Choosing the Celebrant

A ceremony takes careful planning and choosing the "right" Celebrant will make all the difference: your Celebrant can help create a ceremony which is uniquely yours, reflects  your feelings and beliefs, and will make your ceremony one to be remembered for the rest of your life.

Choosing The Celebrant

Well, of course I want you to choose me to be your Celebrant, but that's to be expected.  Hopefully, that's why you're here!  But what should you look for in a Celebrant?  With a maze of options to choose from and decisions to make it's easy to feel overwhelmed.

The main thing to remember is not to consider price alone - if you do, it is likely the biggest mistake you'll make.  But more on cost later.  There are much more important things to consider first.

A multitude of Celebrants eagerly await to perform your ceremony, but not all Celebrants offer the high level of quality service, flexibility, and care that you deserve.  There are four basic rules to follow when choosing a Celebrant:

1. Does the Celebrant sound friendly, interested in listening to you and answering your questions?  You want a Celebrant who listens.  A Celebrant needs to be able to provide you with answers to questions (even if they can't answer you immediately, you should expect the Celebrant to get back to you with a reply soon).  A warm and friendly demeanour is important, too.

2. Is the Celebrant able to provide you with a range of ideas for your ceremony?  Are they willing to assist in the writing of vows?  A Celebrant should offer a range of previously-used or designed vows for you to use or gain inspiration from, as well as offer advice and suggestions in helping you to write your own, if you desire.

3. Will the ceremony be what you asked for?  Don't let a Celebrant impose their tastes on you.  Generally, the entire ceremony lasts for 20-30 minutes.  The Celebrant should help you create a personalised ceremony to suit your needs, incorporating all aspects to reflect your personality, wishes, and beliefs and, for weddings, the legal requirements.  The Celebrant should have as much or as little input in its creation as you request.  Some clients like to create the ceremony entirely from their own ideas, while others want little or no input and are happy to be provided with a range of ideas and suggestions from their Celebrant.  Either way, be sure you are given the opportunity to approve the ceremony beforehand - you have the final say in your ceremony.  Celebrants should also co-ordinate all aspects of the ceremony.

4. Do you feel comfortable and confident with the Celebrant?  A good Celebrant will put you at ease, be mature and capable of handling all situations on the day.  They should have good presence and be an excellent public speaker.  The Celebrant should arrive at least 20 minutes prior to the commencement time and perform the ceremony as agreed by you and to your wishes.  This is your day, not theirs.


What are the Celebrant's fees and what is included?  Importantly, do not base your decision on price alone: the cheapest is often not the best - and generally a warning sign.  Equally, expensive doesn't necessarily mean quality, either.  Skimping on the ceremony is the worst thing you can do - it will cost you in the long run.  The old adage is true - you get what you pay for.

Unfortunately, as with most professions, not all Celebrants are good at what they do.  There are plenty of horror stories of couples trying to save a few dollars on the ceremony, and getting a less than adequate Celebrant.  A poorly crafted and/or ineptly presented ceremony will ruin your day and, particularly in the case of a funeral, can cause ongoing or long-term distress to famiily and fellow mourners.

So what's reasonable?  Weddings and funerals usually charge a set fee, but it is gradually becoming more popular for Funeral Celebrants to charge an hourly fee.

At a wedding, most people remember 3 things: the wedding dress, the ceremony, and the reception.  When you consider the current fee of $490 being charged by Victorian Registry Office for an extremely basic, non-personalised, preset ceremony lasting around 5-8 minutes*, Celebrant's fees are very reasonable.  Why would anyone choose the cold, drab environment of the Registry Office to get married when, for little more, they can choose to be married in the place of their choosing, with a ceremony that is meaningful and memorable?

Fees of $500-$1000 are generally acceptable for a personalised service and ceremony, as well as expert advice and samples.

Be sure to get a written quote detailing the fee schedule and what is covered.  Make sure there are no 'hidden extras'.  There is nothing worse than agreeing to one thing, only to find out there are a whole lot of 'other' things that weren't mentioned before, that now have to be considered.  Planning a wedding should be a happy occasion, free of additional and unexpected costs.

More information about my fees can be found here.

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Angela & Matthew - Hi Deborah, I wanted to thank you once again for your wonderful help for our wedding. We really had a great day, and you were brilliant.

Laurie & Chris - Hi Deborah, Thank you so much for marrying us on our wedding day. You did such a great job and we absolutely loved the day! Thank you again.

Louise and Neill - ... It was perfect, simply wonderful!  You delivered the wedding ceremony with warmth, compassion and pure professionalism. We were so lucky to find a celebrant who is so passionate about her role. The memories we shared will be ever lasting....thank-you so much! I would definitely recommend you to my friends, and say that I know someone who is genuine, unique and passionate about performing an excellent ceremony and can make your day a memorable one.

Sam & Stuart - ... I feel very at ease with you.  And we had a couple of variables (a 2 and 4 year old) which you took in your stride. It was all very stress-free and organised.  It was perfect, thank you!  I would recommend you as you are someone who is very genuine and very professional.

Tahlee & Dale - ... It was perfect!  You were very professional and made it very easy to get across the type of service we wanted and how we wanted things set out.   We liked the ease in which we were able to discuss what we wanted in the ceremony. The drafts and rehearsals were all spot on and very informative. We also loved how during the ceremony, you were very clear and everyone was able to hear you.

Alex & Clint - ... Your easy going attitude, sense of humour, and willingness to change ceremony to suit us, Zombie Apocalypse vows and all, is awesome. Everything was relaxed and smooth.

Alison & Peter - ... Your communication and professionalism was excellent. I really enjoyed your enthusiasm and calmness - even though we had to go overseas and only came back a few days prior to our own wedding, you kept us well on track! The rehearsal was great the day before and you reassured us with your professionalism. You helped us to achieve a "party" atmosphere, which was what we wanted, whilst maintaining the importance of the formality. Thanks for a lovely day.


*Victorian Registry Office is forced to rush new couples through every 15 minutes, in order to fulfil their obligations.  However, this is by no means the fault of staff, who work tirelessly to achieve such results.