How to avoid getting less than you paid for….. or more than you bargained for....when booking your ceremony

by Jennifer Cram (04/09/2016) | Categories: | Wedding Budget | Wedding Ceremony  | Wedding Legals | Wedding Planning |
Pie with
                      piece missingInsider 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 ceremony.

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 Testimonial about Jennifer Cram, Brisbane
                  Marriage Celebrantdotted line you need to ask some serious questions about the terms of any wedding package that includes a preferred celebrant arrangement.

Questions to ask the Venue:
  • Are we required to use one of your preferred celebrants?
  • 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 fee?
  • 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 the ceremony.

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?

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