Should your best friend be your celebrant?
Updated: Nov 27, 2019
It's a question that seems to be raising its head in the media and on wedding forums quite a lot at the moment... why should I book a celebrant to write and deliver my wedding ceremony, when my best friend could do it?
In fact, this very subject came up at a wedding fair last month. I was chatting to a couple who were planning a wedding on a tight budget, and for this reason, had decided on a friend to write and perform their ceremony. "Great!" I said, "And how's that going?" The bride said, "It's ok, we're really happy to have someone close to us perform the ceremony and we think it will be more meaningful this way. But our friend is finding it harder than he thought to write it, and is a bit stressed about delivering it in front of everyone. I'm just hoping he will be alright on the day, and the pressure won't spoil the wedding for him."
And that, my friends, can be the major disadvantage of having a family member or friend perform your most important ceremony. The responsibility is huge. It's massive. It's not like asking someone to perform a reading (and I've seen even the most confident and charismatic people fall apart with that responsibility on the day!), it's asking someone to create an authentic celebration of substance, which embraces your ideas and wishes, tells your unique story, which will bring your ceremony to life in the most personal way.
A celebrant is usually both trained and experienced to do this very job. They’re not just turning up with a script to read; they get to know their couples over many months, through phone calls, video calls and face-to-face meetings. They develop a supportive relationship with you, giving you encouragement, understanding and reassurance at times when you might feeling a bit frazzled or bewildered. They are skilled at identifying the moments and memories in your relationship that will make for the most beautiful story-telling at your ceremony. They are able to provide ideas and inspiration for elements to make your ceremony even more special and relevant to you – whether it’s a particular tradition, a ritual or even something on trend in ceremony delivery.
Your celebrant is also going to be a professional, with many ceremonies under their belt. This means they will be able to easily spot any issues which might cause difficulties, iron out the details in the ceremony ‘choreography’, work alongside your venue and your photographer or videographer in staging the ceremony so they get their very best shots – and of course, their sole focus is ensuring that your celebration goes just as you want it and without a hitch. It’s pretty unlikely that a friend or family member, who understandably wants to relax and enjoy the whole day, can offer you the same.
But that's just my humble opinion! If your budget is an issue, do have a look at my blog on the cost of a ceremony or this one if you'd like more information on what a celebrant actually does. But what I can assure you, is that a celebrant is worthy of their fee, as much as your venue, your dressmaker, your florist and your caterers are. And in most cases, your celebrant will end up being your friend - so it's a win-win situation!