At first, you considered asking someone close to you to celebrate your wedding ceremony. The choice was:
1. Your best friend who knows you perfectly but who is also very shy.
Potential risk: She cannot handle the pressure on the big day and passes out halfway through the ceremony!
2. Your beloved father who still sees you as his little baby and is VERY comfortable with public speaking.
Potential risk: You are worried he may seize this opportunity to mention your first crush at primary school and pass around the congregation embarrassing photos of you wearing those garish dungarees you hated with a passion!
3. Your boss, who, after 10 years of collaboration, became a true friend but, who does not take criticism gladly.
Potential risk: You are almost certain she will ignore the comments you may have during rehearsals and that she will make sure to arrange a release of white doves, which she finds SO romantic, although she is perfectly aware of the fact that you have always had an uncontrollable fear of birds!
As a consequence, you have decided to go for the safest option: Find a professional wedding celebrant in France. Now, how to choose the perfect fit! Here are my 3 tips:
Unless you are a lottery winner, I guess your wedding budget is not limitless. As the profession is not subject to any regulations in France, you will find that there are hundreds of celebrants in France and that their rates vary from 300€ to 3,000€ so narrowing down your search is the tricky part!
I suggest you ask yourself the following question: What level of personalization do you expect? Would a “standard” service do the trick or do you feel strongly about having a bespoke ceremony? At the lower end of the price scale, you will generally find celebrants who limit the personalization of their service whereas celebrants who charge higher rates provide a truly made-to-measure service, which requires a tremendous amount of work both before the ceremony behind the scene and on the day. My advice: A budget comprised between 750€ and 1,000€ (Travel/accommodation costs may apply depending on the distance) should allow you to find a perfectly suitable celebrant. Again, I totally appreciate that you have to keep control of your budget but bear in mind that, like other wedding vendors, a good celebrant is worth every penny you pay and don’t forget: When it is too good to be true, it usually is! Here is a good website to find your perfect wedding celebrant in France https://www.frenchweddingstyle.com/
As symbolic wedding ceremonies are getting increasingly popular in France, many are those who identify this fairly new concept as way to generate an income and « jump on the band wagon ». Going for a celebrant with little experience may be a good option if your budget is limited as you may benefit from a low rate or even a commercial gesture if you are in luck, however, you may also have to lower your initial expectations.
If you are looking for an experienced celebrant, when visiting websites, make sure to identify the number of ceremonies the celebrant has actually performed. If, when taking a closer look, you realize that the pictures featuring on the website are very similar, it is probably because the celebrant has only performed one or two ceremonies. The more pictures there are, the more ceremonies the celebrant has performed!
Besides, when meeting a celebrant, ask them precise questions about their work methodology, their planning, etc. If they answer your questions spontaneously and know how to reassure you, they clearly speak from experience.
Finally, do not hesitate to do extensive research and dig up all the posts you can find from couples who have had first-hand experience with them. If you speak a little French, visit https://www.mariages.net/ , which is a popular wedding website/directory.
When preparing your wedding ceremony, a good celebrant will take the time to get to know you and your partner. For this purpose, they will ask you personal questions, learn about your relationship, your values, your background and your cultural traditions. For this reason, it is absolutely essential that you feel relaxed, confident and comfortable communicating with each other right from the start. Is the conversation fluid and pleasant or tense and awkward? Is the celebrant showing a genuine interest in what you have to say? Are they trying to establish a trusting relationship or are they simply having a cordial conversation? Imagine the celebrant on the Big Day? Do you think they will be able to communicate well with your guests and set the right ambience for your ceremony? Do they ooze confidence, charisma and poise and are they articulate, polite and knowledgeable in their field of work?
Finally, remember the number one rule: Follow your instinct. If it feels right, it probably is! Go for it and book as early as you can as the best celebrants are in high demand, particularly for June and September. Here is another useful website https://www.weddingsabroadguide.com/
I hope these tips will help you find your perfect wedding celebrant in France!