Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Our Wedding Celebrant

A key part of any wedding is the celebrant.

This is one person who can make or break your wedding ceremony. They are there to be an extra support person in the months leading up to the big day. To offer wisdom and inspiration, to stand beside you when you stutter and sweat at the rehearsal. Then finally to whisper encouragement and any forgotten words in your ear and watch you shine on the day itself.

So, it's important to find the right person for the job.

We found the right person in Belinda de Lautour

© Ross Herbert Photography
© Ross Herbert Photography
© Ross Herbert Photography
It is advised that you interview potential celebrants, well before the big day.
When we did this with Belinda, we were warmly welcomed into her home, sat down in a quiet spot and offered ginger beer and chocolates (it was as if she knew us already!).

As with many interviews, it is said that you will know in the first few minutes, and we clicked straight away.

We had expected to spend approximately 30mins with her, and had organised other activities around this..... an hour and a half later we dragged ourselves away grinning from ear to ear!

By the time the wedding day came around, Belinda felt like a member of our wedding family. We felt so comfortable around her, could ask her almost anything. She kept us calm, and kept things flowing. 
An amazing moment happened when Belinda got the guests involved with a huge cheer of "YES, WE WILL!".
A tear was brought to many eyes with her reading "Blessing of the Hands".
Belinda is known as "The Wedding Angel", and she truly felt like a "Wedding Fairy Godmother" to us by the end. We were sad to see her go. Thank you Belinda!

Choosing an Officiant

There are a few options when finding someone to "Marry You". You can choose to be married by a licensed Justice of the Peace (JP), a minister or clergy, by a family friend, or a professional wedding celebrant.

When we first met Belinda and other celebrants I had a series of questions written down. Some interviews flowed more easily then others, but I had a list to ensure we covered all of our bases.

Some of my questions were:
  • How many ceremonies have they officiated at? (she brought out 4+ folders full of weddings she had officiated)
  • How long has the celebrant been performing weddings? 
  • Why does he/she do them? (You can gauge the celebrants enthusiasm for their job, do your views and expectations match theirs?)
  • How long a ceremony would they recommend? (What do they recommend for a seated vs. standing ceremony)
  • What is their fee? When should it be paid? (Before or on the day etc)
  • Are there any other fees not included with the basic service e.g. (travel expenses, rentals etc)
  • Do they have prepared readings or vows that you can choose from? Does the celebrant have sample wording/ceremonies/readings to show you?
  • Do they have any other weddings booked on the same day? (what if that first wedding runs late or there is a traffic jam)
  • What sort of backup is offered if for some reason the celebrant cannot attend? (ie. personal or health issues)
  • What will they be wearing? (It is very important that you like how the person officiating at your service dresses, as they will be in some of your ceremony photos)
  • What is the procedure for completing the documentation?
  • If you don’t have a ceremony site, can the celebrant suggest one? 
  • Is the celebrant available for a ceremony rehearsal?
  • How tech savvy are they?  (We had a lot of correspondence via email; with links and attachments. So with most celebrants being of an "older generation" it always pays to check)
  • May you write your own vows and prepare poems or other readings? (Some religious ceremonies and celebrants will not allow this - best to check early)
  • Is our own music allowed? (same as above)
  • Do they require/provide pre-marital counselling?
  •  May you speak to past clients?
Some extra points to consider for religious ceremonies
  • Will they marry you if you are not current members of their congregation? 
  • How do you become members?
  • If you are of different faiths, or one of you is not religious, or has been divorced before does that pose a problem?
  • Will your non-religious friends and family be allowed to participate in the ceremony, and give readings etc.

 You can definitely add to this list, but this got the ball rolling for us.


  • Getting married by a close friend or family member is much more difficult (in NZ) than we are lead to believe, it all depends on how you can justify the licensing of this person. Here is another bloggers post about her experience 
  • Belinda is also a Wedding planner, although we did not use these services she had a wealth of knowledge to share about the timing and flow of a ceremony and wedding day. As well as personal knowledge of other vendors around the area and who she would recommend. 

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