Very few settings in life are teeming with as much emotion as your wedding ceremony, which harkens the beginning of your marriage. Flashes of excitement, joy, jubilation, love and passion, and that's even before the groom sees his bride walking down the aisle. Amongst the buzz, nerves and excitement, it is critical to have an accomplished, organised and confident wedding celebrant who can 'hold the space', create the right ambience for your guests and gracefully adjust to situations on the spot. When choosing from celebrants, it isn't just about choosing someone to facilitate the magical moment you say 'I do'. Instead, it is about selecting the right individual who can help you plan your ideal ceremony, effectively capturing and communicating the unique magic of your union.
As the first official component of your wedding day, your ceremony sets the tone for the rest of your celebrations. Your celebrant, as a master of ceremonies of sorts, will be responsible for curating the atmosphere and desired 'vibe' you want your guests to experience from the moment they arrive at your special day.
Ranging from party starters to traditional officiants, and everything in-between taking the time to define what role you want your celebrant to play will ensure that at your venue on the day, you have the right personality and presence guiding your nuptials. To assist in wading through the waters of decision and to get you excited about planning this vital aspect of your wedding, we've compiled a list of Brisbane's,the surrounding region and the coasts best marriage celebrants alongside a guide brimming with helpful decision-making tips.
The role of a celebrant...and why they shouldn't be an afterthought when planning!
Organising the legalities:
Long before your celebrant pronounces you as officially married, as a wedding professional they should have worked closely with you to guide you in drafting a ceremony that best reflects your relationship. Along with finding out the juicy details like where you first met, the proposal details and what you love most about each other, your celebrant will also be responsible for processing and preparing all the documentation to make your partnership legally recognised. Therefore, it is essential, even if going for a relaxed, laid-back feel for your ceremony, that your celebrant is highly professional, easy to contact, organised and detail-orientated.
Incorporating personal touches:
Depending on what you intend to include in your ceremony, your celebrant may also need to be flexible in accommodating requests like notable religious inclusions, pet appearances, or other personalisations like handfasting, garden ceremony or sand ceremonies. Often when beginning the search for celebrants, and while there is no, one 'perfect' celebrant, you can aim to find one that is 'perfect for you'. A great place to start is defining what you don't want your ceremony to look like!
Complimenting your wedding vision:
Everyone has been to a wedding where they felt the celebrant waffled on unnecessarily or for too long, or the ceremony felt a little too informal and casual and the couple weren't completley happy with their experience. When considering how you want your ceremony to feel and flow, look back at weddings you've both attended and highlight aspects that you loved and didn't love. It is essential as a couple to 'nail the brief' and get on the same page before contacting potential candidates - an integral component to finding the right celebrant is knowing the framework you want them to work within.
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Making the show about you, not them!
Decide what element you want your celebrant to bring - are you shy and nervous, so you would appreciate someone taking a little more of the limelight by being more engaging and entertaining, or would you prefer more of a facilitator? What style do you want your ceremony to be - traditional, creative, relaxed, upbeat, emotional or spiritual? The more clearly defined your vision is, the easier it will be to decide who will be best to bring it to life. Experience, and the number of weddings they have officiated, will also be a deciding factor.
Questions to ask your celebrant at your first meeting
Once you are both on the same page about what you want for your ceremony, follow the same approach you would with any other wedding vendor - Research. Recommendations. Reviews. Reach Out.
Be sure to spend time doing your research. Start by getting recommendations from your wedding venue, friends, family and other vendors. Next, ask your photographer/videographer who they believe hosts incredible ceremonies and weddings and is brilliant to work alongside for getting the perfect pictures. Finally, read as many verified reviews as possible alongside watching videos and reading any blogs written by celebrants in Brisbane and the surrounding regions. In addition, note dress style and appearance and if they've centred the couple in front of their arbour.
Next, reach out and confirm availability for your wedding day and book an initial consultation to ask essential questions before signing a contract. Then, to ensure all your bases are covered, and so you can move forward with planning your ceremony in confidence;
Be sure to ask these 20 questions:
- Are you available on my wedding date and where are you based in Australia- Brisbane, Gold Coast, Toowoomba or the Sunshine Coast?
- Are you officially registered and qualified?
