Frequently Asked Questions
How long should a ceremony go for?
On average a ceremony goes from 25min – 35min. It’s important to remember that people are coming to see you get married. If it is any less than 20 minutes your guests will feel a little ripped off. Ceremonies shouldn’t be boring, in my experience no one has ever told me that a 35min ceremony felt long or dragged on.
This also takes into account the time it takes for the bride, bridesmaids and the rest of the bridal party to enter, the signing of the paperwork and a song for the Bridal party to exit.
How do celebrants work out their pricing?
The majority of people only see a celebrant working for about 30 minutes at the ceremony. What they don’t see is the hours of work put into making the ceremony happen. Multiple meetings with the couple, getting to know them and understanding their vision for the ceremony and pages of paperwork.
Writing a bespoke ceremony to suit each couple can take hours. Not to mention the annual fees and Ongoing Professional Development that must be taken every year to remain a celebrant. So even though it looks like an effortless 30 minutes of work, each wedding is approximately 15-20 hours of work.
Also be aware that if a celebrants fee seems a lot cheaper than others, in most cases you will get what you pay for. Do your research, meet with multiple celebrants and find who is the best fit for you.
What happens after the wedding?
Your celebrant will lodge all of your paperwork to Births Deaths and Marriages, this may take 2 weeks to be processed. On your wedding day, you will sign a ‘decorative’ wedding certificate – this is not a legal document but is much prettier than your legal certificate.
You will receive your legal certificate in the mail around 1 month after your wedding. This is what will allow you to change your last name if you decide to.
How many times should I meet my celebrant?
There should be an initial meeting (either face to face or on the phone) for you to get a feel of them and ask all the questions (see below).
Once you book in that celebrant, you will meet to get started with the paperwork -the Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM), this is when the celebrant gets to know you, and they should be asking you lots of questions.
Usually, then you won’t see your celebrant until closer to the wedding day, to go over final details, have a rehearsal or at least block where the bridal party are standing, entering and exiting from etc.
There should be communication between signing the NOIM and your rehearsal. I always send couples a draft of the ceremony I have written at least one month in advance. That way, there is plenty of time to make any changes.
What are some key questions to ask a celebrant?
If it is your first time getting married, you probably don’t know what to be asking your potential celebrant. Here are a few to get you started and will hopefully give you a good idea if they will be a good fit for your wedding:
- What kind of style of ceremony do you typically offer?
- What is your process – from this meeting to after the ceremony?
- What happens if for some reason you are unable to make it to the wedding?
- Why did you become a celebrant?
- What sets you out from the rest?
- Do you have a limit of meetings and communication we can have?
- How much control and flexibility of the ceremony can we have?
- What will you wear on the day?
- What does the fee include?
- What is the cancellation policy?
- What equipment do they provide?
What are some warning signs/red flags of a celebrant?
If you are shopping around for a celebrant, all the information can get quite overwhelming but if you can be wary of a few warning signs then hopefully you will be able to make a more informed choice.
- Their fee is a lot less than the others. A good celebrant will put in the work and the hours to make sure your ceremony is exactly what you want. Which is around 15-20 hours. If they are too cheap, they are probably doing a lot of copy and paste.
- They restrict how many meetings/emails/phone calls. Unless you have an agreed package (like a registry office/elopement style wedding) and you are paying for a full service, then you want to know that your celebrant is available for any questions and answers.
- They should be a wealth of knowledge for you – chances are, they have been to more weddings than you. I have couples emailing me asking for feedback on their music, colour choices, seating arrangements and floor plans because it is always good to have someone to bounce ideas off.
- They don’t take the time to get to know you as a couple. They should be asking HEAPS of questions – about your relationship, your first date, how you met, the proposal, your family morals and values, why you are getting married etc, etc. If the celebrant doesn’t ask you many questions – RUN. I guarantee you, your ceremony will not feel personal or unique.
- You can’t see yourself telling this stranger what you love most about your partner. If your gut feeling is off, or you don’t feel 100% comfortable with this person – they probably aren’t for you. You are only going to get a great ceremony with someone you both connect with.
If, after the ceremony, there is something you really were not happy about ie. the celebrant was late, drunk, or unprofessional in any way, then you can report them to the Attorney Generals Office.