Choosing a celebrant for your special day is one of the most important decisions when you’re planning your wedding. Here are some important things to consider.
As anyone who’s been through the process will attest, planning a wedding is full of little details, so much so that the really important stuff can get lost in figuring out what font to have on your invitations, or the politics of who should be sitting beside who during the reception.
It’s a big day, so there’s lots to consider, but the most important part of it is the moment you exchange rings and vows, and therefore one of the most important considerations of the day is the person who’s marrying you. From the outset, your celebrant should be able to guide you through the process of registering your intention to marry and putting your ceremony together. Here are some important things to ask when looking for a celebrant.
1. Is your Celebrant registered with the General Registrars Office to conduct the legal part of the ceremony?
A solemniser is a person who is registered with the General Registrars Office to conduct the legal part of your ceremony. There are a lot of people and organisations out there offering their services to act as the celebrant for your ceremony, but not all of them are solemnisers, so be careful when choosing the celebrant. You don’t want to be sitting in the HSE office giving your notice of intention to marry to be told that your celebrant isn’t registered.
“This happens very regularly,” says Tom Colton of Spiritual Ceremonies Ireland. “We get couples ringing from the HSE in tears, asking if we can facilitate them on their wedding day because they’ve just found out that the celebrant they originally booked isn’t registered to perform the legal element of their wedding.”
2. Is the celebrant working on his or her own, or as part of a group?
It is very important to check with the person you are looking to perform your ceremony what happens if they get sick or cannot attend to do your wedding. Do they have someone else who can perform your ceremony? The last thing you want after all your planning is no one turning up to actually marry you.
3. Is the person you want to do your ceremony able to cater for you and your partner?
Every couple and every wedding is different. According to Tom: “Couples have told us that they’ve been told by celebrants and celebrant organisations that they don’t cater for same-sex marriages, or that they don’t cater for foreign couples, to name a few.”
Your celebrant should be able to give you the ceremony that you are looking for on your special day, subject to all of the legal requirements of a marriage being met.
4. Can you tailor the ceremony?
Your wedding is one of the most important days in your life and you should have an idea of what you would like to include. A solemniser should be able to customise your ceremony for you, into one that reflects you and your partner as a couple.
Your celebrant should be able to work with you to choose any theme of music, readings or poems that convey a message about you and your partner.
Says Tom: “Spiritual Ceremonies have been privileged to have walked with thousands of couples from all over the world on their journey toward their special day here in Ireland. We travel the length and breadth of Ireland, from Cork to Donegal, seven days a week, making memories with our couples on their special day. We can perform a ceremony indoors and outdoors (outdoors is subject to requirements under the Civil Registrations legislation).”
5. Can your celebrant bring a spiritual element to your ceremony?
Not everyone, but a large number of same- sex couples want a spiritual element to their ceremony. The definition of spirituality encompasses real self, the truth of our inner self, our inner being. “At Spiritual Ceremonies we take time with you to design your ceremony, so that it reflects you as a couple, honouring your beliefs and values, ensuring they are reflected in the content and length of your ceremony,” says Tom.
Spiritual Ceremonies have a large team of Registered Solemnisers available in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, all of whom can perform the legal element of a wedding ceremony. They also perform vow renewals, wedding blessings, naming ceremonies and End of Life Celebrations (funerals).
According to Tom, “We are highly-trained to design your ceremony, to reflect your personal needs, because we understand this is one of the most important days of your lives. We ensure your ceremony is created with you, for you and about you.”
Find out more about Spiritual Ceremonies at spiritualceremonies.ie