The big question
A celebrant can make or break your big day. So what makes a good celebrant?
First of all, you need a professional, someone who can advise you about the legal side.
Every bit as vital, the celebrant must be prepared to customise the ceremony. You can opt out of – or limit – ritual or traditional sections, if you choose. You are entitled to want flexibility, and the chance to choose content that has significance to you. You may also want advice. You certainly don’t expect to be hectored, though!
A good celebrant will encourage you to make the very best choices for your day.
So you need someone who you feel comfortable with. Do a little homework first. Start with the celebrant’s website, especially if there’s a video on there. That may give you some idea of the celebrant’s personality. You have to work with him/her quite a bit before the big day – and especially on the day itself. So you’ll want to feel at ease together.
Before you commit, have a chat face-to-face, on Skype, or by phone, so you get a feel for the celebrant’s personality.
Religious or not?
Your celebrant should tailor-make the ceremony so that you can have as much or as little religious component as you choose. Indeed, if desired, elements from different faiths or backgrounds can be incorporated successfully, and the celebrant should be willing to accommodate your wishes.
You should be able to choose special readings or music. A good celebrant will be happy to incorporate these and offer advice. Dress is also down to you – and that can include the celebrant’s attire.
Other important points
Another important element is photography. A good celebrant will co-operate with the photographer/videographer.
It probably goes without saying, but look for someone who has excellent presentation skills. PA systems are often used nowadays, but it helps if the celebrant is clearly-spoken and can project his/her voice. A sense of humour may be invaluable too!
It pays to choose your celebrant with care. Don’t necessarily use a friend, although being able to relate to the celebrant is paramount. Do ensure, as far as you are able, that you choose a competent person, with a pleasant manner, who you believe will do a professional job.
Michael Gordon is a celebrant based in London.