How to choose the best celebrant (Part 3)

While this follows parts 1 and 2, if you are already thinking of choosing a particular celebrant, this article has advice on how to make that final decision of who you will trust with your ceremony

When you have a celebrant in mind, how do you know he or she is right for you?

When you are considering a person for the ceremony, there are some straightforward and easy steps to take.

1. Ring him up and see if he is free on the day you plan to marry.

There is no use wasting time considering celebrants that are already booked.  If he is booked however, ask if he has any good recommendations.  Importantly, if he recommends someone, ask if he has attended a wedding run by that person, and what attributes the person has to warrant the referral.  Some celebrants might refer clients between themselves for financial, rather than quality reasons.

2. Offer to buy him a coffee to discuss what he has to offer for your wedding.

In a short time over a coffee, you might not be totally convinced that he is the one.  However, in a short time it is often evident that the celebrant is just not for you.

Don’t have the coffee in either of your homes; rather use a good coffee shop.  And prior to the meeting, let the celebrant know that you will decide on booking the celebrant after you meet.  Let him know you will advise him by email within the week.

At the meeting, he should have a spiel on how he goes about weddings.  Listen to how often he comes back to the theme that the wedding is yours, not his.  How often is he listening to you?  He will talk about past weddings and how they went, but does he talk about how he helped the marrying couples, or how he saved the day?

If you want to have humour in the ceremony, think how often you laughed over the coffee.  If you want romance in the ceremony, how often did you feel warm or even teary about the way he expressed some things?

This is an excellent way to get a good feel for the celebrant.  And if it doesn’t work out, it only cost you a coffee.  But please email him to tell him either way as soon as you can.  Celebrants have an uncanny ability to get booking inquiries for the same date.

Oh, and by the way, any celebrant who doesn’t like coffee should immediately be struck off your list of possibles.

3. Ask him if you can attend a ceremony he is conducting in the near future.

Most marrying couples don’t mind the celebrant inviting a couple of people to watch their ceremony, especially if it is in a public place.  This is an informative way for you to see the outcome of the celebrants work with this couple.  Of course it doesn’t show you what work went on up to the ceremony.

However, if the “smileometer” is showing a very happy bride and groom, it shouldn’t be ignored.

Stand at the back, and consider how clearly you can hear the words of the ceremony.  How smoothly did the Bridal parties arrive? How personal and unique to the couple does the ceremony sound? How many people are crying happy tears?  How many laughs are there during the ceremony?

Of course, the celebrant needs to clear with the marrying couple that it is OK to have you inconspicuously in the background.  If he comes back and says no, this is unusual, and you might wish to ask why that was the case.

4. Look at his Website

While you can’t always tell if a website has been prepared by the celebrant, there may be some indicators about the wedding style.  This might be a way to work out a shortlist of celebrants to call, and perhaps have a coffee with.

And remember, a good celebrant will make the day.  Don’t settle for anyone you don’t think will do a great job for you both!