Bridal Club Magazine
Tips on how to Choose a Celebrant
When you reach the point of being ready to select your marriage
celebrant, there are many aspects to consider before making your
Your wedding ceremony is the heart of your day, the reason why
you and all your family and friends are there, and as the person
responsible for leading the ceremony it is important to find the
right celebrant for you. I have been working as a celebrant for 13
years and assisted over 500 couples tie the knot. After many years
in the business and much time spent at weddings, I have some
suggestions to help you find the right celebrant to create your
Qualities to consider when looking for a celebrant
The first thing to consider is whether you feel comfortable with
the celebrant who will be meeting with you to discuss your wedding
ceremony, and can you both communicate easily with him/her.
Consider their professionalism - your celebrant has many
responsibilities to help ensure your wedding ceremony is a success.
It is important that you feel confident that the celebrant is
competent and can assure you that they will take control and help
you relax. It is highly probable that you may not be fully aware of
everything that is happening around you, and the most important
thing for you to do is to be able to focus on the wonderful
man/woman you are about to marry!
Find out what training they have had. When appointed by
the Department Of Internal Affairs celebrants go through stringent
criteria for appointment, but no training is offered. AUT run a
Celebrant Studies Certificate, so any celebrant who has been
through that training will have a sound understanding of how to put
together a well balanced ceremony. Enquire about the celebrant's
experience and why they choose to work as a celebrant.
Your celebrant should be able to offer you some creative ideas and
craft your ceremony to your individual needs as a couple - not just
cutting and pasting the same words over and over again. If your
ceremony has no religious components then it does need to have
something else to make it meaningful, so look for a celebrant who
will personalise your ceremony and make it all about the people who
mean the most to you. Ensure that you are able to choose your own
words from a selection of ideas, and that the celebrant listens to
you and tunes in to you as a couple.
The Celebrants Association of New Zealand CANZ has a list of
celebrants all over New Zealand, have a look at their web sites.
Initial enquiry as to a celebrants availability is fine via e-mail,
but do not expect that you will learn everything you need to know
by e-mail. Make phone contact and then you will get the opportunity
to judge by your conversation with the celebrant if you wish to
take the next step and arrange a time to meet with them. You are
under no obligation to book the celebrant, unless you are happy
Consider a celebrant who you feel confident on the day will dress
to match the formality of the occasion, but not compete with the
mother of the bride or the groom's mother! The celebrant has an
official role and needs to be dressed appropriately.
Consideration needs to be taken on whether the celebrant has a
powerful enough voice to be heard across the crowd of guests. You
will also need a celebrant who will stage manage everything, such
as: the chairs are too far back, a water feature is making too much
noise and needs to be turned off, the groom's party are waiting and
ready for the bride, etcetera. The celebrant needs to co-ordinate
with your MC to discuss crowd control. Guests like to know what is
expected of them too. Consider if the celebrant is going to give
you good service, follow through with what they say they will do
and know how to help you avoid stress on the day. It is your
wedding and it must be your way, however the celebrant should be
able to offer you sound advice, while being flexible.
Look for a celebrant that you feel will offer a
professional service, and approaches your wedding as if it is the
only one that matters, one who feels passionate about their role,
and who will help you to have a wedding day which will remain in
your memories as one of the very most magical days of your
- If you have not been referred to a celebrant, then you will
need to meet with a few, until you find one that feels right for
- When considering how much you wish to pay for a celebrant, do
not select on price. There is no set fee for celebrant's services,
but generally the fee ranges from $300 - $700. Give the celebrant
the opportunity to discuss with you what they are offering, and
then decide if they are worth it. So often the fee is the first
question, when it should be the last. In view of all your other
wedding costs the celebrant's fee is usually one of the least
expensive aspects of your wedding day. If your wedding ceremony is
perfect, then your celebration will flow on from there.
- Celebrants, like other wedding services work hard. Everyone
involved in your wedding day are working with the objective of
ensuring that everything runs smoothly. If you engage professionals
you will have nothing to worry about.
- Lastly, remember that your celebrant will have worked very hard
on the day, maybe has driven in heavy traffic to get there, maybe
has stood for an hour in hot sun, so the offer to stay for a cold
drink is a courtesy which is appreciated.
I wish you every success and lots of fun planning your wedding
day. You only get one shot at it, so sound planning will ensure
everything is as exciting as those romantic and wonderful words,
wherever, whenever and whatever way they were delivered... 'Will
you marry me?'