If your clients are members of a religious faith, they will likely want to choose a minister or Priest from their place of worship. However they may opt to choose a celebrant from no particular religion to marry them.
Usually the state laws licensing provide any recognized member of the clergy (such as a Priest, Minister, Rabbi, Imam, Cantor, Ethical Culture Leader, etc.), or a judge, a court clerk, and justices of the peace have authority to perform a marriage. However in some states even the clergy must be first certified or licensed.
Some states have laws that permit other persons to apply for authority to perform marriage ceremonies. For example, California law permits anyone to apply for permission to become a Deputy Commissioner of Marriages — the grant of authority is valid for one day — and thus officiate at the wedding of family or friends on that one day. For further information contact your regional court or visit US marriage laws to get a summary of what is involved to perform marriages in each state.
Celebrants are professionally trained to perform ceremonies. Because they are dedicated to these celebrations, they are able to create a personalized ceremony for the people involved. Celebrants encourage couples to be creative and conduct their wedding in a fashion that best represents them. They meet with the couple before the wedding to get to know them both as individuals and as a couple, and will also interview friends and family members to gain more insight and gather personal stories to share with guests.
While celebrants help couples shape the ceremony, they do not coordinate details of a wedding, and they are therefore a complement to (not a replacement for) a wedding planner.
It’s important for the bride and groom to select a celebrant they feel comfortable with and like, who will work with them and allow them to have a ceremony that is right for them. The best way to find this out is to set up a meeting between your clients, the officiant and yourself to discuss the Celebrant’s services. At this meeting, you will discuss the ceremony, vows, exchanges, readings, prayers, music etc., and get agreement for anything special desired by your clients. It is best to do this before the celebrant is officially hired.
Some questions you may want to ask the Celebrant prior to hiring them:
Celebrants typically charge anywhere from $200 to $650 to perform a marriage ceremony. The fees may be higher if the officiant is requested to travel to your clients’ preferred location to perform the marriage (instead of having the ceremony performed at the officiant’s location i.e., a church).
It’s a good idea to book the celebrant as soon as possible, and put a contract in place covering all items agreed upon. After you’ve reviewed the contract, have your couple sign in it, and pay any deposit required to ensure that the celebrant is reserved for your client’s wedding.
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