One of the biggest questions on wedding forums is how do I choose a Marriage Celebrant? I will be honest in my assessment of this question as (1) I have been a bride and (2) I am a Marriage Celebrant. So I did some investigating and this is what I have found so far.
- There are thousands of Marriage Celebrants throughout Australia.
- Most people know a Marriage Celebrant or have a friend of a friend who knows one.
- Most brides to be rely on testimonials online or recommendations from friends and or family.
So how should you choose a Marriage Celebrant?
1) It is always good to ask your partner what type of Celebrant they would like. My husband was adamant that he wanted a male Marriage Celebrant. Something to be aware of is that there aren’t as many around as female Marriage Celebrants so they can be harder to find and are sometimes more expensive, so booking early is key.
2) Testimonials. Can you rely on 5 star ratings and testimonials? Unfortunately not. I have noticed in several forums that while it appears that other brides may be endorsing Marriage Celebrants they are in fact suppliers or friends. This makes the Celebrant look good and they will in turn endorse their friends. There is nothing wrong with this practise but it is something to be aware of. Also remember that not all brides and grooms show their gratitude in writing. They may tell a Celebrant on the day what a great job they have done but getting them to put it into writing can be more difficult, especially once they are married and life returns to their normal busy schedules.
3) 5 star ratings and awards. These awards are given to Celebrants who advertise on specific websites which means they aren’t rated against all Celebrants they are rated against the ones that are mostly full time celebrants and who advertise on those particular sites. Just because a Celebrant doesn’t have a 5 star rating from an Australian Bridal Magazine doesn’t mean they aren’t 5 star, all it means is that they don’t or cannot afford to advertise in such magazines.
4) Choose a Celebrant that best fits your personality. Age and gender can play a large part in this selection process. Make a few phone calls and send a few emails. Please remember that interviewing several Celebrants can be a waste of your time and theirs. If you cannot ascertain from a phone call if your Celebrant is the right fit for you then by all means arrange a meeting. Choose someone that both you and your partner feel comfortable with.
5) Not all Celebrants are full time Celebrants. For many Celebrants being a Celebrant isn’t something they do full time. It doesn’t mean they don’t love what they do, for many it means that they do it because they love it but because there are so many Celebrants available it is not something that most people can afford to do full time. This does NOT mean they aren’t just as good as the full time Celebrants.
6) Select a Celebrant who is close to your venue. Most Celebrants are willing to travel but remember the further away your Celebrant it is the more likely they are to get stuck in traffic on the way to your ceremony. Choosing a locally based Celebrant can be an advantage.
7) Look for Celebrants who are part of Associations or Groups, this can benefit you from the perspective that they will have “back-up” Celebrants available to you in the event of illness or unforeseen circumstances.
8) Don’t judge a Celebrant based on price. I have seen people say that more expensive Celebrants offer more services. This is not true. All Celebrants should have a list of “inclusions” on their websites. Celebrants can charge whatever they like for their services but higher prices don’t always mean better service.
9) Check that your Celebrant is registered. This may sound strange but I have heard of people thinking they are getting married by a registered Celebrant and the person marrying them didn’t know they had to be registered. You can check this on the Attorney General’s website: https://www.ag.gov.au/FamiliesAndMarriage/Marriage/Findamarriagecelebrant/Pages/default.aspx
10) Ask your venue if they have a selection of Celebrants that work in the area that may be able to assist you.
11) Check the terms and conditions that your Celebrant gives you. Check for any “extra” costs.
12) Ask your Celebrant how many “draft” ceremonies they will provide for you? You want to make sure that you are happy with what is being said on the day.
13) Visit celebrant association websites such as http://professionalcelebrants.asn.au/find-a-celebrant/
14) Ensure that your Celebrant has insurance and has paid for copyright licenses.
15) Most importantly select a Celebrant you feel comfortable working with as they are going to play a large part in your special day.
I hope this helps. If I can help you further please visit my website for more information at www.hayleymcleodbrisbanecelebrant.com