Ceremonies offer rewarding opportunities for human connection, and have the potential to be as rich and varied as the people who participate in them. A thoughtful, well-presented ceremony should be reflective of your beliefs and values, experiences and aspirations. This is why it’s so important to find an officiant that you trust and connect with. Always keep in mind that Celebrants are also officiants, but the reverse is not often true. Both are options, but Celebrants usually have a lot more training.
The key to finding the RIGHT MATCH is to ask questions.
- How do you create the ceremony? You want someone who is highly skilled in the craft of writing meaningful and emotive copy. Some are better than others. Ask how they will learn about you and your personal stories. Also ask about their creative process. And if they delve into your faith or cultural backgrounds. If they give you pre-written blocks of copy and ask you to choose Option A or B, the ceremony is unlikely to be crafted to reflect you.
- What training do you have? Does she or he have a sound background in the history of ritual and ceremony, knowledge of ceremonial traditions around the world, the ability to manage and choreograph the ceremony itself, and experience in ceremonial speaking. Never be embarrassed to ask for credentials. Where did they do their training? How long was the training? Do they belong to a professional body? Abide by a Code of Ethics?
- Will you suggest rituals and traditions, readings, and vows suited especially to us? If you are spiritual but not formally religious… or you are Muslim, Chinese, Jewish, Scottish, Catholic, Persian, LGBT, spiritual, or First Nations… how might this be reflected in your ceremony? Are they familiar with customs that will suit you? Are they willing to research?
- Will we have final approval over the script? Don’t let a ceremony be imposed on you. Ensure that you will be given the chance to proof and edit several drafts of a ceremony so you know that it is right.
- What do people say about you as a public speaker? Great writing is lost when an officiant has poor delivery. Memorable Funeral Celebrants and Wedding Officiants bring written words to life. Ask if he or she has trained with a vocal coach. Are they able to project without using a microphone or yelling? Microphones are fine if the ceremony is outdoors, but should rarely be necessary indoors.
- What exactly is included? Does their fee include everything? Or do they charge a base fee and then add on for meetings, interviews, travel, and rehearsals (if your ceremony is a wedding)? Additional fees can add up quickly. Make sure you know what is and what is not included in the fee.
- How many ceremonies do you do in a day, weekend, year? Modern Celebrant limits the number of ceremonies we perform in order to remain grounded in what really matters and to maximize client experience. Many officiants say they too ‘limit’ their ceremonies. Ask them what they mean by that. The number of ceremonies is very telling. Anyone who does a number of ceremonies in one day is unlikely to be doing client-focused work. Do you want to be one of 4+ that day? Also ask what happens if your ceremony is delayed and they have another one to get to.
- What is your legal authorization? If you are getting married, make sure they are legally registered to perform wedding ceremonies in your province, and will submit the paperwork for you.
Five More Things to Consider
- Do they seem passionate about their work and love doing it?
- Will you feel comfortable stating your preferences / How responsive are they to your ideas?
- Do you like the sound of the Celebrant’s voice?
- Do you feel trust and emotional connection them?
- Are they the right fit for you, as well as your family and other guests?
I hope this was helpful. Still have some questions? Give me a ring at 604-992-4217.
Master Celebrant Michele Davidson