Ceremonies Crafted with Care

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Six Avoidable Wedding Disasters!

Posted by on Nov 16, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

1. Not setting a budget:


Avoidable Wedding Disasters

Let’s face it, it’s easy to get carried away, there are so many choices to be made and often it’s the smaller purchases, the favours, the decorations, the candy bar, or stationery that can end in a blow out.

Set a realistic budget and have a talk early on as a couple about your “deal breakers”, what you really want to pull out all the stops on.

2. My friend is….going to take photos at my wedding:

The amateur photographer:

As a celebrant there is a huge difference between officiating at a wedding where a professional photographer is documenting the event and those where the photographer is an enthusiastic amateur.

Usually the first difference is I am totally unaware of the professional at work, they are unobtrusive and make the best use of their equipment to get in close. The amateur on the other hand is in my face, standing in front of guests and asking for the kiss / ring exchange / signing to be repeated so they can capture it.

Chatting to couples after their wedding, often the biggest regret is that their friend the amateur photographer has missed shots or the quality of shots taken are not great, an amateur will not have the quality equipment that are a professional’s tools of trade.

If you hire an amateur for your wedding, expect an amateur result!

3. My friend is …….going to qualify as a celebrant and officiate at my wedding:

My pet peeve! I understand that often couples don’t appreciate the benefit of a professionally trained and experienced celebrant until after their wedding ceremony is over and they reflect on the great experience they have had.

However, the best celebrants will look after you during the planning process and will put you at your ease,they will manage both guests and the wedding party during your ceremony.

Your trained celebrant will ensure your close family are sitting where they will get the best view and are the first to congratulate you after your ceremony. They know where to stand and when to move to ensure they are not the centre of attention in your wedding photos or forcing you stand a distance from your partner. They will liaise with the venue’s event manager or your planner and your photographer to ensure your ceremony is seamless.

Perhaps a question to ask is, are you happy for your friend to practice their novice celebrant skills on your wedding?

4. Not listening to your Experienced Wedding Vendor

There has been a lot of hype about “wedding mark up” and often vendors are seen as money grabbing opportunists. The truth is vendors may charge more for a wedding because a wedding is more work than other events. Your wedding vendor makes themselves available for calls, consultations and planning meetings and may send dozens of emails back and forth with their clients before the event. Most of all they are committed to making your wedding a success, after all, their reputation depends on it.

Listen to your wedding vendor’s advice, they’ve been involved in hundreds of weddings and they know from experience what works and what doesn’t. Trust their knowledge and experience and draw on it.

5. Not considering your guests

Most weddings take place in the height of summer at a gorgeous outdoor venue. Remember whatever the weather conditions your guests will be out in them longer than you will.

If you have no shade, consider hiring umbrellas for your guests or suggesting they bring their own hats or umbrellas.

Make sure you have a “Plan B” in case of rain or an unseasonal cold snap and a way to communicate any changes to your guests.

If your ceremony site is a little hard to find include a map in your invitation or your wedding website or Facebook page.

6. Being late for your own wedding:

Keeping your guegettingready2sts waiting especially on a hot summer’s day, will not impress them. In addition a late bride means a late ceremony, a late reception, less time for post ceremony photos and over cooked or cold food.

Put together a run sheet to ensure your preparation before your ceremony is planned and everyone involved in your wedding party knows what has to be accomplished before that walk down the aisle.

It’s easy to avoid these potential disasters with good planning and making great choices. Your wedding professionals will be an invaluable source of advice and experience if you need clarification or guidance.

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In Praise of the Small Wedding

Posted by on Sep 11, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

I’ve been lucky enough to officiate at some very small, very intimate and totally fabulous small (20 guests for less) weddings this year.

There are a number of reasons why couples choose to keep their wedding small.

Many have lived together for some time, they may have mortgages and children and while a wedding is an important next step in their relationship there may be budget constraints or they just may have decided they don’t want a traditional, elaborate and expensive affair.

Often it’s all about priorities. Couples who choose a very small wedding have made a conscious choice to invite people who are closest and important to them and whom they want to celebrate their day with. Often this choice has the benefit of freeing up budget for a really great photographer or sensational food and drink.



