What to look for in a good civil celebrant in Melbourne and surrounds

Most couples concentrate on the venue, photographer, florist, their outfits – in fact almost every aspect of their ‘big day’, before they get to the celebrant. No dramas there, except that many celebrants book out well in advance. What to look for in a Civil Celebrant will give you some information to help you with your choice.

So, when you get to thinking of what you’d like in a celebrant, here are a couple of tips.

First and foremost, make sure you have a real connection with your celebrant. For the celebrant, a close connection usually means a ceremony that reflects the couple perfectly. One that is memorable for all the right reasons! From the couple’s point of view, a great celebrant will make them feel like a good friend is guiding them through the ceremony – one who knows them, really likes them, takes all the stress out of the ceremony and leaves nothing to chance.

Following on from that, it’s probably best not to go with the first person you meet just so you can tick ‘celebrant’ off your list … unless, of course, you absolutely love them and the connection is there. For example, if you’re a relaxed and laid-back couple and want your ceremony to reflect this, don’t go with somebody who appears formal and inflexible, or who doesn’t seem to have much in common with you.

Here are some pointers for you to consider or ask celebrants you meet with:

– What experience the celebrant has in the type of ceremony you are planning?

– Will the celebrant really listen to you? Beware of people who impose their ideas on you. Similarly, be prepared to trust the celebrant’s advice – they do know how to engage your guests; they also know what will send them to sleep!

– Does the celebrant have resources and ideas to help plan the ceremony?

– Is the celebrant organised and professional, and what’s really important – will she/he be fun to work with?

– Does the celebrant book multiple ceremonies on the same day? And if so, how long do they allow to get from one venue to the other? What happens if the first one runs late and yours happens to be the second ceremony? And following on, how early does the celebrant arrive on the day?

– Does the celebrant have his/her own equipment for voice amplification and to play music through? Does use of this equipment increase the cost?

– Does the celebrant allow plenty of time for couples to edit their ceremonies?

– What fee does the celebrant charge, and is it all-inclusive? Make sure you are realistic about fees. For example, a cheap ceremony could mean a formula ceremony, which is absolutely fine if that’s what you want. If, however, you are expecting a personalised ceremony, you may be disappointed. Most celebrants will have various options, and often the difference between something that’s standardised and one that’s written specifically for the couple, reflecting them perfectly, is less than a couple of hundred dollars.

– Does the celebrant live locally? If not, how far are they prepared to travel without incurring cost. For example, I’m a civil celebrant based primarily in Northcote, so happily work all around Melbourne as well as on the Mornington Peninsula without additional cost. Areas further afield may incur additional cost, depending on travel, rehearsals etc.

– Does the celebrant have a back up plan in case she/he is sick on the day?

– See if you can get a sense of the celebrant’s writing style, ie. check out their website, Facebook page, blogs etc. That will usually give you a good idea of their tone and style.

Good luck with it all, and remember there are many great celebrants out there. Make sure you find one that’s a perfect fit for you both.

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