When planning your wedding, it's easy to get drawn in by all the things you want from your Big Day - it is, after all, (probably) the only time you will get married! Of course you want the very best from your day, in every area of the planning. The best photographer, the best hair and makeup, venue, flowers, cake ... the list goes on. And, we expect to pay for what we get. If we want the best photographers, we have to pay a little more, and that's okay. Same goes for all the other areas too.
One of the biggest battles we as celebrants face, is justifying our fee to couples. I mean, a celebrant just arrives, talks for ten minutes, signs a bit of paper and leaves, right?
I mean, there are some celebrants who do this, but I can assure you that many of us out there put so much more into each of our weddings.
For some people, being a celebrant is a hobby. For others, a part time gig. And for many of us, it's more than a job - it's a passion. Watching people who we grow to know over the months we know them, experience this awesome day together, is just ... I don't know, there don't seem to be the words. It's truly awesome.
A good celebrant will get to know you both. Whether you meet them in person before the wedding or not, they will feel like they know you, and you them as well. A celebrant should be a friend, a confidant, someone you put your trust in both in the lead up to, and on your wedding day, to make sure that your day will go exactly the way you want it to, without your having to rush around checking on things and making sure things are going to plan.
As celebrants, we have performed hundreds of weddings. We know what works well, and what might not work. And every wedding is different, so a good celebrant will have the ability to put into practice that knowledge and fit it into your circumstances. A good celebrant often does things without you noticing, but that you would definitely have noticed had they not been there to do it.
We celebrants have families, and lives outside of weddings, as well as having many other couples and weddings booked. Yet we manage to balance and juggle all of these things, to ensure that on your wedding day, you are front and centre in our minds. On your wedding day, a good celebrant will make you feel as though they have no other care in the world. That you are the only couple ever to have been married.
Not only do we celebrants have to commit to your wedding, often months or even years in advance, we are also committing ourselves away from any personal events that may crop up. Celebrants, like many others in the wedding industry, have to consciously block out dates, sometimes a year in advance or more, to be able to have a family holiday.
A good celebrant will take the time to listen to what your theme is, who your photographer is, what your wedding will be like, and they will fit their style and tone to match. If your bridesmaids are wearing pink, your celebrant won't rock up in a pink dress. It's these little things that don't matter to you in the lead up, but might in the aftermath.
A good celebrant works with your MC to ensure that everyone is seated and comfortable. They work with the music person, sometimes providing their own cellphones for downloaded music when the original one won't work.
Each wedding ceremony takes around 3-4 hours to compose, making sure that it is perfect for the couple. For some of us, the only time to write ceremonies is late at night, once the kids are in bed. We print the ceremonies out, we print the vows out. We celebrants all have that little extra something we offer to our clients as well, all at our own cost.
A good celebrant arrives at the wedding early enough to make sure you are all happy and relaxed(ish) and ready for the wedding. A good celebrant also sticks around until they are sure you are happy and relaxed and ready for the reception. No matter what is going on in the celebrant's life that day, a good celebrant will leave it all in the car when they arrive. Because, like I said, it's your day and a good celebrant will make it all about you.
And so, when you are married and the honeymoon is over, and you get those amazing photos back from your wonderful photographer, please don't forget to mention the celebrant when you share these photos. Often we see the make up artist thanked, the hair dresser, the venue and the caterer. The car company and the jewellery. The cake and the flowers. But what about the celebrant?
And when you get a quote from a celebrant, don't balk at the fee. Because a good celebrant puts in a butt load of work for your wedding. If you are ever concerned about what the fee covers, just ask them! A good celebrant would be more than happy to tell you what they offer. And just as you wouldn't necessarily use an amateur photographer or cake maker, consider this as well when looking at celebrant options. While an unregistered family member or friend might do a good job, we celebrants are experienced professionals with a lot more to offer than just standing up, chatting away for fifteen minutes.
We might not be the cheapest, we might not be the youngest. But there is a celebrant out there for you. Go with your gut and don't be afraid to meet with more than one before you make your decision. Because, like I said at the start - a good celebrant should be like a friend. They should leave you with that warm, comfortable feeling that everything just went to plan. That your ceremony was as memorable as you ever dreamed. And allow you to look back on your day with a smile.
Because a good celebrant does this as a job. And a great celebrant does this as a passion too.