When you start wedding planning, and thinking about the wedding budget, everything can get a little overwhelming. So, we sat down with five different wedding celebrants from around Australia to demystify one magical question; how much does a wedding celebrant cost?
Meet our Australian celebrants;
GIVE US A ONE-LINER – WHO ARE YOU, AND WHAT DO YOU DO?
Precious: Hi! My name is Precious, and I marry people to the love of their lives.
Sharon: I’m Sharon, and I gasbag about your love story
Kitty: Hey, I am Kitty, and I get to make people married!
Wendy: I’m Wendy, a Celebrant living in Margaret River, WA. I have the beautiful honor of walking alongside people as they plan their wedding ceremony, and then gently guiding them through one of the most important moments of their lives. It’s the most wonderful thing to be a part of!
Kate: Celebrant Kate – Lover of love, creator of authentic ceremonies!
FINISH THIS SENTENCE. I’M A PROFESSIONAL…
Precious: I’m a professional party starter. Literally!! Your wedding party doesn’t start until I’ve said my bit!!
Sharon: Love journalist
Kitty: Jack of all trades! No really as a working mum with a side hustle I am the master of time management, have awesome organizational skills, skilled in the art of distraction and love to make people happy.
Wendy: …wordsmith, public speaker, and calming presence.
Kate: Party starter, love story writer, vibe creator, people connector, celebrator!!!
SO, WHAT DOES A CELEBRANT DO?
Precious: Ummm drink wine and eat brunch? Oh, and we make sure that your wedding ceremony is devoid of boredom and exactly as you want it.
Think of us as the architects, writers and creators of your wedding ceremony. We gather all the information, make sure all the legalities are adhered to and then write the love story of the two of you.
Sharon: Creates an atmosphere from the moment guests arrive to get the celebratory vibes flowing.
Kitty: Essentially, we get to make people married. However, what you see us do on the day is just a small fraction of the amount of work we actually do. There’s legal paperwork to organize and submit, there’s the crafting of ceremonies bespoke to each couple, there’s the communication with your other suppliers to make sure your days is perfect for you and on top of all that we have to make sure we are the best celebrant we can be. Each year there is professional development to do and keeping up to date with all things legal about getting married in Australia. Then there’s all the advertising and being present on the socials.
Wendy: We make sure the beautiful celebration people spend months planning also results in a legal marriage!
An Authorised Celebrant at the very minimum prepares the legal paperwork and then officiates the ceremony ensuring all the correct legal wording and procedures take place. They then lodge your marriage with the relevant Office of Births Deaths and Marriages. Most Authorised Celebrants, like myself, will also spend time planning and write a personalized ceremony. We will attend the wedding rehearsal, turn up on the wedding day and officiate the ceremony with style, making sure everyone is taken on the journey. Then we pack up and leave quietly with a big smile on their face once the beautiful couple is declared married and the celebrations begin.
Kate: Make you married! Kick off the celebrations!!! Celebrate you!
WHAT IS ONE MISCONCEPTION ABOUT WEDDING CELEBRANTS THAT YOU WANT TO DEBUNK?
Precious: That we just rock up for half an hour on the day and say a few words! On average I spend about 15 hours preparing for your wedding ceremony. This includes filing the paperwork, speaking with your suppliers, and working with you to create a ceremony that is perfect for you and your partner.
Sharon: That you just turn up on the day, say a few mushy words along with some legal ones, and that’s it.
Turning up on the day is the easiest part, but without meetings and lots of questions, the ceremony would be cut and paste with zero personal details. So many hours go in behind the scenes.
Kitty: That a celebrant doesn’t just rock up for half an hour. We pour a lot of ourselves into making sure your ceremony is what you want it to be.
Wendy: Probably one of the big misconceptions is that we only do the hour of work that people see on the day – there’s a lot that goes on in preparation for that magic hour! Most of the work is done before the big day. To make it run smoothly, we need to build trust and rapport with the couple. That’s done by preparing, writing and fine-tuning their dream ceremony, wedding rehearsals, and of course the legal preparations beforehand. Not to mention the training, registration costs, maintenance of equipment, lots of travel, and versatile wardrobe that is required!
Kate: That we’re just there to make it all official – this is definitely changing. I love working with couples who really value their ceremony and want to create a really authentic celebration of them. A celebration of their connection with each other, and a celebration that their guests feel connected to. I love seeing guests on a loved up high after a ceremony because they’ve just experienced something really special, a moment in time they’ll never forget!
