Our number one rule: follow your instincts. If it feels good, it probably is!

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