We are so pleased to release our first guest blog post on Stephanie & Nicole, and for it we have the wonderful Jeannene Powell. Jeannene is an experienced London based Celebrant, who makes it her mission to ensure couples know all their options. With a wide ranging background in the wedding industry, including civil and religious marriage officiating and registration, she has knowledge and expertise covering a variety of ceremony approaches. So with that in mind, we asked her- What are your 5 top tips to ask a Celebrant before you book?
Take it away Jeannene!
Their training, experience and background Of course you'll want to know about their training and how long they've been performing ceremonies for. But being a good Celebrant involves a wide range of skills. So crossover expertise gained from other areas of life are great. Being able to manage and direct people, public speaking skills and being able to think on one's feet are all useful.
The legalities There are different legalities covering Celebrant Ceremonies in different parts of the UK. So do ask if you'll need to get the legal paperwork done just prior to your Celebrant Ceremony, or whether your celebrant can cover this.
Who designs the ceremony? This includes writing the ceremony, the running order, length, choosing readings, vows and incorporating other ideas. You may be happy for your celebrant to write and design the whole thing. Alternatively, you and your partner may like to write the majority or all of it, just having your Celebrant conduct it on the day. Others view it as a collaboration, where you and your Celebrant work together to create an order, words and content which suits you best as a couple. Think about what approach works for you both, and if a potential Celebrant has a different way of working, see if they're able or willing to match the approach you're looking for.
Ask to meet with them informally Prior to deciding whether they're the right Celebrant for you, ask to meet with them and check if there's a fee for this or not. Aside from practical knowledge, you both want to get a sense that this is someone you can both see yourself working with, someone you both connect with and who "gets" your vision for ceremony. In short, it's an opportunity to see if there's a match. The Celebrant you choose will be conducting a very important ceremony in your lives, and you want to make sure it's the right person. This is difficult to do by email or even just a telephone call. So feel free to suggest meeting up over coffee, if they don't suggest it first. If distance is an issue, video calling would be the next best thing.
If they're unwell on the day, do they have a back-up? Although this very rarely happens, there's enough stress in making sure everything else goes smoothly, the last thing you want is for the Celebrant not to make it on the day. Ask what their back up plan for this is. Many Celebrants know others, from their training or other circles, who can competently and professionally take over if needed.
So, those are 5 top tips to ask. And just remember, it's your ceremony, so make it count for you both, by having the best and most memorable ceremony you can imagine.