The Real Value of a Professional Wedding Officiant.

By Marilyn Dion, Certified Life-cycle Celebrant®

Siena says hiThese lyrics written by Jason Mraz have been used in countless wedding ceremonies – “Well open up your mind and see like me….Look into your heart and you’ll find the sky is yours…This, oh this, this is our fate, I’m yours.” And, Mraz says that “anytime someone uses one of my songs for anything – a ceremony or a sacred moment – that, to me, is a high honour.”
Writing a completely custom ceremony based on a personal love story is also considered a high honour for your region’s Certified Life-Cycle Celebrants® trained by the Celebrant Foundation & Institute.
The boring, yawn-type, traditional, cookie-cutter, fill-in-the-blank ceremonies are done by the run-of-the-mill average officiate out there. Then there are the truly bad ones – you know what I am talking about, officiates who ramble on about their religious viewpoints in a drab monotone for what seems like an eternity or perhaps talk mainly about divorce in the middle of a wedding ceremony!
Most couples want everything about their day to be perfect including the very foundation and reason for the day, the Ceremony. They need someone they can trust. Couples want someone who can write and deliver just the right words and in just the right way – every word approved in advance. Ceremony encompassing words and ritual that is a perfect reflection of who they are and what it means for them to be marrying each other – ceremony everyone will be talking about at the reception in a positive way. A ceremony that shines a light of significance over their story is a ceremony that touches hearts. By the skillful use of words and ritual, ceremony speaks for the couple and to them, their family and guests.
Certified Life-Cycle Celebrants®are listeners, performers, writers, speakers, and co-creators rolled into unique modern-day experts who bring their ‘A’ game to every ceremony. They have studied many world religions, rituals and ceremony creation and know how to honour the common threads in people’s beliefs. They create sacred space reflecting their client’s beliefs and values, not necessarily their own. They are passionate about the rites of passage and transitions that human beings celebrate and are serious about their calling. They set aside any personal agendas, validating only their clients’ journey and love that has brought them together to a moment in time.
When a ceremony is written like a play, with all its complexities, including stage directions, props required and cues to professional participants like musicians, venue coordinator and sound engineers, that ceremony will be professional. Observers will feel the tone meant to be relayed, feel that even tiny unforeseen mistakes are endearments.
When I spoke with the father of the Celebrant movement in Australia and the founder of the International Federation of Celebrants about twelve years ago, Dally Messenger III inspired me to take up the torch and help pioneer meaningful ceremony in Canada. He is known for saying “in every ceremony the elements of integrated beauty, music, poetry, choreography and symbolism, purposely and skillfully integrated into the ceremony’s theme, emotionally embed, imprint and sink the totality of the event into the brain, into the memory, into the psyche and most importantly into the subconscious.”
Well written and professionally and lovingly performed ceremony pulls the strings of our emotions and solidifies powerful memories, punctuation points in our life story. Ceremony reflects who we are and are a symbolic doorway to move from one phase of life to another, through endings and into beginnings.
Considering the time, effort, expertise and finished product of a love story written and woven into ceremony, certified Life-Cycle Celebrants®’ fees range from $600 to $1000; it may be twice the price of a run of the mill officiate who does not spend the minimum of ten working hours to co-create the ceremony with you like a Celebrant does. It is not only a bargain to choose a Celebrant but the wisest decision for celebrating a couple’s unique love story on one of the most important days of their life.
Your meaningful and personalized ceremony is not only a wonderful gift to give to each other, a gift that truly reflects the two of you at the very core, but a treasure to share on your great day with your friends and family. Also, since your “love story” has been written down, it can be read again and again and used at future anniversaries or renewal of vows or other milestone life events. Your wedding ceremony can be a gift for your children and your children’s children to understand the love and the history that brought them into being. In the words of fantasy author Terry Pratchett, “Ritual and ceremony in their due times kept the world under the sky and the stars in their courses. It was astonishing what ritual and ceremony could do.”
Do you want to find a Celebrant near you and have a conversation with them? I invite you to go to: and click on Choose a Celebrant and enter your region. You can review your local certified Life-cycle Celebrant’s bio and photo and speak with them about the vision you have for your ceremony.
If you are inspired to become a Certified Life-Cycle Celebrant® contact our Executive Director, Charlotte Eulette at

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