Non religious Wedding Celebrant

5 Tips on How to Choose Your Wedding Celebrant (Scotland)

A few days ago, I met with one of my 2017 Wedding couples for a catch up and to give them their “Aye Do!” Gift pack, and we started talking about their Wedding and the bride said, “So many of our guests have told us that the Ceremony was their favourite part of the day”, which was amazing for me to hear, because the Ceremony is the most important part of the day, and it’s something you and your guests should remember long after it’s over.

But, in order to achieve this, you have to make sure you choose the right Celebrant.

So, how do you go about this? Well, the first thing you need to do as a couple is to talk about the different options available, decide on what is important to you, and then to use this as the framework to find a Celebrant. So, grab your other half, a glass of wine and a pen & paper, and write down your answers to the following…..

1. What tone would you like to set for your Ceremony?
One of the first things I do when talking to couples is to try and find out what kind of tone they want to set. To do this, I get them to write down the first words that come to mind when they think about their Wedding Ceremony. And couples tend to say things like:
“Fun & Relaxed”
“Personal… all about us!”
“We’d like to make people laugh”
“A blend of traditional and humour”
“Relaxed and memorable”
I’m sure you get the point! So have a chat about what kind of tone would you like to have, and write down your answer.

2. What skills are important to you in a Celebrant?
Many of the couples I’ve worked with say they chose me not only because we “clicked”, but because of my background in Professional Speaking, which allows me to have the skills and confidence so that I don’t have to ‘read’ every part of the Ceremony, but can instead interact with the guests and get them involved (as long as the couple want me to do this), which always adds much fun and laughter.

Therefore, as well as thinking about the tone you want to set for your Ceremony, think about the qualities you would like to see in your Celebrant. I know Celebrants who are wonderful with small gatherings, but a little less confident with bigger groups. I know Celebrants who can write beautifully but are uncomfortable with public speaking…. yes really! And I know Celebrants who can read the script perfectly, but can’t lift their eyes from the script to make eye contact with anyone in the room!

So, decide on what qualities are important and write them on your list!

3. Is gender important to you?
Whether you think it’s PC or not, gender can be an issue for some couples, and while there are many people who have no preference over whether it’s a male or female, some couples for whatever reasons, would much rather have a woman conduct their ceremony, while other would prefer a man…. and of course, the really really cool ones would rather have their Ceremony conducted by an amazingly funny, talented Scottish shield maiden/warrior/goddess (yep, that would be me!)
In fact, a few of my couples have told me that gender was important when searching for a Celebrant, and in researching a number of online blogs, this is a topic that seems to come up to time and time again.
So it’s important to talk about whether either of you have a preferred gender so that you don’t waste time looking in the wrong places.

4. Do you have a budget for your Celebrant?
This is a tricky one because when it comes to Celebrants, it’s very much the old adage… “You get what you pay for”, and the unfortunate truth is that while many couples are happy to fork out a fortune for a wedding cake, they often go in search of a Celebrant who will offer their services for a few crumbs (see what I did there?!). However, if you want a Celebrant who will spend time getting to know you as a couple, and who will then spend hours writing and perfecting your ceremony, and then deliver a personal and memorable ceremony with enthusiasm, energy and passion… then you’re going to have to pay to for it. But there are excellent Celebrants who charge a fair fee for the work they do, and these are the ones you should be looking for.
So, ask yourselves what you are willing to pay for the right person, and again this will help to narrow down your search.

5. Is it important that the legal aspects of your marriage are done on the day of your Ceremony?
This might seem like a strange question, but getting married is actually a complicated business, and in Scotland the only people who can legally marry you are:
Clergy
Registrars
Humanists
Interfaith Ministers (or Celebrants)

So if you decide that you want the legalities done on the day, then you should be looking for an officiant who falls under one of those categories. The problem with most of these (excluding Interfaith Celebrants) is that each places certain rules and restrictions on what you can, and cannot have within your ceremony, and more and more couples are turning away from this and looking for an alternative.

This is where Independent Celebrants like me come in because we offer you the flexibility to have a ceremony that fits in with what you want rather than the other way around . But in order to do this, it means you as a couple will have to go to your local registry office at some point before your ceremony to complete the *legal aspects of your marriage. All registry office offer a short ‘Registration Only’ service (usually about £50), and once this is complete, you are free to have your Wedding Ceremony wherever you choose. (*From July 2019, I will be authorised to conduct fully legal Weddings in Scotland)

Therefore, you need to ask yourselves if you are willing to compromise over certain aspects of your ceremony in order for it to be made legal on the day, or whether you would rather have the flexibility of getting the legal bit out of the way and then having a wonderful celebration a day or two later.

So, now you should have the answers to these 5 questions, and all you need to do now is start researching for a Celebrant who meets your criteria! This means looking at lots of different Celebrant websites, looking at photos from their Ceremonies and watching their videos so that you can see if their style fits in with you as a couple (if they don’t have any videos on their site, I would get in touch and ask them if they can send you a link. Any good Celebrant will have at least a few videos for prospective couples to see).

Each time you find a Celebrant who you think might work for you, get in touch as soon as possible and ask about their availability on your chosen date, as well as for information on their fees, and any other questions you might have. Good Celebrants will reply to you quickly, even if it’s to say they are unavailable. Once you have a shortlist of available Celebrant ask if you can have a face to face/ telephone/Skype meeting to help you decide on which one is right for you.

And then when out find someone you both click with, and you come away knowing this person will create the Ceremony of you dreams…. book them as soon as possible!

If it helps you can read my blog on the 12 Questions to ask Potential Celebrants!

Hope you’ve enjoyed my tips on How to Choose a Wedding Celebrant, but if you’ve been recently married or if you are a Celebrant, please share with us your number 1 tip on choosing a Celebrant?!

Lindy x

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