3 Things to Consider When Choosing a Marriage Celebrant
Phil Costello
/ Categories: Weddings

3 Things to Consider When Choosing a Marriage Celebrant

By Rachel Rennie

Congratulations! You’re engaged! You are in the midst of planning your beautiful wedding when it dawns on you… who is actually going to run the ceremony? You want someone who can embrace the unique aspects of your wedding day and help you to create a memorable ceremony. Ultimately, it should feel like a celebration of your partnership and journey together.

1. Is your wedding celebrant the right fit for you and your partner?

The role of the wedding planner is changing. Gone are the days of cookie-cutter weddings, a specific type of dress, and a list of people you must invite. Your wedding day is about you and whoever holds your ceremony will recognise that and celebrate your unique style! Whether it be a civil union, a marriage, or a renewal of vows in one of the stunning wedding venues in Wellington – they’ll be able to take it all in their stride. You should feel comfortable asking any questions and feel like they are genuinely interested in your day (however it may look).

Try asking around friends and families, or think of weddings you’ve attended that you enjoyed. A personal endorsement or experience is always the best way to find someone; however you can also ask your wedding venue, or wedding planner for recommendations.

2. Are they available?

You’ve chosen someone you like and trust – now, are they available? This may sound like a silly question to ask; but the majority of weddings are held on Fridays or Saturdays. Wedding venues in Wellington are booked out months and sometimes years in advance, so it makes sense that a professional and sought-after marriage celebrant books out in advance as well.

As well as being available on your date of choice, you and your partner should always be able to meet with them beforehand. Meet at the wedding venue if possible, and run through a rehearsal so everyone knows how the ceremony will flow.

An initial consultation is also a great idea; this allows you to talk through any ideas, dates, or concerns you may have.

3. Are they experienced?

The boring but necessary part of your union is ensuring all the legal obligations are met to make your marriage day legitimate. You’ll need to apply for a marriage license from the Department of Internal Affairs. Your marriage celebrant will send the paperwork off once your marriage is signed on the dotted line! Afterwards, you can apply for a copy of the marriage certificate if you like.

Someone with good experience will use your initial meetings to run through all of the legal jargon as well, making sure you are aware of what you need to do.

Experience isn’t just about the legalities though. We are lucky to live in a time where all relationships, regardless of cultural, sexual preference or religion, are accepted and celebrated. Wellington itself is known in New Zealand as a city that thrives on embracing a rich tapestry of cultural and lifestyle backgrounds. Whoever takes your wedding ceremony should not only be open to signing the legal documents and running a ceremony you like, but also be genuine about celebrating the commitment of your partnership.

When planning your wedding, take some time to find a celebrant who not only truly believes in marriage, but one who believes in your marriage. Marriage is after all a celebration of a commitment, a partnership and a life together; wherever that may take you.

Photo by Patina Photography Ltd


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"Phil brought the perfect mix of humour, sincerity and celebration to our wedding. We couldn’t have hoped for a more fun, loving and entertaining wedding and a big reason for that is Phil Costello."

Justine and Benj  |  Dowse Art Museum

“Phil was our celebrant this weekend and we can't speak highly enough about him. Patient, stylish, articulate and creative - he made our ceremony magical and all about us. We considered a number of celebrants but so pleased we chose Phil.”

Kylie and David  |  Wellington

“Phil was the celebrant for our wedding last December, and he was absolutely amazing. He knows exactly how to control and please the crowd. We met up a few times and he made us a lovely, personal ceremony. Cannot recommend him enough.”

Rutger and Ann   |  Boomrock Lodge, Ohariu Valley

“Phil is an absolutely fantastic celebrant!! He created the perfect atmosphere that was just right for us and helped us to craft a wedding ceremony unique to our personalities. Phil really helped make our day so amazing and we couldn’t recommend him highly enough:) Thanks so much Phil!!!”

Anita and Warrick   |  The PInes, Houghton Bay

“Phil is awesome and I highly recommend him! He's one of the few people in the world who was born to entertain a crowd and run an event smoothly without any awkwardness.”

Lance and Nickiee   |  The Lodge, Pauatahanui

“Phil was our marriage celebrant and we would highly recommend him! Phil is incredibly professional and his delivery is impeccable. We valued his experience and expertise in helping us to create a ceremony which was just right for us.”

Christina and Callum   |  Coney Wines, Martinborough

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