Why choose a wedding celebrant… And not your Uncle Bob!

There are so many choices to make when planning a wedding ceremony. Where to have it? What color scheme to decorate with? Who to invite? But maybe for some things, it seems obvious, like who should conduct your ceremony. Won’t the ceremony be better/more meaningful/cheaper if we ask our favorite uncle/friend/cousin to conduct it? That is possible. However, it is also possible that the process will be more stressful and the final product not nearly what you hoped. That is why we suggest you choose a wedding celebrant for your wedding ceremony.

Still a bit skeptical? That’s ok. Read below to see our 4 reasons why to hire a wedding celebrant. Choose one to get the ceremony you want without the stress you don’t need.

You wouldn’t ask your cousin to bake your wedding cake…

Hire a professional wedding celebrant to conduct your wedding ceremony.
Hire a professional, like Atelier Decorelle – Photo by BárbarAraújo-Photography.

I have a confession, my brother-in-law is a chef and I asked him to cater our third and most intimate wedding ceremony (if you’re wondering who marries the same person three times, check it out for yourself). I thought it was a brilliant idea. We would save money, he would be doing what he loved, and we would eat good food!

The night before our ceremony my husband and I went out with all my siblings and cousins, it was a great time. My brother-in-law stayed back, he needed to prep. The next morning as we enjoyed a lazy brunch, he was in the kitchen cooking. For our ceremony, he was icing the most delicious coconut cake ever. When we arrived to the reception part of the day, I saw my brother-in-law and he was preoccupied with the food presentation. Only after we cut the cake did I see my brother-in-law sit down for the first time in 24 hours.

Don’t get me wrong, cooking is what my brother-in-law loves to do. That is why it is his career. However, looking back I can now see how selfish it was of me. At that point in my life, I didn’t work in the wedding industry and I had no clue what went into catering for a 30-person wedding. I now can see how unfair it was for me to ask my brother-in-law to do his day job on my wedding day. Especially, when I was surprised that he couldn’t actually enjoy that day.

I tell you this story as an example of what happens when you ask a friend or family member to conduct your wedding ceremony. Actually, that isn’t accurate because my brother-in-law is a professional. If you are asking your favorite cousin/friend/uncle to conduct your wedding ceremony, do not underestimate the time required and the stress it will create for them. Especially if they have never done this before.

Maybe this person is a great public speaker and knows you and your partner incredibly well. However, it is wrong to assume that they will just be able to throw something together. If they are respectful of the responsibility that you be bestowed upon them, then they will most certainly be stressed with doing a good job. Don’t expect them to be up for all the pre-wedding activities and leave your hopes for them relaxing until long after your ceremony has finished.

Just like you wouldn’t ask your cousin (or brother-in-law) to make your wedding cake, don’t ask a friend or family to conduct your wedding ceremony. Just like you, they deserve the opportunity to relax, enjoy the ceremony, and celebrate you, without any added stress.

Wedding celebrants come free of family baggage

Choose a wedding celebrant for your wedding ceremony so your day can be light and fun, without the family drama
Leave the family baggage at the door – Photo by The Storytellers

This is one of the best things about working with a wedding celebrant! They are completely clueless about the inter-workings of your family. They don’t know that you are still mad at your younger cousin for beating you out at basketball tryouts in high school. Nor do they know that your father hasn’t spoken to his brother in over a decade. And they could care less that your college roommates are still fuming over something so ridiculous, you forgot what it was.

Of course, when you choose a wedding celebrant you should probably tell them at least some of these things, as it does sound like a minefield. However, even if they do know, they won’t have any inclination to “stick it” to your former best friend/uncle/step-brother/overbearing mother.

The joy of choosing a wedding celebrant is that they will reflect back to you only what you show them. If you have decided that your wedding day is not the place to rehash decades-old, family feuds, then they will respect that. If you decide that you don’t want to have a prayer, even though your grandparents are deeply religious, your wedding celebrant will respect your decision. And if you decide that you don’t want to mention your deceased father who disowned you for coming out, then your celebrant will respect that.*

*Note: all of these are actual situations that I have encountered and worked diligently to treat in the manner decided by the couple.

Your wedding celebrant will only become as involved in your family politics as you wish them to be. And if your celebrant is a good one, they will offer suggestions on how to navigate the conflicting emotions of your family. They can do that because they are professionals and because they come from their own crazy family.

