Congratulations……You’re getting married!
Deciding to engage a Civil Marriage celebrant will give you unlimited choices regarding your wedding ceremony, but with so many to choose from, how do you decide which celebrant is right for you? Perhaps you’ve had recommendations from friends, or you’ve done an internet search for celebrants in your local area and have shortlisted a few that appeal to you? All Authorised Religious and Non-Religious Civil Marriage celebrants can legally marry you, of which a register of names is available on the Attorney-General’s website, but not all offer the same level of service.
Here are a few questions to keep in mind;
Is your celebrant available for your chosen date and time? Good celebrants can be booked out many months in advance, so it is important that you start looking for your celebrant as soon as possible.
Although price is in no way reflective of the quality of service provided, it’s obvious that you would like to know how much your celebrant will charge. What is and isn’t included in their price? Does your celebrant offer a transparent fee structure? Are there any hidden extras such as PA system, extra travel or parking fees? When is payment required?
Does your celebrant provide a rehearsal? Is a full on-site rehearsal included in their fee, or is it extra?
Do they have a quality PA system? It’s important that your guests can hear your ceremony, especially if you choose an outside venue. Depending on the location and number of guests, even the best projected voice can be difficult to hear.
Does your celebrant offer an obligation free first meeting? Are other meetings/phone calls/emails included in their fee?
Does your celebrant offer you a choice of ceremonies? Do they allow you to edit and customise your draft until it is perfect for you? Do they provide you with a selection of readings, poetry or vows to choose from? Is your celebrant willing to listen to your wishes and work with you to achieve your desired ceremony?
How soon will your celebrant arrive before your ceremony and conversely, how long will they stay once your ceremony is finished? If they have more than one ceremony booked, will they allow plenty of time to avoid rushing?
Will they liaise with your other providers such as photographers, venue staff or guests? Will they help prepare family or friends who may be doing a reading?
Will they find a replacement celebrant if they for some reason cannot attend?
Will they dress appropriately to fit your occasion?
There are probably many more questions to take into account, but I believe the most important thing you need to consider is do you feel comfortable with your celebrant? Is there a connection….do you click? Are they willing to listen and gently advise to ensure you have a legally valid marriage, while at the same time providing a ceremony that you will love?
There is really no right or wrong answer. Everyone’s different and with the wide choice of celebrants available you’re sure to find someone who is perfect for you.