Getting married by a wedding celebrant is a wonderful way to create a wedding that reflects you and the things that are important to you.
There are lots of reasons for choosing a wedding celebrant. Many people tell me they that when they were younger they assumed they would get married in a church or chapel, but now they are planning their wedding they have decided that a religious wedding is not for them.
Maybe you are marrying someone of a different faith and want to make everyone at the wedding feel welcome. Perhaps you don’t have the same beliefs your were brought up with and want an alternative to a registry office wedding.
You like the idea of a humanist wedding because it allows you to create a unique ceremony. You can write your own vows, choose a specific or unusual venue and include readings or symbolic gestures that reflect your personality and values.
Now, you need someone to officiate your wedding and be your wedding celebrant. The marriage ceremony is a big part of your day, so how to you make sure you choose a celebrant that reflects your wishes, personality and helps you create the wedding day you dreamed of?
Here are my top 10 tips for choose a wedding celebrant
1. Look at their website
A good place to start selecting potential wedding celebrants is to check out their website. Read the testimonials from the couples they have married and ask if it is possible to speak to or email a couple they have recently married.
2. Consider their training
Check out their personal profile for information on the training they have received. Also check they have passed disclosure checks, are fully trained, qualified, insured and licensed.
3. Call them directly
It is important that you ‘click’ with your wedding celebrant. Call and ask them for an overview of what a humanist wedding ceremony will involve. From the call you will get an idea of their communication skills which are critical for conducting the ceremony you want, as well as working with wedding suppliers and welcoming your guests.
Consider their speaking voice and their attitude. Ask them if they can include personal content such as a reading or a symbolic gesture that is meaningful to you. Or ask them if they can suggest some content. You should be able to tell a lot from their response including their values, listening skills and positive attitude to creating a ceremony that is tailored for you.
4. Find out their fees
Don’t be shy about asking for the price or fees. Consider the time the celebrant will be working with you behind the scenes helping you to create your ceremony as well as time spent traveling, equipment and the time spent in front of guests officiating your marriage ceremony. Ask for a detailed break down if it seems high. If it sounds very low, beware – remember to check training and disclosure.
Find out if they are prepared to travel to different locations. If they are local, traveling to your wedding venue should not be a problem. If they are traveling a long distance ask them how they will make sure they will find and arrive at your venue.
6. Short list two celebrants
Short list two, three at the most. Meet the celebrant you consider most likely first. If they are unavailable or if you have any reservations proceed to the next person.
7. Meet them in person
Meeting your celebrant in person or on a webcam allows you to build rapport. Gauge how warm and friendly they are. Their suggestions and professional advice should fill you will confidence that they will deliver a wonderful wedding ceremony that reflects you, delights your guests and creates wonderful memories.
8. Ask them to suggest content for vows, readings and gestures
You may already have ideas for your ceremony, but if you are stuck ask your celebrant for help with humanist vows, readings or symbolic gestures. If you are bringing families of different faiths or cultures together, talk to your celebrant about the sensitivities involved and they will deliver a ceremony that is respectful to all.
Are they available for a rehearsal the evening before.
Marriage ceremonies by celebrants are booked months in advance, so don’t miss out. As soon as you find a wedding celebrant that you connect with and who is excited about helping you to create the ceremony you want – book them!