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The Wedding Celebrant/Officiant – A Best Kept Secret

best Celebrant

 

The role of The Celebrant or Officiant is sadly undervalued and greatly misunderstood.

When researching any service it is of course important to find out initially about costs and services but at the same time it is equally vital to ascertain if the Celebrant/Officiant is worth the investment.

To make an appropriate comparison, when shopping around for a wedding suit or dress, one considers the style, quality and authenticity of the article before considering whether it is worth the price.

The best Celebrant for any couple is one who the couple deems to be a perfect fit for them.

 

The importance of Transparency

A Celebrant’s transparency is fundamental in terms of his/her credibility. They should command respect and cut an elegant figure, whose eloquent words elicit the desired atmosphere and emotional reaction.

Mutual trust and suitability are fundamental. It is for this reason that great importance should be placed on helping couples to understand who might be the best choice of Celebrant for them.

Therefore it is important for Celebrants to explain their service and answer questions via an initial no obligation Skype, Face Time or phone call. This saves time and offers much needed clarity because often couples have absolutely no idea what to expect from a Celebrant or what an actual ceremony involves.

Couples should be at liberty to make valid comparisons enabling them to make an informed, considered and independent choice. They should be encouraged to talk to other Celebrants before making a final decision. Likewise if a Celebrant honestly feels they are not the right choice for a couple they should diplomatically suggest that the couple continues their search.

Many unsuitable individuals and other wedding vendors double as ‘Celebrants’. An increasing number of Wedding Planners with no experience or training also perform ceremonies. People who  improvise cannot legitimately call themselves Celebrants or Officiants. Couples can easily fall victim to misinformation on the internet and many feel overwhelmed and confused by conflicting information.

Some couples are occasionally made offers they feel unable to refuse. Certain agencies and wedding venues propose the service of a Celebrant but fail to clearly explain who that person will be and evade requests made by couples wishing to contact the Celebrant in advance.

Thankfully not all Wedding Planners charge an unreasonable mark up and some do not ask for one at all. However some clients mistakenly believe that a Celebrant’s fee is considerably higher than it really is. This behaviour is unethical, a disservice to couples and damaging to a professional Celebrant’s reputation.

 

How to find the best Celebrant

Many engaged couples do not know how to ask pertinent questions by email or personal interview when contacting potential Celebrants directly.

Here are a few essential recommended questions to pose to anyone who will be responsible for composing and conducting the most essential component of a wedding day:

How long have they been a Celebrant.
How many ceremonies have they conducted?
Do they have an established website?
Where did they train?
Are they legally registered?
Do they personally script and conduct ceremonies full time?
Do they personalise ceremonies and tailor them specifically to the wishes of their clients?
Do they possess extensive knowledge of different kinds of ceremonies?
Do they speak the desired language fluently?
What will they wear?
It is reassuring when a Celebrant is open and promptly responsive. If there is no ‘feeling’, sense of trust or reassuring dialogue between a Celebrant and a couple at the outset, there is little point in pursuing a mutual collaboration.

The creation of a ceremony script is a highly skilled and lengthy process. It is the result of a close confidential working relationship between the Celebrant and the couple. It is imperative that a Celebrant is adept at interpreting and writing effectively and in turn that the couple is willing to do their homework. The more effort they put in the more they will gain from the whole experience.

 

The Figure of The Professional Celebrant

The wedding ceremony itself should be the focal point of the entire wedding day. Therefore it should be moving, memorable and inspiring. The ceremony should set the tone for the rest of the event.

Not many people understand that Celebrancy is an art and a serious vocation. A Celebrant’s presentability, communication skills, including voice tone and quality of diction, are essential components of their craft.

A professional Celebrant’s role involves a great deal of skill, time, travel and dedication. It is not a theatrical role and to make it so devalues the meaning of the wedding ceremony itself.

Ironically The Celebrant/Officiant is not always viewed as an important figure even by those who hire them. While it is true that Wedding Planners, Photographers, Videographers, Make-Up/Hair artists, Florists etc are crucial, the figure of the Celebrant is often relegated way down on the list of wedding priorities.

In fact many wedding blogs and sites, who include details of most vendors at the bottom of submitted articles omit the name of the Celebrant in their credits. Often the Celebrant will not be included in a single photo or their faces will be obscured by large vases of flowers or other wedding decorations.

This somehow communicates a sense that the Celebrant is a secret, which in turn perpetuates the myth that the person performing the ceremony is not an essential ingredient to its success.

In future years a married couple will be unlikely to recall the precise colour scheme of their wedding decorations but will remember how they both felt during their ceremony.

If a Celebrant is genuine their identity will not be a best kept secret. It is the duty and responsibility of every professional Celebrant/Officiant to encourage confidence in their standards of service and to do everything possible to ensure they are worthy of performing such a vital role.

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