The lowdown on wedding celebrants

Okay, so you’ve picked a date and booked a venue, maybe even booked a photographer! But have you got the most important person (other than you two!) booked in? Your celebrant, besides your marriage licence, is the other legal aspect that you have to have for the two of you to get hitched.

So what do you need to know before booking a celebrant? We answer your top questions below.

What does a celebrant actually do?

First up, the legal stuff – in order for you to be married in the eyes of the law, you have to be married by a qualified and registered celebrant and say “I [name] take you [partner’s name], to be my legal [wife/husband/partner]” or something similar in front of them. They also have to confirm that you are who is named on the marriage licence, and send off a copy of the licence to Births, Deaths, and Marriages following the ceremony (check out our blog post about the legal aspects of a ceremony if you want to know more!)

However, the biggest part of their job is probably the part that can change the most – planning, writing, and performing the ceremony. Most celebrants will normally meet with you a couple of times before the wedding to plan this out, and make sure that the ceremony is exactly the way you want it. A good one will likely give you some ideas to look through to give you inspiration, or if you don’t like any that they’ve already got, will write a new ceremony for you.

How do I find a wedding celebrant?

There are heaps of ways to find a wedding celebrant – the Celebrants Association is a good place to find people, but it can be a little hard to know who to choose. So try talking to people first – ask your friends who have already been married, look at whether you know any celebrants personally, or search for recommendations in wedding groups on Facebook.

How do I pick a celebrant?

Most celebrants are happy to meet with you when you’re considering who to choose – it’s all about finding one who you get along with, who you feel will reflect who you are as a couple, and who is either happy to do the ceremony just the way you’d like it or provide guidance if you don’t know where to start! Try asking questions about what they do in the lead-up to the day, how they run the ceremony on the day, what they do other than being a celebrant and generally get to know them. You’ll normally find one that just ‘fits’ – much like when you found your other half!

What does a wedding celebrant cost?

It varies – but in NZ you can expect to pay anywhere from $350 to $600, with many sitting around $450-$550. Usually that will cover local travel but they may add extra on if you’re getting married a little further afield. Keep in mind that they do spend a lot of time working on your ceremony both with you and by themselves before the day, as well as obviously spending several hours getting ready, travelling to and from the wedding, and performing the ceremony itself – so it’s not just about showing up on the day!

A wedding celebrant is one part of the wedding you definitely can’t do without – and a good one can make your day absolutely amazing! So do your research, meet a few, and pick ‘the one’. Happy marrying!

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