Short answer: hire me. But seriously, your marriage celebrant will be one of your most valuable wedding vendors, so it's important to find the right one for the two of you.
So you’ve probably already picked a date and found a venue. You may have even booked a photographer. However, you still need the most important thing to turn your fancy party into a real-life (and legal) wedding – the marriage celebrant.
But where to start? At the time of writing this article, there are more than 8,600 registered Civil Marriage Celebrants in Australia. And sure, like any profession, there are some duds, but most of us are highly trained professionals (seriously – we are required to do government-mandated training every year).
Our main goal is to make sure you both have an amazing day. The thing is, we all have our own unique style and ways of achieving this. So this advice is not so much about finding a celebrant who doesn’t suck, but rather, how to find the celebrant that is right for *you*.
Step 1. Ask around
You could Google, but do you want to find the wedding celebrant who has spent the most money on optimising their SEO? Or do you want someone with a track record of creating amazing ceremonies?
Ask your married friends about what they loved/didn’t love about their celebrant. Ask your unwedded mates about who crushed it at a ceremony they attended. Ask your photographer about their favourite people to work with. And if all else fails, there’s still Google.
Pro tip: Found your “ideal” celebrant but they are already booked? Ask them! We’re a pretty tight-knit community and we always know a few like-minded celebrants who might be your perfect fit.
Step 2. Do some online stalking
Almost every marriage celebrant promises a unique, fun ceremony – but do they walk the walk? What’s “fun” to some people, may not be your style of frivolity. So stalk celebrant’s website and socials to get a feel for their style. Read their testimonials – do their couples say something different about them? And make sure they are living up to their promised values, e.g. do they say they’re LGBTI-friendly, but they only talk about the ‘bride & groom’ on their website?
Step 3. Get in touch
This might seem obvious, but there is a lot you can tell from the initial communication. How quick is the celebrant to respond? Did you get a good feeling from their email or the phone call? And importantly, are they available?
Step 4. The meet & greet
Most celebrants will offer an obligation-free meeting – definitely take them up on that before you book them. They will be working really closely with you to plan the wedding ceremony and asking you intimate details about your relationship, so it’s important that you trust them and feel comfortable around them.
Pro tip: Can’t meet in person? Skype them. Your celebrant is going to be front and centre at your ceremony, so they need to ace the face-to-face stuff.
5. Grill them
Before you have that first meeting, think about what’s most important to you. What values do you want the person marrying you to have? What kind of vibe do you want for the ceremony? Then ask ALL the questions. There’s a very good chance they’ve been involved in more weddings than you have, so there are no “stupid” questions. Your marriage celebrant should know their shit – and if they don’t, they should know where you can find the answer.
6. What's the price of a marriage celebrant?
Cost is a valid question. Wedding budgets are notorious for getting out of hand. But did you notice how this is the last thing on the list? That’s because a marriage celebrant is much more than the person who shows up on the day, says a few words and signs some papers.
We have a huge amount of experience to make sure your day runs smoothly. We hold your hand through all the legalities of the marriage ceremony. We set the tone for your wedding day and create an awesome vibe for you and your guests. We have hankies ready for your mum and are quick to shut down your drunk heckling cousin. We’re the keepers (and tellers) of your love story. So maybe instead of asking what we cost, think about how much value we bring.