#funcelebrant

Celebrant Price Point- Uber Vs Uber X

There’s always so much talk in wedding world about price. Price of celebrants in particular.

 

The thing is, like anything in life- you get what you pay for.

 

FACT: The majority of celebrants in Melbourne charge between $800-$1600. In the $800 spot you’ll get yourself a fresh recruit or a mid ranger.

 

At $1500 you’ll get a shiny Uber X with a free bottle of water and a heated seat.

 

It depends what you are looking for.

 

As a celebrant myself, I obviously place a decent amount of worth on what we do.

 

For the record- you can get married in a bog standard ceremony amidst the salubrious surrounds of the Registry Office in the city for between about $400 and $600, depending on what day of the week you want. This means you go to them, there is zero personalisation and it’s purely a stiff legal affair basically. Too easy if that’s all you want.

 

However, if you want something more personal you’re going to have to pay more.

 

If you want someone to absolutely smash it- again- you’ll be paying more.

 

The greatest misconception is that a celebrant is charging you ‘$1200 for 20 minutes work’. That conveniently disregards the meetings, the travel, the document preparation, the research, the use of our audio equipment and yeh, the actual ceremony presentation.

 

For me personally, this encompasses a minimum 15 hours per couple. I put a lot into my ceremonies and into developing relationships with my couples. As such, my service is pretty popular and I’m often booked more than a year out from the wedding date.

 

A really amazing celebrant is a gifted writer and a charismatic presenter. They’re organised, experienced and reliable. They will get to know you, be approachable and available and full of good ideas- and take you into the day calm and ready. Then they’ll smash it. It’s a real talent to be able to engage people on the right level.

 

When all your guests are remarking on the ceremony and you’re all on an absolute high afterwards- you see the value then for sure. But it’s a bit harder to see it when you start your celebrant search. Perhaps you’re not really sure what a celebrant does, what differentiates an average one from a good one- from an absolute weapon.

 

So, when you’re sending out emails to celebrants – can you have a quote etc and you get one for $800 -900 and one for $1400-1500- there’s a reason for that price divide. That cheaper celebrant doesn’t have the same experience/ popularity or dynamic of the dearer one. They may do, in time mind you. But at this point you are getting what you pay for.

 

So, it depends on what you place value on. Call me naïve but if you’re getting married, I’d hope that there’s some importance placed on the actual ceremony itself- not just getting boozed afterwards. That being said, if you’ve never seen a brilliant ceremony then it’s possible you haven’t considered the value of dynamic.

 

I’d love to say the days of cookie cutter dross delivered in a monotone voice are past us. But they’re actually not. There’s still plenty of that that goes on. And plenty of ceremonies that are not written from scratch. Just the same pap rolled out at every single wedding blah blah yawn. You’ll get that cheaper for sure.

 

If you want an absolute banger that is totally you as a couple, that’s been lovingly crafted based on your celebrant’s relationship with you and their excellent writing capabilities- then you pay more. If you want the one where your guests laugh out loud and are totally captivated throughout- it costs more for that level of skill.

 

So, before you compare quotes, first of all, decide what kind of experience you want to have.

 

Then make sure you’re comparing apples with apples.

 

If you receive a quote for $1500, you can be sure that person is at the top of their game and you’ll be bloody lucky to get them.

 

Incidentally, these celebrants are being referred by photographers, venues and previous clients and their guests constantly. What does that say to you?

 

So, if you’re happy with a Camry- then you order standard Uber. If you want something spesh then you order Uber X.

My Wedding

Image: Oliver Yip

Image: Oliver Yip

I get asked a lot about my wedding. We were married back in 2012 in Summer at my in laws in Surrey Hills. It was all about our fave people, amazing food and drinks and mad tunes.

WHAT I WORE: Gave not many f#cks about my dress to be honest. Bought it off the rack at DJs. Charlie Brown. $500. Simple, long, big split, strapless with origami folding. Dry cleaned it and sold it two weeks after my wedding for half what I paid. Happy days. Wore some dark blue satin heels that lasted on my feet for about 31 minutes before being discarded for bare feet. Had my hair up with a rock vibe. Makeup minimal. It’s terrible but I have no idea who I used as vendors.

WHAT NIK WORE: A navy suit from Calibre and Cons. Boutonnierre was handmade- a timber guitar pick and various feathers. Was cool as hell.

GUESTS: 50. This was hard but we were brutal. We wanted our closest people there and I didn’t want to spend my whole time making my way around to 150 guests making small talk. That was wasted d floor time in my opinion. The result: an intimate, relaxed and warm vibe with a strong party crew. Perfect.

BRIDAL PARTY: My two sisters were my bridesmaids and wore strapless pleated crepe dresses in dark blue. Hair up because hot AF. We had three little flowergirls in navy and pink tulle skirts and a page boy in mini version of what Nik wore- navy and Cons. It was fun and relaxed. Nik had his bro as Best Man and he wore what he wanted which ended up being pants and a waistcoat.

CEREMONY: Took place out the front. Business in the front, party in the back. We served heaps of bubbles and cold beers pre. I arrived in a Mustang and walked in to the XX ‘VCR’. Music is massive in our lives and was a big focus.

RINGS: Matt Wynne, Carlton. Support local guys. We had the rings in a vintage tape case- Talking Heads Stop Making Sense: one of our fave albums of all time.

AFTER PARTY: In the backyard. The garden was lush and green and we had a marquee housing one long table. We sat amidst our friends and family. I didn’t want a bridal table. It was either thongs or barefoot. Tunes, lots of good booze and massively chilled vibes.

