For couples getting married, it can sometimes be confusing as to what your marriage celebrant will be doing on the day. You might even find yourself asking “what does a celebrant do?”
But there is actually so much more to being a celebrant than just marrying a couple on the day, and a lot of work goes into the background to make sure everything goes to plan.
When you book a celebrant you’re not just booking someone to rock up on the day of the wedding and do a quick ceremony. You’re booking the main supporting character for your wedding day.
Your celebrant will be there for you before you book them to after the wedding day. Whether you’re after a ceremony with all the bells and whistles or a quick tailored ceremony, you’re investing in a celebrants time and expertise to make sure everything goes according to plan.
So if you’re unsure exactly what a celebrant offers your wedding planning journey, here’s everything they can do from before the wedding to after the honeymoon.
Your first meeting
Your first meeting with a celebrant is usually a non-obligation meeting for you to get a sense of what they’re actually like. It’s no surprise that booking a marriage celebrant who matches the vision for your wedding day is important, so meeting your celebrant before you book them is the first step.
This initial meeting can go anywhere between half an hour to an hour and will give you the opportunity to tell your celebrant what you have planned for the day and where you want them to fit into this.
This is already an hour of time that you’ve spent with your celebrant before you’ve even booked or put a deposit down and is the first of many correspondences you’ll have with them.
Writing your ceremony from scratch
Once you’ve booked your celebrant the next thing you’ll work on together is the wording of the actual ceremony. If your celebrant hasn’t already, they’ll talk you through the different types of ceremonies they’ve performed so that you can get a sense of what will best suit your vision.
Whatever type of ceremony you’re after, your celebrant will put this together and will work on the perfect wedding and order for you.
This isn’t just a case of putting together a template and reading it on the day. A good celebrant will tailor your wedding ceremony to you and your needs. They’re putting the wording for your ceremony together from scratch and will go back and forth with you as many times as you need before you perfect it together.
Helping with your vows
Your celebrant is also a great support and can help if you are writing your own vows. One thing you might not always think about is how the vows should match one another in tone, style and even length.
Your celebrant can act as a great third party for you and your partner to send your vows to make sure they match. This way you get to make sure they work together without seeing what the other person has written.
Making sure your ceremony is personalised
When it comes to personalising your wedding ceremony, your celebrant is there to help. They’ve done this many times before and will help you with anything you need, whether it’s something common or something outside the box.
You might want to include a tribute to a family member who has passed or a hand-tying ceremony. Whatever it is, your celebrant will be there to make this happen.
They will also make suggestions for you if you’re not quite sure what exactly you want. If you want to involve your parents without quite knowing how they’ll give you suggestions about how you can go about that. Best of all they can help with ideas on not only what you can do, but also how you can do it.
The same goes for choosing readings. Not only will they have a great knowledge of what readings you can choose from or what might be suited for you, but they can also help coordinate who is doing what readings and making sure they all have what they need on the day.
Providing ongoing support
For couples who don’t have a wedding planner or coordinator, your marriage celebrant is the supplier who will be there throughout the entire wedding process. Think about this, they’re one of the first suppliers you’ll book and they are there throughout the process. If your celebrant is sick they can’t send you off to someone else in the business. And you know that it is always that person who you first met and get along with who will be there on the day.
Which means that they are the best source of support and knowledge for you throughout your entire wedding planning process. Whether you’ve got questions about other suppliers, your ceremony, or even if you’re looking for recommendations, your celebrant is there.
The legal stuff
75% of all marriages are performed by a marriage celebrant. Consider this, if you didn’t have someone to legally marry you then you’re essentially just having one big party!
Which is why celebrants are actually the most important supplier when it comes to getting married. When it comes to the legal stuff, they worry about all of the paperwork so that you don’t have to.
This means making sure all your identification and forms for your marriage license are filled out correctly ahead of time. It also means making sure that your witnesses details are correct, and that they can properly hear and witness you say your “I do’s”.
What they do on your actual wedding day
Once all of this is planned and ready, your celebrant is there for you on the actual wedding day.
They essentially act as your ceremony MC, bringing guests in to fill chairs at your venue, telling people whether you’re having an unplugged wedding, announcing when photos will be taken or what is happening after the ceremony. And last by not least, actually marrying you!
Not only this but many celebrants can also offer their own PA system for the ceremony, meaning that everyone can hear you say your vows and you don’t need to hire another supplier for this. Some will also provide you with a table and tablecloth so you have something to lean on when it comes to signing your papers.
They’ll also make sure all your paperwork is ready to go on the day. Whether it’s the wording for your ceremony, your vows or your personalised readings, your celebrant will bring a copy of all of these so you don’t need to worry if you’ve left yours at home. They’ll also have all the legal forms you and your witnesses need to sign on the day, and actually make sure you’ll all signing on the correct dotted line!
A good celebrant will also know where to stand for the ceremony to help you get the best possible photos. The last thing you want is a floating head in the middle of your first kiss photo!
After the wedding
A celebrant’s job doesn’t finish at the wedding ceremony. While you’re off enjoying your honeymoon they’ll submit all of your legal forms to Births, Deaths and Marriages for you to make sure your marriage is actually recognised.
In some states, they’ll also be able to apply for your actual wedding certificate from Births, Deaths and Marriages (rather than the decorative one). In other states, you’ll have to do this yourself. But don’t worry if you’re not sure what your state laws are because your celebrant will be able to tell you!