Six AI chat prompts celebrants can use to make fresh content today

Six AI chat prompts celebrants can use to make fresh content today

Want to start playing with AI chat in a way that will make sense to your celebrancy practice and business? Here are five prompts you can ask to get a unique insight into your business today.

I’m using Microsoft Bing today because it has internet access. (ChatGPT kind-of has internet access, it’s complicated but we’ll just use Bing today).

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Start playing with generative AI

Start playing with generative AI

I’m the guy who’s always trying to be at the cutting edge, not to be cool or strange, but just because I have years of experience that have told me that the cutting edge eventually makes its way down to the rest of the population quickly enough and when it does I’d like to be prepared. That’s my whole stance on AI. If you were to peer through Sarah and my iMessage history it’s mostly me demoing generative AI stuff to her and in response, Sarah wows and compliments me on sharing. I’m a tad over-excited about it but I truly do think that the current phase of computing that the media dubs “AI” is going to change everything.

The best way to understand computers forever is that they work on a GIGO system. Garbage in, garbage out. Whatever you put in gets computed and is spat back out at you. If it’s garbage in, you get garbage out.

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Get AI-generated summaries of your video calls

Get AI-generated summaries of your video calls

2020 brought us many gifts, but for so many the lasting gift is video calls. We had them before 2020 but they’re very normal to have today. So when I found this new tool that records, transcribes, and then summarises your video calls I was coloured curious.

TL;DV is the name of the app, a play on the TL;DR meme of writing. TL;DR means “too long, didn’t read”.

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Open up the old internet and just toss some stuff in there

Open up the old internet and just toss some stuff in there

Josh wrote an article here on the Celebrant Institute website and received lots of feedback on it, and Sarah had some thoughts on it. Here’s the link to the edited article, and the archived version from before this podcast episode.

Link to listen in new page or in your podcast app


Josh Withers
Welcome to another episode of Australia’s 48th favourite celebrant podcast. So I’ve interviewed 49 people, Sarah, and they said that this is definitely, definitely their favourite except for one person.

Sarah Aird
Okay dude, you need to stop making up statistics. I think that we learned that yesterday.

Josh Withers
Oh, yeah, true.

Sarah Aird
So no more making up statistics. Correct.

Josh Withers
No more. Welcome to the Celebrant Talk Show then in that case.

Sarah Aird
There you go.

Josh Withers
No stats backing out. My name is Josh Withers and the other voice you’re hearing is Sarah Aird. We are not just the co-host of the Celebrant Talk Show podcast, we’re also the co-founders of the Celebrant Institute. And in case you need one more data point to know who we are, Sarah is also, I really like I want to call you the principal, like school principal, because that’s kind of how I understand you’re also identifying a CEO of the celebrant Institute, RTO.

Sarah Aird
Yes. That is the term that they use for us.

Josh Withers
But school principal is how I view you.

Sarah Aird
Sure. I think I’m also called the executive officer and also something, some other like hire something, something anyway. Yeah. I’m called many, I have many hats. They all just mean the same thing. Um, and we’ll go with school principal. I quite like that.

Josh Withers
I like it. Yeah. Uh, I’m recording this podcast in Hawaii, because that’s where we are this week. Uh, Sarah, I believe you’re still in inner city, Melbourne.

Sarah Aird
Yes. I’m in Melbourne where it is 3.30 PM on Monday, the 1st of May, which is not, it’s still April in Hawaii, isn’t it?

Josh Withers
Actually the most confusing thing for me this year doing this travel around the world is, um, I want to produce the monthly email that goes out for the Celebrate Institute subscribers, um, on the first day of each month. And I, I really have to do this. There’s this whole brain fart that goes on. I’m like, what day is the first day of the month? And it turns out that it’s today, the 30th of April, um, in Hawaii. So it’s 7.30 PM here and, uh, glad to be here.

