Should you Invite your Celebrant to your Reception?

by Jennifer Cram - Brisbane Marriage Celebrant © (28/05/2021)
Categories: |  Wedding Planning ]
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Wedding Reception place
                      setting. Rush mat. Gold knife and spoon. Rolled
                      napkin in napkin ring. Closed menu on plate with
                      heart and the word love printed on itAre 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 of ceremony

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 in turn.

Your Registry Office/Courthouse Celebrant

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.

Your Religious Leader/Clergyperson

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.

Your 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

Thanks for reading!

Jenny xxx Let's talk soon about how you can
                    have the best ceremony ever
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