Wedding celebrants are professionals, which means we can take your criticism

Choose a wedding celebrant for your wedding day and choose a stress free experience
Let your family & friend relax on your day – Photo by ctrl + N producoes

I know that I wrote the previous reason was the best one for choosing a wedding celebrant, but in fact, I think this is the best reason. I believe in fact that this is the number one reason why couples choose a wedding celebrant to conduct their wedding ceremony.

Working with family and friends is stressful, includes a lot of baggage, and is rarely a fun experience. More than once we have been contacted by couples in the months and weeks(!) before their wedding ceremony with a similar story. They asked a friend or family member to write and deliver their ceremony, but it is nothing like they envisioned. Once we talk with the couple we discover that one of two things has happened, either they are uncomfortable about giving honest feedback or the writer is not receptive to their feedback. Either way, they come to us, the professionals, for help.

At Your European Wedding Celebrant, and with any good wedding celebrant, control over your wedding ceremony is paramount. As is the ability to say what you don’t like, what you want removed, and what you want changed without worrying about feelings. You are paying your wedding celebrant, which means they will bring a level a professionalism that you won’t be able to achieve with your own family or friends.

Don’t underestimate the importance of giving feedback on your wedding ceremony, nor the fact that getting a ceremony perfect on the first attempt is difficult. If the friend or family you have asked knows one of you better, then it’s possible the ceremony will be tipped to one side. It is difficult to find someone completely impartial. Additionally, it is important to know that while you can ask a professional to adapt to the light-hearted/romantic/carefree/serious tone that you seek, it can be more difficult to ask family or friends to change their personalities.

Unfortunately, I sometimes meet couples who feel that they have no choice in the matter. Like the bride, who’s father was a pastor, or the aunt of the groom who had conducted the wedding of his cousin. They feel like they must choose these people to conduct their wedding ceremony. If that is your situation, look to our next reason to understand why choosing a wedding celebrant doesn’t mean cutting your family or friends out of your ceremony.

It doesn’t have to be one or the other

Working with a wedding celebrant means you have a professional guiding you, along with the fun of including family and friends
Involving family & friends always makes for a great ceremony – Photo by Italy Wedding Photographer

Some people think that when they choose a wedding celebrant it means that you are excluding all of your family or friends from your wedding ceremony. However, if you are working with a good celebrant (and we happen to know a few 😉 including your family and friend will be something that you celebrant will be happy to do.

We aren’t just talking about having someone close to you do a reading. At Your European Wedding Celebrant we spend hours talking to our couples because we love learning their story. During that time together we sometimes discover that an outsiders point of view might just be the cherry on the sundae.

The inclusion of your family and friend in your wedding ceremony can take many forms. Were your best friends present when you first met? Was one of them the one that introduced you? Was it a sister or a cousin who encouraged you to take the leap of faith? Whichever the case, we ask our couples to put us in direct contact with the key players in their story. This helps to give us more insights and further perspective. For a taste of what they could look like, read this excerpt from Nina and Gary’s wedding last year:

Gary you told me that you can’t imagine your life without Nina, and in fact, you don’t want to imagine it without her. Your sister Hayley echoed those same sentiments, when she told me that “Nina has not only made Gary the happiest [she has] ever seen him but has also made him a nicer, more lovable person to be around.” In her words, you are perfect for each other.

That quote made for a good laugh during the ceremony, especially because Gary and his sister Hayley, fought like cats and dogs when they were younger.

Other examples of involving your family and friends can look like the excerpt from Carlos and Holly’s wedding. For both the bride and groom, their parents were example marriages that they wished to emulate. That is why I suggested that I ask each set of parents for their marriage advice. Advice they would give directly to me and I would include on the day as a surprise. We did this instead of having their parents read it themselves because both sets were worried that they would be too emotional. Instead, I read their words, which were beautiful and deeply moving to the couple.

Holly and Carlos, I bring you not just my own words of advice, but the wise words from four of the most important people in your lives, your parents. Rita and Geoff advise… “Live life with no regrets, a lot of laughter, even more love and passion and remember you are never too old to hold hands.” Glória and Mário advise… “Never keep secrets from each other, speak openly with one another, confide in one another, and care for each other during the good and not so good days.”

The result was an incredibly emotional moment for everyone in attendance, especially the bride, groom, and their parents.

Final words

In the end, it is your wedding ceremony. We are only here to encourage you to go after the ceremony you deserve and of which you dream. We also want the journey of getting there to be a fun and stress-free experience. That is why we suggest you choose a wedding celebrant for your ceremony. If you agree and are looking for a celebrant, let us know.