Wedding Celebrants: Ideas and tips to choosing a celebrant

Kirsty and Mark Sernia at their wedding ceremony in Queenstown. ASPIRING PHOTOGRAPHY.
Kirsty and Mark Sernia at their wedding ceremony in Queenstown. ASPIRING PHOTOGRAPHY.

Wedding celebrants can be anyone who has the qualifications to perform marriage ceremonies. These include ministers, rabbis, pastors and priests. All those who have no affiliation to a religion are independent marriage celebrants.

Wedding celebrants have been called this since the establishment of the Civil Union Act 2004. All are licensed to perform weddings under the Marriage Act 1955, with some approved and registered to perform civil union ceremonies under the 2004 Act.

Independent wedding celebrants in southern New Zealand are in demand by local couples and those who travel from around the globe to be married at the many spectacular locations in Dunedin, Queenstown, Wanaka and wider Otago and Southland.

Many couples choose an outdoor location of special significance to hold their wedding ceremony. This might be the garden of the family home or holiday house, or spectacular venues such as the beach, lakeside or skifield. Wedding celebrants take any challenge in their stride.

Sound systems are increasingly used by wedding celebrants, who either offer their own or work in with a professional sound engineer. The latter is more expensive for the couple but means guests are ensured of hearing every word.

Here are key points as to how wedding celebrants operate:- 

  • They start work with a couple by advising on the many forms of wedding service, assisting those who wish to write their own and advising on the legal procedures.
  • Remember their fees vary considerably from area to area and cover the consultation, development of the ceremony, dress rehearsal and wedding-day ceremony. If travelling out of their area a travel fee is negotiated.
  • Confirmation of a booking is required, usually within about two weeks of the couple making an inquiry (celebrants are in high demand!).
  • Couples nominate two choices for the venue of the ceremony on the licence application (one a wet-weather option) and celebrants are legally bound to conduct the service at either of those places. In the case of a serious disaster the celebrant can instantly apply for a change of venue.
  • Most wedding ceremonies last from 15 to 20 minutes, but this can vary depending on the the couple.
  • It is a personal choice whether a couple write their own service or choose from the celebrant's wide selection.
  • Eloping couples who wish to be married by a celebrant need two witnesses at the ceremony.
  • Although not essential, celebrants recommend a practice run-through of the ceremony the day before.
  • Celebrants do not usually attend the wedding reception, but may be invited to join the couple and guests for a celebratory drink immediately after the ceremony.

TIP: In selecting a wedding celebrant couples should ensure their choice is the right ``fit'' and should not feel they must engage the first celebrant they meet.

To find out more about our local Wedding Celebrants check out the list below or visit our Wedding Celebrant  

Marriage Celebrants:

Ross Andrew

Lynne Greer

Joy Ramsay

Bev Clarke

Philippa Cook

Marg Matheson

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