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Bridal Club Magazine

Choosing a celebrant

Your Civil Celebrant will be able to personalise the ceremony to your individual taste and be able to advise you on so many other aspects of your wedding. We've asked Roger Thomson, former Registrar-General, ACT, and past president of the Australian Federation of Civil Celebrants, to assist us in putting together some tips for you to find a good celebrant, that will suit your personal style and individual needs.

Tips for finding a good celebrant

  1. Talk to friends and relatives who have attended civil ceremonies and observed a celebrant in action. They can give you a first-hand opinion based on how the celebrant actually performs on the day.  Bear in mind that some of the procedural parts of the ceremony may be the wishes of the couple (e.g. the way they are positioned).
  2. Talk to other industry professionals. Photographers, musicians, hire car operators and function managers all witness hundreds of civil ceremonies.  When discussing your needs ask if they know a good celebrant or two. Make sure they give you an unbiased opinion, not the name of a good mate.
  3. 3. Ask friends and relatives for a copy of their wedding video or DVD showing the ceremony and observe or replay parts as you prefer to see the vital aspects of the celebrant's involvement.
  4. 4. Visit local parks and public places where civil ceremonies are often held. Observe discreetly. Watch the celebrant before, during and after the ceremony.
  5. 5. Put a notice on the staff notice board at work.  "Anyone know of a good marriage celebrant?" Internal email groups might also be helpful.
  6. 6. Visit a number of celebrants to discuss what they offer. Many couples do this as a first option but remember you are not seeing the celebrant in action at a ceremony. Some change personality characteristics on the day. This is a good option to discover the experience and knowledge of a celebrant and to ascertain whether you can confidently work together.

Your celebrant should have the experience and knowledge you expect of a professional. They should not impose their own ideas on you both nor should they ignore your own personal wishes to suit their own comfort zone. Observe they way they dress for a ceremony. Is the celebrant trying to outshine the bride? Also observe behaviour - is the celebrant wanting to be the centre of attention? Is their behaviour a departure from what you have agreed on including off-hand comments, undesirable references or jokes etc.? You should know exactly what words are to be used in the ceremony and feel at ease with the celebrant during the ceremony.  A good celebrant will demonstrate their skills as second nature, inspire confidence in you, and should be calm and reassuring on the day.

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