Yes, we have found someone and booked them and I can heave a sigh of relief.
(Note to non-Australian readers: apparently this is not a common term in other countries? It refers to a civil celebrant, which means someone who is licensed by the State to carry out marrriage ceremonies.)
I don't want to name her because I feel a bit odd about including identifying details in this blog (plus, what if she ends up being awful? I won't be able to complain in case she sees this!) but hopefully I will be able to recommend her highly after the ceremony. I immediately clicked with her on the phone. After my unfortunate experiences with other celebrants, I realised that being snubbed by these people was the best possible thing, because it meant that I saw immediately that these were not people I wanted associated with my wedding. When I told this lady that I was interested in a quote, and that I had had a hard time with other celebrants, she was shocked and sympathetic, and immediately talked me through her prices. We arranged to meet at her house on the 22nd, and I dutifully wrote "Tuesday 22nd" next to her address on my notebook.
Of course, you might have noticed that the 22nd was Monday. I didn't! And so we rocked up at 7:30 on Tuesday evening to be met at the door by a surprised lady in her dressing-gown.
She was very nice about it, went and changed and sat and talked to us for nearly two hours. We talked about all the things that were important to us, the kind of wedding we wanted to have and the kind of people we were, and we really clicked with her. We were planning to meet with a couple of other people but we were so happy we decided (through silent eye-talking) to sign up with her right away.
Her prices were around the same mark as the other quotes we had been getting, but when I mentioned that we didn't want a rehearsal, she offered to take some money off. We were really grateful for that-- we'd talked to her about being on a budget, and she was very understanding. I even talked about not feeling comfortable with the ideology of weddings and over-consumption, and she agreed.
It was really exciting talking about the ceremony and the vows. I look at a fair amount of so-called 'wedding porn' on the internet, but I hardly ever see anything about the ceremony. It's all about the 'details': the letterpress invitations, the gorgeous red shoes, the origami centrepieces. And while all of these things are nice, it was good to talk about what we're actually doing all of this for. It's starting to feel very real, and I can't wait.
So the venue and the celebrant are both booked, which makes me feel pretty good! I don't think there's anything else which urgently needs attention, so we can relax (well, concentrate on the massive amounts of artwork we're supposed to be working on) until later in the year at least.