Advice & Tips

Here’s what others say about the importance of the right Celebrant…

What was important to us was honoring our union and our lives together, and giving a nod to the family and friends who have helped us so much along the way. What followed was a secular ceremony full of anecdotes about our relationship, warm words from friends and family, lots of tears and even more laughs. It was a perfect blend of sweet and sassy and more than anything, it felt 100% genuine. Chan commenting on APW

Honestly we would not have gotten too far without our officiant. The internet is surprisingly unhelpful regarding ceremony structure and content. […] Luckily the internet did lead us to our officiant (thank you WeddingWire), and she helped us from there. In the interest of giving good advice, I would say you definitely want to shop around when you’re looking for a stranger to perform your wedding, and make sure they will take the time to get to know you. In the interest of full disclosure, I’ll tell you we spoke with two candidates, and the one we chose was based on a telephone conversation (we didn’t meet her in person until 2 weeks before the ceremony). We had a good feeling about her approach, and it worked out – but it was a bit of a gamble.

When you don’t feel an affinity to the traditions you grew up with (if you didn’t really grow up with any traditions that relate to weddings), it becomes a delicate process building a ceremony that feels right to you and your partner, and feels familiar and relateable to your guests, but above all feels True and Honest.  Rachel; full wedding graduate post right here

When you hire me, you are hiring a Certified Life-Cycle Celebrant: the Lexus of Wedding Officiants. Christopher Shelley, Certified Life-Cycle Celebrant®, NYC

It certainly changes everything with regard to wedding planning, totally and completely. Wedding planning too often had almost nothing to do with the act of actually becoming married. I just had no idea what it would mean to go through that ceremony and be married on the other side. Margiemive commenting on APW 

Today I wanted to tackle the same problem from the opposite direction — how do you create a meaningful and truly secular service? Because let’s be realistic: It can be effing hard to create a secular service from scratch. Meg Keene, APW editor-in-chief

We got so lucky on our Wedding Officiant search! I was initially hesitant to contact our guy because he was “expensive,” so I contacted two other people I’d found on craigslist (and who were cheaper). The first one stood us up when we were supposed to meet, and then didn’t follow up with us until two weeks later — with some lame excuse. The second guy responded to my inquiry email with DJ recommendations (which I didn’t ask for) and then proceeded to tell me about his gastrointestinal troubles, amongst other stuff. Pamela commenting on APW

Can I add one more tip? Write/use a slightly longer ceremony than you think you want. [….] Once you have that foundation, I think we can all agree that the main thing is to find a great Wedding Officiant. And “great wedding officiant” can mean many things […]. If writing is not your bag and you have no clue what to do, that’s when you need an experienced Wedding Officiant to guide you. Something I think is universally applicable: The person who performs your ceremony should be a person you trust to do what you’ve asked them to do (whether they are a hired officiant or a friend/family member)…someone who is fully on board with the type of ceremony you want, who will guide you and help you stay present through the service — and someone who will not take this opportunity to promote their own agenda to your captive audience. Pamela (again) commenting on APW

We truly did not appreciate, until we went through this entire process, the incredibly important/invaluable role of a Celebrant […].  Wedding Wire Review, Anita Vaughn, Certified Life-Cycle Celebrant® , Chicago

I can credit a great deal of this to our Wedding Officiant who at no time pressured us to accept anything into the ceremony that didn’t feel organic and real to us. Nothing was forced or fake, and that truly shined through and made the day what it was. Chan commenting on APW

We went to meet our Celebrant, Tim, and he talked through some ideas with us. Then he set us homework […]. With him, from this [homework], we will design our ceremony, which will be personal to us. It’s all tailored to what the couple wantsAlizon commenting on APW. This sounds brilliant people! Look into this. Totally the best of both worlds. Yay!  APW editor-in-chief Meg Keene’s comment to Alizon

As you probably know, the whole point of a humanist wedding is that it gives you the chance to say in your own words why you’re getting married, so humanist celebrants don’t tell you what to think. Instead, we ask you to think for yourselves, and the results are always amazing.

Finding the Right Officiant
Find the right Wedding Officiant! Interview a few candidates…. But more than all that, here is what you want to know for sure: do you like your Wedding Officiant? If you think it’s important to like your photographer, you should multiply that by a thousand for your Wedding Officiant. Spend some time chatting with them. See if you’re philosophically more-or-less on the same page. See if they are socially comfortable enough to make small talk (because yes, you need this skill if you’re leading a wedding). See if they are a warm person. [….] See if they’ll take the time to get to know you. See if you LIKE them. This person is presiding over an important moment of your life; you should trust them on a gut level. from “Secular Ceremony Round Up,” A Practical Wedding (APW)

Convinced yet?  Coffee’s on me: