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Celebrants and Weddings

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“Wedding celebrants do way more than just preside over your marriage ceremony —
they offer a full-service approach that can't be beat.”


So, you need someone to make your union legal and file all that pesky paperwork? It’s time to call in the pros! While some couples just want an officiant that will deliver their lines and sign the appropriate documents, others prefer a more comprehensive approach. If you’re in the latter category, a celebrant may be the option for you. This type of wedding guru will help figure out your ceremony structure, include meaningful rituals, aid you in penning your vows and hash out every little detail in between. Want to learn more? Read on.

Here’s everything you need to know about wedding celebrants.

Wedding celebrants take what you’d call a “full-service” approach to weddings, ideal for couples who are in the market for a truly one-of-a-kind wedding ceremony experience.

It’s not just another one-off job for them, it’s truly a passion. They go through months of training, learning everything from the fundamentals of rituals and ceremonies to ceremonial public speaking in order to become a certified celebrant. They study traditions of different cultures, beliefs and religions, giving them the ability to tailor each ceremony to fit the couple it’s being crafted for. In some provinces celebrants are required to have dual certification: celebrant certification and religious officiant certification (making them extra knowledgeable in some areas). Because they are able to conduct a ceremony that reflects a couple’s beliefs and lifestyle, their services are also ideal for interfaith, intercultural and same sex weddings. 

When it comes to service, you’ll be treated to the best of the best. Celebrants work one-on-one with their couples to create the perfect ceremony with them. While packages may vary from celebrant to celebrant, they usually do a consultation, interview the couple to better understand their relationship and beliefs, another consultation (after they’ve drafted the ceremony), help you pen your vows and possibly a few follow-ups to make any edits that the couple may want. Everything is clearly laid out so that the couple knows exactly what will go down on the big day. Because this approach is so hands-on and the celebrant spends many hours designing the ceremony, be prepared for a heftier price tag, but it’s well worth it if you’re looking to make your ceremony extra meaningful and memorable for you and your guests.

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June / July 2018

The One Wedding Detail You Should Spend More On

There will be plenty of expenses to scrimp on—but the ceremony itself isn’t one of them. 

By Zuhair Nasher

“PLEASE BE SEATED.” The chatter that accompanied your march down the aisle fades to an almost palpable silence. One hundred of your closest friends and family sit together, rapt. It’s your wedding day, and the ceremony is about to begin. How many times in your life will you command this kind of attention?

Yet after only a few minutes, the aura is pierced. Eyes wander, seats are shuffled, yawns are barely stifled. What gives?

Hard truth coming: They’ve heard it all before. Love is great … in sickness and in health … so long as you both shall live.

If you’re someone who’s chosen a secular ceremony rather than a religious one, chances are you want it to reflect who you really are. The problem is, if you aren’t careful, those age-old sayings can sound clichéd. 

You spent thousands to make everything perfect, but the actual ceremony—the part that the rest of the wedding is meant to celebrate—is the part you invested in the least. 

Who would blame you? Wedings are crazy expenseive: $35,000, on average, according to the Knot. Once you’ve paid for the stuff everyone expects—music, food, the photo booth (it’s just too fun)—the ceremony itself presents an easy out.

Often the services of the officiant are include in the price of the venue. Some couples ask a friend. But there are better options.

There’s never been a love exactly like yours, and that makes you incomparable. As a licensed officiant based in the state of New York City, I make a point to remind the couple, and the entire congregation, that a wedding doesn’t make a marriage. Marriage is a celebration of love that lasts far longer than even the most extravagant party. A couple should thoughtfully consider how to celebrate this commitment and whom they can trust to get it right. 

An experienced officiant can help with everything from writing your vows and selecting the readings to incorporating parts of your religious and cultural heritage that are meaningful to you. You don’t have to spend more; you just have to rethink how you slice the pie. 

A bespoke ceremony by a licensed officiant usually starts at around $500, although a rehearsal or travel costs can push the price upward. While many couples still find an officiant through word of mouth, listings on weddingwire.com or Yelp can help expand your reach.

It’s worth it. People will remember how they felt a lot longer than what they saw, or what they ate. And judging by most wedding food, that’s a blessing in itself. 

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Wondering how to choose a celebrant to officiate your wedding? Here's what you need to know, from planning expert Bernadette Coveney Smith, owner of 14 Stories event planing firm.

To me, the ceremony is the most important part of the wedding so you should definitely choose your wedding officiant wisely. I tell my clients that if they don’t put care into the ceremony, they are missing an opportunity to create change in the world. That’s why I refer my clients to Celebrants whenever possible.

Everyone is always saying now how it’s important to personalize your wedding... well, it starts with the ceremony because that’s one of the first experiences your guests have on your wedding day, and a great ceremony sets the tone for a fabulous party. If you really want to personalize your wedding, hire a Celebrant -- but meet several so you have a great personality fit with the person to whom you'll be bearing your soul!

I myself was married by a Celebrant -– Cindy Matchett from Massachusetts. She’s a very special person to my family as she not only officiated our wedding but she also led our son’s baby blessing and officiated the weddings of some of our dearest friends. She means the world to us and people are still saying how our wedding was the best they’d ever been to -– and it all started with what Cindy created for the ceremony.

Couples who hire Celebrants are generally spiritual but not religious and want a ceremony that combines their cultural backgrounds and religious traditions with their own unique identities. They want a ceremony that tells the story of who they are as a couple. They want a ceremony that is meaningful and poignant without being preachy. If that sounds like you, then a Celebrant can be a great choice for your own wedding.