Quick guide to finding your perfect marriage celebrant
Posted: Dec 27, 2019
When planning a wedding, most couples find themselves with a number of tasks and to-do’s which they have no prior experience with. Amongst these are the sheer number of service providers you have to arrange. You are effectively the CEO of Wedding Inc. and have to assemble a team of service providers to realise your unique vision for your special day.
Naturally, you have to manage a budget, but you want quality from your providers. Price will always be a major consideration, but it’s a huge risk with this most significant of days to make it the only one!
Use this guide to help you navigate the process of finding your Wedding Celebrant. This is one of the most important choices you will make. Your celebrant is responsible for the heart of your day, the ceremony itself. The ceremony does not stand alone in your day, it sets the tone for the rest of your day.
You want to avoid paying over market rates for someone, but you also don’t want to pay peanuts (and risk monkeys) as the idiom goes.
Broadly 3 main criteria for hiring someone
- Qualifications (a given with all celebrants)
- The right fit’
The first of these, Qualifications is a given. If someone promotes themselves as an Australian licenced marriage celebrant it’s not unreasonable to take that at face value.
Under this bracket, I would also include whether they present themselves as a professional business or not. Do they have a professional-looking website, not just a basic listing on a Wedding Directory? Do they provide couples with a detailed quotation breaking down inclusions and exclusions? Do they present you with a clear and detailed agreement when you sign up? Walk away from any celebrant who cannot supply you with a clear contract or agreement when booking. You should not be expecting something only legal professionals can digest, this should just establish a shared understanding between the couple and the celebrant around some basic scenarios such as in the event of a delay in the ceremony start time, the celebrant falling ill or otherwise being unable to attend.
There is a wide range of prices charged by Celebrant. Price may be an indication that the celebrant may not currently have as much experience, but not necessarily. The service on offer from celebrants also varies with price, hence you can find experienced celebrants who offer cheap ceremonies, but these will be generic ceremonies with little or no customization since they cannot afford to spend many hours preparing ceremonies. More often, a high price indicates that this is likely an experienced Marriage Celebrant that offers unique ceremonies.
Qualifications and Experience and price are quick and easy to figure out, but your best chance of making the perfect choice comes from finding ‘the right fit’, the Celebrant who you you ‘click with’ and who gets who you both are and understands what your perfect ceremony looks like.
The best place to start finding the ‘right fit’ is through reviews and testimonials. Google and Facebook are the most trustworthy review sources. It’s not much help looking at the number of reviews (that just says how actively the celebrant follows up with clients afterward for a review) and they’re almost all 5 stars. Instead, you need to read through the reviews and look for phrases from the reviewer that give clues as to the style and personality of the celebrant. Some of these will resonate with what you both are also looking for in a celebrant, others won’t.
Make a shortlist of 3 and contact all three to line up a chat to discuss your ceremony and confirm whether they’re the right fit for you and remember, expect a clear and detailed quote that breaks down inclusions, and extras and a professional agreement or contract.
Meggan Brummer is a Sydney Based Wedding Celebrant, Freelance Writer and Corporate Wellbeing Consultant.