Sarah Aird
You’re not the only person who does that. So fashion critical is an amazing Facebook page that I follow. And she comments on people’s red carpet outfits and she’s hilarious. And yesterday she put a post going, hold the horses. everybody tomorrow is the Met Ball Gala thing. I will be posting. It’s very exciting. And today she posted and went, actually I forgot that it’s America. So the first of May in America is like tomorrow our time. So sorry, I won’t get be getting a post today. I promise it’s not just you.

Josh Withers
Well, uh, look, talk about posting. I did post something. Open up the old internet and just toss some stuff in there. People love it.

Sarah Aird
Okay. So the entire reason that we are recording this podcast today is because I wanted to talk to you about the article that you posted on Saturday. I wanted to provide some more context and I wanted to provide a response from me as well because I haven’t done that yet. So let’s just wind back the clock a few days, shall we? So this all started, Josh, when you sent me a screenshot of a post that a friend of yours, a photographer friend of yours had made on their personal Facebook page, a bit of a rant about a celebrant that he had worked with at a wedding recently. And that celebrant was really trying to do his job as the photographer for him. And it wasn’t going down very well. Yeah, it wasn’t a lot of fun for him. wasn’t a lot of fun for him and it was way outside the bounds of anything I have ever heard of a seller and doing before. So in response to that, so you sent me that, we had a bit of a, “Oh my God, here we go again,” because this is not an isolated incident. I reckon several times a year, you send me messages that photographers have sent you or you’ve seen in a photography group about something that a celebrant has done at a wedding. Often it’s things that we’re aware of that, you know, something like, for example, this is something that I learned in my first year. Like the celebrant has said, “Do we need another kiss to make sure the photographer gets it?” Now, I used to say that in my first year until a photographer told me that was really offensive because it suggested they weren’t doing their job. And I went, “Shit, good point. I hadn’t thought about that. Thanks for the feedback. Now I still like to have a second kiss because I think there should be lots of kissing at a wedding, but I don’t phrase it in terms of putting down another vendor. I phrase it as family and friends. Do we need more kissing so that we always get another kiss? Because they’re getting married. Let’s have all the kissing. But that was a really valuable thing for me. And that is something that might be one of the things that you have sent me over the years or a celebrant being in the kiss shot. And that’s been uploaded to a photographer group. Things that we, again, things that we see happen all the time. A lot of them are because the celebrant in question doesn’t know. They haven’t learned yet. That’s okay. We have to learn these things. But this one was way outside the bounds of that. And there were things that were not, not even, not normal and not okay. And then a couple of days later, I think it was Saturday, you said to me in response to that post, “I’ve written this list for the Celebrant Institute. Can you have a look and see if there’s anything that you would add to the list?” I, in my usual fashion, when you ask me to review a list, I only reviewed the list. I didn’t read the introduction to the article. I just read the list. And I thought the list was pretty good. I sent you back a couple of things that I would add to it, which you did, which was really good. But I thought the list, just the list, I thought was pretty much okay. Yes, some of your style in the way you write is not the way I would have written it. But that’s one of the things that makes us a good partnership is that we have very different styles. We do things differently and we’ve never been afraid to challenge each other. This is your article not mine so I wasn’t about to correct your style. And so I went, “Yep, great, no problem.” It went out. It got some fairly positive reaction on Facebook

but not so much on Instagram. And I sat watching it unfold on Instagram yesterday Um, as a lot of celebrants got really upset about the way it was presented,

not about the message, but about the messaging, if you like.

So the tone, um,

and I sat there yesterday,

watching it unfold and thinking to myself, I don’t know what to do here.

Do I weigh in? I’m worried about looking different.

like I’m being defensive.

On the other hand, Josh is my business partner

at the Celebrity Institute is a partnership between us.

This impacts on me as well, potentially.

I didn’t want to stir the pot anymore.

I didn’t want to give any more kind of ammunition,

I guess, or oxygen.

I also didn’t want to shut it down.

I didn’t want people to stop being able

to air their responses,

because I think it’s really important

that if you’ve had a response, a visceral response like that,

you should have the opportunity to air it.

So for example, I know that some brands

will just turn off comments.