Katrina and Warwick’s motivation for sharing their wedding with 20 guests in August this year was a deliberate decision to share their wedding with those they truly cared about. They chose one of their favourite bistros in Point Chevalier, Twisted Tomato, the wedding ceremony was short but very personal and held against the backdrop of the brick interior of the restaurant. The couple greeted their guests with a glass of bubbly and they mixed and mingled before the ceremony started. Their guests felt very much part of the process.



Keith and Arvin’s end of August ceremony was, by necessity, a small affair. As a same sex couple they’d travelled to be married in New Zealad, They found a fabulous venue through Bookabach.co.nz with the aim of not only accommodating guests but also finding somewhere lovely for their ceremony. They settled on an apartment in Devonport which looked over the harbour to Auckland’s skyline – gorgeous! Kylin Image Photography were engaged to take both photos and video the occasion.



Millie and Troy have been together for a number of years and have a daughter together, marriage was an obvious next step. Neither of them felt comfortable about being in the limelight so they opted for fuss free simplicity shared with their closest family. They chose the Auckland Domain Rotunda for their wedding ceremonyvenue with it’s backdrop of mature trees and formal gardens and with the added bonus of unlimited photo opportunities for their wedding album!


I’m looking forward to three more restaurant weddings this year, a ceremony on a wharf on one on One Tree Hill, all small intimate and inclusive ceremonies.

As a celebrant I love working with couples and enjoy the privilege that is working at a variety of venues. But there is something really special about the “micro” wedding and the atmosphere it generates. Couples are relaxed, the guests are, by necessity, engaged in the process and as a celebrant, a very personal and relaxed ceremony is absolutely my favourite!

There are some great venues for a very small wedding in Auckland. Reinaldo and Carla chose the Herb Garden at the Auckland Botanic Gardens, other couples have married in my backyard and some have married in family’s backyards. Restaurants are often available to be booked on their quiet nights.

If you are planning a small, intimate wedding contact me to share some ideas about customising your ceremony for a small group and for ideas for venues which may capture your imagination.

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To Rehearse or Not to Rehearse, that is the Question!

Posted by on Aug 26, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

A wedding rehearsal is often the first time the whole wedding party gets together before the wedding proper, no wonder some cultures use the excuse for a rehearsal dinner, a pre-wedding celebration.

But is a wedding rehearsal really necessary?Rehearsal

Yes, I believe it is.

The purpose of a rehearsal is to go through the logistics of your ceremony with the whole wedding party. We go over where to stand, how to move into the ceremony area and out of the ceremony area. Who will have the rings and how will they be handed over at that critical part of the ceremony. Who will give the signal that the bride is ready to walk. Where do the parents sit so they have the best view of their son or daughter’s face through out the ceremony?

Half to three quarters of an hour is time well spent in the peace of mind it will give you on your wedding day. Knowing what to expect, will reduce nerves and contribute to a relaxed, seamless and spectacular ceremony.

A rehearsal held around the same time as the actual ceremony will be held gives the opportunity to check that the sun will not be shining into either the wedding party’s or guests eyes.

In my opinion a rehearsal should where ever possible be held at the wedding venue. I know some celebrants will hold the rehearsal at their home – you will come away with the theory but, trust me, it’s not the same!

When you’re interviewing for celebrants why not check with them if they offer a rehearsal at your venue and whether they will charge extra for the privilege. It’s worth insisting on. I include a rehearsal at your venue in my quote for my wedding services.


Contact Suzanne


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Questions to ask your Wedding Celebrant

Posted by on Jun 12, 2014 in Wedding Tips | 0 comments


Once you have a venue booked and your wedding date is “cast in stone” it’s time to begin the search for the perfect celebrant.

Where to start? A Google search will reveal a veritable plethora of celebrants all offering roughly the same service. But be assured, they are not all the same, there are those who are truly excellent and exceptional, and others who are mediocre and adequate or dire and dreadful. What’s more, price alone will not help your choice.

