Civil marriages are rising every year (currently around 70% of all marriages in Australian), I believe because people want a greater choice in what can be included in their ceremony.

A civil wedding ceremony is far more than basic words and procedures, although some of these are essential to fulfill legal requirements. It is the extras that a dedicated marriage celebrant will help you with to make your ceremony uniquely representative of you and your relationship.

Many brides and grooms tell me at the end of their first obligation-free meeting, that they had no idea how much is involved in creating a personal and meaningful wedding ceremony. Most know what they want but they’re not sure how to achieve it.

Couples who come to see me already know what I charge because my prices are on my website but I do still get occasional phone calls from people who have found my name somewhere and just want to know “how much”.

I recognise that most couples are on a budget and that they need to be able to factor everything into the total they’re prepared to spend. I do find it surprising though that quite a few people don’t realise that an experienced professional civil marriage celebrant will spend as many hours as it takes to present them with the ceremony of their dreams. Sometimes people genuinely think that a celebrant just turns up for 30 minutes on their wedding day, whereas the truth is that most of us will spend anything from six to 30 hours on every ceremony that we help to create.

You might pay $500-$2000 for your wedding cars that will only be with you on the actual day, many hundreds of dollars for your wedding cake that will be eaten or your flowers that will die. However your ceremony should be something you remember for the rest of your lives as you pledge yourselves to support each other through good times and hard times and to work together to make your marriage last for the rest of your lives. Your celebrant is the person who will help you design the words that reflect everything you want to share with your families and friends, so it’s worth investing in someone you trust to do this for you.

Even if you genuinely only want something really simple, a good celebrant will make sure that your ceremony is heartfelt, meaningful and personal to you.

It’s important that you have a rapport with your celebrant so it’s a good idea to meet several face-to-face before you make your final decision. Ask any questions you like about their experience, e.g. how long have they been a celebrant, do they stay up to date with professional training, do they belong to a professional association, have they got insurance, what resources do they offer, how much input can you have yourself in the creation of the words used in your ceremony? Talk to each other afterwards to see if you both felt comfortable with this particular celebrant and believe that they would easily guide you through all the legal paperwork as well as working with you to come up with the kind of ceremony you have envisaged.

Never feel pressured into making a choice straight away, but once you have made up your mind, book your celebrant as soon as you’ve confirmed your reception booking. Experienced celebrants are often booked a year or more in advance so it’s important not to leave this important decision to the last minute.

Sydney Marriage Celebrant –  JANE GILLESPIE

T: 61 2 9908 1702 | M: +61 412 643 751

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