Haven't even started thinking about your ceremony yet? You're in the right place. Here, everything you need to know to get off to a flying start.
While you imagine your dreamy wedding with that beautiful ‘I do’ moment and perfect first kiss, spare a thought for your ceremony! It will be one of the most important parts of your day, yet in the excitement of organising the whole event it can sometimes end up being relegated down the ‘to do’ list.
Choosing a celebrant
Couples of yesteryear had little option other than to be married by a church representative or in a registry office. Today it’s a different story, with couples hiring independent celebrants who they feel a connection with, and having much greater input into their ceremony proceedings. Word-of-mouth recommendations are an excellent way to find a great celebrant, however The Department of Internal Affairs website also has a comprehensive list of celebrants based around the country.
Time is precious when you’re planning your wedding, so you don’t have to interview your celebrant face-to-face before you book them – your instincts should tell you whether a celebrant is the one for you and you can tell a lot about a celebrant by their phone manner. A good celebrant should make you feel at ease immediately. Just be wary of those who tell you about their ‘packages’ to choose from, as a ceremony should be tailor-made to match your style and personal needs.
Good celebrants are snapped up quickly – most at least six months in advance, and some up to a year – the earlier you start your search, the sooner you will find a celebrant whose style and schedule fit yours.
Meeting your celebrant:
Organise your first meeting with your celebrant to take place two or three months before your wedding. They should offer examples of vows and words to express during the ring exchange, but you can also think of your own. Be mindful that while you should expect your celebrant to ask for some information about you, it’s important to have boundaries – they’re not your relationship counsellor!
When it comes to the words and rituals involved in your ceremony, once you've fulfilled any legal requirements the sky’s the limit. Traditionally, on your behalf, your celebrant should offer to thank important people, acknowledge any absent friends and special people who have passed away, and ask your parents to ‘give you away’.
Couples who want their ethnicity to play a part may choose a celebrant of similar background who can identify with their needs. And while non-religious ceremonies are becoming increasingly popular, most celebrants are happy to include a prayer or bible reading.
Make sure your celebrant clearly understands the extent to which you would like children to be involved, such as including them in the vows or having them stand with you. Give your celebrant a heads up about any family issues or tension.
A good celebrant puts a lot of time into writing the order of service. Their fee should include the planning, meeting, conducting the ceremony and travel costs and can range from $300 to $500.
On your wedding day, your celebrant should be someone who remembers it’s your special day. They will listen well, guide you and ensure that your wedding ceremony is meaningful and something you will remember for the rest of your life.