FOOD: Totally self catered. My entire fam is basically in food and wine and we’re massive foodies so this was a pivotal decision in choosing to have it at home- being able to quality control everything. My father in law ran the kitchen with some hired staff. My brother in law, who is a winemaker chose all our wine. Everything was abundant and top shelf. Incredible bread and cheese, local organic meats, most served cold, whole baked snapper, quiche and tonnes of amazing salads that everyone pitched in to make.

BOOZE: We did Spanish bubbles, three whites, two beers and two reds. At 10pm we had trays of G + T’s come out. When everyone was sweating their bollocks off on the outdoor d floor and that icy blue glow in tall glasses materialised, a cheer went up. Master stroke. We also divided our guest list into ‘Normal Drinkers’, ‘Pissheads’ and ‘Total Units’ to guide the volume we needed. For the record we had 5 total units and got them t shirts printed with that on them which they were pretty proud of haha.

TUNES: Recorded for ceremony. DJ for after party. We had DJ Obliveus from Black Caesar Events and he was the first vendor I booked. I’ve know him forever and he is the business. He just totally got it and rolled out funk, hip hop and 90’s R + B all night. I can still remember him starting up and dropping Close to Me by The Cure and the d floor was pretty much rammed from then on. I still recommend Eric regularly to my couples now.

CAKE: My sister in law made a chocolate cake with textured buttercream and topped it with gorgeous hand made felted birds. It was delish. I ate it in the cab on the way home, extremely drunk. I have a talented fam.

BONBONIERRE: Hate that word. Meaning stuff you give to your guests to take home. We mixed a CD for them of our fave tunes. It’s still a banger to listen to today and was well received. Otherwise I think this B word is kinda a waste of money tbh (Controversial!)

Image: Oliver Yip

Image: Oliver Yip

What I’d do differently knowing what I know now:

Hire an amazing professional photographer: You cannot take it back people. Find your person- love their pics and love their vibe? Lock em in. I’d be all over one of my three fave photogs these days.

Acoustic Duo: For pre ceremony/ ceremony and that interim part before the DJ kicks off. Nothing better than rolling up to a wedding and there’s live tunes and great drinks. Instant vibe. Fidel and Sarah would def be getting a guernsey.

No cake: Look, our cake was beautiful but it was hot at hell and honestly- no one wants to eat cake in that kind of weather. They just don’t. Don’t ever do dessert and cake either. Complete waste of time. If I did it now in January- gelati cart or alcoholic icy pole cart alllll the way. People LOVE that shit and these are the little touches that they remember as being awesome.

Pay for the pack down: If you’re doing your own gig, when they ask you if you want them to dissemble the marquee- say yes. Just pay it. I tell you what- waking up the day after my wedding, boiling hot, extremely hung over- taking down a marquee and cleaning up was the last thing I felt like doing. Pay an event planner to deal with all the shit you don’t want to do.

Our kinda ring receptacle!

Our kinda ring receptacle!

Finding (and choosing) the right celebrant for you- 6 TIPS

How to find and choose the right celebrant for you

Ah, here’s an area that’s fraught with confusion. There are a LOT of celebrants in Victoria and just quietly, there’s a lot of pretty ordinary ones too.

How, in this big pool of different people, personalities and price ranges do you find the one who is right for you?

Word of Mouth

Ask your mates who they had or take note at weddings you attend- what is it you like or don’t like about their ceremony? Your photographer is often a good person to ask also as they work with us all the time. As far as venues recommending celebrants- that’s all well and good but you are still entitled to seek one from elsewhere if the ‘preferred suppliers’ don’t float your boat.

 Directories

Hello May, Ivory Tribe, Easy Weddings etc. Scroll and find heads you like the look of, read their bios and narrow it down to a contact list

Instagram

Instagram is a goldmine for finding the right wedding suppliers! You can totally stalk someone and get a great feel for their vibe just from their Insta page. You can often hear them speak in Stories and vids also which is invaluable. A good Insta profile will tell you exactly who that celebrant is and how they roll. Look at the type of weddings/ types of clients they have, the way they speak, dress and their personality should shine through the photos.

Reviews

Read reviews on directory listings, Facebook biz pages or Google. You will find reviews tucked into Insta pages also, perhaps pinned as stories at the top or throughout the feed. These give you a great idea of the experience you could get from this person.

Google/ Hashtag search

What are you looking for? A funny celebrant, a funky celebrant, a quirky celebrant or a fun celebrant? We often tag our pics with these descriptors to make it easy for you to find us. We’re all different but there’s pockets of celebrants within our networks that roll a similar way. We talk to each other, refer to each other and know that if we can’t do the wedding, the person we’re passing it on to has a similar vibe and style and will bring the goods.

Final Words

I often say to my couples when I meet them- choose someone you could drop into your reception with your guests and they’d fit right in and have a good time. It’s a fairly intimate relationship- you’re sharing a lot of stuff about your relationship so you want to feel comfortable about it. Also, you want to head to your meetings looking forward to seeing your celebrant. You should be able to have a chat and a laugh with them (and a wine too in my case). You should feel you can rely on them and that their presence is calming.

Prices vary widely but as a guide, any celebrant worth their salt in Melbourne currently is charging $800-$1600. Which is still a very small percentage of your wedding budget- for the only thing you legally require to be married. Don’t be governed by your pocket. Choose the person you click with, who you can see standing up there and owning it for your big day.

It feels awesome for me when I'm mobbed post ceremony by guests telling me they loved it. It's going to feel the same for you too, knowing you chose well. 

Is it wrong that I'm singing 'You're Welcome' like Maui from Moana now?