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Maxine Lowry has officiated over 1,000 weddings in her 20 year career as a Registered Civil Celebrant.
Today, Maxine advises what to look for when searching for your marriage celebrant (or ‘love story designer’ as she puts it!).
What are some of the things brides and grooms should consider when they’re choosing a marriage celebrant?
When choosing a celebrant I suggest you look beyond price alone. You want a calming influence, someone with a ‘relaxed energy’. Heaven knows your wedding day is stressful enough without the celebrant adding to it!
You want somebody who will listen carefully and reflect your wishes, your personalities and your history as a couple, more a ‘love story designer’. Ask around, family, friends, work colleagues… get busy online until you find the one or two who seem to fit your style and go and have a preliminary talk with them.
Once you know a bit more about how they work, and what they can offer, ask yourself , ’Is this somebody we would like at our wedding?’
How can a bride and groom maximise their time spent when meeting with their marriage celebrant?
Couples often say ‘we have not been to many weddings so we are not sure what we need to ask.’ That’s not a problem at all. Ask to see some examples of ceremonies, ask your celebrant how they work with you to create the ceremony. Find out how the celebrant can accommodate your specific requirements, eg. your children or incorporating a special ‘ritual’.
Ask to see some photos to gauge their presentation at the ceremony. Photos will also show you whether they are flexible in how they arrange wedding groups, and generally how relaxed everybody looks in the photos.
Ask them to tell you their ‘point of difference’ and about some unexpected situations they encountered at weddings, and how they handled these.
Do you recommend couples writing their own vows?
Couples have lots of options, including traditional and more contemporary vows. I have ‘mix and match’ options and also cater for couples who wish to prepare their own individualised wording. I simply work with them ensure that the legally required wording is included. NOBODY wants to find out later that their vows did not contain the mandatory wording (as stated in the Marriage Act 1961).
What’s your advice for couples who choose to do so?
I suggest they not write anything too long, and that both sets of vows should be similar in length both to avoid imbalance in the ceremony, and to avoid additional pressure at an emotional time. A touch of humour is okay, but marriage vows should convey dignity and sincerity, their intent is not to entertain and amuse the guests.
What is your favourite part about your job?
I feel great satisfaction in bringing all the planning together and helping a couple become husband and wife. I love all the different personalities, the love stories and the different styles of ceremony I have the pleasure of conducting, from barns to ballrooms, parks to beaches, wineries to historic properties.
What advice would you give to brides and grooms to ensure their wedding day runs more smoothly?
Be prepared for any weather conditions and have the ‘wet weather’ option ready to go.
Delegate, and accept assistance from family and friends. Lists are great when there is a lot to remember, and try not to leave everything to the last minute.
Hold your ‘bucks’ and ‘hens’ celebrations well ahead of the wedding date! Remember that sometimes ‘less is more’ and you don’t need EVERY ‘gimmick’ or ‘extra’. Concentrate on what is important to you and that will be different for every couple.
Maxine is currently offering a 5% discount to couples who mention this blog when they book her services.