you wondering whether you are supposed to invite
your celebrant to your reception? Have you been
reading bridal magazines and googling to find the
answer? And not getting a straight answer?
It's a question that often comes up in conversation
with my couples. And I always express my appeciation
and decline the invitation.
Don't get me wrong, I'm always very touched, and
flattered when couples invite me. Why I decline is
for reasons that are very much linked with the
history of the lingering belief that whoever
performs your marriage ceremony should be invited.
Occasionally a couple might also include some
details about their music choices (very much
recommended), ceremony readings (not a good idea),
or their vows (a very bad idea).
It all depends on the type
In Australia there are three different ways of
getting married. Three different types of ceremony.
- Registry Office/ Courthouse ceremony
- Religious ceremony
- Civil Ceremony
Which means that there are three different
categories of people woho are qualified and
authorised to officiate your marriage ceremony.
And it also means that the answer to the whether
you should (for that read are expected to)
invite the person who officiates at your marriage
ceremony to your reception is It
depends! So let's look at each option
When you get married in a Registry Office or a
Courthouse your ceremony will be officiated by
whoever is rostered on on that particular day. Your
celebrant is a government official and you most
likely will not have met them before the day. So no
invitation to your post-wedding celebration is
expected. And it is highly likely that government
regulations about employees accepting gifts would
prevent them from accepting.
Folk memory is long, particularly when it comes to
weddings. Back in the day virtually everyone got
married in their local house of worship, in a
ceremony officiated by the member of the clergy
associated with that place. It was likely that one
or both of you had attended services of worship
there since childhood. The clergyperson knew your
whole family, and had possibly married your parents,
aunts and uncles, siblings, cousins, and best
friends. There was not only a long-standing
relationship, but it was normal that a grace or
blessing would be said before the start of the
celebratory meal afterwards. And that was seen as
the role of the clergy. So of course it was accepted
that the person who married you would be invited to
join you for the celebration, and to say grace. If
married, it was also expected that their spouse
would be invited too.
In the 21st century, it is by no means as clear cut.
While back in the day weddings usual took place in
the bride's regular house of worship, that is no
longer the general rule.
You may have booked your wedding at a church that
pretty well makes a business of weddings, or
in a house of worship with which your family has a
long association but no longer attend, or in a house
of worship that neither of you regularly attend.
An invitation would most likely not be expected.
Commonwealth-Registered Marriage Celebrant
Commonwealth registered civil celebrants are
independent professionals; business people,
appointed by the Commonwealth Governement to
solemnise marriages in accordance with the Marriage
Act. We can solemnise your marriage any place you
choose within Australia.
There is definitely no expectation, historical or
otherwise, that you will invite them (with or
without a plus one) to your reception. We won't be
hurt if you don't invite us.
We celebrants fully understand how expensive
weddings are, even though our fees tend to be a very
small percentage of your wedding budget. And we
definitely understand that every additional guests
adds to the cost. One of the best ways to contain
your wedding spend is to limit your guest numbers.
I'm also finding that the most convenient time for a
rehearsal for all concerned is late on a Friday,
Saturday or Sunday, when members of the wedding
party who work, or who have had to trave for the
wedding, are available. That means that, after I've
sent you back up the aisle, I'm often heading off to
conduct the rehearsal for an upcoming wedding.
What about a Friendor?
A friendor (newish term) is someone who is a friend
who is also taking on the role of a vendor for your
particular wedding. They may be leading your
ceremony in conjunction with an authorised celebrant
who is there to do the legal bits and to make sure
that your ceremony ticks all the legal boxes.
Rule of thumb on this one, I suggest is that if your
friendor is gifting you their services, you
definitely invite them and their plus one, And you
should probably get them a gift too. If you are
paying your friendor, then it is up to you to weigh
up the pros and cons.
Either way, you are not expected to invite the
Commonwealth authorised celebrant you have hired to
deliver the legal components