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Asking the right questions
Usually when a celebrant is engaged by a family or a couple it will be first time that they've met and therefore they will need to get to know each other. They do this by asking each other questions..... but are we asking the right questions?
As celebrants we will have had some experience in how a ceremony runs, however we must remember that not every ceremony is the same and therefore, to differentiate we need to find out the individual needs of each couple and family. How do we do that? By asking questions.
- Yes/No questions: These would refer to things like date, time & venue etc... where there is only one short answer.
- WH Questions: This type of question is used to find out more information. They usually start with who, what, where, when, why, how or tell me about..... This enables people to elaborate and give information freely in their own words.
- Multiple choice questions: ie: Would you choose to be known as Groom, Bride or Partner? or which song do you prefer? Left or right side?
Information that we're going to need to find out:
1. What are the couple's details including whether they have been married before?
2. What type of ceremony they need? (marriage, funeral, memorial, naming, committment, etc...)
3. What is the date / time / location of the ceremony?
4. What is the location of their Plan B just in case of bad weather or other disaster?
5. How many guests will be attending? (will you need to use a PA?)
6. Would they like to include rituals, readings, poetry, music in their ceremony?
7. How they'd like to enter the ceremony?
8. How they'd like to exit the ceremony?
9. Will they be having a professional photographer and if so, would they like their ceremony to be 'unplugged'?
10. Have they chosen witnesses?
11. Do they need an interpreter?
12. Would they like to include special wording or make special mention of a loved one?
13. Will they be having a wedding party (groomsmen, bridesmaids, flowergirls, pageboys, etc...)
14. Do they have any specific requests, wants or needs duing the ceremony?
15. Do they have guests who have specfic needs during the ceremony?
16. Do they have a vision for their ceremony?
Then to get to know the couple or family more personally, you might need to ask questions such as:
1. Tell me the story of how you first met?
2. How long have you been together?
3. What is it that you love about each other?
4. What does marriage mean to you both?
5. How do you feel that you have changed or added to your partner's life?
6. Why can't you live without your partner?
If you are a member of The Celebrants Network, you have access to a special Resources Page full of printable PDFs to take with you to client meetings.
There are thousands of celebrants in Australia, so how are you going to find the right celebrant for you? You ask Questions.
1. Are you available on our date?
2. Are you willing to travel to our location?
3. Do you charge travel fees?
4. How much experience have you had with our type of ceremony?
5. Do you provide a PA system? Is it portable?
6. What else is included in your service?
7. What are your fees?
8. What is your cancellation policy?
9. Tell us about why you became a celebrant
10. Would you like to be part of our special day?
11. When can we meet you for a coffee?
To find a celebrant in your area or the location of where you ceremony will be held - you can search here in The Celebrants Network Celebrant Directory
You're exactly right Rhonda. I give my couples a written questionnaire as I find that asking them personal questions face to face doesn't ever get me the in depth answers I'm after. People are far more likely to give you more information if they're allowed to answer the questions in their own personal time and space.
Thanks Shell. Just thought I would check this out as sometimes with people who are a little shy and quiet it can be hard to get a feel for them. I usually do all the points above as well as 'What makes you happy?'
What are your interests/hobbies? What is your best memory together? What bugs you about him/her?
I also explain I am doing a crash course of getting to know them hence the questions. It gives me material for adding some quirkiness and little giggles to the day.