Shopping around for your marriage celebrant? Puzzled as to why their prices are so different? After all, don’t celebrants just rock up on the day, say a few words and then disappear?
Celebrants, just like photographers, cake makers, DJs or any other supplier you’ll need for your wedding day, don’t have to charge a set price.
Some celebrants will quote you $200 while others might be $1000 or more. So do you get more bang for your buck and a better ceremony if you go with the expensive celebrant or will the $200 one be just as good?
Sorry, I can’t answer that question for you.
What I can say is, just like when you’re buying from any business, do your research. Check out reviews from the couples they’ve married. Meet with them to decide if they’re a good fit for you. Ask the right questions to find out exactly what is and isn’t included in the price (I’ll tell you the right questions to ask later, so read on).
Here’s what I can tell you about me, the time I will give to you and your ceremony, what my service includes and my price (well actually you’ll need to look on my website for that).
Let’s go behind the scenes of Sam and Lee's wedding that was held at Marlee Pavillion in Kings Park. They chose to have a traditional personalised ceremony in front of 100 family and friends.
Everything in the lead up to and including officiating their ceremony on the day, clocked up just over 22 hours of work for me. Really? Yes, absolutely!
We had two face-to-face meetings – the first to see if we ‘clicked and then to lodge the Notice of Intended Marriage. Via numerous emails, I helped them to write their personal vows, choose music, sort out issues with their paperwork, and linked them up with other wedding suppliers – basically I was their ‘go to’ person for advice and suggestions.
We worked together over several weeks to design and write their ceremony with numerous drafts going back and forth until they were 100% happy.
At the hour long rehearsal we talked through all the logistics, practised the ceremony from start to finish, checked their 'walk down the aisle' song was long enough, tried putting on the rings to get the best photo and signed the last legal document so their marriage can take place.
The night before their big day we had a quick chat just to make sure they were feeling okay and ready to say I do!
On the day before the ceremony started, I arrived at least 40 minutes before to check the sound level and music, spoke with the photographer to let them know when the special moments in the ceremony would happen so they were ready to capture them, welcomed their guests and organised the wedding party.
Thirty minutes later Sam and Lee were celebrating one of the most amazing days in their life! I spent a few more minutes to double-check all the certificates were signed correctly, said my goodbyes then headed home to complete any last details and popped their paperwork in the letterbox to Births Deaths Marriages.
You do the maths (once you’ve checked out my price) – my hourly rate isn’t that much!
I pride myself in doing a wonderful job, I mean a really, wonderful job! I will make your ceremony better than you could ever imagine. I know, you won’t know this until the day…so you kind of have to trust me!
How do I do this? I write beautiful ceremonies that are packed with lovely things you’ve shared with me, funny stories and serious bits about love and marriage (if you want them), and tailor it all to fit you! It’s your ceremony and you need to be completely happy!
I always show up early in one of my gorgeous outfits that complements the colours of your wedding party. I will make your guests feel welcome, 100% at ease and excited about your ceremony. I’ll encourage them to cheer, laugh, cry and be totally engaged – basically kick start the best day of your life by getting everyone in the zone for a day to be remembered.
I’m an experienced performer (yep I’ve been singing for years) and an education trainer, so I won’t be nervous or stumble over the lovely words I’ve crafted for your ceremony. I’ve been told I have a very ‘easy to listen’ to voice.
I will get your names right.
I never get flustered. If something goes wrong, I will use my years of experience and calm nature to avert a disaster. Whether it’s the bridesmaid’s dress zip breaking (yep that did happen) or finding substitute rings because they’ve been left in the limo…whatever it is, if I can, I will fix the problem, make light of it if need be, and keep the ceremony on track.
Your guests want to hear everything said by me, but more importantly you, during the ceremony. I’ve invested in a great portable sound system and I will give your videographer audio access to it if asked.
I will not ruin your photos. I’ll step out of the photo frame at those special moments in your ceremony so there won’t be any glimpses of me just as your photographer captures the two of you having your first kiss.
I make sure all the documents are filled out correctly for your marriage to be legal. I’ll double check everything before I send your paperwork to Births Deaths Marriages. Sounds simple I know, but it’s really important – you don’t want to pay for a very expensive party and not be married!
I commit my time to you and to making your day one of the best days of your life. I take my responsibilities as a celebrant seriously, giving each of my couples as much time as they need by responding quickly to emails or texts, and making myself available at all hours (well maybe not between 10pm and 6am – a girl needs her beauty sleep). I often miss out on special times with my own family and friends but that’s my commitment to you.
So, if I sound like the celebrant that you’d like to book for your ceremony and my price is within your budget (because let’s face it, that’s sometimes the determining factor) let’s catch up soon to start planning your awesome experience.
P.S. Oops, nearly forgot.
What questions can you ask the celebrant? Here’s a few to have on your list.
· When did you become a celebrant?
· Are you registered? (You can check this on the Attorney General’s website.)
· How many weddings have you officiated?
· Why are you the right celebrant for us?
· Will you write our ceremony from scratch or do we have to choose from some that you’ve already written?
· Are you open to any ideas we have about our ceremony?
· How many times can we meet with you?
· Does your price include the application for the marriage certificate from Births Deaths Marriages?
· How far will you travel before you charge us extra?
· Is a rehearsal included in your price?
· Do you provide a sound system and microphone?
· What time will you arrive at our ceremony?
· How much is your booking fee? Is it non-refundable? When is final payment due?
· What happens if you get sick and can’t do our ceremony?
· Can we see your Terms & Conditions or Client Service Agreement?
Happy celebrant hunting everyone!