- How many weddings have you officiated so far, and have you ever officiated weddings at my venue?
- What type of role will you be playing on the day? Are you, for example, happy help me choose a song to walk down the aisle to?
- What is your process when it comes to writing the ceremony? Are you happy for it to be collaborative, or do you work from a standard template?
- How will you personalise the ceremony to reflect us as a couple?
- Will you send us a questionnaire or template to fill out?
- Will I get to proof my ceremony wording before the wedding day, and if so when?
Insider Tip: It is especially important to proof your ceremony wording before your wedding day to avoid any 'surprises'. It will allow you to add or edit any details you do not feel comfortable with, along with ensuring you haven't been confused with another couple and all of your names, stories and anecdotes are correct. Also, request to receive everything a month in advance. This will allow you to put the finishing touches on the details before the excitement and flurry of the last couple of weeks before your wedding.
- Are you happy to assist us with writing our vows? What does this process look like?
- What kind of paperwork do you require from us, and will you process all of our legal documentation after our wedding?
- Do you take more than one ceremony booking per day, and how would this affect us if your schedule was running behind and we host our wedding outside of Brisbane?
Insider Tip: Some celebrants may perform multiple ceremonies per day and can have late fees listed in their contract to deter couples from running late.
- How do you navigate disruptions? A noisy guest, people using their phones, a rogue pet etc.
- Do you have a backup if you are unwell or cannot make it on the day? What plans do you have in place for this and how could we contact them?
How long do your ceremonies usually take, and will you require a rehearsal before the day?
Insider Tip: If you have a specific religious ritual or personalised element that you wish to include, you may wish to practice it beforehand.
- How many pre-wedding sessions do we need with you? Will we be charged more if we need more time to personalise our ceremony?
- What is your payment structure? For example, do you take a deposit and how much is it? Do you have this clearly listed on your website?
- What kind of outfit do you wear on the day, and are you happy to be flexible in coordinating with our theme or attire?
Insider Tip: When looking at their social media feeds or website, take note of their professionalism in presentation and whether they complement or compete with the wedding party's attire. Take note of where they position their couples for photos - do they stand in the middle or slightly off to one side?
- What time will you arrive before the ceremony?
- What is your postponement or cancellation policy if my wedding is affected by COVID-19?
Brisbane and the surrounding regions best wedding celebrants
The next exciting step in your planning process is to begin reaching out to prospective vendors. To assist you in your journey, we have compiled a list of 10 of Brisbane and the surrounding regions and coasts top celebrants ranging from fun-loving and engaging to more traditional and conservative.
From the moment you make contact with Jake, you will know you are in good hands. Warm, accomplished, engaging and relatable Jake weaves the magic of your story into the fabric of your ceremony. With a genuine love of all the aspects involved in walking a couple through their wedding ceremony process, from initial enquiry to sealing up the final envelope of paperwork, Jake hopes that every wedding he is involved with produces not just an incredible day but also a strong marriage. Just as invested as he is interested in creating a once-in-a-lifetime ceremony experience for his couples, Jake is passionate about bringing together all the ingredients that make for a beautiful ceremony, from creative storytelling to immaculate presentation.
'Jake was both our Celebrant and MC for our Wedding Day, and we wouldn't have had it any other way! Honestly, without him, the wedding wouldn't have been the same, and we genuinely mean that. He ensured that all the emotions were felt and had such great detail in his stories - because he listens! The fun never ended, and we had that many guests tell us both on the day of and after how outstanding he was and that it was the best decision we made! And no one ever enjoys ceremonies, let's be honest they can get a bit boring - BUT EVERYONE LOVED IT! The second you contact him and meet him, it's like you've known him for years. He mends to your needs and reads the room so well. He was warm, smiling, friendly. He gave us the confidence we needed, giving us tips, advice, and compliments throughout the day and checking up on us constantly, which was extremely comforting. It's just impossible not to love him! We cannot recommend him enough! We had so much fun with you Jake!'
What is not to love about 'Wed by Ali'? This dynamic young celebrant combines professionalism and excellence with natural warmth and connectivity. Promising couples a 'top shelf, cut above the rest ceremony' with exceptional attention to detail and genuineness. She has a passion for taking a couple's love journey and turning it into a marriage ceremony that guests will be talking about for years to come. Offering unlimited contact, a crafted ceremony, organising all the legalities both pre and post-ceremony, personalised and printed vow cards and outfit coordination as part of her experience, Ali provides a comprehensive and all-inclusive service for couples in Brisbane and the surrounding regions.
