You might have noticed that we have budgeted $400 for a celebrant. If you live in the US, you might be thinking, That's crazy! It only costs $5 and a stick of gum to get married in my state, and anyone can perform the ceremony! Well, lucky you. Unfortunately, in Western Australia, we prefer people to live in sin, and even just getting married at the registry office costs $340. That's why they call it the Sexy State! (Not really.)
Anyway, you are required by law to have a proper marriage celebrant and it seems that the absolute lowest price you will pay is $350, so we budgeted for $400 because we want to get someone we like. Today I have been calling celebrants to get quotes, and it sucks.
It turns out that it is a gigantic faux pas to call a celebrant, introduce yourself and say that you are calling around for quotes. I have been greeted with a freezing silence by all but one of the people I have called. When I explained that we don't want a rehearsal, one of the women was openly disdainful. On another call, the woman took the opportunity to tell me that the most important part of the wedding was the ceremony (really? I thought it was mostly just an excuse to eat cake) and that the money wasn't really important (when ever someone says this, they are trying to sell you something) and the most important thing was that we found a very professional person and "if you pay peanuts, you may end up with a monkey!"
To which I should have replied, "Holy shit, really? I can get a monkey to perform the ceremony? Fucking sweet!"
Anyway, I wanted to write about this because I was surprised at my reaction. I felt awkward and embarassed. I know that I have a right to ask for quotes. I know that treating a wedding as though it's so sacred that money doesn't matter is ridiculous, and that you can be very serious about your relationship without being obsessively serious about your wedding. But it still made me feel like crap to be talked to as though I was kind of trashy to be considering the issue of money. And that makes me angry.
The thing is, I've been to a few weddings, and I've almost always found the celebrant to be a bit rubbish. They're soppy and false, or they crack jokes, or they talk about themselves, or they forget the names of the people they're marrying (seriously). So I'm not necessarily expecting the ceremony to be the most wonderful moment of my life. It will be special no matter what, because it is the moment when I marry the person I love. But it's not necessarily going to that much more special because I paid $600 for someone to rehearse the wedding beforehand, or because we get to sign the certificate with gold-plated pens in chairs with matching organza ribbons.
Now that I think about it, though, it really would be more special with a monkey.