I didn’t think that was gonna be a useful strategy.

I thought about making a post saying something like that,

I thought the points were good,

but I thought maybe the delivery could have some changes,

but I didn’t want to sound like I was being paternalistic

to you, which means, you know, being parental and this is the way you should do things.

Like people were accusing you of being towards them.

So I’ve just been sitting with it for, you know, it’s now kind of 48 hours since the

original post went out and I’ve thought of lots of different ways.

I’ve thought about rewriting the article and so posting them side by side about, you know,

because I do believe that in the message, maybe this is a better way of putting it.

I’ve thought about this doing exactly what we’re doing now, this podcast episode.

I thought about making my own video in response.

None of the options I came up with were perfect.

Part of me wants to go and hide in a corner and not respond to this all

because I don’t like confrontation and this is terrifying.

And I’m not trying to be confrontational to anybody.

Not our not the people who have raised their concerns.

or to you. What I’m trying to say is we got this wrong.

We got this wrong.

Josh got it wrong in the way he wrote it.

I got it wrong because I missed it.

So I want to talk a little bit about me missing it.

The first thing is, as I said, I didn’t read the introduction,

and I think the introduction to the article is where most of the issues are.

And I’m going to talk you through Josh,

where I think the specific issues are in the specific wording,

because I know that a lot of the feedback we’ve been getting

has been very much about your tone, but without giving you specific examples of where that might

be problematic or how it could be done differently to have a different impact. So yeah, I didn’t read

the introduction, which is my mistake, but I don’t read everything Josh writes because I don’t have

time. And yesterday was my Saturday was I was with my family when he sent it to me and blah, blah,

Anyway, the second reason I think I missed it is because I have been reading your stuff

for so long that I am just used to this is the way you write.

Let’s be fair, you’ve been pissing celebrants off for 15 years

in the way that you write because often, and it has put a target on your back and you and I have

talked about that before because often your writing can come across as you know all the things and

other people don’t and it can come across a bit as you telling them they have to do it this way.

Now I think you’ve softened a lot in the last, well certainly in the 10 years that I’ve known you,

I think that you’ve gone very much from I know that you were taught to do it this way but that

way is wrong and this is the way I do it and that’s the only good way because that’s how you used

to be. I don’t think you’re really quite that anymore. You’ve definitely softened and you’ve

definitely moved more into sharing your knowledge and experience and saying this is how I do it,

this is something for you to think about. I think there’s some specific ways that we can change

this specific article. But because I’ve been reading your writing for so long, I’m just used

to it. So it was just like, oh yeah, let’s just Josh being Josh. Sometimes he’s a bit,

we have a bit of a hyperbole with, you know, all celebrants do this or 99% of celebrants

don’t engage with professional development or whatever it is. Because that is the way you write.

your writing is very usually heightened and escalated and that’s the way you get your point

across by being over the top. And that’s, you know, when you are talking to your couples,

it’s generally been okay because a lot of them love that shit. The ones who don’t,

they just don’t hire you and that’s easy. But in this circumstance, you are, we’re trying to

teach and to mentor and to, and there are, what is that terrible saying?

You attract more bees with honey. Is that what it is?

So there’s softer ways of doing that.

And yeah, so that’s why I think I missed it,

because I’ve been reading your stuff for so long and I’m just used to it.

So having said all of that,

now that I’ve looked at it again with some fresh eyes,

I’ve got a few very specific examples of where I think the problems have arisen.

And if it’s okay, I’m just, I just thought I’d take that, take you through them.

Please, please.

So if we start at the top of the original article, um,

I think the first paragraph is amazing.

We talk about the wedding industry being weirdly unique because two people who’ve

never arranged an event before are arranging this massive event.

They’re bringing 15 to 20 vendors together who might never have worked

together before and they expect it all to go off without a huge yes.

Correct. We need to work together to make that happen.

This is the next bit is where I think we get into a bit of trouble is that we

talk about celebrants.

It’s time we sat down and we’re pissing off other vendors.

