What does a celebrant do?

All you need is love … and a good celebrant!

Being a celebrant is, in my eyes the best job ever! I get to meet many different couples, each wedding is different, just like each couple is different, and it is my job to make each ceremony a reflection of their love story and their personalities.

My journey with a couple usually begins when they contact me, to ask if I am available for their planned wedding date. These enquiries come either by email, my Facebook page or by phone, from that first contact I will check whether I am free on their wedding day, and then organise a time to visit with the couple, usually at their own home (I know how hard it can be for couples, especially with small children, to find time to meet with wedding vendors). Almost every time I  visit a couple for the first time, they always say:

“We haven’t done this before and have no idea where to start”

which is where I come in, kinda like ‘Super woman’ It’s my job to help a couple make their wedding ceremony perfect.  I know the legal bits we have to do, and I have tons of information about what else we can include to suit a couple, e.g, info about including children, remembrance pieces, unity ceremonies, readings.

My first visit with a couple is non-obligational, which means that it’s just a informal chat about what they have planned and what I offer, it gives us all a chance to suss each other out and decide if we are all on the same wavelength. I always take copies of two different ceremonies I have written, a job description (so nearly-weds know what my role entails) and all my contact details. I tell couples at that meeting that I will message them the next day to make sure they still want to book me.  It’s a bit unfair/awkward to expect couples to make a call when I’m sitting across the table from them, and they haven’t had a chance to chat in private about how awesome I am!

After they go ahead and confirm they want to book me, I book them in for their wedding date, and send them an invoice for my services. I require a deposit to be paid within 7 days of agreeing to use me as their celebrant, and I give information on how to pay the deposit.  I  then let  them know that  I will be in contact about 2-3 months out from the wedding date to start the next step of writing their wedding ceremony. In the mean time they are to think about anything they want to include in the ceremony/vows.  I tell couples to make notes of anything they see, read, hear that they like, and we can use that info to craft their ceremony.  I also recommend pinterest and  offbeat bride website.  I like to keep an open dialogue with a couple leading up to the wedding, so encourage them to contact me if they have any questions about the wedding ceremony or the wedding day.  Because I have contacts in the wedding industry I can offer information or recommendations for other wedding vendors.

A week out from the next scheduled meeting I will email them some homework, it is a list of questions which I ask, which gives me a better understanding of their personalities and how their relationship works, it’s very interesting what the answers reveal. The more information I gather from these homework questions and the subsequent meeting, the better the wedding ceremony.

From that meeting, and armed with all the ammunition I can get from the meetings, I sit down and write a draft ceremony for the couple.  I pride myself on making a ceremony as personal as we can get it.  When that is completed I email it to the couple to have a look at, making sure they are aware that we can absolutely change anything they don’t like.  We play around with the ceremony until it is completely perfect, then it goes into the folder to wait until the wedding day.

I give a couple information on obtaining their marriage licence (an absolute necessity for the ceremony to actually be legal) and will continue to ‘nag’ them until they contact me to tell me they have it. When they finally get it from the courts, I tell them to let me know and I will come and collect it from them, that way they have no chance of losing it before the big day, and it goes into the folder with the ceremony until the big day.

Then it’s time for the couple to work on writing their wedding vows (if they are choosing to write them themselves) I contact them regularly to ensure they are on track, and to see if they need any help with writing their vows.  I know they can be tricky, and some people are vowely-challenged.

Once I receive the vows, I print them out onto a personalised nice piece of card, (and I have the vows the wedding day, so no chance of a bride and/or groom forgetting them on the day) I put everything together, so it is ready for the rehearsal. At the scheduled rehearsal  we go over the logistics of the ceremony, who’s going to stand where, what’s going to happen when, music (I create a personalised playlist for each couple on Spotify) and have this on my cellphone which plugs into my PA system and the music and microphone runs through this.  It’s one less thing for a couple to think about on their wedding day.

I arrive at the wedding ceremony at least 45 minutes early, to ensure everything is set up, to calm the groom, and to chat with the guests.  Then its ceremony time, the fun part. I guide the couple and guests through the wedding ceremony, make sure the legalities (sign the paperwork) are all taken care of. Congratulate the couple after the ceremony, take a #celebrantselfie and then quietly leave the couple and their guests to enjoy the rest of the day.

I always provide couples with a package on their wedding day, in it is a copy of their ceremony (it can be hard for a couple to remember what was said on their wedding day, because of all the emotion going on, so it’s nice to have a copy to look back on), the package also includes the couple’s vows cards as a momento  of the day, their marriage licence, and a little feedback form.

I follow up with the couple the next day, via email, to ensure they had a great day, and don’t have any questions, and post away the paperwork.

I love what I do and are always blown away that I get to do this as a job, and I take what I do absolutely seriously, but that doesn’t mean we can have a little fun with it.  I am always honoured to be a part of a couples wedding day, it’s definitely a privilege.

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