Three Top Tips for choosing your Celebrant

Bride and Groom stand before celebrant in the grounds of an outdoor vineyard wedding with a barn as a back drop

Three top tips for what couples should consider when booking a celebrant. How to choose the right celebrant, what is needed for the ceremony to be written, what pitfalls they could face with an outdoor ceremony and other common questions.

 

All Service providers want to make your day the best they possibly can, after all a lot of our future business comes from personal recommendations but when it comes to Celebrants where do you even start? Here are my top tips:

 

Top Tip One: Training – it is too easy to download a ceremony script from the internet and just insert names and places. Without training you will not get a bespoke ceremony that reflects your style delivered in a professional way. Having a friend conduct your ceremony is awesome but have they ever done anything like it before?

Sometimes putting a ceremony together is like writing a play, it’s not just the words that are said but the positioning of your speakers, the provision of microphones, the pace and tone of delivery, understanding who will be holding the rings or giving readings as well as working with other vendors like caterers to make sure you’re all on time for dinner and with photographers to make sure you are captured at your absolute best on the biggest day of your life. A well trained, accredited Celebrant will help you navigate the legal elements and build back up plans depending on location, weather and whether Aunty Doris will get stuck on the M11.

 

Top Tip Two: Insurance – None of us want to ever think we will need it but there are some things in life you can’t predict and it’s a big piece of your day to miss – the vows, the rings, the announcement as spouses for life. Not only do I have liability insurance, I also have a network of fellow Celebrants, most of whom have trained with the same company, who could be called on to help out should anything happen to me, so the show can go on.

 

Top Tip Three: Personality – Does your Celebrant ‘float your boat’? Are they excited by your ideas? Can they make suggestions to turn ideas into real tangible results? Will they dress as a Hedgehog if that’s what you want them to be? You may not be promising a lifetime of friendship to your Celebrant but they will work really hard to get to know you so they can reflect your character and personality in your ceremony and if you don’t click it’s just not going to work. Here are some more tips for things to think about when choosing your Celebrant.

Celebrant led ceremony conducted outdoors at a vineyard in Essex
The bride, dressed in white, and groom, dressed in a dinner suit, laugh as they say their vows in front of Shelley the celebrant at their outdoor ceremony at a Vineyard in Essex

Arrange a face-to-face meeting if you can, see them at a wedding fair or utilise a Zoom/Skype/Facetime call so you can really interview them and make an informed decision – after all, no two people are the same, why should their weddings be?

 

Shop around. If you spent as much money on any other purchase in your life you would read the reviews, phone a friend, ask for recommendations, maybe give it a test drive first, so why not do the same with your Celebrant? Everyone and everything have websites and social media pages, check out your Celebrant and see what their reviews are like. Are there pictures of them having a great time with their couples and is this reflected in a testimonial? Can they describe to you what they have done to make events special in the past or go through a ceremony structure with you to give you an understanding of how it will work?

 

Understand what the next steps are, is there anything they use in your meetings that you can review to make sure you have thought about everything you need? Where do you meet to discuss these things, will it be a home visit or in a coffee shop? There is usually nothing you need to prepare for your Celebrant until much later down the road, when you will need to know who will be holding the rings, what music you are having and if you are writing your own vows. A great Celebrant will be able to work with you to provide answers to all your questions and also get you to consider things you had not thought of such as, what should you do if the weather stops your ceremony from happening?

 

How long will it take? Most ceremonies take a fair while to write. Sometimes there is research to be done, if you are having a theme or getting married in a particular place. There might be something that you are really into that your Celebrant wants to use as a basis for readings or construct a poem around.

You take care and attention of your relationship and when retelling your story, your Celebrant should want to take as much care of the biggest event in that relationship to date and that doesn’t happen overnight.

 

You should feel looked after. When I am getting to know my couples and building their ceremony, I feel that it is the greatest privilege, as they are sharing a part of their life with me and inviting me in to be part of a significant event in their life. I want them to know they are in good hands and whilst I don’t expect a seat at the dinner table, I do expect that my couple will feel at ease with me and know that I will treat them like my own family. You need to feel confident in the process, that you will be guided and supported from that first interview until you are announced as a married couple and head off for that first glass of champagne.

 

With these top tips on hand, I am confident that not only will you find the best Celebrant for you but you will also have Your Day, Your Way.

Photo Credit: Kat Hill