Hey soon-to-be Newlyweds! How’s the preparation coming along? Have you found all the required vendors for your wedding yet?
Among the wedding vendors, the most important one that you need to pay close attention to is the marriage celebrant.
This person will play a big role on your special day not only to officiate as you say your vows but also to make your wedding the most memorable day of your lives.
What does a marriage celebrant do?
Marriage or wedding celebrants carry out legal marriages and serve as hosts for the entire wedding ceremony.
There are two types of marriage celebrants in Australia: a religious marriage celebrant and a civil marriage celebrant.
Religious marriage celebrants are representatives of religious organisations, like priests, pastors, and rabbis.
Civil marriage celebrants are non-clergy and do non-religious or secular weddings.
Both marriage celebrants must be authorised by the Australian Government to conduct legal marriages in the country.
Aside from overseeing the wedding ceremony, a marriage celebrant is also in charge of the legal documents to make your marriage official in Australia. That person will guide you on all the requirements and will accomplish them all on or before the actual wedding day.
On a personal level, your chosen marriage celebrant will get to know you as a couple to customise the ceremony according to your personalities and set the mood of the event accordingly.
These are critical tasks that will make your wedding day a success. So, even if you’re on a tight schedule, you must take your time to find a marriage celebrant that you really like as a couple. These are the best tips, advice, and considerations for finding and choosing the right wedding celebrant.
Find a marriage celebrant you’re comfortable with
There are different ways to find a marriage celebrant. You can ask for referrals from your other wedding vendors, attend some wedding fairs or do searches on the web.
Remember, this person will be asking questions about you, your partner, and your families. It’s important to seek someone that you will be comfortable to work with.
So, it may be a better option to ask for recommendations from families and friends, if you don’t know any marriage celebrant yourselves. Perhaps, you can choose the same celebrant of your sister or best friend’s wedding, if they had good feedback for the person. This means that you already know that person and his/her work, which will give you some level of ease immediately.
If your family or friends have no recommendations, then you’ll need to find a marriage celebrant on your own. Make sure to choose someone that you have confidence in, and you’ll trust with your special day.
Consider your own religious affiliation
Many Australian weddings are officiated by civil marriage celebrants. But that doesn’t mean that you should go along with the trend and forget your religious upbringing. In fact, your marriage is the perfect opportunity to practice your faith. Consider your parish priest, pastor, or rabbi to be your marriage celebrant if applicable.
Make sure to set your expectations with the celebrant about the ceremony proceedings. Religious weddings have a set of guidelines that must be followed. But you can still talk to the marriage celebrant about your ideas to know which ones can be included in the proceedings.
Look for alternative celebrants
If you are looking for an interfaith wedding, same-sex unions, modern wedding, or a more fun ceremony; you can look for some alternative celebrants and make your choice. There are new generations of professional celebrants who can do personalized wedding ceremonies for types of marriages. They are more open-minded and are willing to adjust to the type of wedding ceremony that you want.
Retired judges, former Catholic priests and Unitarian ministers are also some of the good options if you are looking for alternative celebrants. You can also ask a friend or family member to get ordained and they can officiate your marriage instead if you want to have a more intimate wedding.
Clarify the flow of the ceremony
To find a marriage celebrant that’s appropriate for your kind of wedding, you must ask how the potential celebrant’s plan to preside the ceremony. Don’t hesitate to clarify every detail of the proceedings, including the wedding script, as well as the flow and the tone of the ceremony.
During the interview, specify the types of language that you prefer, whether it be formal or a more relaxed one. Tell the celebrant what common wedding ceremony phrases bug you and your preferred replacements.
Maybe you’d prefer to hear “from now to eternity” than “till death do us part”, or “husband and wife” than “man and wife”. Whatever it is, make sure to mention it when talking with the marriage celebrant.
You must also establish an agreement on what to include and what not to include in your wedding proceedings. Else, you and your partner might hear political rants, distasteful jokes or an inappropriate story that will spoil your day.
To avoid all these, make clarifications with the marriage celebrant once and for all. If possible, put your agreement into writing to make everything official.
Ask the right questions
Interviewing the potential wedding celebrant is the perfect opportunity to see if he fits your wedding plans. You must ask the right questions in order to find a marriage celebrant that’s right for your wedding.
Here are 6 most important questions to ask in an interview with your potential wedding celebrant:
1. Is the marriage celebrant authorised by the Australian Government?
2. Is he available on your wedding day?
3. What are the fees for the services?
4. Are there any additional costs?
5. Is a deposit required and how much?
6. When do you need to make the final payment?
7. What requirements you and your partner need to submit?
8. Does the celebrant have a standard template for the wedding script? Will he accept inputs from you when finalising it and the flow of the proceedings?
9. Can you and your partner review the ceremony prior to the wedding day?
10. What personal information will the celebrant require from you?
11. Will the marriage celebrant customise the ceremony to your likings?
12. Will there be a ceremony rehearsal?
13. If an emergency occurs with the celebrant, will there be a back-up?
14. Does the celebrant take multiple bookings per day?
15. How will he handle unexpected problems during the wedding day?
If you are planning to have an outdoor/hinterland/winery style wedding, then it’s also important to ask if the celebrant is amenable to it.
You should also ask the following questions:
1. Is the wedding celebrant comfortable doing a hinterland or garden wedding?
2. Will the celebrant bring its own PA system and a microphone?
3. Does he have signing tables and chairs?
4. Does he have travel insurance for destination weddings?
A final tip for you
The marriage celebrant that you’ll choose should be the best fit for you as a couple and the type of wedding you want.
These tips and advice will help you find that person. You just need to be patient because finding the right celebrant can be a stressful task.
In the end, it will all be worth it, and you’ll have the most memorable wedding day of your lives.
Found A Wedding Venue Yet?
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