What Should I Ask A Wedding Celebrant – a Wedding Espresso Q&A session with Sue Denton from Celebrate with Sue. Watch, listen and read now!
Listen to Susan on the Wedding Espresso Awesome DIY Wedding Planning Podcast…
Susan Denton from Celebrate With Sue
James: [00:00:04] Hello Susan. Thanks for joining me. A question that Brides and Grooms have been asking a lot recently is, what should I ask a wedding celebrant?
Susan: [00:00:17] Right, well basically what I’d say is you’re going to be asking them some questions. What you really want to be asking them is what sort of person are you? What is the celebrant like? What’s their personality like? So probably, the initial question I normally get asked by email or by phone, if that’s the basic communication or best way that we chit chat with each other, is they’ll say “are you available on this particular date”. And while they’re talking to me, they’re probably then trying to get to know me and my personality, and really find out whether or not I’m the sort of person who they can get on with. And then as we carry on chatting, and I’m asking them about their wedding, and saying things like “have you decided what sort of theme it is going to be”? Is it going to be on a farm? Is it going to be a wed fest? Is it in a historical country home? Etc.
Susan: [00:01:20] But I’m starting to try and get an idea of what sort of wedding they’re going to have, and also whether we’re really going to suit each other. So personality wise they might be trying to find out… When I’ve been interviewed before by couples who have asked me questions, it’s really been to see whether or not we actually have anything in common. So you know, are we interested in history? Are we interested in various types of ceremony? So is it hand fasting they’re interested in? Because I’m passionate about doing hand fasting, and that sort of then gives us that link. It means that we’re probably going to get on well together.
Susan: [00:01:58] Then we’d probably take that forward because it’s not a done deal. I don’t take anything as a done deal until we meet.
If possible, face to face. If we can’t meet face to face in a cafe or at their house or wherever we meet, then I will then do it via Skype. And we’d talk and then we’d see if we get on, and then we make the decision between the three of us. Then they would choose me I would go along with them and be their choice as their celebrant. And that’s a very sort of truncated version of how we’d start that.
Susan: [00:02:37] The other question they’d probably ask me is, if they haven’t already found out, is your wedding ceremony legal? And then I’d say that basically I don’t do the legal aspect. You’d go and have what I call a quick ceremony with a couple of witnesses, get the legals, as I call them, done and out of the away, and from then on, the benefit to you, is that you’ve got the ceremony that you want. I’m absolutely here for you as a couple, and it’s your choice as to what sort of ceremony you want. Whether it’s outside, or if it’s inside. Whether you want your dog there, or your cat there, or your horse there, whatever it is. Family, friends, whoever you want to be involved in that ceremony, that can all take place because my ceremony is not legal. So that means we’ve got the full spread of choice of what we can do. And you know up to a 99% point where we can do it, whether it’s a farm, whether it’s up a mountain, whether it’s on the beach. Obviously I will go with their choice. Normally couples come to me and they’ve normally got it sorted, the venue or the location sorted. It might be that I can give them some more ideas.
James: [00:03:59] We had a celebrant for our ceremony. We were initially attracted to her because we’d read in her blurb that she’d covered someone else’s ceremony, and used a particular piece of music. And you know what, because she’s mentioned that, we probably have something in common.
So like you said, we then met up with her and found that we did have a lot in common, and we got on really well. So would you say that if there is the initial spark of connection there, would you say that normally 99% of the time that connection would then blossom into a “yes this is going to work” scenario?
Susan: [00:04:33] Yeah, it’s always 100% when people come to me through my website. They’ve already looked at my website and read a little bit about me. When they come to me, 100% of the time I end up doing the ceremony. But having said that, I’ve also done, you know, have couples come to me via other directions, and then we’ve met up or spoke on Skype, and as you say, I’ve had a similar scenario with a couple that I marry next week with a similar scenario to that. Where they’ve picked a piece of music that I’m very fond of, that my son actually had for his wedding, and it’s that sort of thing that gives you that similar interest. Could be that extra tick in the box that they think, “oh I’m going to go with this particular person”, you see.
Susan: [00:05:27] So yes I definitely agree with you. And then a lot of the questions that they might ask might be similar, and a lot of the answers that celebrants give in general, including myself, might be similar, but it’s really getting down to the personalisation of the ceremony for that couple. What they really want to get out of it. And then start to work our way through what elements they want to that ceremony. Whether they want a short fun modern ceremony, or whether they want a long hand fasting complete pagan type ceremony. I do cover quite a wide base of couples who’ve chosen different things like that. But at the same time we’ve found some links between us that works for us, as in our threesome so to speak, and that works. You know so that’s really good, that’s really positive.
James: [00:06:22] That’s great. That’s brilliant. Now if you were planning to get married next year what would make your short list of what you’d want to book first.
Susan: [00:06:34] Right, right then. What I’d probably choose is… What I did was… Actually I have just had my civil ceremony and I am having my celebrant led ceremony next year, and the first person I chose James was the celebrant.
James: [00:06:50] Fantastic, right!
Susan: [00:06:50] And asked if she was available for that date. I had a few dates and I said “are you available”? So I’ve actually done that and picked the celebrant followed by other wedding suppliers after that.
James: [00:07:05] Right. Was there something in particular that drew you to that particular celebrant?
Susan: [00:07:09] Yes because I knew her and I know her personality. And I thought, well I’m going to choose that particular person because I know she’s going to work for us as a couple, and for our family, and for our venue. So yes that’s the same sort of thing that I would suggest that other people would do as well.
James: [00:07:27] Look for those congruent personalities.
Susan: [00:07:31] Yes definitely.
James: [00:07:34] Brilliant and just one last question for you then. Which other wedding supplier industries do you work closely with, and how do you find it.
Susan: [00:07:44] Well I work with a complete range because I work… Without naming any particular ones, I work with all sorts of different groups who support the couple. Whether it’s Bride and Groom or Bride and Bride or Groom and Groom. Whatever the couple are looking for, I have got contacts. So I’ve got contacts with people for example, who I’ve got bridal dresses from. I’ve got contacts with people that I’ve actually used myself such as a photographer that I would recommend. Wedding cakes and all sorts of other people that I’ve worked with, that I might not have used, but I would still recommend, because I’ve seen their work. Wedding planners and so on. So I’ve got a really wide range of people that I would recommend, not just one of each but more so. Yes definitely.
James: [00:08:31] As well as wedding celebrant services, if someone comes to you, you can actually help them out if they’re struggling for anything in particular.
Susan: [00:08:40] Yes I can definitely do that.
James: [00:08:42] Well Susan thank you so much for sharing that with us today. And obviously we hope to speak to you again soon.
Susan: [00:08:52] That would be lovely James, thank you very much.
James: [00:08:54] Thanks very much. Take care.