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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 decision...

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 special day.

Qualities to consider when looking for a celebrant are:

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 with them.

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.

Organisation skills
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 lives.


Final tips:


  1. 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 you.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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?'

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