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How Do I Choose a Wedding Celebrant? with Tanya Jones from Perfect Promises

How Do I Choose a Wedding Celebrant? With so much choice facing Brides and Grooms to be, what are the key things to look for to make it easy? Find out now!

Listen to Tanya on the Wedding Espresso Awesome DIY Wedding Planning Podcast…


Tanya Jones from Perfect Promises


James: [00:00:03] Tanya Hi, good to see you. 

Tanya: [00:00:07] Hello, you too. 

James: [00:00:07]

So Brides and Grooms have been asking a lot recently “how do I choose a wedding celebrant?” 

Tanya: [00:00:14] It’s a really good question and actually it’s a brilliant question now because over the last year or so there are so many new celebrants now in the UK, weddings celebrants. And it’s great because we’re all different. Personalities different, styles different, and it means that couples can be absolutely sure they’ll find the right one. And that’s what it’s about, finding the right one. And it’s a bit like with anything in the wedding industry, or any industry. It can be overwhelming. And it’s like the wedding dress shop and you know, you want a white dress and you might want to bit a sparkle on it. Then you go into the shop and there are hundreds of them and you haven’t got a clue what to do. So what do you do? You try some on. It’s a bit like that really with Celebrants because it’s about finding the right one for you. So try a few on in a sense, do your research. 

Tanya: [00:01:07] Sorry I’ve got my little dog joining me. So look at websites, look at their about pages. There are quite a lot of celebrant directories out there now so take some time to have a look at those, and look at testimonials. Especially if you go to the web pages, look at the about pages, get a feel for what they’re like as a person, because that’s what you want really is to find somebody that you really like. 

Tanya: [00:01:35]

So with a celebrant it’s got to be about the person. It’s got to be about whether you like them, whether you get on with them, whether you’re going to be happy to collaborate together, because it should be a collaboration to build your Ceremony.

So it’s about finding the person that you’re going to be most comfortable with, and whether that’s, you know… I’ve had couples who come not really knowing very much about how they want their ceremony to be. They might have thought about everything else. Ceremony not so much. So then they want a celebrant with experience enough to be able to say “have you thought about this?” “Have you thought about readings?” “Have you though about a sand ceremony?” “Have you thought about a unity candle?” And “what sort of order would you like the readings?” “Would you like readings?” “What sort of readings?” “Would you like to include your children?” “Would you like to include your dog?” It’s all those things that they will be looking for guidance with. And if you’re somebody who maybe has a pretty good idea of how you want your ceremony to be, so the celebrant you’re looking for is somebody who’s going to absolutely work with you to deliver that. So someone who’s happy to listen to you and to do the things that you want to do, and to collaborate with you. 

Tanya: [00:02:51] Again I had a couple where they had a really clear idea of their ceremony. They had their readings done, really unusual readings, really beautiful ceremony. They had a couple of songs in there and actually just by swapping the songs over, it gave the ceremony the feel, and the whole kind of atmosphere that they were looking for. Whereas it might have been a little jumpy otherwise. So again it’s about somebody that you’re happy and confident to work with. 

Tanya: [00:03:18]

So once you look through all the material, you’ve looked through the websites. Best thing is to meet them. You can’t beat a face chat, and most celebrants, just about everyone I know actually, will offer a meeting with you.

No obligation to you. Turn up, have a cup of tea and have a chat. And that’s the best way to get a feel for what they’re like as people. What their experience is like, whether you’ve got things in common, whether you are going to get along, whether they’re going to really annoy you. I don’t suit everyone and none of us will suit everyone. So having that cup of tea, cake ideally as well, gets over all of that and you get a real feel for how your day might look with that person. 

Tanya: [00:04:05]

And a tip actually for those meetings is come with all your questions. Come with as many questions as you want to ask, about the ceremony, about everything around the ceremony, anything and everything that you’re not sure of.

Come with those questions because again it gives you an idea of how much experience your celebrant has. Whether they’ve had to deal with things like this, whether they thought about things like this, what they can bring to you and how again how you’re going to work together. So don’t be afraid to ask anything. Because there’s nothing we like more than… and even if it’s something we don’t know, let’s say you’ve got an idea for your ceremony that’s something I’ve never heard of. Brilliant, because it means it gives me a chance to go off and research it, and look into it, and find out what there is to know, and find out the best way to build it into your Ceremony. So bring all your questions because that’s really important that you get a proper feel for how you want your day to be, and how they can make that happen for you. 

James: [00:05:07] So I suppose you really need to be turning up with your heart on your sleeve and all your quirk in a bag, ready to show. 

Tanya: [00:05:16] Yes in an ideal world. Yes that’s absolutely it. You are laying yourself open and you are vulnerable in that sense, and that’s why it’s important it’s someone you completely trust. Someone who has got you covered. Has got everything there for you. This is a personal thing, but personally I think it’s important to have someone who’s as excited about your Day as you are. Because for me, although on the day it’s really important to me that my couples are completely relaxed and completely able to just enjoy it, because it goes by in a flash as you will know, and you really want to feel that you’re not worrying about anything, you’re not thinking about anything, because your celebrant has got that covered and you can relax and enjoy it. 