Instead of saying some celebrants are pissing off other vendors,

there’s been an instant, all of you are doing the wrong thing,

whether that is how you intended it or not, because I’m pretty sure it’s not.

Your intentions are never, I know that your intentions never malicious.

I know that your intentions are to raise all of us up,

but that is how people will have taken it.

Every single one of you is doing the wrong thing. Um,

because it says we, and it says celebrants,

it doesn’t qualify that at any point to say some celebrants are pissing off

other vendors.

Some celebrants are not making this as easy as it could to be a

team that’s working together. So I think that’s the first thing.

And when people have read that and gone, “Jeez,

he’s having a go at me because he’s included me and everyone,”

they’re now in a negative mind frame to read the rest of the article.

I think we also didn’t need, I’m making the grand assumption that you’re already aware

of the legal aspects of being a marriage celebrant and I’m not going to tell you how to make

a ceremony.

It’s a bit condescending.

We didn’t need it.

It’s not relevant to this, to this article.

Can I, can I add some explanatory notes to the, to that?


Because I suppose reading this and getting the feedback on it, like my, well, anyone’s

writing, just I’m sure it’s not personal to me.

writing is just a textual representation of the existing mental models and workflows and

just how they think that’s, if you’ve never written before, that’s kind of what it is.

It’s just, you’ve already got this shit in your brain and it kind of hits a keyboard

and you know, it goes out like that. And so something I think about a lot with the entire

Celebrant Institute, not the RTO, but just our, the membership and their writing is that there’s,

there’s these, sometimes I visualize it as silos and sometimes I visualize it as kind of layers,

foundational layers of being a celebrant and talking to them. And I separate them because,

so the very base layer, the foundational kind of on the ground is the, there’s legal stuff.

They’re just the legals.

You know, we’ve got professional development courses on refreshing the legals.

You’ve got a whole search for, well, it’s not just about the legals, but obviously deeply

covers the legals.

And that stuff is just not even like, there’s like 1% room for creativity.

Like you can have a bit of fun with the vows kind of, no, but yeah, words to that effect.



But like 99.99% of the legal stuff.

That’s not the face.


these, these just are the little laws and the rules and et cetera.

And it’s not, it’s not kind of convertible.

And then, um, and then there’s this next level of like, just base kind of operating as a

celebrant, like the practice of being a celebrant.

And then there’s, yeah, this was the latest thing kind of falls apart from here.

Cause there’s obviously like, uh, this kind of celebrant, that kind of celebrant and obviously

different kinds of ceremonies.

And, but there’s, um, yeah, I suppose in my mind, if we’re gonna talk about legal stuff,

then let’s talk about legal stuff.

And it’s in this frame of mind. This is like, this is just what the words in the act say. So,

you know, sorry. And then, um, and then it says above what this article about is like,

there’s levels of creativity and there’s, yeah, any easy example of script, no script, you know,

um, and, and neither one’s right or wrong. And I’m so excited to talk about them in so many levels.

Um, but it’s, it’s very, um, subjective to everyone. Um, and so I suppose in like, cause

I’ve been thinking about this article for years and, uh, and, and I thought, well, this,

this is sits beneath those creative levels of like, I’m script or no script or whatever.

I, you know, on the, on the bearded, so I’m the diving, so whatever, whatever, wherever you sit

sit in that world, it’s beneath that, but it’s above legals.

And that sentence was me kind of classifying that I read back and I say,

I can see how it can sound kind of sending. Um,

and obviously the addressing celebrant as opposed to some celebrants. Uh,

I suppose in my mind, I, a little bit,

a little bit like the hashtag not all men,

like when people talk about sexual abusers or, uh,

or men are sexual abusers, that I don’t feel offended at that.

Cause I’m like, oh cool.

I’m well aware of my position in that.

I am not one of those people.

So what they’re talking about isn’t me,

even though they’re talking about men,

they’re not talking about me.

But then also I know men who they hear,

they’re like, ah, I’m so angry.

