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Can your Wedding Planner be your celebrant too?

Can your Wedding Planner be your celebrant too?

Dear Brides & Grooms,

I have been a celebrant in France since 2009 and the purpose of this post is to draw your attention to a recent trend which I cannot help find both concerning and regrettable.

I work full-time as a celebrant and, to the risk of sounding pretentious, I consider myself as a professional and experienced celebrant with over 100 wedding ceremonies performed both in French and in English.

I noticed, that, as more and more couples choose to mark their union with a symbolic/humanist ceremony in France, coincidently, an increasing number of wedding planners based in this country discover themselves a sudden talent for celebrating secular wedding ceremonies!

Don’t get me wrong! I take great pleasure in working with many WP’s who realize how crucial the ceremony is to their clients and prefer to put them in touch with a professional celebrant rather than offering a poor service themselves.

What concerns me is that many WP’s have decided to « jump on the band wagon » and become wedding celebrants overnight, thinking that all they need to do is to come up with a template and « flog it » as a personalised script. I wonder what their main motivation is: Customer satisfaction? Passion for the job? Greed?

I have great respect for Wedding Planning, which I consider as an extremely demanding job in terms of time and energy. I regret that WP’s who call themselves celebrants do not show the same respect for my activity and jeopardize the credibility of this profession which is still very much unknown in France.

If you are planning to get married in France and wish to have a symbolic or humanist ceremony, beware: If a WP offers you their celebrant services at a very low price ONLY if you choose them as your WP, you are likely to get a standard ceremony with little or no effort to make it your own, often performed by a person who is nor familiar neither comfortable with public speaking i.e. potential disaster!

I decided to put some WP’s to the test and contacted them by email pretending I was interested in a bilingual wedding ceremony but that I would take care of the planning myself. Guess what? 9 out of 10 did not even bother to reply! How surprising!

If you are happy to have a standard ceremony, I am sure there are WP’s out there who would be more than happy to offer you such service. However, if you are looking to have a truly personalised service with a professional who will be available and willing to take the time necessary to know you and identify your tastes & your expectation, I would strongly recommend you go for a professional celebrant.

Their rates vary between 700€ and 1500€ according to the chosen level of service and their experience but you are sure to have a bespoke ceremony.

I find that when celebrants also act as Wedding Planners, it has an impact on your ceremony and on the celebrants themselves. How do you think your guests would feel if they realize that your wedding celebrant is also the woman whom they saw earlier wearing bagging jeans and a t-shirt, perched on a step-ladder, struggling to fix fairy lights on the ceiling or crouched under the table to plug in extension cables!

Most couples I have the pleasure to work with describe their symbolic wedding ceremony in France as their real wedding, the opportunity to commit to each other and share a privileged moment with their loved ones.

If you too wish your destination wedding to France to be a magical moment of a lifetime, let professionals take care of each part of your wedding. You would not ask your WP to do your hair or prepare your wedding cake! It would not cross your mind to ask your florist to Dj for your evening party so why would you ask anyone else than a professional celebrant to perform your wedding ceremony?

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