When you are getting married, one of the most important decisions you will make is who will be officiating your wedding. There are many marriage celebrants to choose from, so it is essential to research and find the right one for you. Here is what you need to know before making your decision.
1. What is a marriage celebrant, and what do they do?
A Marriage celebrant(called “civil” or “secular” celebrants in some states) is simply the person who conducts your wedding ceremony. They will work with you to create a personalized ceremony that reflects your relationship, personality, beliefs, and style. Unlike clergy members, marriage celebrants are not affiliated with any specific religion.
2. What are the benefits of using a marriage celebrant instead of getting married by a Justice of the Peace or another officiant?
You have more control over your ceremony when you get married by a marriage celebrant instead of someone else, such as a judge or justice of the peace. For example, you can choose who to marry you, the location for your ceremony, the words that were spoken during your ceremony, and what you wear.
3. How do you choose the right marriage celebrant for your wedding day?
When choosing a marriage celebrant, ask each candidate for their experience with planning weddings. A professional would have worked on dozens of ceremonies and will likely make sure that yours runs smoothly and efficiently – which means more time for photos! Make sure they understand what’s important to you and ensure they come highly recommended by other couples who were married to them. Remember: When it comes to getting married, this is one time when “you get what you pay for.”
4. What should you expect from your marriage celebrant regarding service and cost?
Most marriage celebrants charge by the hour rather than a flat fee. Make sure you ask about payment upfront (including penalties for late payment), return of deposit after the final balance is paid, extra costs beyond what was agreed upon initially, gratuity or other compensation that might be expected on top of their fee, who will pay for any additional charges if they are incurred (such as an officiant’s transportation to your wedding site) and when final payments are due.
5. How much does a marriage celebrant cost, and how is this fee structured?
Based on information from an industry professional in Australia – where civil marriage ceremonies are known as “secular” ceremonies, costs can range anywhere from $500-$1500 for most marriage celebrants depending on the location, time of day, etc. This fee is usually broken down into an hourly rate + travel costs (if applicable)
6. Can I change my mind about who I want to officiate after I’ve booked a celebrant?
Yes! As long as you haven’t signed any contracts or work agreements with your chosen marriage celebrant, you are free to hire whomever else you’d like without penalty. Make sure that both of your chosen marriage celebrants know that they will have competition for your business, though! You can make this process even easier by giving each of them one another’s contact information so they can discuss the details directly.