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What is a celebrant and why should I choose one for my wedding, elopement, vow renewal or naming ceremony? What is different about a celebrant, what is it that makes them so popular? How do I pick one?? There are so many questions about celebrants and what we do so I’m going to answer a few of them and give you some tips to help you choose a celebrant that will rock your day.

So to start off, a celebrant is someone who performs ceremonies. Celebrants are not soleminizers or marriage officiants. That means that a celebrant doesn’t perform legally binding ceremonies. This is a huge point in favour of celebrants because it means that they are not limited to using places that are licensed to have legal ceremonies performed in them. A celebrant can perform a ceremony anywhere. Outdoors is not a problem for celebrants, in fact most celebrants love looking out for special locations and will have a list of special places that they would just love to perform a ceremony in. They will be more than happy to show you photos and help suggest locations if you don’t have somewhere in mind already. This freedom is what makes a lot of people choose to use a celebrant. A dream ceremony really does become a possibility with this liberty. If you have ever had a vision of a wedding in the woods, in your garden at home, in the park at the beach… at the gorgeous Cliffs of Moher here in Co. Clare, Ireland (this is a really popular spot for weddings and elopements), at a festival, then a celebrant led ceremony could be the answer that you’ve needed. Of course celebrants perform ceremonies indoors too and can (and do) conduct ceremonies at any licensed venue.

Another great thing about celebrants is that most of them have no religious or doctrine affiliation that manifests in their work. This means that there is no personal agenda on the part of your celebrant. The focus is on you and giving you a great ceremony, that is personal to you. You should be free to include any religious or spiritual references in your ceremony when you choose to use a celebrant. Many celebrants will include some extracts from religious texts in their folder of ideas for readings that they will supply you with. There may be readings from many world religions included. In short, with a celebrant you have the freedom to have the ceremony that you really want and include what you want to.

A celebrant should have completed training. This doesn’t give them a license to marry- it gives a skill set to write and conduct ceremonies. This will ensure that your celebrant knows what they’re doing. They will have no problem with public speaking, they will know the choreography of a ceremony and of course, they will be able to write a beautiful ceremony for you. A good celebrant will have charisma, flair, style and be able to write a heart warming ceremony that will bring laughter and tears to you and your guests. A good celebrant will make everyone at your ceremony feel a part of it. They will be warm and there for you as well as professional and on top of it. The fact that the ceremony will be written just for you and about you makes such a massive difference, its so much more memorable and personal than a humdrum set script with your name inserted into it.

What else can a celebrant offer? A celebrant will meet with you personally if possible, if you’re planning a destination wedding you will probably talk on Skype or similar. This meeting will be for your celebrant to gather information from you to use for writing your ceremony. They might ask how you met, your favourite date…. They will certainly ask about the proposal story for a wedding or elopement. With a naming ceremony they will usually ask about your hopes or wishes for your child. For a vow renewal they will generally ask about your story together as a couple and why you have chosen this time to renew your vows. They’ll use this meeting or conversation with you to gather material to write a bespoke ceremony for you. They will send you the ceremony and you can let them know of any changes that you want. This is your ceremony and your special day so don’t be shy letting your celebrant know if you don’t like something!

As I mentioned earlier a celebrant will offer to give you a folder of sample readings (this could include poetry, pieces of religious text, quotes, song lyrics,paragraphs from famous speeches…. ), a folder of ideas for music, and if you want they may provide some advice on writing your vows or your blessings or wishes for your child. Any good celebrant will be able to offer you several ceremony enhancements such as handfasting, jumping the broom, a sand ceremony, a unity candle etc. If you have a particular ritual that you want to include in your ceremony, perhaps something from your religion or culture or that of the place where you met or where your ancestors were from then tell your celebrant and they will be happy to include that in your ceremony. With celebrants, its all about making your day great.

How should you choose a celebrant? Just choose someone you click with. When you meet the celebrant that’s right for you, you’ll know. Check out their website and Instagram, see if you have the same ethos and you like their persona. Meet with them or talk to them and you’ll know if this is someone that you feel comfortable with, someone you trust and the person that you want to have perform your ceremony. If a celebrant that you meet or talk to makes you feel uncomfortable in any way or doesn’t want to include things that are important to you in your ceremony then you should have a look at some other celebrant choices. Instagram and Facebook, as well as web searches are great for finding celebrants.

Another thing that some people wonder is should they invite their celebrant to the meal or afters? Theres no need to do this. The celebrant is there to perform your ceremony.

Above all, enjoy your ceremony!