Helpful tips to understand the value a Marriage Celebrant brings to your wedding day
It’s the million dollar question, right! And one that many couples starting to plan their wedding day will no doubt come across and not really know the answer to.
In the simplest terms, the price of your celebrant reflects their knowledge, experience and how in-demand they are.
We’re so much more than just a dollar figure – of course when you’re starting to look for a celebrant you’ll likely ask for a few different quotes. Picking the cheapest, while initially appealing, isn’t necessarily always the best approach. You want to ensure that whoever you choose is the right celebrant who suits you both as a couple. We’re kind of like another guest that you’re inviting along to your wedding so make sure that you feel comfortable around us and that you feel confident that they’ll be able to deliver the type of ceremony you are after. Make sure that you’d be happy to have them standing right beside you guiding you through one of the most exciting (and at times overwhelming) moments in your life.
We’re so much more than just a 20 minute ceremony on the day – the couples I marry I invest the time in getting to know so that we can build a really natural, genuine connection. If I’m going to stand in front of the most important people in your lives I want to share your stories with confidence (as you’ve told me them first hand not just answered a few questions on a questionnaire). I want to be able to support you, guide you and keep you grounded in such a memorable, meaningful moment. On average I spend around 15 hours working on each couples wedding ceremony… add in travel time, meetings, legal document preparation, etc. and you’ll start to understand that the role of a celebrant is so much more than just rocking up and doing our thing on the day. What you pay for is the whole unique experience in the build-up to your wedding. And in return you receive an accumulation of the ideas, effort, energy and experience that we’ve often spent years crafting. Having married over 200 couples has helped me refine my craft and understand the elements that can make a really unique and memorable ceremony. Keep in mind for a little bit extra you often you get a whole lot more.
When we’re good at what we do, we get noticed – I love that I get to work with so many couples who have seen me marry their friends or family, or who have been referred to me by wedding venues or other wedding vendors. I’m also lucky enough to have been featured in publications like Hello May, Nouba and Wedshed. The good clearly stand out in a crowd and offer you so much more than just marrying you. Your other wedding suppliers and venues are often great starting points for celebrant recommendations.
In Sydney the cost of a celebrant for a personalized wedding ceremony varies quite a bit, mainly as each celebrant sets their own rates based on the value they feel they offer their couples. On average you can expect to pay anything from $800 to $1,600 for a Sydney wedding celebrant conducting a Sydney wedding ceremony. For ceremonies outside of Sydney a travel fee will often be on top of that. I sit toward the mid-high end of that range. As a comparison a registry office wedding at NSW Births, Deaths & Marriages with no personalization will set you back around $550. Some celebrants also offer legals only style ceremonies for a similar price which pretty much do just that, the basic legal requirements in order to get you married.
I often find that unless couples have been to a brilliant wedding ceremony it can be hard to understand the value an amazing celebrant brings to your wedding day. Talk to your family and friends about wedding ceremonies that they have been to and ask if they’ve come across any that stood out. Sadly boring, cookie cutter, generic love waffle wedding ceremonies are still out there but I know that we can all do better. Couples deserve better. Ask what made the wedding ceremony amazing? Often the answer will be the way the celebrant engaged their guests, captured everyone’s attention with their story-telling and had every person present and a part of it, not just there because they had to be. An amazing celebrant will make your wedding ceremony the highlight of your big day. A celebrant who has honed their craft and knows exactly how to capture the attention of your family and friends is worth their weight in gold. And that’s why they charge what they do.
So like every decision you make for your wedding day, invest the time to find the right celebrant out there for you. Don’t just assume that you’re after someone to marry you – see your wedding ceremony for the amazing opportunity that it is to tell you story in a memorable and meaningful way, to celebrate you both and to engage your family and friends for such a special moment in your lives. Let your wedding celebrant set the tone for your whole wedding day.