HOW MUCH DO YOU CHARGE FOR YOUR SERVICES [IN AU$]?
Precious: For a Saturday in peak season, my average price is between $1,100 and $1,300. If you’re having a weekday ceremony or its low season it’s usually a bit less, and if you’re just looking for a registry style ceremony with the bare bones only my charge is $450.
Sharon: Between $1200 and $1400
Kitty: It can vary because not everyone wants to get married the same way. So I have a package starting at $400 for just the legal words up to $1000 for a fully bespoke awesome ceremony.
Wendy: You’ll find there’s a big range in pricing among Celebrants, and the average varies from state to state. My Celebrant fee ranges from $600 – $700 depending on size and style.
Kate: My fee starts at $1200. This includes everything required to ensure you both love your ceremony on your wedding day, and have enjoyed the preparation leading up to it too. I work with you in whatever way suits you best and we create your ceremony specifically for you based on our conversations. You end up with a ceremony that is just ‘so you’ and also a memento of your relationship, what’s important to you, and your story so far.
The fee includes…
- No-obligation initial meeting
- Unlimited meetings and correspondence to create your unique ceremony – the location and time is flexible
- The writing of your ceremony from draft to final copy
- ‘Getting Started’ pack full of ceremony ideas, inspiration and videos
- Final run-through of your ceremony
- All forms, certificates and legal requirements
- PA System, battery operated and can play your music as well.
ASIDE FROM THE CEREMONY, HOW ELSE DO YOU HELP COUPLES BRING THEIR WEDDING TO LIFE?
Precious: I am there for ALL of it and want to know absolutely everything!! Is there any family drama, or is there going to be any tension in the room? Have both sides of the family met each other? Do you have an OTT uncle that I’ll need to keep my eye on otherwise he’ll keep taking photos on his iPad? Is there anything that you’re really nervous about going into the wedding? Do you hate public speaking? Is the thought of writing your vows terrifying you?
All of this information is crucial to me being able to do my best possible job. By knowing it, I know how to run interference on any problems that could occur. I also know how to seat your divorced and difficult parents so that they’re both in the front row but not next to each other. And, I know that I’ll need to hold the microphone a little bit different to put you at ease.
Sharon: Pre-ceremony banter is super important. By the time the ceremony has started, they know exactly who you are and how fun this could be. I’m also a pro at calming couples down if they are too nervous and firing them up if they aren’t nervous enough.
Kitty: I am their support person for that time of the day. I help where I can, be the rock they need and assure them that I have everything under control. All so you can just enjoy the ceremony.
Wendy: I’m mostly all about the ceremony and how they can make it as personal, unique and meaningful as they would like. But, I do often find myself being a listening ear for couples as they work through other aspects of their day, or in thinking about surrounding elements [like timing, vendor suggestions, and how to manage children/fur babies or other unpredictable elements in the ceremony]. I have several children and some unruly animals, so I have some wisdom to share.
YOU’VE BEEN TO SO MANY WEDDINGS, WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE DAY?
Precious: My favorite part of a wedding is just after it has started when everyone is grinning from ear to ear and applauding our happy couple. I am nervous before EVERY single wedding – no exceptions – because I want to make sure that everything is perfect. But, this is the bit where all the nerves drop away and it’s just a whole lot of happy people bought together to celebrate love.
Sharon: The drinks on arrival of course… oh and when the couple is declared married, and they have their first pash as a legally married couple.
Kitty: Straight after the ceremony. All the stress and tension has melted away. You have had a good laugh, maybe shed some happy tears, and you can finally just relax and go with the flow.
Wendy: I have a few favorite parts, but if I was to choose one… for me, there is a magic moment just as the ceremony is about to begin. Everything is in place, the guests are assembled, I’ve done all that I can do to be ready at that moment, and for my couple, the event they have been building up to for so long is about to be realized. I make the call, start the proceedings, and then it all begins and [almost] takes on a life of its own. Sometimes the couple enter the ceremony separately, sometimes together. Whatever way they choose to begin, I usually quietly encourage them to pause and take a breath as they look at each other and realize that it’s all about to happen. It’s a beautiful thing to watch, and still after 4 years can take my breath away – and then I start talking!
Kate: Seeing the range of emotions and expressions everyone experiences throughout the ceremony. The hilarious laughter, the heartfelt tears, contemplative moments, the smiles of pride!! I’m in this amazingly unique position of being able to see everyone’s expressions as they experience your ceremony – it’s an honor and it’s truly heartwarming!