With Wedding Celebrants, You Get What You Pay For
Weddings cost a lot of money and this can present an enormous challenge for some couples and/or families. You face tough decisions on services for the day, something you’ve likely thought about and dreamt about since you were young. The wedding celebrant is one place you have to consider sacrificing a little to save a little. After all, how much difference is there really from one celebrant? Why pay $1000 for one person when you can get another person to do it legally for $500?
Remember Rowan Atkinson in “Four Weddings and a Funeral”? Better for the bride to walk in with a few less roses in a bouquet she hands off right away anyway than to get a “bargain” celebrant you have to worry about.
The Price of Beauty.
It makes little sense to spend thousands of dollars on an exquisite wedding dress and bridesmaid’s dresses, tuxedos, inspiring floral arrangements — beauty to the eyes — only to skimp on the one vendor most responsible for designing and choreographing one of the most important parts of the day.
For every wedding professional – celebrant, photographer, florist, musicians, and so on — price is related to craftsmanship. Beauty and craftsmanship don’t just happen. Any work of art that is made to leave a lasting mark takes time.
Some celebrants book up to four weddings a day. What kind of personal service, attention, time, and priority do you believe you will get from this celebrant.
Don’t Be a Last-Minute Celebrant Shopper
Many wedding planners wisely suggest securing your wedding celebrant should be one of the first things you do. Ideally you begin your search within a month or two of your engagement. The reason is simple: The best wedding celebrants book up to a year or more in advance for peak season weddings.
The Price of Reassurance and Your Ceremony “Experience”
Trusting relationships aren’t built in one fifteen minute meeting or phone call. They are cultivated. It takes time for a wedding celebrant to cultivate the quality, warmth, depth, and credibility required to put you totally at ease and reassured. A good marriage celebrant will have training and experience in the following areas:
- How to care for your couple
- Non-verbal communication
- Public speaking
- Wedding protocol
- Performing ceremony rituals
- Wedding ceremony resources
- Reference skills for couples who want to write design their own service/vows
- The wedding rehearsal
- Wedding ceremony coordination/working with vendors
- Working with coordinators
- Private weddings
- Legal and administrative duties
- Interfaith weddings
- Extravagant weddings
- Celebrant responsibilities
- Designing personalized ceremonies
- Working with couples
- Working with families
- 2nd marriages
- Integrating children
- Religious and/or spiritual weddings
- Non-religious or civil weddings
- Preparation timeline
- Listening skills
- Professionalism and personal integrity
- Blessing the marriage
- Handling the unexpected
- Preparing for marriage – what couples are going through
- Being flexible
- Helping couples write their own vows
Public Speaking Background
Look for a wedding celebrant with a public speaking background, someone who has experience and is experienced in speaking in front of groups. You need a celebrant who knows how to project, who understands how to convey in words the beauty of your love for each other. It involves effective vocal pacing, pitch variation, volume, body language, eye contact, and the non-verbal communication of personal warmth. All these correctly woven together to accurately and appropriately convey meaning and experience make for effective communication, personal connection, and richer experience.
Self Assurance and Maturity
This line of work tends to attract more sanguine personality types — people who thrive in the limelight, enjoy being centre stage. That’s okay as long as they have the maturity and self-assurance to humbly step back and redirect that limelight upon the two people everybody came to see and celebrate, rather than trying to impress people with their perceived wittiness or wisdom.
The very best wedding celebrants — the cream of the cream — have the remarkable ability to wear a variety of hats and excel in everything they do. The best wedding celebrants are great listeners, able to hear and understand each of you and and your values. The best wedding celebrants are also creative writers, able to put into words your love story and make it both accurate and compelling.
The best wedding celebrants are disciplined and organized, attentive to every detail of your wedding ceremony and thorough in preparation leading up to and during your wedding day. The best wedding celebrants are also captivating storytellers, able to bring words and stories to life in such a way that your guests are drawn into deeper connection with the two of you.
Needless to say, the best wedding celebrants have a personal warmth and love for people. There is a certain magnetism to them simply because they themselves are so drawn to love and care about others. The best wedding celebrants are also skilled diplomats, able to smooth rough waters at times when feelings are often heightened and misunderstandings are more easily conceived. At the same time the best wedding celebrants are strong and when the situation so demands, assertive to be the advocate and defender of the bride and groom’s wishes with others want to force their unwanted wedding ideas upon them.
What Wedding Celebrant Fees Support.
Here are the minimum time/money requirements for a wedding celebrant just to provide basic service to you:
- website hosting, design, and optimization as well as other advertising just in order for you to find them;
- responding to your e-mail inquiry and/or phone call;
- meeting you for an interview
- designing and creating your wedding ceremony
- staying in touch through emails and by phone
- administrative record keeping, providing receipts of deposits and final payments
- wedding rehearsal including travel time and expense
- Wedding day travel
- Pre-ceremony coordination
- Officiating your wedding ceremony
- Getting paperwork properly signed and sent to BDM for filing
How Much Should I Expect to Pay?
More for more credentialed and trained professionals, and more for experienced wedding celebrants. Thus, for the best, experienced and credentialed professionals, $800-$1500 would be considered average. For inexperienced celebrants you may find someone for between $400-$600. Otherwise, between $800-$1000 would be considered something of an average.
Don’t Make Price the Primary Determinant
More than any other factor, this is the difference between a nice little wedding and the wedding of your dreams.
“Good” should never aptly describe a wedding ceremony. A once-in-a-lifetime moment cannot be merely “good” or “fine” – “good” and “fine” happens every day. It should be described in terms such as “unforgettable,” “incredible”, “magical,” or “beyond my wildest dreams.”
The “fairytale wedding of your dreams” is the hard-earned product of a wedding celebrant’s dedication, inspiration, and perspiration. The “magic” you two want to experience is actually the result of much careful and deliberate preparation, cultivation, understanding, wisdom, and craftsmanship on the part of the wedding celebrant.