A wedding celebrant is an essential part of the wedding day, presuming you hope to make things legal, but what they actually do can feel a little mysterious. We teamed up with Lucy Suze, a queer Sydney celebrant to bring to you everything you need to know about a wedding celebrant.
What does a wedding celebrant do?
A celebrant makes your union legal.
If you choose to have them as a part of your wedding day, they’ll help you bring your wedding ceremony to life. A celebrant will help you to incorporate personal aspects into your ceremony and craft something that’s unique and unforgettable.
A celebrant will, or should, write you a bespoke ceremony for your wedding day that reflects you as a couple. They take care of all boring-but-essential legal paperwork, like ordering you a marriage certificate from Births, Deaths and Marriages (this is the legal document you use if either of you want to change your name).
They can help with vows, readings, any rituals you may or may not want in your ceremony and the right celebrant will get your party started the way you want.
On the day, a wedding celebrant will also set the tone for what’s to come for the rest of the day/night.
And, a good celebrant will also liaise with all your vendors on the day, so you only have to worry about looking fabulous. They’ve got you covered.
When should you hire a wedding celebrant?
Wedding celebrants are often one of the first wedding vendors that are hired, and so locking in one that you vibe with as soon as you’re ready to start your wedding planning process (and you’ve got an idea of a wedding date and location) is important.
The earlier, the better.
What should you look for when choosing a wedding celebrant?
You’ll want to think about the type of ceremony that you imagine (something romantic, traditional, full of laughs, basic, emotional, etc.), and find a wedding celebrant that you connect with to help bring that to life.
We’d start the search by looking for a celebrant in your area.
Once you’ve got a shortlist, check out any potential celebrants on social media. This will start to give you a feel about their personality and how they conduct ceremonies. It can help weed out any celebrants who you ultimately might not vibe with.
Next, book in with them for a chat. You’ll want to hire a wedding celebrant that will convey your story in the way that you imagine. If you’re a reserved couple, someone with a huge personality that is loud and brings colour to their ceremonies might not be a good fit. Likewise, if you’re about the party, a wedding celebrant that shows up in drag might be a perfect fit. A good chat will confirm whether or not you have a good connection.
Make sure they understand who you are and what you want.
Questions to ask a wedding celebrant before you hire one.
- What does the process of working with you look like?
- Why are you a marriage celebrant? What’s the best part about your job?
- Do you provide help with vow writing and helping make the ceremony unique to us?
- What is your fee, and what’s included?
- Will you share a draft of the ceremony with us before the wedding day?
- Do you come with your own equipment, or do we need to hire that for you?
- What happens if you’re sick/can’t make it on the day of?
- Are MC services a part of what you do too?
- What’s your cancellation and Covid policy (just to be sure)?
- Will you handle all the legal stuff on our behalf?
To make a marriage legal in Australia, what needs to happen?
To get married in Australia, you must:
- Not already be married
- Not be a parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother or sister of the person you’re marrying
- Be at least 18 years old (or 16-18 years old and have court approval)
- Understand what marriage means and freely agree to marry
- Use specific legal words during the ceremony
- Give a notice of intended marriage form (called a NOIM) to an authorised marriage celebrant at least 1 calendar month, but no more than 18 months, before you want to marry
- Be married by an authorised marriage celebrant.
You don’t have to be an Australian citizen or a permanent resident of Australia to marry in Australia, however this might come with extra paperwork in your residing country.
In terms of what words need to be said, the celebrant must introduce themselves and say the Monitum at near the beginning of your ceremony;
“My name is Lucy Suze Taylor and I am a registered celebrant and I am duly authorised by law to solemnise marriages according to law. Before you are married in my presence and in the presence of these witnesses, I am to remind you of the solemn and binding nature of the relationship into which you are now about to enter. Marriage, according to law in Australia, is the union of two people to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.”
Each party getting married must also say the following to the person that they’re marrying:
“I call upon the persons here present, to witness that I (full legal name) take you (full legal name) to be my lawful wedded (insert what applies, husband, wife, spouse, partner in marriage).”
You also need to have at least two witnesses.
Your celebrant will lodge paperwork (that you, the witnesses and they) have signed on your behalf to make it legal.
How much does a celebrant cost?
The cost of a celebrant in Australia ranges from anywhere between $500 to $2000+.
If you’re looking for a celebrant to do the legal paperwork only, you’ll save some cash – these are often called a ‘legals only’ option with celebrants. Most celebrants offer this option and will charge accordingly.
Prior to the ceremony, the celebrant will meet you and ask you many questions to formulate written questions to get more content for YOUR ceremony.
On the day the ceremony will last somewhere between 15-30 minutes.
Lucy Suze is a wedding celebrant who has been bringing wedding ceremonies to life in Sydney for ten years. She creates unique and personable ceremonies that celebrate the love story behind the humans, in the most joyful way.