The selection of a celebrant is one of the most important decisions a couple will make when planning a wedding. A celebrant will set the tone for future married life together, in front of the community: guests including friends and family.
As with marriage itself, the process of choosing a wedding celebrant is not to be entered into lightly. If you consider these top five tips, your once-in-a-lifetime ceremony will surely set a positive, heart-warming and uniquely personal tone for this new journey together. You have one opporunity, so getting it right is critical!
1. Make sure your celebrant is experienced, sincere and genuine — listen to other brides and grooms.
In considering potential celebrant, try to determine which celebrant offers a ceremony (be it civil, spiritual, or religious) that aligns with your relationship values. Do any appear to fit your budget and character as well? A great celebrant will have reviews on not only their website, but also their Facebook and other social profiles. The age of the celebrant is not always important, but normally they will be over 30 years of age. The most important quality is integrity, and a passion for the work.
Notice what past couples have commented about on Facebook Reviews, Google Business Listing Reviews or consider old-fashioned word-of-mouth testimonials. Finally consider whether the officiant is legally empowered, if that is a consideration. Perhaps you are able to find a sample of their ceremonies on Youtube?
2. Tell them your dreams and consider their responses to questions.
Either meet in person, by phone call, or set up a Skype meeting with the celebrant. If this is not possible, then at least send an inquiry by email before making your decision. You might ask for the celebrant’s standard/sample ceremony script, or his or her typical procedures for working with couples.
Considering responses, ask yourself whether the celebrant seems willing to spend time with you (which often includes a fee for his or her time). Also observe the Celebrant’s overall demeanor in a phone or Skype call, or by the tone of emails; will this individual seem likely to help you relax to stay calm and comfortable on your special day? Do they have certified credentials?
3. Decide if you want a typical ceremony, a creative ceremony, or something in-between.
More and more celebrants are responding to a couple’s request that they provide humor in ceremonies. The theme of your ceremony should, however, not be too contrived. A good Celebrant will help find a middle ground, and will strive to authentically represent who you are. It is best to have your words and the ceremony itself reflect authentic personalities.
If you are serious about design, then it is recommended to consider your Celebrant’s appearance, particularly his or her attire. A celebrant who really pays attention to details, can dress according to the wedding theme of your choice. It is OK to ask the Celebrant to dress formal or dress casually for the ceremony. For example, beach weddings might not require shoes if the bride and groom will prefer!
4. Look for a celebrant who will advise you about how to tailor elements of your ceremony.
Decide if you would like to write some or all of your own vows. Ask your potential celebrant for advice or resources around vows. This is extremely important, because vows are the centerpiece of a ceremony. They should authentically reflect your personalities and pledged commitment to one other. Traditionally, couples promise devotion beyond circumstances (rich or poor, sickness or health, good times or bad). Ceremonies are about the community, personal relationship and that which bonds everything together… love.
A good piece of advice is to make vows personal and humorous by commenting on both the normal aspects of a relationship, e.g. “I promise to keep our house in order, including keeping your closet organized for you” as well as heavier matters in the commitment, such as, “I promise to love you forever, and make many babies together (at least 2).”
An attentive and caring celebrant will also encourage couples to choose devotional poetry for use in their ceremony, and they might offer that other family members can be involved. This adds yet another layer of personal touches to the event: It is important to note that not all celebrants will offer such help you organize all these aspects, so if these components are important to you, then choose your celebrant wisely!
Also consider whether you would like to do some ritual: such as mixing the sands, tying the knot, planting a tree, etc…
There are many rituals which can add a fabulous layer of uniqueness and tactile experience to your ceremony. As a bonus, you can typically keep the ritual items, or return to it as a sacred memento of your special day.
5. Get assurance that the Celebrant is willing and eager to personally tell your story.
Tell your celebrant about how you and your fiancé met, ask if this story might be told in the ceremony if you wish. Many couples enjoy including a funny anecdote about their first encounter, or other stories such as the one about “how the bride’s dog first responded when meeting the future groom.” What strange things happened on your first date? When and how did you know he or she was “the” one? Can you bring some element of surprise into the ceremony such as by adding some elements or words that will cause your partner (or the group) to laugh out loud?
The celebrant may ask you to put a few details in writing, so he or she can accurately re-tell a story for your guests.
In summary, try to choose a celebrant who resonates with you emotionally, and provides you the attention you deserve. The celebrant should clearly emote love and passion for the work, and be enthusiastic about personalizing the ceremony to meet all your expectations. You deserve a celebrant with a supportive and responsive attitude; someone whose presence inspires deep respect and happiness towards your future, and someone who will set a beautiful tone for that wonderful, abundant future life together which is commencing at this sacred ritual.
About the Author:
Originally from the USA, Jacob Ritter has worked as a Wedding Celebrant / Master of Ceremonies for luxury resorts, beaches, yachts and private islands located in and around Thailand since 2008.
“It is my greatest wish to support you in creating a tailored event, which resonates in your heart with love, joy & devotional meaning.”
Having worked closely with the top wedding planners and resorts in Phuket and beyond, Jacob is happy to help couples organize all elements of their event in cooperation with leading partners. He is based in Phuket Town where he lives with his wife, baby daughter and Siamese cat named Catty. Tell him your story today!