Our Top Tips for choosing your professional civil celebrant
Let your fingers do the exploring and your phone do the talking.
Speak to celebrants first - their voice is what your guests will hear.
Short list 2 celebrants - 3 at the most.
Meet your first choice and only move on to interview another if you have reservations about the first.
Things to consider:
Association membership: Does the celebrant belong to a celebrant association?
Association membership usually indicates that the celebrant has the opportunity to keep up to date with current knowledge and practice related to celebrancy, and more likely to have back-up and support if the celebrant unable to proceed with his or her commitment to you due to an emergency or ill health.
Availability: Is the celebrant available on the date and time you have in mind?
This is the first question you are likely to ask. If possible be flexible about your date. It may make all the difference to the quality of your celebration to wait for the celebrant best suited to your needs rather than taking the only celebrant available.
Reputation: Does the celebrant have a good reputation?
Word of mouth may be a good guide to the quality of the celebrant’s work. Remember though that you are looking for a celebrant to suit your needs, not another persons.
Experience: How much experience does the celebrant have in conducting ceremonies?
Experience is valuable and reassuring. Equally a new celebrant may have enthusiasm and ideas that are equally valuable.
Personality: Does the celebrant have the sort of personality that you find attractive?
Try to find a celebrant who makes you feel comfortable and gives you confidence that they will provide the ceremony you need. Not every celebrant will suit everyone. But most celebrants suit most people.
Attitude: Does the celebrant listen to your ideas and concerns? Is the celebrant keen to ensure they understand what you expect from them and that you understand what is required of you?
Look for a celebrant who cares about your needs and expectations and will do their best to meet them. Does the celebrant give ideas and suggestions that show they are listening to your requirements?
Equipment: Does the celebrant have appropriate equipment?
Celebrants need a range of equipment to perform well. Computer and internet facilities are required to keep up-to-date and research ceremony resources. They may be the way you want to communicate with your celebrant. PA systems ensure your guests will hear the ceremony.
Location: Is the celebrant within reasonable travelling distance to the venue?
Celebrants are prepared to travel, some longer distances than others. Remember though that local celebrants are less likely to get caught in traffic and to know the venues better. However, if the celebrant you really want is coming a distance, be prepared ask what strategies they will use to ensure they are on time, and be prepared to pay more to ensure they are not disadvantaged by making that extra effort for you.
Price: Is the celebrant charging a fee commensurate with the amount of work they will be doing?
Your budget is important. What you allocate to the various aspects of your day shows how important each part is to you. Most people don’t realise how really important the celebrant is to their special occasion.
If the fee seems excessively low, beware. If excessively high, ask for a detailed breakdown of what is being provided.
The time spent in front of guests is only the tip of the iceberg. In terms of the time, most celebrants spend many hours behind the scenes.
So if the fee quoted seems high, consider the time spent with you and working on your ceremony, the travel expenses, the cost of equipment and all the other running costs independent self-employed professional celebrants need to meet.
Given that this special day never comes again, paying more to get quality may be the best investment you can make.
That’s why this point was left until last. If you have satisfied yourself about all the other points then the fee question will answer itself.