When choosing your wedding vendors you want to be sure that you connect with them so you know they are on the same page as you for their role in your big day. This is particularly important when it comes to choosing a Celebrant. However you also need to know that they are going to deliver an amazing ceremony which flows seamlessly, with your guests loving every moment, all while putting you at ease so you can share a beautiful connection and enjoy a seriously awesome wedding.
Here are 10 questions to ask when choosing your wedding celebrant. They should mitigate the risk of any nasty surprises and help you rest assured that you’re in great hands with your chosen Celebrant.
1. Will I get to proof my ceremony wording before the wedding day, and if so when?
We believe it’s really important for couples to see and proof their ceremony before the special day for a number of reasons:
– You know exactly what to expect on the day. You know how the ceremony flows, allowing you to relax and connect with each other.
– You have the opportunity to make any changes you wish so the ceremony really reflects you as a couple.
– There will be no unwanted or awkward ‘surprises’ on the day;
– You can confirm or edit any pre or post wedding announcements that you need the Celebrant to make.
– Last but certainly not least you can be assured that the Celebrant hasn’t got you mixed up with another couple and gets both your love story and your names correct.
Ask your Celebrant to email a draft of your ceremony for your review and ask them when you can expect to receive this.
Try to avoid having your Celebrant send you through your ceremony to review too close to your wedding date. All experienced wedding vendors are well aware that on the weeks and days leading up to your wedding, couples are typically flat out, getting all the little details finalised. You will barely have time to really absorb what you have been provided, let alone have time to plan, write and include your own segments, such as sharing the story of how you met. So the earlier in to the planning phase you can work on and finalise your ceremony the better.
Ideally your Celebrant will send you your first draft of your ceremony within a couple of weeks of your initial meeting while all the ideas you discussed are still fresh. This will allow you plenty of time of personalise it further and add your own ideas to make your ceremony uniquely you!
2. I plan to take my husband’s surname, do you submit my application for my marriage certificate?
In order to receive your official or ‘registry issued’ marriage certificate there is a form that needs to be completed and submitted to the marriage registry.
As your Celebrant has already sighted your official identification, they are authorised to submit your completed form to Births, Deaths and Marriages (BDM) on your behalf.
The benefit to you if your Celebrant submits this on your behalf is that it saves you from having to arrive at your local BDM office armed with a stack of specified ID to prove who you are, and where you live, or from having to get these ID documents witnessed by a JP and apply by post.
Long story short the whole process is a pain in the butt and it’s a whole lot easier if you can simply return from your honeymoon and have your hot off the press official marriage certificate ready and waiting for you to commence the change of name process.
Many Celebrants don’t include this as part of their service, so don’t assume that they will do this for you as that’s not always the case.
3. I want to write my own vows but I don’t know where to start, how can you help?
Ensure they have the tools to assist you in writing your very own special vows, not just a couple of vows they found on Google for you to pick from.
4. Tell me about your PA System? Is it cordless? (creating a more seamless ceremony and eliminating a trip hazard)
One of the most common pet peeves that you hear from guests is that they couldn’t hear the ceremony so a good quality PA System is vital.
An ideal scenario is for the Celebrant to have a lapel mic so they have their hands free to conduct the ceremony and a handheld cordless mic for the couple to use when they say their vows to each other (if they wish) which guests can use to present readings. More important however is the quality of the PA System, without going into brands, a good indication is the size. If it’s the size of a handbag it’s probably not going to project very far particularly on windy days, whereas a good size professional system on a stand will be a lot more effective.
5. Can I use your PA System for my ceremony music?
If so check who will be responsible for taking care of the music and what format you need to provide your chosen tracks on (iPod/ MP3 or CD).
6. What kind of insurance do you have?
A fully compliant Celebrant will usually have:
– Public Liability and Professional Indemnity insurance
– Hold a Copyright licence (to avoid breaching copyright when including printed readings or poems in ceremonies, even if the author is acknowledged)
– Have a PA System that meets the legal requirements of the 2015 bandwidth changes
7. Is there anything that I absolutely must include in the ceremony aside from the legal wording/ requirements?
The answer should be no, however if your Celebrant insists you have a ‘giving away’, ‘exchange of rings’ or an ‘asking’, or insists the ceremony should run for 45minutes this may indicate a lack of flexibility.
8. Is there a late fee involved if the bride or groom is late for the wedding?
Your Celebrant should outline within their service agreement details how long they believe is acceptable to wait for the bride and/or groom to arrive on the day.
Some Celebrants perform multiple weddings in a day and have late fees in their contract to deter one or both of the couples arriving late, so they aren’t subsequently late for their next gig.
Sometimes life just happens and lateness is out of your control, so if you still expect to be married at the end of the day, ask the question and check the Celebrants terms and conditions. Particularly if they are a Celebrant that performs lots of weddings in a day.
9. In the event that you have an accident or become ill and are unable to perform the wedding, what arrangements do you have in place?
Do they have a backup Celebrant in place in case of any unexpected emergencies that may prevent them from performing your ceremony on the day?
10. What kind of outfit do you usually wear on the wedding day?
Of course before you meet your potential Celebrant you can check their website and take a quick glance of their social media pages to get an idea of if they wear business attire and neutral colours or are more of a tie dye and short skirt kind of Celebrant. Even if you’re pretty chilled about what they wear, don’t make the assumption that they know what the appropriate dress code for your wedding is.
Finally, if they have any video clips of them performing a ceremony – watch them! This is a great way to not only see how they present themselves for a ceremony, but if they have the bride and groom perfectly centered without their backs to anyone, if they appear to coordinate a smooth ceremony and put the bride and groom at ease and if the tone that they present the ceremony is appropriate and reflective of the exciting and happy celebration of love that a wedding is!
Images by Andrew Sun Photography
Ms Gingham says: Some very handy advice and question guidelines!
Ciara Hodge & Jamie Eastgate of Brisbane City Celebrants – We are a modern, passionate and enthusiastic team of Brisbane Wedding Celebrants. We love nothing more than seeing our brides and grooms so happy and relaxed throughout their wedding ceremony