'Ali is an amazing celebrant! She made our whole planning process so easy from start to finish. Every small question I had was answered very quickly. Ali is very bubbly and outgoing but also very professional. Ali made our ceremony very personal and included our guests, which I loved. She also made my husband and I very relaxed during our ceremony as we knew she had everything under control. I had complete trust in Ali, which is hard for me as I micro-manage everything lol. Thank you so much for making our day perfect!
With a firm belief that your ceremony 'shouldn't be a drainer, but the party starter and your favourite part of your wedding day,' the team at Celebrant Lady Love offer an Australia wide service and promise you'll be cheered and clapped as you take your first steps down the aisle as a couple. The team has performed hundreds of wedding ceremonies Australia wide so you’re in great hands. At the helm of the lady-love squad is Annie, who can also moonlight as the DJ and MC on your wedding day as well. With every ceremony written from scratch and honing in on what makes your one-of-a-kind love so special, the team of experienced marriage makers create the perfect balance between depth and lightheartedness and sincerity and humour. To view some perspectives from couples the team has previously performed ceremonies for, check out their website with its informative and heartfelt blog posts.
'Beautiful Annie from lady love was so incredibly amazing throughout our whole wedding and planning process. Since our first contact and meet and greet, to our zoom catch-ups, to the big day itself, she made every step of the journey fun and stress-free, while gently guiding us on what happens next. She allowed us to be ourselves, not putting any pressure to stick to traditions that didn't hold any meaning to us. We adore the way she adds a personal touch to the structure of each ceremony, with a perfect balance of humour, inclusivity of the crowd and beautiful, heartwarming stories. We were lucky enough to have Annie stay on at our wedding reception to MC and DJ, and she certainly kept the good vibes rolling all night.'
'Epic ceremonies, for adventurous people' is Josh's catchcry for couples looking to run in the opposite direction of boring. As one of Australia's premier celebrants and having officiated 1180 weddings and 879 elopements in over 12 countries, Josh credits himself with creating the world's best marriage ceremonies for his couples. With a reputation for being an incredible public speaker, witty, responsive, great at communication, and fantastic support to couples, he offers intrinsically crafted marriage ceremonies. Expanding and now offering wedding MC and DJ services, Josh's dynamic and charismatic charm will ensure that both your ceremony and reception 'won't just be good but really, really great!'
'Josh just gets it. We knew what we wanted and what we didn't want for our wedding. There was no judgement, no pushing us into anything we didn't want to do, just advice and professional guidance that one can only give when they're the best in the business. So if you're looking for someone who's down to earth, will make you smile, will calm your nerves and will make your day the day you will never forget, Josh is the celebrant for you. Passion is his middle name.'
Insider Tip: For more information on the in's and out's of how Josh can make your wedding the most memorable day of your life, and potentially your guest's life, be sure to check out his website and blog posts.
With a passion for curating personalised ceremonies and with a gift for weaving a couples story and journey into their celebrations, Carly is as professional as she is warm and welcomming. Focussed on creating natural and relaxed ceremonies for couples she prioritises exceptional communication to make sure that planning your ideal ceremony is both stress-free and enjoyable.
“We were very fortunate to have Carly Slade as our marriage celebrant. She was absolutely wonderful, and we could not have asked for a more organised, warm, and professional person to help us on our special day! Carly was incredibly supportive throughout the process, and tailored the ceremony to suit our wishes. She has a refreshingly modern and personal approach, and developed our love story into as beautiful script full of humour and warmth. Carly was always more than happy to answer any questions, and always responded to emails promptly. On the day she was relaxed yet professional, and conducted the ceremony flawlessly. We also received positive feedback from our guests who thought she was excellent. We highly recommend Carly to anyone planning a wedding – we could not have been luckier to have such a superb celebrant!”
