20 + Questions to ask your celebrant

For a short while here on my blog I will be posting wedding related content because /news flash/ I’m getting married! This isn’t new news its just finally happening. Wedding related posts will be on random Wednesdays so if you like bonus content then you’re in for a treat! #weddingwednesday

Planning a wedding can be half of the fun, it can also be a giant ball of stress that makes your stomach drop harder than a drunk girl in a night club.

This is one of the times in your life that you’re allowed to be as picky and precise as you want. There isn’t anything wrong with letting the ‘Zilla through when you’re talking wedding day.

Finding someone to officiate your special day can be a lengthy process, being able to trust (usually) a stranger to be the one to announce you as husband and wife is a big step. Here is a list of questions I took with me to my initial interview with our ‘now’ celebrant.

I had the list hand written in my wedding planner. Its the perfect hand bag size so if I needed to I could pull out and ask something or write something down. Having a planner to keep all your ideas in one place is such a good idea, but more on that in another post!

  1. What are your fees?
  2. What do the fees include? 
  3. Are there any additional costs? – travel, rehearsal dinner, meetings?
  4. How long have you been performing weddings?
  5. How many weddings have you officiated?
    Is this their fiftieth wedding or their first? Who did they learn from (if they did)?
  6. How much is the deposit? 
  7. When does the deposit / full payment need to be made?
    Its a good idea to write down when payments are due so you can put them into your wedding planner/calendar. Keeping on top of payments is quite important.
  8. How many meetings are required before the wedding day?
  9. What paperwork is required? When?
    There legal paperwork that needs to be filed. Usually everything needs to be done at least 1 month before the wedding, if you get it over and done with early, its something you can cross off your list!
  10. How do you personalise each wedding?
  11. What actually happens on the day?
    I had no clue on what happens because… I’ve never been married before. Usually the celebrant is more than helpful with a run down of how the ceremony will go. 
  12. How long before the ceremony do you arrive?
    Usually its about an hour to half an hour before the ceremony, but it is good to ask when they plan on getting there. After all you won’t be there to greet them!
  13. What happens if you’re unable to perform? Will they recommend a replacement?
    This is one of my biggest fears. It is good to be up front about it all from the get go. 
  14. How many weddings do they book in a day?
    I’ve heard some celebrants/officiants book multiple weddings in a day. If there is travel  required to get to your venue you might want to make sure the celebrant has no prior engagements on the day of your wedding. Its ok to wait on the bride for the big day but not the celebrant.
  15. What equipment do you bring? – P.A System? Signing Table/Chair? Speakers?
  16. How long does it take to set up your equipment?
  17. Can you play music from the P.A System?
  18. Do you have your own music or do we supply you with songs?
    Most P.A systems will be able to be plugged into an iPod / speaker system. Check if this is the case (and if they’re bringing their own P.A system – your venue might have one they can use). Your celebrant may ask for a list of songs you want played and when so they can download them themselves. 
  19. What happens with the paperwork once we sign it on the day?
  20. How flexible are you with the wording and structure of the marriage process?
  21. Do we have the final say on what is said?
  22. How did you get into the business?
    Its nice to chat about how they got into the business of doing weddings. Its an easy ice breaker.
  23. Where do you stand on religion/religiousness
    If you’re getting married in a church, more often than not you’re a couple that has a religious side, but for those of you who don’t/aren’t having a preachy celebrant can be off putting. Usually the celebrant will put aside their own views and make the wording reflect you as a couple. 
  24. Is there any wording that MUST be mentioned?
    There are certain things that are required by law that must be mentioned in the binding words of the celebrant. If you disagree with what is being mentioned you can request your celebrant say: “however, /bride/ and /groom/ don’t agree with this and feel marriage should be for everyone” etc.

Different states and even countries require different legal mumbo jumbo to be said, so do a little research and check what it is where you are. This list of course is in no particular order, but it sure helped me out when we went to meet with our celebrant. Most of the time these questions will be answered before you can actually ask them. Instead of being straight forward, perhaps use these questions as points to steer the conversation towards.

When meeting with your potential celebrant make sure you’re in a place where you can chat. We met for a cider after work, otherwise I would have suggested a nice little cafe. Somewhere you can be yourself. Its important to be as you as possible because you don’t want someone to officiate your wedding who doesn’t reflect who you are as a couple.

I hope this was helpful. If I missed any please let me know so I can add it to the list.

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