Marriage Celebrant Checklist
Wouldn’t it be great if we could just invite all of our loved ones to our big day, rock up at the venue, kiss to seal the deal, and live happily ever after? The other elements of your wedding can, by all means, be a fairy-tale. Unfortunately, in the real world, a kiss does not fulfil the legal requirements of marriage.
Enter: wedding celebrant. A celebrant is like the fairy godmother of legalities and paperwork. Without a celebrant, there is, essentially, no marriage. Your celebrant will not only arrange all of that fiddly paperwork for you, they will also conduct the ceremony and, hopefully, add a unique element to your special day.
With a bit of research and time management (this guideline should help you, in that respect), you can find a celebrant who will, not only, perform all of the legal duties of the ceremony, but will also provide marriage insight, mesh well with you and your partner’s personalities, and perhaps even become a friend.
One Year to Go
• If you’re planning on getting hitched during peak season, it would be a wise idea to start meeting with celebrants now.
• If you haven’t already, start consulting celebrants. When ‘shopping’ for a celebrant, try to find someone who you feel comfortable with, has received plenty of positive testimonials from previous clients, and who understands your vision for the ceremony.
• For those brides who have their heart set on a particularly reputable celebrant, now is the time to book and put down your deposit for their services. Popular celebrants book up fast, especially during peak season.
• Put down that deposit, girl! If you haven’t chosen a celebrant by now, what are you waiting for?
• It’s a good idea to sit down with your celebrant for another consultation, and to sign your “intent to marry” paper work. Use this consultation to make sure that you are all on the same page. This is also a good time to finalise plans for a P.A. system – your celebrant may provide it, or you might have to hire one yourselves.
• Your “intent to marry” paperwork needs to be submitted to the attorney-general’s office at least one month in advance. Give your celebrant a quick call to check in and make sure that they have submitted the document on time. This isn’t madatory for the celebrant to do, so the onus is on you to check that your celebrant will be submitting the document for you. On the other hand, if your paperwork has been submitted, kindly move onto the next step.
• Couples who have decided to write their own vows need to finalise them now. Check in with your honey and make sure that he has finished writing his (you know what he can be like).
The Day Before
• Go through the ceremony program at the rehearsal and iron out any wrinkles with your celebrant.
• Pay the remaining celebrant’s fee at the rehearsal. That is, if your celebrant is willing to accept the remaining balance at this time.
• In the event that your celebrant wants the remaining balance on W-day (or that you are afraid that your celebrant will run off with the cash and leave you stranded at the aisle), arrange for the best man to pay the remaining balance to the celebrant at the end of the ceremony.
The Big Day
• Smile and don’t forget to breathe. If you find yourself overcome with emotion and can’t remember what to do or say next, follow your celebrant’s cues – he/she is a pro at this, and will endeavour to keep you from making a fool of yourself.