Tanya: [00:06:14]

But in that building period leading up to the ceremony, I get as excited as anyone because I want to hear about all the bits, I want to hear about aunty so and so who’s flying in from wherever it is, so you want that.

I think you want that connection with somebody, because for most celebrants, you’ll get that because we all love it. We all love what we do and it’s never just a job. So you will get that sense of excitement and looking forward to it as much as you are. But the one thing I would say never, never, never do when you’re choosing a celebrant, is go on price. 

James: [00:06:49] Sure. 

Tanya: [00:06:49] And I think either way, you know, don’t go for the cheapest just because they’re the cheapest. And don’t go for the most expensive just because they’re the most expensive. I think there’s such a range and it really is about the person. So you could get somebody charging not very much who is brilliant, and who is perfect for you, and does exactly what you want. Same the other end of the scale, you could have somebody at the other end of the scale who just doesn’t fit with you. You know their experience is fantastic, their testimonials are great. But when you meet them that connection just isn’t there. So don’t just think because they charge the most, you know, you’ve got to go with them rather than someone who charges the least. And also just be careful with… sometimes when you’re looking at things, and there’ll be an appealing price, and then you’ll find out that if you want to add in a rehearsal, or you might think during the building process, actually I like the sound of a unity candle. And then when you want to add those in, there might be an additional cost. So at your first meeting maybe that’s one of your questions. “What’s included in the package?” So you can be absolutely sure that you’re getting the value for money that you need. We all have a budget. And we all have to work within it, but just don’t be led too much I think by price. It’s about the person, and the person being right for you. 

James: [00:08:16] Brilliant. That’s great, thank you very much for sharing that.

So we’ve just got a couple of fun questions for you actually. And the first one is “Are there any aspects of your personal life that influence the services that you provide. For example hobbies or interests?” 

Tanya: [00:08:35] Now probably not so much in the sense of the ceremonies themselves, although I am an avid reader. So chances are if you want a reference to a book… I’ve got a Harry Potter theme coming up next year. So loving the research on that. So if you’ve got a particular book or something, yes that probably would come to mind. But one that we had which wasn’t actually so much to do with the ceremony, but to do with accommodating, if you like. We’re quite big football fans in the house so we have several different teams on the go. So weekends are a mixed bag usually. So across the summer of course, we had the World Cup. Which meant that there were a couple of meetings with couples that were rescheduled to fit with England matches. And actually it was lovely when one of the couples contacted me, quite sheepishly, to see if I would mind at all, and I was so relieved. I was so relieved because I’d wanted to see the match as well. And so it all worked out beautifully. It wasn’t a success in the match, but yes, it is just about common ground really. 

James: [00:09:51] Right, lovely. And for the close then what would you say makes a perfect fit bride or groom for you? 

Tanya: [00:09:57] For me that’s interesting because I’ve done lots of different… and in a way it’s not so much about that, it’s about me fitting them. Because obviously as a celebrant it’s not really about us, it’s about them. So whatever they want, we will deliver. But I suppose for me the people that tend to come to me, and be attracted to me, are people who are fairly traditional and so go for something that’s a fairly traditional looking ceremony, you know the white dress, the isle, the bridesmaids and confetti, and that looks fairly traditional, but has that personal twist to it and those personal details and other content of whatever type, that they really want. So mine, although I have done ceremonies, you know, on the beach, Stonehenge and outside. Mine, quite often, more often than not actually, are in country houses or big hotels. A more traditional looking ceremony. 

James: [00:11:08]

There’s always that little “yay” moment isn’t there, as a supplier when an enquiry comes in and it’s just your thing. Perfect for you. 

Tanya: [00:11:15] It is but I think as a celebrant we are always just so thrilled to learn something new. It’s lovely to, as you say, find something that’s completely your comfort zone. I love it because then I’m completely confident that I can give the couple exactly, exactly what they want and they don’t have to worry in any way, you know. And it’s wonderful. But it’s also quite nice sometimes to have that learning. You know somebody might want something… I did one where there was a Buddhist element to it, so I had to go off and learn a little bit about that. That’s there then. I’m never going to lose that. I’ve got that now, and so it makes me, I suppose, more open and available to other couples. So that element of learning is always good too. 

James: [00:12:07] Yeah, a process of growth. 

Tanya: [00:12:08] Absolutely. 

James: [00:12:10] Well Tanya, thanks very much. That’s all we’ve got time for today. But that was very, very helpful, thanks for sharing. 

Tanya: [00:12:16] You’re very welcome. 

James: [00:12:17] Of course, it was lovely to speak to you again, and hopefully we’ll speak to you again soon. 

Tanya: [00:12:19] Thanks very much James, bye. 

James: [00:12:20] Thanks a lot, take care, bye for now. 

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