You want the perfect celebrant for you, one that will understand exactly what you want, will provide ideas and guidance, someone who you feel completely comfortable with and confident that they understand that your wedding ceremony is the central event of your whole wedding day and the event you have invited your nearest and dearest to witness.

How do you choose a celebrant?

Google is a good place to start, a tour of a celebrant’s website will give you an impression of who they are and what they do.bridget-nathan-brigham-auckland-wedding-photographer-raduban-photography-0071

Consider phoning your short list of candidates asking some basic questions:

  •  Are you available on my date?
  •  Are you familiar with my venue?
  •  What do you charge and what is included in that charge?

Follow up with a meeting with those who sound like they have potential and are both available and still on your short list.

Your first meeting is similar to a job interview so being prepared with some questions will  help you choose the right person for the “job” of celebrant on your wedding day.


Not a question as such but you will get a good feel for whether you can work with this person at this first meeting and connecting with their personality will be important.

How many weddings do you do per year? How much experience do you have?

There are a lot of celebrants and the Department of Internal Affairs has recently relaxed entry qualifications for celebrants so there are more inexperienced and untrained celebrants advertising their services. It’s better to pay a bit more for experience and professionalism than have your ceremony spoilt by a celebrant who just doesn’t  know what he or she is doing.

How much do you charge?

Price is important as you are on a budget but the old adage of “you get what you pay for” carries some weight here. A great celebrant will be worth their fee and more as they know how to conduct a wedding ceremony and how to create a memorable ceremony and more importantly, how to look after you on the day.

Do you charge a deposit and, if so, how much?

How will we work together?

Does the celebrant provide resources, how many meetings will there be bfore your date?

Do you recommend a rehersal?

No rehearsal at your venue? I recommend you walk away and look for another celebrant! A run through the logistics of your ceremony at your venue is vital to ensure a stress free wedding ceremony.

How many ceremonies do you conduct on a day?

Some celebrants try and make the most of the wedding season by officiating at multiple ceremonies on the same day. You may be OK with this but be aware if the a ceremony runs late earlier in the day your celebrant may not be as prompt as you would like!

What is included in your fee?

Make sure you have a full understanding of what your celebrant will and will not do for you.

Are there any additional fees?

Some celebrants charge for travel outside their immediate area. Some charge an additional fee for a rehearsal. Make sure you clarify if the fee quoted is all inclusive or if some of the services you assume would be included are in fact an additional charge.

Have you had any training?

Celebrant training is not compulsory in New Zealand. The training available is excellent and those who have completed training have a very clear understanding of the obligations of the role and how to best translate your wishes for your wedding ceremony into a memorable ceremony. Likewise Celebrant Association membership brings with it adherence to professional standards and regular training opportunities.

Will you dress to my dress code and colour scheme?


Where do you stand during the ceremony?

Does the celebrant stand in between you and your partner for the whole ceremony? Will they move out of the way for the kiss so they’re not in that photo?

You will have other questions which come up during your meeting,  a celebrant should answer your questions openly and honestly both during this first meeting and at any time during your working relationship.

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Wedding Planning Hints

Posted by on May 15, 2013 in Wedding Tips | 0 comments



Planning your wedding doesn’t have to be stressful the trick is to have an organised plan,

 Getting Ready

Set a budget:

Whether you are paying for your wedding yourselves or getting assistance from family there is always a finite spend.

Set a realistic budget and have a talk early on as a couple about your “deal breakers”.

What is most important to you about your wedding day? Is it great food and wine at your reception? Perhaps it’s a gorgeous dress and decorations? Or an exotic honeymoon? Inviting all your extended family and friends to share your day? Perhaps it’s the investment in magnificent wedding photography.

Your “deal breakers” will determine how you choose to allocate funds.

Get organised:

Get written quotes and orders and start a wedding file. There are some fabulous wedding planning tools available free on line which can help guide you through the process of planning your wedding day.

Drop me a line at celebrantforyou.co.nz  and ask for my Wedding Budget Planner (obligation free), it’s a great tool which monitors your wedding budget as you add quotes and actual costs.

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