avoid getting less than you paid for….. or more than
you bargained for....when booking your ceremony
| Wedding Budget | Wedding
Ceremony | Wedding Legals | Wedding Planning |
Insider tips about what to look at
when considering any packaged wedding ceremony
Some venues, wedding planners, or destination wedding
companies offer a ceremony package or ceremony and
reception package which includes the services of a
celebrant. On the surface a ‘preferred celebrant’ might
seem like an easy way to go, but such an arrangement can
mean that the celebrant’s loyalties lie with the venue
as potential source of continuing work, and thus may be
reluctant to advocate for what you want for your
He/she may even be constrained by contractual
arrangements with the venue or planner from doing so.
And, if required to provide services at a discount to
the venue or planner, may reduce the time spent or
effort expended on your ceremony.
So as well as checking out the celebrant in the normal
way (reputation, experience, etc), before signing on the
line you need to ask some serious questions about the
terms of any wedding package that includes a preferred
Questions to ask the Venue:
- Are we required to use one of your preferred
- If we use a celebrant who is not one of your
preferred celebrants, what conditions do you place
on our arrangement with that celebrant?
- Are your preferred celebrants required to pay to
be one of your preferred celebrants, either by a per
ceremony fee or by an annual subscription or both?
- How does your preferred celebrant arrangement
work? Is our contract for the services of the
celebrant with the celebrant or with your venue?
- Are your preferred celebrants required to enter
into a contract with the venue in order to be
allowed to conduct weddings at your venue?
- What are the terms of that contract?
- Is the celebrant required to work under the
direction of the events organiser or other staff
members? (NB, the Marriage Act requires the
celebrant to have full control of the ceremony!)
- Is the celebrant required to provide his/her
services at a rate discounted from his/her normal
- How much is the discount?
- Is the length or content of the ceremony limited
or specified in the contract or by verbal agreement?
If so, what are these conditions?
- Is the ceremony set-up (eg how the bridal party is
arranged, where the celebrant stands, etc)
restricted in any way?
- Do we pay the celebrant direct, or do we pay you
and you pay the celebrant?
- If we pay you, do you take charge GST on the
celebrant's fee, or a commission on the amount
paid for the celebrant?
- How much is that commission?
Similar questions should be asked of any Wedding Planner
or other service provider who includes celebrant
services in his/her package.
One very serious and important thing to avoid at all
costs: Do not send or give your completed, signed, and
witnessed Notice of Intended Marriage to anyone other
than the authorised marriage celebrant who will conduct
Besides being strictly illegal (the only person
qualified to accept a duly completed, signed and
witnessed Notice of Intended Marriage is a celebrant
authorised by the Australian Government to conduct
marriage ceremonies) having anyone not bound by the
Marriage Act take possession of your Notice of Intended
Marriage exposes you to the risk of identity
theft—everything anyone needs to steal your identity is
documented on the Notice, including the answer to the
most commonly asked “security question” - what is your
mother’s maiden name?