How to Book a Wedding Celebrant in France

Chateau Durantie

Happy Thursday everyone, and today we are opening up the blog to FWS Vendor Gaynor McKernan from Caledonia Ceremonies who is going to give you some pointers on how to book a Wedding Celebrant in France.

She will take you through the process of how you find the right Celebrant for you, as well as giving you an idea of what a Celebrant can bring to your wedding day.

So without further ado, we’ll pass you over to Gaynor to conduct proceedings…

Deciding on having your wedding ceremony in France was easy. It’s the land of romance: long, hot summer days, beautiful chateaux; wonderful cheeses and delicious wines. It’s got everything to make your special day perfect and create fabulous memories that everyone will talk about for years to come.

You know that the more organisation you do beforehand, the more you can relax on the day. So, one evening, you and your partner sit down with a glass of wine to start the planning process. You’ve read articles about planning your wedding in France on bluox.org and now it’s time to draw up a ‘to do list’. Probably a little way down your list is ‘find a celebrant’ to conduct your ceremony. But where to start and who to choose?

David Page PhotographyPhoto credit: David Page Photography

Book early to get the celebrant you want.  Once you have your venue and date you should start looking for a celebrant; some are booked a year or even two years in advance. You may have chosen the date for your wedding because it’s a bank holiday weekend in your country. This means family and friends have to take less time off work. Whilst that’s a great idea bear in mind many other couple will be doing the same. There are particular weekends where more weddings are planned than celebrants available. Don’t assume someone will be available for your date.

To find a celebrant that’s right for you, you have several options.

  1. If you have a wedding planner, they may have a celebrant they can recommend to you. Laura from Laura Dova Weddings won’t recommend a celebrant until she has done some research by looking on their website. She looks for a high level of professionalism and she searches for reviews from other vendors and couples. She prefers celebrants who “take the time to talk and meet the bride and groom, so the ceremony they write reflects who the couple are”. So a recommendation from your wedding planner has almost certainly been a carefully considered one.
  2. The French Wedding Directory gives you access to contact details and information about your local celebrants.
  3. Search the web and note down a few names
  4. If you’re a Facebooker, you can join a facebook forum and ask for recommendations.

Once you’ve compiled a list, then spend a little time getting to know them. Look at their websites, Tweets, Instagram or blogs. This not only allows you to get a feel for who they are as a person but it also lets you see how well, or not, they write. And as you read, ask yourselves, is this the sort of person we can work with? If the answer is yes, then contact them. If you’re getting married within the next 9-12 months, contact them now.

Sand CeremonyPhoto Credit: Gaynor McKernan @ Caledonia Ceremonies

What can a celebrant offer? You may have been to lots of weddings and have very specific ideas about the look of your ceremony and what it will include. Or you may have no idea about the many elements that can make your ceremony even more meaningful. A celebrant can suggest some symbolic rituals e.g. a Sand Ceremony, lighting a Unity Candle………..the list is endless. They can advise you about other aspects of your ceremony: songs; readings and poems; the choreography and timings.

The information you’ve provide, as well as the other elements you’ve chosen, will be carefully woven to create a ceremony just for you. On your big day, as well as conducting your ceremony, their professionalism and calm should bring you reassurance and confidence that everything will go as planned.

Bandstand - Jenna Hill PhotographyPhoto credit: Jenna Hill Photography

There’s a celebrant to suite every wedding, personality and style; you just have to find the one who is right for you. Initially contact will probably be by email but it does help to meet, or at least Skype, with your potential celebrant. There are a raft of questions you can ask. These should allow you to find out about their training, experience, level of professionalism and ability but it also helps you gauge the chemistry between the three of you. You should feel comfortable chatting to them but also be confident in their ability to do a good job.

Annie Gozard

Photo credit: Annie Gozard Photographie

When your decision is made, contact the celebrant and confirm the booking. Usually when you make that initial enquiry, the celebrant will pencil your date into their diary. They’ll hold that date for between two and seven days. When you’ve spoken to the celebrants on your list and asked all your questions, then you can make an informed decision. It doesn’t matter who you book but it’s polite to get back in touch with all the celebrants you contacted and let them know whether or not you’ll be using them. This can be in the form of a one line email saying sorry we’re not going to book you. They won’t mind; it just allows them to confirm the booking or release the date for other couples.

Jo Kemp Wedding Photography

Photo credit: Jo Kemp Wedding Photography

And finally not all celebrants are created equal.  For some, being a celebrant supplements another income and for others it’s their full time and only job. A professional fee is no indication of quality of service and although couples are often looking at ways to save money, a good celebrant is worth every penny you pay. As a percentage of the total cost of your wedding their fee will be tiny but the effect a beautiful ceremony can have on your day is huge.

After all that planning, and a few more glasses of wine, on your big day you can relax safe in the knowledge that your celebrant will deliver the wedding ceremony you’ve always dreamed about.

Jenna Hill Photography

First and Last Photo credit: Jenna Hill Photography

Many thanks to Jenna Hill, Jo Kemp, David Page, Annie Gozard and the couples who shared these photographs.
Also thanks to Laura from Laura Dove Weddings.

GAYNOR IS OWNER OF CALEDONIA CEREMONIES, A CELEBRANT WHO IS AVAILABLE FOR WEDDINGS THROUGHOUT FRANCE.  FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT: CALEDONIACEREMONIES.CO.UK

Leave a Comment

2 Comments

  • Beautifully written Gaynor, reflecting our mutual training with the FOPC and the added experience of years working in this wonderful industry.
    My only concern is that, unlike the UK, while certainly preferable, in France it isn’t always possible to meet the couple except via video chats due to often considerable distance of the venue from our homes.
    So somehow we have to achieve that personal feel without the benefit of actually meeting our couples, and the only way we can manage this is to keep close contact, answering every emailed question as soon as it comes in, being “right on top of every issue” as one of my brides-to-be has put it..
    Only then do we achieve the kind of feedback we both receive!