Setting the tone
When you think about setting the tone for your wedding day, the key thing to consider is the wedding ceremony itself. After all, this is where everyone gathers first to celebrate your big day. So, when choosing your celebrant, there are a few things to consider.
Most couples plan to have a fabulous celebration with family and friends but, before making a final decision, I would recommend you consider asking a potential celebrant a few questions. Not only will the answers you receive give you great insight into the person behind the name, but also their qualifications and their network within the wedding industry.
Questions & Answers
Here are some key questions I’ve come up with together with my answers. If you have any further questions, please feel free to send me a message and I’ll be happy to get back to you …
1. How long have you been a marriage celebrant? Since 2013.
2. Why did you become a marriage celebrant? My last job was as marketing manager at a regional shopping centre and, having worked there for 7½ years, I was looking for a new career path. Around this time, I attended my godson’s wedding and was moved by the beautiful ceremony which was officiated by a civil celebrant. After the ceremony had concluded, I had a quiet chat with the celebrant, asked her a number of questions, followed up with some research of my own, signed up with Australian Celebrations Training and then hit the books!
3. What are your qualifications? I have a Cert. IV in Celebrancy. This is the highest qualification an authorised marriage celebrant can have in Australia.
4. How many ceremonies, on average, would you officiate each year? It varies but, on average, around 40. This allows me time to have a couple of breaks per year with my husband and to enjoy the beautiful lifestyle on the Northern Rivers of NSW.
5. Do you provide sample ceremonies? No I don’t. All my ceremonies are written from the heart to reflect each individual couple or family. I like to chat to each of my couples, usually a couple of times for 1½ to 2 hours each time, and provide them with a simple questionnaire to complete. I then follow up with a series of emails (or perhaps a Messenger video chat or Skype call if they don’t live locally) to gather all the other little details before weaving everything together.
6. Do you provide a draft ceremony for approval? Yes, I do. 4 weeks before your marriage (after I’ve received your final payment), I email through a copy of your draft ceremony for your approval. The only things I leave out are your personal vows if you are keeping these “secret” from your partner. The aim is to have everything finalised by 2 weeks before your marriage so you can cruise into the last couple of weeks knowing that every detail regarding your ceremony has been taken care of.
7. In the event of illness or some kind of emergency, do you have someone you could call on as a backup? I have an extensive network of celebrant friends/colleagues I could call on in an emergency. I am also registered with LifeLink which is the online record of marriages kept by Births Deaths & Marriages NSW. As such, I am able to transfer your online marriage record to another celebrant before your wedding to speed up the changeover process.
8. Do you provide a PA system for the ceremony? Yes, I have a Roland PA (and stand) which produces a high quality sound using either mains or battery power. It will allow your family and friends to hear your ceremony clearly and, unless you choose my “legals only” ceremony package or have arranged for a musician to play, I’m more than happy for you to play your ceremony music through it.
9. Do you have the relevant insurance in place for your business? Yes, my insurance cover is renewed annually and is always current.
10. How long before the ceremony start time would you arrive? I like to arrive 30-40 minutes beforehand. This gives me time to set up, do a sound check, settle any nerves on the part of the assembled bridal party, chat with any other suppliers and take some background photographs before the ceremony starts.
11. Are you able to recommend other wedding suppliers to us e.g. professional photographers, decorators, caterers etc. I come into contact with numerous other wedding suppliers and am more than happy to pass on the details of those I’d recommend.
12. Do you belong to a Celebrant association? Yes, I belong to the Australian Federation of Civil Celebrants, the largest celebrant association in Australia.
13. I would love to know how other couples felt working with you. Do you have any reviews that I could read? Yes, I have multiple 5 star reviews on my business facebook page and you’ll find more on my website. Each of these will give you great insight into how other couples felt in the lead up to and on their wedding day after choosing me as their celebrant.
14. What is your fee? My philosophy is that shopping for the cheapest price does not mean you will receive the same service from each supplier. In fact, I can pretty much guarantee you won’t. This aligns perfectly with the old saying, “Quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten”. I do, however, understand that many couples need to budget for their wedding expenses and believe I provide an amazing and professional service for a competitive price. I offer 3 individual wedding packages which cater for a “legals only” wedding ceremony, an elopement, and my most popular option, my “Love Is In the Air” package, which includes all the special things you’d expect in a beautiful wedding ceremony.
I also offer a payment plan so, apart from an initial booking fee which locks in your date, the balance of my fee can be paid in instalments or in one final payment at any time up to 4 weeks before your wedding day.
If you would like further information, please contact me with the date of your wedding and I would be happy to send through further details on everything that’s included as well as my fee.
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Hopefully the above Q&A will provide you with a starting point when choosing your celebrant. As you can see, it’s not just about having them turn up for 20 minutes on the day, read a poem and sign a few papers. As well as ensuring all the legal elements are covered, I will explain everything to you, provide options if you need them and design a ceremony that talks about your love story, your hopes for the future and all the special things you love about each other … and I’ll support you all along the way.
I always say any authorised marriage celebrant can marry you; but do you just want “anyone”?
I welcome any enquiries so, if you require further information on any of the services I provide, you’ll find all my contact details here: https://lindycookecelebrant.com.au/contact/
053 ~ 31/07/2018
© Lindy Cooke Celebrant