So you need to book a wedding celebrant, but you have no idea where to start! When should you book them? What should you look for? And how much will it cost? Well, we chatted with the celebrant queen herself, Claudia Neal-Shaw from The Love Diaries to make sure we got all your wedding celebrant questions answered!

When Should You Book Your Celebrant…

When speaking to Claudia, she recommended booking your celebrant as soon as you have decided on a date and secured your wedding venue. During busy months, celebrants can be booked out for 12-14 months, so you’ll want to get in early! When organising your celebrant, they’ll often be able to give you recommendations on other great suppliers that they like and trust. “Think of your celebrant as your personal guardian angel – he or she can guide you through the process of getting married.”

What Should You Look For…

We thought this was a MUST ask question for the celebrant queen! Her answer? There are three key qualities to look for in your future celebrant – chemistry, strong and clear communication, and personality. “Choose a celebrant who fits your vibe and look for the qualities you value in others”.

What Qualifications Should They Have…

You want to make sure that the celebrant you’re booking is fully qualified! The key term couples should look for is ‘Authorised Marriage Celebrant’. Basically, this ensures that the celebrant has completed the necessary 6-12 month training course and has been verified. To preview a full list of celebrants, go to the Attorney General’s website. Besides qualifications, couples might also consider the celebrant’s experience. “There are a number of factors couples’ might be interested in considering – the number of weddings a celebrant has completed, their length of time as an authorised celebrant, past couples’ testimonials and experiences, comfortability with public speaking.”

How Much Will It Cost…

Cost is an important factor for most couples when it comes to planning their special day. “Each celebrant has their own unique offering but generally there can be two versions of a ceremony.” The first version ‘Legal’s Only’ can range from $400-$800. This will include just the important legal wording required. The second version ‘Full Wedding Ceremony’ can range from $700-$2000. For this option, you’ll get the “the glitz, the glamour, the personalisation from the legal paperwork right through to the creative planning of a ceremony.”

What Equipment Do They Provide…

It’s important to know what equipment the celebrant will provide and what you need to provide yourself! We have confirmed – “A celebrant provides all of the physical written paperwork required to make a wedding ceremony legal. They’ll also provide a high-quality PA system with a microphone so that your guests can hear your beautiful vows!”

What Are They Responsible For…

You’ll also need to know what exactly your celebrant is responsible for! The last thing you’ll want are issues with the legality of the marriage or any of the paperwork. A celebrant is responsible for completing your Notice of Intended Marriage, which they’ll sign off and file when your marriage is registered. Claudia advised us, “Couples need to be able to legally prove their evidence of birth and identity as well as the fact they are not married to another person.”

What Legal Aspects Will They Take Care Of…

Soon before your wedding, your celebrant will also need to complete your Declaration of No Legal Impediment. On the wedding day, the celebrant must also go through all the legal finalities. The wedding certificate must then be signed and the celebrant then lodges all of the paperwork within 14 days of the ceremony.

What Information Do You Give To Them…

“It’s very much about getting to know the couple so well that at the ceremony, you seem like you’ve been friends for years.” Some of the most common details to share with your celebrant can be your love story, proposal story, favourite stories of your time together, people you want to include in the ceremony, things you love/hate about others wedding ceremonies, and any other important details.

What Can You Personalise…

This is something that most couples might not know, but you’re able to change everything except for the celebrant’s formal announcement of themselves and the legal wording of the vows. “Every other part can be personalised and there is no traditional structure that has to be followed. If you want to walk in with llamas, have a mid-ceremony flash dance, a unique theme, or a collective parent blessing of the couple, you can add and subtract whatever you like.” Claudia shared.

What About Vows…

Did you know, you can ask your celebrant to help you with your vows? How amazing! Most celebrants should be able to provide you with a vow template or sit down and review vows with couples. “Most people want to have a go at writing them first and then come to the celebrant for feedback to make sure they’re the right tone, length, and style to match each other’!”

What Will They Wear…

You definitely don’t want an outfit clash at your wedding! To avoid this, most celebrants will ask couples if they have a preference for what the celebrant should wear. “The celebrant is not the star of the show, the couple is, so it’s always important to respect the couples’ colour scheme.”

Has Covid-19 Changed What A Celebrant Offered…

“Breaking news! Love is not cancelled!” Our expert has assured us that celebrants are still offering you the exact same! Whilst ceremonies might be smaller, the love is just as radiant. “Many couples have embraced the beautiful, smaller, and intimate ceremonies and some have postponed to honour their bigger wedding plans.” So rest assured that if you’re getting married during Covid-19, you’ll have your celebrant’s full support!

Any Advice For Couples Getting Married During Covid-19…

When asking Claudia, she suggests that couples make a decision that they are personally happy with. A few key questions to ask yourself before making/changing plans: “What are my non-negotiables? What HAS to happen in order for me to get married? What’s the difference between getting married now in a smaller ceremony or later in a bigger one?” As a couple, take the time to reflect on these questions. To help you decide, you can always write a pros and cons list, which will make it easier to weigh up your decision. If you’re still in doubt, Claudia suggests talking to your celebrant. They’re here to help you and want to make your special day everything that you dreamt of.

Wedding Celebrant

Looking for a celebrant for your big day? Check out some of our favourite celebrants here!





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