It might seem like a wedding celebrant shows up on the day, delivers a 15-30 minute ceremony, files some paperwork and that’s about all, but what a wedding celebrant actually does is far more.
We sat down with Sydney wedding celebrant, Lucy Suze, to answer a common wedding planning question, ‘what does a wedding celebrant do?’.
What goes into crafting a wedding ceremony?
I always like to meet face-to-face with couples so that I can get to know you both and ask you lots of questions about the order of the ceremony and your life, love and relationship.
Next I draft up some questions and send them your way so that I get more juicy answers that informs the content of the ceremony. I want to create something that it is unique, crafted for you, about you and not some cookie cutter, boring ceremony.
On the actual wedding day, I help you with the running of the whole ceremony, from the moment your guests arrive, to the fabulous walk-in, the ceremony, signing of the paperwork, readings and the final walk out moment, which is the ending of the ceremony but the beginning of the next part of the party!
How can a wedding celebrant charge so much when the ceremony is only 15-30 minutes long?
There are so many hours of pre-preparation that go into writing, planning and executing a ceremony.
On the day, the celebrant will arrive at least 20 minutes before and stay for around that time after the ceremony.
To break it down, this is usually the hours I typically spend one ceremony:
- 2 hours in a face-to-face meeting
- 5/6 hours preparing questions and, once receiving the answers, writing the actual ceremony.
- 1 hour of rehearsal (optional)
- 20 minutes pre-ceremony
- 30 minutes (give or take) for the ceremony – on the wedding day
- 20 minutes post ceremony
- Travel time to and from the ceremony and/or rehearsal
- Time spent lodging your legal paperwork
- Unlimited contact with clients via email, phone, pigeon, etc.
All of this, plus we must keep on top of our obligations to keep our accreditation every year and need to factor in our general business expenses – we’re nearly all our own small business owners.
What personal touches should couples consider adding to their wedding ceremony?
Music, music, music, is a really important element in the ceremony, a good place to start is to think about songs that balance drama and celebration.
Will your guests arrive to a drink pre-ceremony, will there be a live singer on arrival, will they be greeted by someone, shown where to go, and treated like VIPs to the most important event of the year?
Photo opportunities within the ceremony, elements of surprise that create the most memorable and candid photos, this is where your creative celebrant can liaise with the photographer so these moments are captured.
Readings, vows, dance routines, singing, and any rituals, either culturally or personally are all great things to think about adding to your ceremony.
And, the overall vibe, is very important. The vibe you imagined and the vibe on the day need to be in line…
Who writes the wedding vows? Can you help if couples are intimidated by the process?
I have written a good blog to help you get started with wedding vow writing and what things to think about to get you started.
I have many vow examples and can offer as much or as little help as a couple need.
I see the vows as the heart of the ceremony, this is the moment that is just between the couple, I usually then become the guest, a moment where we all step into and witness your verbal promises to each other, who do you want to be for the other as a married couple.
Some examples of how vows can be delivered are; you both do the same vows to each other. A more popular way is to surprise each other on the day, if this is what you choose then I usually get them sent to me to check for length and tone.
Another style is to say half the same and half surprise each other. One couple sang vows to each other, another delivered poetry from their favorite poet.
There is no right or wrong way, there is only YOUR way and if the words, feeling or sentiment come from the heart, then it is the RIGHT way for you.
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.