Getting Married outside your City?
Engaging a Celebrant.
A substantial number of weddings are being held in beautiful country locations, away from the major cities in Australia.
A question that comes up time and again is whether to engage a celebrant local to where the ceremony is being held, or one from the city that you live in.
In Western Australia, Margaret River and the surrounding areas have become very popular as wedding destinations. Traveling to that area from Perth takes 3 or 4 hours of driving each way.
So, would it be best to engage a Wedding Celebrant who is local to the area, or one from the city?
Like most things in life, there is no right or wrong answer.
To decide what is best for you, you need to understand the tasks a good Celebrant will perform for your wedding.
Your Celebrant needs to:
- ensure that two government forms required well before the ceremony, have been properly completed, signed, and the necessary documents sighted and recorded;
- meet you to understand your story sufficiently to be able to write a ceremony which is unique, about you, and meets the style you want;
- support and help you to write your individual wedding vows if you want to do so;
- conduct a rehearsal of the ceremony. This is a vital step, unless you already know where the sun will set, how attendants will stand and arrive, where you will put your signing table, who will hold the rings, who will communicate that mobiles and cameras are not welcome to be on, what you will do if it rains, how you will hold hands during the ceremony, who will straighten your dress when you arrive , who will hold your flowers, and a number of other things. (Be very wary of a Celebrant who says a rehearsal is not necessary);
- attend the ceremony early to ensure the PA system, music, chairs, aisle, and the groom are all as they should be.
- perform the ceremony, including directing music, the signing of the last three wedding forms, and the walking out of the Bridal Party;
- lodge all of the documents with the relevant Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages.
So, in order to meet these requirements, the following lists the advantages and disadvantages of engaging a celebrant in your city, or local to the ceremony.
- When deciding on a celebrant, those that are near where you live, are easiest to meet. You can decide how comfortable you are with a celebrant over a coffee. Driving to the wedding venue town can be inconvenient if it is just to compare the celebrant to another, and difficult if you want to check out a couple of celebrants in the town.
- A celebrant anywhere can help to complete the necessary forms. However, the celebrant is required to sight your Birth Certificates and Drivers’ Licences and confirms this on the forms. He or she will also witness your signature on the forms. The country celebrant can sight the identification documents later on, and can inform you who can legally witness your signature.
- Discussing your story and how it fits into your ceremony takes time. Having a city celebrant makes the meeting easier to arrange. However, with the advent of Skype and similar programs, country celebrants can conduct the meeting on your computer.
- Supporting you to write your own wedding vows is often done by showing previously used vows (with names removed) and referral to relevant websites that specialise in vows. This is normally done by email, so there is probably no difference in city or country celebrants here.
- Performing a rehearsal and the actual ceremony can be done by a city or local celebrant. However, the local celebrant may have more flexibility to do the rehearsal, as he is not using time travelling to the ceremony venue. Also, the city celebrant, conducting a rehearsal the day before the wedding needs to stay overnight. His costs will include travel expenses to cover his travel time, and also accommodation expenses for the night. My fees in this regard are normally about $300 for travel expenses, plus the cost of the least expensive motel room in town.
- Lodging documents is done by post, and there is no difference between celebrants here.
The big issues as I see them are in points 2 and 4.
Do you want a unique wedding ceremony, or are you happy to have a very similar ceremony to others?
If you think your unique story including how you met, things that happened along the way, your future plans, and what is so special about your partner is really important, then meeting and talking with the city celebrant is best. Skype really is not as good as a face to face meeting.
If you want to save on the travel expense of your celebrant, the country celebrant is for you.
As I said before, there is no right or wrong answer to this question. There are two things I think are generally the case.
- Celebrants based at the wedding venue town will probably be less costly because of travel expenses; but
- The quality of your ceremony will probably be higher if done by a city celebrant you have met and chatted with in the journey before the wedding.