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Amber Caskey Celebrant - Industry Expert Interview

We had the pleasure of sitting down with the talented super boss mum, winner of the Taranaki Wedding Industry Awards as the voted Celebrant of the year for 2018, the founder of Ever After Wedding Collective and of course a super star expert Wedding Celebrant Amber Caskey. We are over the moon to have Amber as one of our course contributors here at the Wedding Training Hub.

We chatted with Amber about her insight into ceremony styles, trends, processes right down to what it is that a Celebrant actually does?

Does every celebrant have the same style, beliefs or process?

No, definitely not. Due to the unregulated nature of celebrant appointments, there are registered celebrants of every size, type, style and belief – which is good in terms of choice, but also means there’s also a huge variation out there in levels of ability and professionalism.

The most successful celebrants I know all have these traits in common – they are professional and are expert communicators, but also have a sense of humour and don’t take themselves too seriously. They know how to balance the serious aspects of getting married with the more fun parts of planning a wedding. They go on to establish a brand based on having a great professional reputation, so the number one tip for people searching for the right celebrant is - see who it is that others out there are recommending. It’s pretty much all about the reviews!


What is the role of a celebrant?

A celebrant is the person charged with hosting a marriage ceremony, and is responsible for planning and officiating of that formal part of the day. They are also the person who is authorised to make sure that the legal requirements of a marriage are met.

The role itself requires a considerable amount of planning. In addition to getting to know the couple, a celebrant plans the length and content of the ceremony, organises how the ceremony will run (with all of the people that are involved) and then brings all of it together at the actual wedding. After the big day the role concludes with the lodging of the legal documents. So, with all that a celebrant is required to do, it pays to find one who is intuitive and who has amazing organisational skills!


Do you need any specific training or qualifications to do your role?

No. Celebrancy isn’t a regulated profession in New Zealand and there’s no legal requirement to be trained. Currently, anyone who applies that meets the criteria (New Zealand citizen, with a clean criminal record, who can provide good character references and demonstrate a need for their service in the community) can apply to become a registered celebrant. Most applicants are successful in being appointed.

There is two independent training providers offering ‘celebrant qualifications’ in New Zealand by way of various certificates in Celebrant Studies. Personally, it is not a qualification I intend to pursue and I know only a couple of celebrants who have completed these.


In your role do you see many ceremony trends or traditions being used?

Some couples use professional planners and stylists, others use Pinterest and DIY - so things still very much come down to the vision of each couple and what they want their day to look and feel like. You do though see trends emerge in things like decor, colour palettes and florals and some of the creative talent displayed at weddings is nothing short of mind-blowing!

While the content of ceremonies is now far more modern, many of the much loved traditions remain and are often still included. Many couples favour verbal contributions from family or friends, whereas others may add family traditions or some form of cultural ritual. I always tell couples how music can also be big part of the ceremony, and plays an important role in setting the atmosphere and mood. That’s probably something in which you regularly do notice a season trend – which popular songs you hear played the most in ceremonies!


How much can a couple tailor their ceremony?

There are so many different ways couples can personalise their ceremony and helping them do that is one of the most important aspects of the celebrant role. With the legal requirements being so few, the rest of it is entirely up to what the couple wants and there really are no rules and as celebrants we have a blank page.

While there is a general format that ceremonies will tend to follow, you really do have the ability to include anything that you like. All I say to my couples is that their ceremony should be about them and they should do what THEY want to do within their ceremony. And a celebrant should be able to get a couple to open up and to share the story of them, and find out some really fun and personal stories which when included in the ceremony really takes the couple (and their guests!) on an emotional journey.

Wedding Dress: Churchwood Bridal

Celebrant: Amber Caskey

Photographer: Wolf Paw and Daisy

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