You are getting married to the love of your life and that alone is excitement enough. But along with that you have the excitement of having a wedding. For some, that also includes a pang of anxiety. No matter how you feel about it though, your head will be full of so many questions.
One of the questions will be, who will you choose as your wedding celebrant, what will they do and how much will they cost?
As with most things in life, some things have to be done and others things differ depending on what you want and who you choose. Life is full of many variants and weddings are no exception.
The things that have to be done are the legalities. This involves obtaining a marriage licence, which is your responsibility. This needs to be done at least three working days before your wedding date (more is always preferable if you have time on your side and want a stress free lead up to your wedding, as once applied for it lasts for three months). You can also apply for your marriage licence on line.
Prior to applying for your marriage licence though, you should have chosen your wedding celebrant, such as me, as you will need to provide their name, approximate date of your wedding and the location.
So, what will I do for you?
First of all, we will have a “meet and greet”. This is completely free and involves meeting at my office or somewhere mutually agreed upon (cafes and coffee are always nice!). This provides you the opportunity to meet me and discuss your upcoming wedding and ceremony plans.
It is imperative that you click with and are happy with who will be officiating for you on your wedding day. I also need to be sure that I can deliver exactly what it is you want from your ceremony.
If we are a perfect match (not as perfect as you and your partner though), then we can proceed and I will confirm your wedding date in my diary. I will only officiate at one wedding a day, so I am completely focussed on you both. I will then send you an email confirming my availability, recap on what we spoke about and ask you to let me know if you would like me to be your wedding celebrant.
If you decide not to proceed with me as your celebrant, that is fine too. It has cost you nothing but your time.
Upon receiving your confirmation though that you would like me to be your wedding celebrant, I will organise a time with you to meet again. Depending on time available, we will meet about three months out from your wedding date. This is assuming you started the hunt for a celebrant more than three months in advance of your wedding date, otherwise timelines regarding this next meeting will obviously change and be shorter.
The second meeting will be longer, about one and a half hours in fact, and usually takes place at my office which is nice and private. Coffee or tea is always offered! I will “interview” you both to find out all about your wedding plans. I have a pre-prepared questionnaire which I go through with you both. Some of the questions asked will be who your witnesses will be, are you being given away and by who, who are the members of your bridal party, who is your photographer, are you having your wedding videoed, have your chosen your music – lots of different questions to ensure the smooth running of your wedding ceremony. And, of course, to enable me to write your ceremony for you, I will ask you both questions such as how you met, why are you getting married, what is it that you love about your partner, why have you chosen them above anyone else to spend the rest of your life with. These questions and others will ensure that I can then go away and write the perfect ceremony for you both. I write all of my ceremonies from scratch so they are personal to all couples. My ceremonies generally follow a similar format that flows well. This will all depend too on what your wishes are for your ceremony and what you want included or excluded such as readings and symbolic activities, for example, sand ceremonies.
Legally your vows must include you saying your name and that you want to take your partner and their name to be your legal husband/wife or words to similar effect.
I always offer to write into the ceremony a part where you and your partner get to say “I do” or “We do”, and this is dependent on your wishes.
One thing, however, that I do always write into my ceremonies though, which again is able to be removed, as the ceremony I write for you is yours and can be amended or added to as you wish, is the line that I say before you say your vows to one another. I say “Please take a moment to pause, look into each other’s eyes, and remember this moment always.” I think these are important words and give the couple time to take a breath. Adrenalin is always running on a high. This is your moment and one which should be remembered for ever – you are getting married.
I will also recommend that you write your own wedding vows, something personal and from the heart. Assistance and guidance is always given if needed, but most of the time it is not. Just start by adding a few words on a blank piece of paper of why you love your partner and the rest will just follow. When writing your own vows you can write them together; they can be the same or different or you can write them separately and even keep them a secret. I will also ask you whether you wish to read from my celebrant folder (which is what I will read your ceremony from on your wedding day) or I can print them out for you on card (colour of your choice).
At this meeting too, it is always timely to remind you about obtaining your wedding licence as you can apply for this three months prior to your wedding date.
One week after the second meeting you will receive the first draft of your ceremony by email. You will be invited to make whatever changes you want. Again, this is your ceremony and personal to you both. Amendments can then be made via email.
A rehearsal is recommended. It will help reduce any stress and nerves you may have about how the ceremony is going to flow and fit into your wedding day and they are fun. It’s like birthdays, they should be extended for as long as possible. And unlike birthdays, you only have one wedding, let’s make the excitement last for as long as we can.
Your rehearsal will need to be organised by yourself with the wedding venue, and is recommended approximately a week or so prior to your wedding date. I will attend the ceremony with a clip board, yes, a clip board, with more questions and items to discuss and go over together. We will practice the walking down the aisle and where the bridal party will stand, if you are having one. Invite all those people that need to be there, or whoever you would like to attend – it’s your rehearsal.
Then, before you know it, your wedding day has arrived and I will be there 45 minutes prior to organise the finishing touches – is the person who is doing the music okay, provide them with their run sheet, add button holes to anyone who needs one and hasn’t managed it on their own, check the microphone volume if you are using one and that of the music, check the best man has the wedding rings (if he is holding them) – there are always many things to check.
Then I will officiate at your wedding and will read your pre-prepared ceremony, as approved by you both.
After the wedding, once the documents are signed (two copies of the Copy of Particulars of Marriage) by the bride and groom, two chosen witnesses and myself (the Registered Wedding Celebrant), you will be given your copy of the Copy of Particulars of Marriage and a copy of your wedding ceremony.
The final thing I do for you is register your marriage by sending the other Copy of Particulars of Marriage to Birth Deaths and Marriages. I will encourage you to obtain a Marriage Certificate and Births Deaths and Marriages, upon registering your marriage, will automatically send this out to you.
Hopefully this will assist in any questions you may have about what myself, as your wedding celebrant, will do for you.
My fee is $550 including GST and generally travel expenses are included too, depending on where your wedding ceremony is taking place.
If you would like to have that “meet and greet”, please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 021 253 2316.
I look forward to hearing from you soon. x