Wedding Wednesday: How To Choose Your Wedding Celebrant [Episode 68]


Welcome to the world of wedding planning! Your wedding ceremony is a huge part of your Big Day because that’s the moment you will exchange vows, declare your love and make special promises to your Other Half in front of your friends and family. Because this is so important, you’ve got lots to think about when choosing your celebrant. 

Today I’m joined by three experts who will pop in throughout the episode and help us with expert advice on how to choose your wedding celebrant. 

Thank you to Romy McAuley, Brenda O’Grady and Fearghal Curtis for joining me today.



Episode breakdown

Before I begin, a great way to find any wedding supplier you want to work with is to begin with the weddingsonline service finder and to ask for recommendations in our Help I’m Getting Married Facebook community


Do you want to get legally married on your wedding day?

Did you know that not everybody who can officiate a wedding is able to legally marry you on your wedding day? It’s important to understand who can and who can’t legally marry you, particularly if you are choosing to do all the legalities on your actual wedding day. 

I asked Romy McAuley to tell us who can legally marry a couple:

There are three official classifications for legal marriage ceremonies: Civil, Religious or Secular.

Civil Ceremonies – these can be facilitated by an HSE registrar only. 

Religious – these are conducted by solemnisers. This could be a church-based ceremony, multifaith, spiritual, pagan, jewish, islam, hindu, and so on. 

Secular – there are two groups who can facilitate these in Ireland. 

A Celebrant or Officiant – someone who officiates the ceremony. These would be classified as ‘non legal’ or ‘independent’ which means they cannot conduct a legal marriage ceremony. 


For the purposes of the rest of this episode, we will talk about solemnisers and celebrants interchangeably, but please note the expert information above.


Decide what type of ceremony you want to have

There are many different types of ceremonies and it’s important to start by knowing what you would like to have! 

I asked Brenda O’Grady to tell us a little bit more about wedding ceremonies in Ireland:

You can opt for :

  • Civil Ceremony (held by a civil registrar in their office of an approved venue)
  • Traditional Religious Ceremony (usually held in a place of worship)
  • Celebrant/Solemniser led ceremony (this includes personalisation) – a solemniser is licensed by the state to conduct weddings.

Interfaith Ceremonies can be as spiritual or not as you would like! Humanist ceremonies is 100% non-religious.

Spiritual Ceremonies are non-denominational and in which couples invite those from the spirit world to be present with them.

Or you can opt for a Celebrant-led ceremony where your ceremony is not a legal ceremony.


For more information about different types of wedding ceremonies, take a look at Rev Brenda’s brilliant blog post: 


Meet your potential wedding celebrant

A great way to see if you really connect with your wedding celebrant/solemniser is to meet them in person!

Fearghal Curtis shared some brilliant questions you can ask when you meet with a potential wedding celebrant or solemniser for the first time:

This person is going to be with you in one of the most intimate and special moments of your day. You want to know that they align with you and will support you. When asking them questions, ask questions that will help you to know if you feel safe and happy. 


If you have any specific rituals you want performed at your wedding, ask them what they think about the rituals or about their experience performing these rituals? 

You could also ask them which rituals they like to perform – this will help you get a good conversation going!