WHY HAVE MARRIAGE CELEBRANTS BECOME THE MISSING LINK?
Think about all the wedding videos, posts and articles you’ve engaged with recently - can you remember who the celebrant was? Were they tagged?
More than likely the answer is no, and as a celebrant of nearly 30 years, I often wonder why this is.
For starters, a celebrant is the only service provider needed to be present on the day for a marriage ceremony to be legally recognised, and yet somehow over the years the role they play has faded into the background.
When I first started as a celebrant, value was placed on a celebrant by couples who clearly saw the ceremony as a very important part of their day. Compare that to the anecdotes I’ve heard where less money is spent on the celebrant’s fee than an individual’s wedding shoes! The change in focus is now the location, entertainment, flowers and shots.
One reason for this might be the saturation of celebrants on the market in recent years, giving couples the opportunity to shop around for the cheapest price, and driving celebrants to lower their fees to gain work. Overall this creates a lasting effect on the entire industry as celebrants devalue their own worth in the overall wedding experience and budget.
So how do we address this cultural shift? For me, it’s about sharing with couples just how important the role of a celebrant is to the overall experience. For starters, a celebrant can really set the mood for the entire day – they create the vibe, hold the space and maintain appropriate energy levels.
Writing and delivering a ceremony that is authentic, that keeps guests engaged while maintaining the focus on the couple, is worth a greater part of the wedding budget.
If a celebrant charges a professional fee, it’s important that they deliver on the perfect ceremony. This looks like:
Spending time with the couple to capture what is important to them
Writing a ceremony that is unique to each couple, not a copy and paste of the last wedding they delivered
Offering suggestions on special moments, rituals and wet weather plans for the ceremony.
Planning how the ceremony will work within the confines of the venue
Hosting a rehearsal to ensure everything that has been planned will work on the day
Being polite, professional and happy on the day
Ensuring that the energy of the ceremony is appropriate for the couple and their guests
Never taking the focus away from the couple
Working with other service providers on the day to ensure everyone is on the same page
Being the person who keeps the ceremony moving and brings the focus back to the moment.
As celebrants, we have a huge responsibility to abide by the regulations and law of the day. A lot of work goes on behind the scenes to ensure the couple and their marriage follows the correct legal procedures and contributes to the value of the work celebrants do.
The challenge for celebrants now is to become visible again and to value the vital role we play in a wedding. We need to minimise price undercutting, be innovative, keep up with the wave of experiential wedding trends hitting the scene, be mindful of social movements and improve our hashtags on social media.
Ultimately, we need to value our work, be dynamic, know our worth and build stronger relationships with other vendors.