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Wedding & Civil Union Celebrant

 

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Marriage & Civil Union Celebrant Services

The first meeting with the bride and groom – in person or via Skype – is obligation-free. I think it is important for both the bride and the groom to be present and see if we are a good fit. It is important for me to meet with both partners to the marriage, it’s not just about you seeing what I am like, but also about me seeing if I can work with you.

The Process

My official job at Celebrant starts the moment the bride starts her procession down the aisle and ends with the recession of the bridal party to meet with family and guests. However, there is much to be planned before the big day itself.

BEFORE THE WEDDING

The first meeting with the bride and groom – in person or via Skype – is obligation-free. I think it is important for both the bride and the groom to be present and see if we are a good fit. It is important for me to meet with both partners to the marriage, it’s not just about you seeing what I am like, but also about me seeing if I can work with you.

The notes I take at the first meeting help me to draft your ceremony tailored to your needs, requirements and style. Once you are happy with the final draft of the ceremony, it is finalised. A well structured ceremony should take around 20-30 minutes. There are exceptions of course, but the main thing is to keep it simple, romantic and meaningful to you.

THE REHEARSAL

The rehearsal a day or two before the wedding is a quick run-through covering the main points of the ceremony.  It is an exercise in logistics, attended by all the key people.  The father of the bride decides if he prefers to hug the groom or shake his hand after at the giving-away of the bride.  The maid of honour and the bridesmaids practice a demure walk in time with the music and where and how they will be standing.  The best man and the groomsmen learn their places, too.  The music for the procession and the recession is tested for length and volume.  There is time for questions and last minute adjustments… and time for reassurances that all will be fine, and that I will take care of them and hold it all together on the day.

As well as the date, time and location, people in the bridal party, I like to know the expected number of guests, colour scheme, key members, ring bearer, DJ, photographer, venue manager, caterer and any other potential vendor or supplier.  As a celebrant I can also organise a signing table and seat and a sound system on request.

THE BIG DAY

On the day of the wedding I tend to arrive at least a half an hour before the start of the ceremony.  This is a good opportunity for me to make myself known and confer with all the key players of my “wedding orchestra”, ensuring that all is in place: the DJ has done the sound check for the music and the microphones; the photographer is happy with the lighting and the angle; the caterers know when to serve the hors d’oeuvres; that everything and everyone is in place, tested, in good working order, everyone knows their queue, some last minutes adjustments and we are good to go.

We all aim to work together in a perfect arrangement, ready to make sweet music… to make this a very special day for the bride and groom.

AFTER THE CEREMONY

This is the point that I can start relaxing and take in the scenery and the joy as I pack up.  Two copies of the marriage licence are issued, which are signed by the bride and groom, their 2 witnesses and me.  One copy I keep in my folder to return to the Registrar General; the second copy I place in an envelope, usually accompanied by a wedding card, and hand it to the newlyweds with my best wishes for their future together as they are being congratulated and celebrated by their family and friends.

I don’t usually stay for very long after the ceremony; it is time for the bride and groom and their chosen guests.

Planning Timeline

Below is a guide to starting your wedding or civil union planning.

Find a Celebrant

Check out a few celebrants and find the one you really like. You need to have a connection with this person, as they’re going to share in one of the most special days of your life. A last minute change of celebrant is not ideal.

Apply for your Marriage Licence

You can now apply for your marriage licence online if you normally live in NZ or will arrive more than 3 working days before you get married. You can apply up to 3 months before the date of your wedding ceremony. A NZ marriage licence costs $150.

Define your Wedding Style

Decide on what kind of wedding you both want. From small and intimate to all the ‘bells and whistles”. A wedding style is a necessary part of wedding planning because it helps you to define all other elements of your wedding- venue, decor, type of reception, and so on.

Choose your Wedding Venue

There are a plenty of different venue possibilities for your wedding. Perhaps you prefer a small and intimate wedding, maybe a boutique vineyard or a lonely beach is the right one for you. However, if you plan a big celebration with a large number of family and friends, one of the amazing luxury lodges in New Zealand could be the ideal venue for you. Whatever your wedding plans in New Zealand look like, they will definitely be memorable.

Finalise your Guest List

Establish how many people you’d like to invite, how many you anticipate will attend the ceremony and the numbers you expect to have at your wedding breakfast. Provision should also be made for the after party (if you intend having one).

Choose Bridesmaids & Groomsmen

Pick your head bridesmaid and your head groomsmen (pick people who will want to help and who are organised!)
This is just a small start, but it gives you some ideas.

Get In Touch

Please let me know your proposed wedding date, location/venue and any other important info and I will contact you as soon as I’m able. Please call me on 021 825368 if your booking enquiry is urgent.

2 + 2 =

CONNECT

Sarah Valentine, Wedding Celebrant
PO Box 151070, New Lynn, Auckland 0640
CALL: 021 825368
EMAIL: info@celebrantsarahvalentine.com