Questions to ask your Wedding Celebrant/Officiant
Once you have a venue booked and your wedding date is “cast in stone” it’s time to begin the search for the perfect celebrant.
Where to start? A Google search will reveal a veritable plethora of celebrants all offering roughly the same service. But be assured, they are not all the same, there are those who are truly excellent and exceptional, and others who are mediocre and adequate or dire and dreadful. What’s more, price alone will not help your choice.
You want the perfect celebrant for you, one that will understand exactly what you want, will provide ideas and guidance, someone who you feel completely comfortable with and confident that they understand that your wedding ceremony is the central event of your whole wedding day and the event you have invited your nearest and dearest to witness.
How do you choose a celebrant?
Google is a good place to start, a tour of a celebrant’s website will give you an impression of who they are and what they do.
Consider phoning your short list of candidates asking some basic questions:
Your first meeting is similar to a job interview so being prepared with some questions will help you choose the right person for the “job” of celebrant on your wedding day. Personality:Not a question as such but you will get a good feel for whether you can work with this person at this first meeting and connecting with their personality will be important.
How many weddings do you do per year? How much experience do you have?
There are a lot of celebrants with varying degrees of experience and training. It's better to pay a bit more for experience and professionalism than have your ceremony spoiled by a celebrant who just doesn’t know what he or she is doing.
How much do you charge?
Price is important as you are on a budget but the old adage of you get what you pay for carries some weight here. A great celebrant will be worth their fee and more as they know how to conduct a wedding ceremony and how to create a memorable ceremony and more importantly, how to look after you on the day.
Do you charge a deposit and, if so, how much?
How will we work together?
Does the celebrant provide resources, how many meetings will there be bfore your date?
Do you recommend a rehearsal?
No rehearsal at your venue? I recommend you walk away and look for another celebrant! A run through the logistics of your ceremony at your venue is vital to ensure a stress free wedding ceremony.
How many ceremonies do you conduct on a day?
Some celebrants try and make the most of the wedding season by officiating at multiple ceremonies on the same day. This may work out OK, but be aware if a ceremony runs late earlier in the day, your celebrant may not be as prompt as you would like! On that same note, having your own ceremony run in a timely fashion is courteous to not only your wedding guests, but also to the other professionals involved in your wedding.
What is included in your fee?
Make sure you have a full understanding of what your celebrant will and will not do for you.
Are there any additional fees?
Some officiants charge for travel outside their immediate area. Some charge an additional fee for a rehearsal. Make sure you clarify if the fee quoted is all inclusive or if some of the services you assume would be included are in fact an additional charge.
Have you had any training?Celebrant/Officiant training available is excellent and those who have completed training have a very clear understanding of the obligations of the role and how to best translate your wishes for your wedding ceremony into a memorable ceremony. Likewise, the Humanist Celebrant Association membership brings with it adherence to professional standards and regular training opportunities.
Will you dress to my dress code and colour scheme? Where do you stand during the ceremony?
Does the celebrant stand in between you and your partner for the whole ceremony? Will they move out of the way for the kiss so they’re not in that photo?
You will have other questions which come up during your meeting, a celebrant should answer your questions openly and honestly both during this first meeting and at any time during your working relationship.