What role does the celebrant play in your wedding day?

what does a marriage celebrant do nz

Today we are talking with Heather Sorensen, a Southern Bride Verified marriage celebrant, about what a marriage celebrant does on your wedding day, selecting the right celebrant for you, and unique unity ceremony ideas.

Photo Credit Mel Waite Photography, Wellington
Photo Credit Mel Waite Photography, Wellington


Wedding planning is such a busy time and full of many lists. There is just so much to consider when planning your special day. Invites, dresses, venue, catering, rings, flowers, photos, drinks, favours, hair, make-up and so on. My question is: have you got Celebrant on your list and where in the order of things does the Celebrant feature?

Why is a wedding celebrant so important?

There are so many things that are optional about a wedding, but having a Celebrant is not! Every wedding must have a registered Celebrant , either independent or organisational, to officiate at the ceremony.

Having the right Celebrant for you is so important as they will help ensure that your ceremony is uniquely yours. As a Celebrant, I would like to share with you some important aspects of my role in ensuring that every couple I work with has a memorable ceremony for all the right reasons.

The relationship between the bridal couple and their Celebrant needs to one where they respect each other, have a belief in each other and where everyone feels comfortable with each other.

There are very few ‘rules’ about what must be in a ceremony but there are endless possibilities and options, including traditions and new ideas that can be part of a ceremony. When you meet up with your Celebrant you can talk about your ideas and how they might be used to create your special ceremony.

Picking a wedding celebrant

As a Celebrant I must be a good listener, communicator, writer, planner, speaker and at all times maintain a calm and supportive manner. I need to be responsive to the needs of the couples that I work with and be prepared to be flexible and creative as need be. As a bridal couple, this is what you should be able to expect of your Celebrant.

You need to make finding the best Celebrant for you one of the priorities on your planning list as you may need to contact several different Celebrants before you find the one that you know is right for you. Think about what is important to you for your ceremony and be prepared to talk to any potential Celebrant about this and know that when you do book your Celebrant you are feeling 100% happy about your choice.

I think of myself as a positive memory maker and always feel very honoured to be asked to be the Celebrant of choice by a couple and therefore have a huge responsibility to ensure that the ceremony I deliver is the best it can be.

Your Celebrant will want to spend some time with you to talk through things like how long you have known each other, your backgrounds, your careers, your interests, your families and most importantly, your expectations for your ceremony.

Your ceremony is a time for you, as a couple, to declare your love and commitment to each other by making vows to each other in front of family and friends. It may be that you would like a traditional ceremony that follows the standard format and that is fine. It may be that you would like to do something quite different and that is fine too. Your Celebrant’s role is to work with you to create the ceremony that matches what you would like and your personalities.

Photo Credit: Wyesguy Photography, Blenheim
Photo Credit: Wyesguy Photography, Blenheim

Making your wedding ceremony unique: unity ceremony ideas

You may also like to find out more about some of the optional ‘theme’ ceremonies and while many people may not know too much about these, many of them are very traditional and it is great to revive them in a ceremony today. One that comes to mind for me is the Wine Ceremony that originated in France when families of neighbouring vineyards came together through a marriage and the wines of each vineyard were combined and the couple toasted each other and their marriage with the newly created wine. This is lots of fun and so appropriate in New Zealand where we produce lots of wine.

Other ceremonies that bring together items of significance are the Sand Unity Ceremony and Water Unity Ceremony where the couple create a lasting visual representation of their wedding. There are others such as the Honey Ceremony, Marriage Rocks, Keys to a Successful Marriage and just about anything else that you can think of that is appropriate for you as a couple.

To contact Heather, visit her website at www.heathersorensen.co.nz

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