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Author: Stuart Bloom, Digital Content Producer and Researcher 

How do wedding celebrants go about creating a bespoke ceremony for you?

One of the first things to consider when planning your wedding is the type of ceremony that would best suit you and your partner. With marriages officiated by independent secular celebrants booming in popularity over religious or civil ceremonies, there are a multitude of fun and creative options available. Marriage celebrants focus on getting to know you and help you to create a ceremony that brings all your dreams and wishes to life for your special day.

Here are just some of the ways that wedding celebrants go about creating a bespoke ceremony that includes everything you do want and nothing that you don’t.


Discover vital elements

Celebrant: Darcie Price
Baylys Farm, Waitangi, 19 December 2022
Kyra Azzopardi & Phillip Benda
@kazzopa @philmorebenda
Photographer Jess Burges insta – @jess.burges.photographer
Facebook- Jess Burges Photographer

Celebrants work collaboratively with you to combine your ideas, discuss all possible options and prioritise the elements of your ceremony that are personal and important to you both as a couple. There are different types of celebrants, each with their own areas of expertise, from humanist, spiritualist or pagan to church affiliated. While independent secular celebrants will each have their own style, most are happy to help you tailor any cultural, religious or spiritual rituals or aspects that you require into your bespoke ceremony.


Encourage freedom

The options for where to get married are endless these days. Fewer and fewer couples are marrying in a church or registry office!  With an independent marriage celebrant you can get married almost anywhere you choose, from a mountain top to a beach to your favourite bush setting. Working with you - the couple; and other wedding vendors, celebrants are very skilled at creating stunning ceremonies pretty much anywhere in the world.

With this much freedom, you have a much wider choice of some very unusual wedding venues. New Zealand is a popular wedding destination and their modern marriage laws, give you the freedom to choose a ceremony that’s right for you – from elopement through to a full-scale wedding in a top-class wedding venue.


Eliminate stress

Te Arai Point 26 November 2022
Caitlin and Daniel Cordery @caittakesworld @danielcordery
Celebrant: Darcie Price
Photographer: Greg Campbell. Instagram -
Facebook - @gregcampbellweddingphotography

Celebrants develop a personal relationship with their couples, ensuring the entire process is as fun and fulfilling as possible and help you to enjoy every moment, bringing your ceremony to life.

With their skills, knowledge and resources, celebrants allow you as a couple complete creative freedom to craft a unique and beautiful ceremony. This reduces stress and enables you to think outside the box to plan intimate moments that are meaningful to you, your friends and families.

You may choose to drive the process of planning your wedding yourself in which case this checklist will be helpful or engage the services of a wedding planner.  Celebrants can be booked months and sometimes years in advance and Celebrants Aotearoa President, Rachel Clarke’s advice for couples is that they “book their independent celebrant first, along with the venue and photographer to make sure they get the celebrant that’s the ‘right fit for them’ on their chosen date.“


Ethics and standards

Josie Wignall & Jonny Wartmann @josiewignallmakeupartist
Jessica Lee photographer
Celebrant: Lianne Fraser

Many celebrants are part of an association which reassures couples that they work to professional high standards. Make sure to check the credentials of anyone you plan to work with, to ensure they adhere to a code of ethics and standards which you feel comfortable with.

In New Zealand, Celebrants Aotearoa can help you to find your perfect celebrant. Remember that independent marriage celebrants are able to conduct ceremonies that are non-religious/secular, humanist or same-sex for example; and will work with you to identify what you want and need. Ultimately, you need to choose a marriage celebrant that you connect with.

Your celebrant should always remain respectful and inclusive of your ideas and be upfront about their capabilities to create what you desire. It’s also important to feel comfortable with your chosen celebrant, and most will take the time to build a rapport with you and your partner so much so, that you may want to choose them again for a baby naming ceremony, vow renewals, funerals or any other official gathering you may have in the future. 



Wanaka 8/4/19 Chloe & Liam Roberts @chloerenaeroberts
Celebrant: Liz Maluschnig - Wanaka Wedding Celebrant: Chosen - for beautiful
Warren Williams | Williams Photography

@mountainweddings_nz @williamsphotography_nz