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Answers to 10 questions about celebrants that you might be too embarrassed to ask.

Updated: Mar 4, 2023

1. Q. Can my celebrant legally marry me?

A. That depends; in Ireland a celebrant can only legally marry you if they are also a legal solemniser and on the register of solemnisers. If you are looking for someone to legally marry you, this is the first thing to establish, so if it's not clear, just straight out ask them. There is no point continuing to chat and bond with a celebrant only to find out they can't do the kind of ceremony you want.

2. Q. What does a celebrant charge?

A. In Ireland celebrants usually charge between €500 -€700. If the fee is not clearly stated, don't hesitate to ask, remember your budget! Also check what is included in that - expect it to include all consultations, any meetings, rehearsal, draft preparation and delivery on the big day. Do check out if there are additional costs for fuel/travel/accomodation, you don't need any surprises. Celebrants put a lot of work into the ceremony, so don't be looking for a bargain, yes cost is a factor, but also consider if you feel a connection and feel the celebrant " gets you" as a couple. It's also reasonable for a celebrant to ask for a non-refundable deposit, they often hold dates for a year or two and turn down other couples who request the same day.

3. Q What if you have a chat with a celebrant and you're not sure they are right for you?

A. Straight up tell them you will be talking to other celebrants and you will get back to them with an answer as soon as possible. Then get back to them! It will be like choosing your spouse, , when you know, you know, trust your gut instinct. If it's not a good fit simply tell them you have decided to go with someone else. Nobody is right for everyone and this is such a key person on your wedding day you want to be 100% sure.

4.. Q. Should I tip the celebrant on the day?

A. Sometimes couples do, and that is a very generous gesture - but honestly I don't think it's necessary. Most celebrants are happy with a " Thank you" and ecstatic with a good google review!

5.Should we invite the celebrant to the reception?

A. Having a celebrant- led ceremony is still quite new in Ireland and frankly couples are often unsure of the etiquette. It is really nice to be invited, but personally I nearly always decline the invitation. My job is done once the ceremony is over, it's nice to stay and chat a little and take a few photos, but do not feel obliged to invite them to the meal, as is often the case when a priest officiates. I only ever stay for the Afters if I would have been a guest at the wedding anyway (and then I usually change my clothes to shift out of work mode and into party mode!)

6. Q. But should we provide food/drinks for the celebrant after the ceremony?

A. Yes, I think it is thoughtful to make arrangements for the celebrant to have perhaps a sandwich and a cuppa after the ceremony. Most will have had an early start and perhaps a long journey back home. Often the venue can arrange this. Also include the other vendors; singers, musicians, photographers etc.

7.Q. What if the celebrant can't make it on the day?

A. Well one thing we learned from COVID is the importance of a back- up plan. Be sure to ask the celebrant what happens in the case of illness/ bereavement etc. A good celebrant will have a group of celebrant colleagues who can back them up, and they will do everything they can do get a replacement.

8.Q. Should we tell our celebrant about "sensitive" family situations?

A. Celebrants are well used to family dramas and difficulties, and will be neither shocked or judgy about your situation. If for example certain people will not be attending, if family members are not on speaking terms etc., absolutely do tell the celebrant early on, so that this can be carefully and sensitively managed during the ceremony. You don't want to leave the celebrant waxing lyrical about the role model your parent's marriage offers when most of the guests know they barely talk to each other. Celebrants are well used to choosing their words carefully and assume nothing about family dynamics.

9.Q. Our celebrant puts wedding photos on social media, how do we tell him/her we don't want that?

A. Many celebrants (myself included), like to pop up happy wedding photos; it's uplifting and well, good for business. But this is totally your call. You can ask them not to; you can ask them to wait until you post photos yourself, and for sure you can ask to preview anything they intend to post to make sure it does it is flattering!

10. Q. I want your job, where do I apply!!

A. I've been asked many times by brides how I became a celebrant/solemniser and I am happy to share how I ended up here. I think it's a great compliment to work with someone and then find they are inspired to follow you into this line of work. There are many routes to becoming a celebrant/solemniser and a good place to start is by asking someone who is working in the field. So go ahead and ask, and if it's for you, come join us, it truly is the best job ever!

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