Working with your wedding celebrant can be such a special time, as you craft your ceremony and share your unique love story. One of our Melbourne vendors, Celebrant Kate, was kind enough to chat with us about her decision to become a celebrant and explain the process of planning your ceremony.

Post ceremony pic - Anna and Steve

Why made you want to become a celebrant?

I became a celebrant after becoming aware that there were only four things you legally have to have in your ceremony. I reflected on the ceremonies I had been to and wondered why couples were having ‘generic’ ceremonies. I had done a few speeches at friends weddings that got a great response and it all got me thinking… I really wanted to help couples create something that was a celebration of them, that’s meaningful to them, engaging for their guests and an all-round amazing experience!

How many ceremonies do you conduct in a day?

Right from the start, I committed to only ever doing one ceremony per day, I call it an exclusive ceremony date, that day is yours! There are so many reasons why I think this is super important and can make a big difference on your wedding day and in the lead up…

  • I’m never rushing into your ceremony flustered and stressed. I’m there an hour before starting time, I set up, liaise with other suppliers, greet your guests, have a chat with the couple. Basically, I make sure everything is all set to run smoothly and that everyone’s feeling as calm and confident as they can before saying ‘I do’.
  • I’m never rushing off after your ceremony – if you have to start late for any reason, there’s no pressure from me. I’ll just be there hanging out with your guests until you’re ready to get started.
  • When you confirm your booking with me, if you haven’t decided on your ceremony start time, that’s OK! You can decide whenever, change it if you need to… that day is yours!

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What do you find fascinating about the couples you meet?

Their connection, their story, I have this awe and wonder about the small things in life. I often see things in their connection that they may not have even thought was a ‘thing’ and I see it, say it and we celebrate it… I think it’s why when I send a first draft of the ceremony to couples they are blown away. I get just as much of a kick out of emailing off a ceremony draft as I do on the day, because I know I’ve done something that’s going to make someone else’s day.

You like ‘to help people find their story’. How do you do that?

I ask a lot of questions! I don’t have a standard list of questions, we just start chatting and I sense where I need to take the conversation to learn as much as I can without making anyone feel uncomfortable. It feels more like you’re hanging out with a friend having a chat.

Some people have an epic story that’s right there for the telling right from the minute we meet. For others, ‘their story’ isn’t so obvious. There’s nothing huge and monumental, but once we start talking about the day-to-day things they do together we start to uncover the awesomeness of them!

I write a whole lot of notes while we’re chatting, even the things that may not seem ‘noteworthy’. When I sit down to write your ceremony I can pretty much remember everything we spoke about, that doesn’t mean it all goes into your ceremony, what it means is that I am completely on your vibe when I’m writing your ceremony – it’s hard to explain but once you read your ceremony draft I think it all makes sense.

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What are the steps when planning the ceremony with the couple?

The planning process isn’t set in stone, it depends on each couple’s situation as to how we do it. But in general, it goes a little something like this…

  • We email or chat on the phone – check availability and I send you some initial details about what’s involved, fees, legal information and how everything works
  • We meet for a coffee or drink (depends on the time of day J) and you get to know me, I get to know you and we see if we click.
  • When you confirm your booking I send you a ‘getting started’ email with a whole lot of ceremony examples, inspiration and questions – you don’t have to answer them, they’re just there if you want to.
  • We then meet for our first planning and creating meeting. This feels more like sitting around having a chat with a friend BUT by the end of the conversation I walk away with enough to write you a ceremony draft.
  • I send you your draft, this is a moment I love! It’s almost as exciting as the day itself. I get emails back saying things like ‘Wow, you totally get us!’, ‘I’m crying at my desk reading this!’, ‘This is everything we wanted and we didn’t even know what we wanted!’
  • After this, we might go back and forth on email, we might meet up again, we might Skype – we do whatever works and whatever is needed to create an amazing ceremony and for that process to be enjoyable and zero hassles or pressure.
  • In the fortnight before your ceremony, I recommend doing some sort of ‘rehearsal’. It’s really just a final walk/talk-through of how everything will flow on the day. We don’t go through it word-for-word, we save that special feeling of hearing your ceremony, in the space with your partner, family and friends for the actual day. The rehearsal is about being familiar with what’s going to happen, not because you have to remember it all – I’ll do that – but so that you don’t have that feeling of not knowing what’s going to happen next and worrying about what you need to do. It enables you to feel more confident and comfortable and that way you can just take in every moment as it happens and enjoy every moment.
  • And then it’s the day of your ceremony! On the day I do everything and anything that needs to be done to make sure everything runs smoothly. Things like making sure the chairs are in the right place, sound checking my PA system, liaising with musicians and venue managers on cueing and timing, checking in with your photographer and videographer so we’re all on the same page, chatting with Gran and making sure she’s got that seat right at the front etc. I also make sure I chat with both partners before the ceremony, briefly talk through what’s about to happen next, calm those nerves and answer any of those last minute questions.
  • And then it’s that moment – my favourite moment – we begin your ceremony, you laugh, you cry, you feel the feels, you cheer, you smile more than you ever have in your life and we all have a once-in-a-lifetime celebration!

Ceremony - Kate mid sentence

What unique qualities do you bring to your profession?

Creative and collaborative, adaptable and flexible, calm and relaxed, professional and organised.

The ability to tune into people and situations and adapt to what’s needed in that moment. Everybody’s different, every wedding, every couple every group of guests and every situation.

What’s your favourite thing about being a celebrant?

I love everything about being a celebrant! I am on an absolute high after a wedding ceremony. I love seeing the pure joy and happiness on couples faces as they experience each moment of their ceremony. I also love seeing the range of emotions family and friends experience during a ceremony. I really see it as an honour and a privilege to be part of such an important celebration and to help make memorable moments happen.

I love what I do and I do it because I genuinely want you to have the most amazing ceremony ever!

Amy and Luke (1)

For more information, and to contact Celebrant Kate, visit http://www.celebrantkate.com.au/