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  • Writer's pictureKatie Berry

Will you marry me?

Updated: Aug 28, 2019

The dress, the decorations, who to invite (or not!)… No matter what celebration you’re planning there are usually countless decisions to make. But how do you choose your celebrant, someone who sets the tone for the day by delivering the most memorable, meaningful and magical ceremony?

​For many people, choosing the right celebrant comes largely down to a gut feeling - the sense that the celebrant ‘gets’ you and that you just click. So it makes sense to pay attention to how a celebrant makes you feel. Do they take away any stress or concerns you have while giving you confidence that your event will be in safe hands? Are they as excited about your event as you are? Is this the person you want standing beside you when the big moment comes? Now’s the time to do your research, look around for celebrants who appeal to you and meet a few to see if they’re as good in person as they are on paper (or screen). I’m always keen for a meet and greet (and even an eat if you fancy) to see if we have this magic spark!

But it’s not all about the heart. There are important things for the head to consider too, if you know the right questions to ask. Of course, most of us don’t exactly go celebrant shopping every day so where do you start? Check out this wee list I’ve made, based on what new clients do ask (and what new clients should ask if only they knew).

  • Can you perform the type of ceremony I want? If you’re planning on getting married or having a civil union, you will need to find a celebrant who is registered with the Department of Internal Affairs to perform that specific type of ceremony. Likewise, if you’re planning a naming ceremony or a vow renewal, you may want to consider finding a celebrant who has done one before or is at least familiar with the type of ceremony you’re seeking.

  • Are you trained in celebrancy? Believe it or not but completing a celebrant qualification isn’t compulsory in order to become a celebrant in New Zealand. Despite that, I’m all for training, upskilling and being the absolute best I can, especially when it comes to a legal ceremony like a wedding. So I’ve got a Certificate in Celebrant Studies which means you really are in safe, and crucially qualified, hands. As my clients will tell you, I just love having fun with my work but I also take the responsibility you give me - to do an exceptional job for your once-in-a-lifetime occasion - seriously.

  • What happens if you’re sick on the day? No one wants the celebrant to pull out, least of all the celebrant. And for the record, I haven’t missed a celebration yet (wild horses couldn’t keep me away). BUT if the unexpected really did happen, what then? Your celebrant should be able to organize a replacement and minimize any inconvenience for you.

  • Who vouches for your work? No wedding is a warm up and I’m not there to practice. Ask to see some testimonials from your celebrant’s past clients and read for yourself ​what people who have been there, done that really think about the celebrant you’re considering.

  • When can we expect to hear from you? What’s your process between now and the event? Your celebrant should know their stuff and how/when to work with you to deliver on your dreams. And they should only ever be at the end of the phone or an email away. With that in mind, do you feel comfortable talking easily to them and telling them what you want? I genuinely want to get to know you and hear all the little details so that I can bring real joy and excitement to your day.

  • I want a [dog in the bridal party/belly dancing performance/other unique idea] in my ceremony. Is that ok? Again, your celebrant should encourage your input and be open to listening to your ideas. Part of my role is to give you advice on what will and won’t work (but for the record, I’ve done several weddings with dogs. Nothing’s a problem!)

  • Do you offer a ceremony rehearsal? A flawless day doesn’t happen by accident. Rehearsals really help give you peace of mind and enable you to visualize how things will unfold. I include a ceremony rehearsal in my wedding packages because I know how much they help take the stress and nerves out of the day itself. Plus they’re fun and all part of the exciting build up/count down!

  • What will you be wearing at my event? For better or worse, your celebrant ends up in a lot of your photos. Of course you want them to look the part! I’ll ask you what you’d like me to wear and what colours will work with your look so that I nail the dress code (without being mistaken for another bridesmaid).

  • How many ceremonies do you perform per day? Some celebrants book more than one wedding in an afternoon. Some don’t. But I think it’s always nice to know that your vendors are giving you their full focus and undivided attention, don’t you?

There you have it – a list of questions to ask the celebrants on your shortlist. Happy hunting. I hope that when you ask your celebrant-to-be that big question... do so knowing that you’ve found the person who is completely and utterly right for you. X

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