With a ceremony style best described as entertaining, engaging, streamlined and tailored to suit you, Sam believes that just because the tradition of marriage is as old as they come, the way you do it doesn't have to be. Brisbane based and with a variety of packages, a willingness to travel anywhere in Australia to help you say 'I do', and a recommended average ceremony time of 20-25mins Sam can provide couples with ceremony samples and videos to help you get a feel for the vibe he will bring to your day.
'Sam was the best celebrant we could have asked for. He met our brief of fun and light-hearted perfectly but still made the ceremony feel special and unique to our relationship. All of our guests couldn't speak more highly of Sam, and the fact he stayed back after to celebrate made it all the better. Sam is professional and up there with the best (if not the best,) and I wish we could do it all over again. 10/10 would recommend Sam. You're an absolute legend.'
Not many celebrants can offer both a personalised wedding ceremony experience to begin your marriage and the option of performing live music at your wedding. Lara, who also holds a Bachelor of Music in Jazz vocals, loves doting over the details around what makes your relationship one of a kind and incorporating these into your celebrations. Being a celebrant means Lara can roll her three passions of people, creativity and performing into one.
'We love Lara!!!!!! Without her, our day would not have been complete. She wrote an amazing, funny and loving ceremony that suited us perfectly. Not only was she fabulous on the wedding day, but the check-ins leading up to the day made me feel so relaxed and supported. If you're looking for a celebrant who will help you with anything, make you feel relaxed about your big day, and is just an all-around superwoman, Lara is your girl!'
Ensuring your ceremony is a celebration of 'your love, in your style' Mitch 'The Surfing Celebrant' delights in creating fun, yet heartfelt, ceremonies. As a full-time celebrant, Mitch prides himself on being across all the details and being there to support his couples, helping ease those last-minute nerves on the day and even assisting your photographer in corralling guests for the group photos and family photos.
'Recently, we were married by Mitch, who also stepped in to be our MC. Mitch, where do we start? You are incredible! We were overwhelmed with the support, organisation and absolute legend of a man that you are. Not only did you make our day incredible, but your words were so warm, loving and you made it incredibly fun. From getting everyone seated, helping me with my dress, positioning, and so much more, you allowed us also to involve those who couldn't physically be there. Your personality is so fun, caring and kind. We couldn't have asked for a better celebrant! The entire day ran so smoothly it was like a dream, and you certainly know how to laugh. Everyone at our wedding has commented on how incredible you were and have asked for your details for their wedding! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your amazing work. We appreciate you so much!'
As one of Queensland's most respected marriage celebrants and founder of 'The Celebrant Society', Sarah has a unique ability to harness your emotions, story and memories to create a bespoke ceremony that is far from the standard fare and full of personalised moments. With an extensive career in radio and TV her ceremonies are 'made to order' and are a beautiful fusion of fun, warm and meaningful. Offering a variety of packages to suit you, and the one you love, she adds her signature energy and professionalism to every wedding she officiates.
'Oh Sarah, where do we begin! From the moment James and I met you, we felt such an overwhelming amount of energy from you that we knew you would be perfect for us. And that, you were!! You made us feel so calm, collected, comfortable and overall stoked to stand in front of all of our loved ones beginning our marriage. Many people came to us later saying how fantastic and unique the ceremony was and how fun and lovely you were. That meant the world to us! Thank you times a million!!! You were perfect, and we are so grateful to have had you as our celebrant.'
Brisbane based, relaxed, vibrant, personable and able to deliver a ceremony that truly reflects you as a couple is how Sam would best be described. Looking to eliminate all the 'fluff' as he likes to call it i.e superficial or trivial parts of your ceremony, Sam is a purveyor of modern, fun and people-orientated ceremonies - the start to any great marriage. So, it's out with the old, dull ceremonies and in with the weddings full of laughs and moments that make your guests go '...gee that really captured them as a couple so well!'
'We were so lucky to be married by Sam in our recent wedding at the Sunshine Coast. From the first time we contacted Sam, he was genuine, generous with his time and incredibly relaxed and friendly! Sam was incredibly responsive and supportive throughout the whole process., even when we had to postpone the wedding in crazy 2020. Our ceremony was awesome- with Sam delivering it, it was relaxed, personal and amazingly funny. Sam was able to read our stories and present this in a way that was 'us' but also ensure that the whole crowd laughed along. I would recommend Sam 110% for a relaxed, humorous and uber professional celebrant!'