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Need to find a celebrant?

Where do you start

So you need to find a celebrant. Where do you start?

Would you prefer an Independent celebrant (non-religious) or an Organisational celebrant (faith based).

An independent celebrant can marry you anywhere except in a consecrated church – this would require the approval of the presiding minister, pastor or priest.

All marriage celebrants in NZ are registered with the Department of Internal Affairs and are obligated to marry people from all walks of life. Here’s the link to locating one in your area.

Anyone can conduct a funeral – there’s no legal requirement in NZ to be a registered funeral celebrant. Having said that, professionally recommended funeral celebrants have life skills, expertise and experience for across-the-board 'goodbye' needs including visits with the dying person and family, funeral, cremation and burial.

Look up the NZ Celebrants’ Association website. Members of CANZ come with professionalism, ethics and expertise -

If you know the name of a great celebrant, they’ll have a current website, a Facebook page and probably Instagram. They’ll have regular posts and you’ll be able to message them from any of these platforms. For example:

  • Search online for ‘Hawke’s Bay Celebrant’ or another region if it’s different. Also use the words marriage or funeral or a person's name in the search title.
  • Ask family and friends if they know of a good celebrant.
  • Ask the wedding function manager or the funeral director.
  • Would you prefer a man or a woman?

When you’ve found a celebrant who appeals, set up a meet and greet in person, by phone, Facetime or Skype. You’ll need to ask if they’re available on your date – no point continuing if they’re not.

At the first meeting be clear about what you’re looking for. The celebrant should then give you a guideline to costs. They may have some options and should give you a formal quote. If the costing is out of your ball park then you’ll need to go back to the drawing board. Remember though that a really great celebrant will come with expertise, experience and a back story of training and life skills. Their fee will be one of the smallest expenses you need to cover.

In Hawke’s Bay you can expect to pay between $350 and $550 plus travel expenses for a marriage or funeral celebrant. In the bigger centres like Auckland the fee could be $500 - $750+.

Getting married or saying goodbye goes right to the heart of the occasion. A great celebrant will set the scene, the tone and create inclusiveness and love. And more importantly you'll feel safe and in great hands.

A great celebrant can read situations quickly and adapt the ceremony. They'll put you at ease and have presence. They're inclusive, gather the focus and gently steer the helm. After all the ceremony is for you to experience. It should be life-changing and memorable for all the right reasons.

A great celebrant begins a wedding and carries the funeral for a loved one. Most are booked well ahead for weddings and those that cover funerals are usually available 24/7.

Wishing you an amazing ceremony wherever you are, whatever the occasion.


Jo Smith - Great Celebrant

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