5 Things to Think About When Choosing Your Marriage Celebrant

1. Think about the kind of couple you both are

You probably already know a lot about each others likes and dislikes.
Discuss weddings you have recently attended. Focus on details of the wedding and simply make a note of how you liked them.

2. How do you find your celebrant?

Like all services for your wedding, there are many style and a range of providors. Searching the net has pitfalls. How do you know who is qualified and experienced?
There are a number of membership organisations for marriage celebrants. A code of ethics applies so you can be sure that the celebrants listed are ethical.
There are also a number of directory listings, often based on regions. If you know, enter your proposed location. If you are not sure where you would like to be married, your celebrant should be able to assist you with ideas.
If you have been recommended to a celebrant, “Google” their name and check out their website. Remember, you are entrusting your celebrant with a lifelong memory. You want to be sure you choose the best one for you!

3. Celebrant Checklist

A celebrant’s website will give you a good feel of their style of presentation. Most professionals include an image and this can also assist you in deciding if you feel comfortable with their look.

Apart from the style of the website giving you an idea, check out what they focus on the website. A “to do” checklist from your celebrant is a helpful addition (Check out the one on this website).

– Contact your celebrant by phone

– Ask the celebrant if they have conducted ceremonies in the style you like.

– Make an appointment to visit the celebrant in their office. You will get a better feel if you will feel comfortable with them

– Check the celebrant has their own PA system – by law they are obligated to ensure everyone attending can hear the ceremony

– If you think it will assist you, ask the celebrant if there is a possibility you could watch one of their ceremonies. As a courtesy, you are advised to get the permission from the bride and groom.

Remember if you are not happy with the services provided by the celebrant the Attorney General’s Department has a complaint system in place.

4. What is included?

Your celebrant doesn’t just turn up on the day – there are many “behind the scenes” things to be done!

– Your celebrant meets with you, often more than once

– A visit to your wedding location prior to the date is often included

– Ongoing communication, including details of the ceremony

– Solemnisation of your ceremony

– Preparation and lodgement of requisite documentation to Attorney Generals Department and
Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages. These include:

On the Day

For a marriage ceremony to be legally binding, there are essentially 3 requirements on the day:

(1) The Celebrant must state their legal authority to perform marriages and must state the definition of marriage according to law in Australia.

(2) The couples must exchange vows – these include a specific statement as well as their own vows if they so wish.

(3) Sign the certificates (with two witnesses) and the marriage register Other aspects, such as rituals, symbolism, exchange of rings, readings and music are of your choosing.
What the Celebrant Doesn’t Do

Note: You will need to advise the Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages if you change your name.

Appropriate visas eg spouse visa, are your responsibility. Your celebrant can provide you with a letter of support for the relevant embassy.

5. Price

There is no set price for a marriage celebrant.

Price varies depending often on the location and additional inclusions.

Ask your celebrant for details of what they include – some offer extra services.
A deposit is generally required. This ranges from a flat fee to 50% of the fee. Check what amount is non-refundable. The balance is due prior to the wedding, often at your final meeting.

If the celebrant is unable to attend on the day, it is their responsibility to provide you with a replacement.

Now you are set for the joy, the laughter, the warmth and the sincerity of your wedding… and the creation of a lifelong memory!