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How did I do 27 weddings in one month?

A few responses to my May 2022 email about having done 27 marriage ceremonies this month before prompted questions from celebrants across our Australian membership base and even internationally. Donna asked "how do you juggle that many" and others asked how I got that many bookings and other questions around the zone. How did I get 27 weddings in one month? Well, first of all, two of them were last-minute additions because a Celebrant Institute member got the spicy cough, and only two were fresh bookings or "new money" if you like. The rest were layovers from the two years of Covid - many couples on their third or fifth date — plus there were a handful of flood postponements as well. In the end, I've committed to just getting them done. That said, I've always operated at a high level of work in my business, and I've always had these words from Kevin Kelly in my mind when getting there:

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Words to an aspirational celebrant

I met one of my neighbours this morning and he mentioned he was becoming a celebrant soon so he could marry two friends who are getting married soon. I gave him the spiel I give anyone and everyone becoming a new celebrant, but I thought it’d be something worth putting down in a blog post, and hopefully if you’re a hopefully future celebrant then this can be an encouragement to you too.

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How to start taking better photos at your weddings

An element of my social media content strategy I'm quite proud of is that I've really worked hard at making better photos, photos that I have made - and therefore own - so that I have photos and video for my own social media channels and blog. If you're interested in pursuing that art as well, Josh Rose has written a really good guide that I think would help you. It's aimed at taking better holiday photos, but the advice translates directly to weddings as well.

Questions to ask your couples for your review or testimony

Jason Fried has posted a list of questions he asks referees he calls for new employees. I read through the list and thought that it would be equally impressive to see our clients answer some or all of these questions in their reviews. Shape the questions so they serve you, but instead of asking for a plain old review, try asking your couples a question and ask them to share it as a Google, Facebook, or other form of review.

Getting your start in funerals

You've reached one of our members-only articles. Celebrant Institute members get access to read articles about building and running a sustainable celebrancy business, the nuances around the Australian marriage laws, advertising...

Acknowledgement of Country in our weddings

First Australians have been marrying for thousands of years on the land we now call Australia. Terra Australis, the southern land, was home to people well before the Dutch or the British "discovered" it, so as much as Australian law requires us to identify that we the celebrants are authorised to marry people according to Australian law, common decency would see us acknowledge the truth of the land we stand on to create ceremony.

How to record the location of a marriage ceremony on the water or in the air

Lizzie asks: "My couple is getting married on a boat in The Pittwater located on the Northern Beaches of Sydney. Please advise how I best record the "at" on the docs for a wedding adrift." The Guidelines to the Marriage Act, in relation to the place a wedding would occur, gives this poor advice: "The marriage must be registered in the state or territory where the marriage was solemnised. To meet this requirement, and possible requirements of other countries for recognition of the marriage, marriages in aircraft and ships at sea should be avoided." I'm not going to say they're wrong, but they're not right. Australian authorised marriage celebrants have the authority and the ability to marry couples anywhere and at any time on any day within Australia and its territories.

Three practical ways to increase your price

I’m not backwards in coming forwards about celebrants raising their price. I’ve given a number of good reasons in the past, but as lockdowns and travel bans continue to fuel the bonfire that is the state of the wedding industry today I was inspired by the idea that we, the wedding industry need not bare the burden that is wedding postponements, we are not wedding insurers, we are professional creatives. We are not wedding insurance. That’s not to diminish your want and desire to be generous and kind to your clients, be that, and more, but you are not their wedding insurance. Their wedding being postponed should not bankrupt you. So assuming you’re already ready to raise your price, if not read this, here’s three practical ways you can increase your price today.

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7 Insurances celebrants should have

A member has asked about whether the Celebrant Institute membership includes insurance. It doesn’t, and we’ll be honest with you, that’s because we reached out to a bunch of insurance brokers and insuring you lot in such a general way turned out to be so expensive and hard, that it wouldn’t be worth it for you, or for us, to offer such a broad stroke of insurance, when each of your businesses are so unique and personal.

So here’s the seven insurances I think every wedding celebrant should at least consider, and of course you need to do your own research and consider your own circumstances.

Please note that this is general information only and should not replace financial or professional insurance advice. Talk to a licensed insurance broker, business advisor or insurer for detailed advice. 

None of this information has been influenced by an outside business and we have received no payments or discounts for offering this information. 

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Are you ready if someone tries to hack you and steal your client’s personal data

Reading the news today about the meat manufacturer that paid up $11 million in ransom to cybercriminals after having its business shutdown over a hack recently, my mind turned to celebrants.

I hold grave fears that any day now there’s going to be an Australian marriage celebrant breached by a hacker, and all of their clients’ NOIM, Marriage Certificate, Passport, Divorce, Drivers License, details will be leaked, stolen, sold.

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“The truth is most of your followers won’t see what you share” on Instagram

Instagram has shared a post today about how and why people see what they see on Instagram. I’m not going to speculate on how much of this is smoke and mirrors, or politics, or conspiracy theories. Instead, lets take them at their word and believe what they say.

You can read the whole report here, and I’ll share some excerpts and thoughts on it below.

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Our 1st Birthday Competition

One year ago today Sarah Aird took over the reins of Life Skills Training, and this year we relaunched as the Celebrant Institute RTO with the contract to provide ongoing professional development for Australian civil celebrants, alongside the Certificate IV in Celebrancy, the cornerstone qualification required to become a celebrant.

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If Facebook shuts your page down, are you prepared?

Your Facebook page, Instagram page, Google My Business account, your LinkedIn, and god forbid any of you have a Parler account, but they’re all not your property. Running your business on the back of those properties is like going to your local cafe and setting up shop at a table. Putting up a little sign with Married By John Citizen on it, and accepting meetings and enquiries there. It might be ok for the longest period of time (thanks for hosting me, Sisterhood Coffee), but at any time that business owner can ask you to leave and not come back.

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Ultimate Guide to Creating Automation For Your Customer Journey

I recently spoke via video at the Wedding Business CEO Summit and spoke on the process of creating a customer journey. My talk was called There’s A Fraction Too Much Friction: Automation For Your Customer Journey. I believe this is an important and valuable topic for all wedding business people to get in their life, and I’m so glad I get to share it with Celebrant Institute members.

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How to get couples to book you as their celebrant

“I’ve a question about that first meeting – I’ve met a few couples, tried coming from different angles ie. Asking what they have in mind for their ceremony, how they met, build rapport, let them talk or I do most of the talking – introducing myself and how I help them with my process and system. Have not sealed the deal. What do you recommend as discussion points for the first meeting, for high chances of booking soon after?”

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What if Google didn’t exist?

Google, in light of legislation being introduced in Australia, has threatened to pull out of the Australian market. I’m sure they won’t, if only because they won’t walk away and leave $59 billion of income on the table and destroy the trust in their brand over a couple of dollars being paid to news organisations.

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022 Social Media Challenge: You can ASCII me anything

In the beginning there was the text, and the text was good. It was all we knew. We called it ASCII, ASCII codes represent text in computers. When I first used a personal computer in 1991 “computer graphics” were mostly just text in the shape of graphics, like this was a ¯\_(ツ)_/¯: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. And despite us inventing all of the great technologies that allow us to view videos, blogs, photos, and the rest online, in today’s challenge, we’re sticking with the original: text.

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