And so I do understand how the addressing

of an audience matters.

And so I see how I miss the mark there.

  • And I think that’s one of the things

that’s been picked up a few times in some of the comments has been this article addresses

us as a homogeneous bunch, as if all celebrants are the same. We know that not all celebrants

are the same. And I think that if we try to address our articles more to some celebrants,

I think that that’s reasonable because we know,

you know, that every celebrant does it differently. We know that, um,

that, and we know that not everything on this list is going to

apply to every single celebrant.

We also know that there are some things on this list that, I mean,

some celebrants probably can, um,

a lot of celebrants probably can relate to some of the things on this list,

but not others. And that’s okay too.

So I think maybe if we, you and I, are more careful about the way we address our articles

to admit that, to acknowledge that there are nuances within the celebrant community

and that there are lots of different types of people out there.

So I guess that’s what I wanted to say about that.

And I think that, as I say, when you start to read something and you’re immediately on the

defensive because you think he’s having a go at me, then he,

then you’re not going to read the rest of the list with a,

with an maybe open or positive mindset that you might’ve read if the introduction

had been phrased differently, even if the, um,

title had been different. You know what?

I’m actually okay with the title of the article because it’s clickbait.

This is what we have to do to get shit read these days.

Like I’ve got a website stats open on an average day we get between 150, so not 150, 100, 250

views on our website.

No one reads, sorry, no one.

I shouldn’t say no one.

But you know, on the first…

Not heaps of people.

Not heaps of people.

You know, and I see our membership numbers, like 96% of the celebrants aren’t a member

of the celebrants.

So I guess I’m also writing, I’m like, well, you know what?

I think this is important.

I’d like people to see it.

Because the reason why people see it

is not for the reason that someone can come and say,

gosh, I can take all the money.

$10 a month isn’t going to–


It’s not a deal breaker.

But I deeply am interested in raising

the standard of celebrancy so that when someone says,

I’m a celebrant, um, the reaction is like, Oh my gosh,

like your craft, your profession is, is, is excellent and profound and amazing.

And we get that to an extent, but also, uh, when I said that,

I hear so many stories like just a few days ago, I heard a story.

Yeah. So I went over to him last week at the celebrant.

Couldn’t remember the name. I cool. Cool. That’s so I’m sorry.

I don’t do that, but, uh, I don’t know how to react to that. You know,

Maybe like if you’re a surgeon, you’re a surgical,

my mate was killed by a surgeon last week when he was doing his transplant.


So in terms of how I would present this because,

you know, a few people have said to me today, you don’t write like that. Well,

no, I don’t. That’s what I’ve said before. Josh and I are different.

We have different styles. I might have presented this as, um,

we have had feedback.

Both Josh and I have had feedback from other wedding professionals over the years

that some of the celebrants they work with are doing some of these things or

many of these things, um, they might,

it might be useful for you to consider if you’re doing any of them in your own

practice, they’re good for you to think about. Um,

and maybe think about different ways of doing things.

If any of these things do resonate with you,

or if something in here is something that you’re doing that you’ve had good

feedback on, maybe ask, you know,

the photographer at your next wedding. Hey, I’ve been doing this. Is this helpful?

Because they’ll tell you.

And also remember that the photographers are different.

Some photographers love the celebrants to help with the group photo.

Some photographers fucking hate it.

So ask the photographer.

That’s I think that’s the biggest point here is to open the lines of communication.

So if some of the things on this list, if you go, well, I do that,

but I know that the photographer likes it.

make sure every photographer likes it because some of them won’t.

And so it’s just about asking the question.

And I know there’s a lot of things that I have learned over my years

through receiving feedback.

I don’t always get feedback because as we canvassed in that

in the Instagram post, some of the photographers are like,

yeah, I’ve tried to feedback to celebrants and it’s not worth it

because they don’t listen.

That when I have received feedback, it’s generally been because I’ve asked for it.

And it’s, and asking for it only makes me a better celebrant.

So I think if there’s something on this list that you’re doing that you think is helping,

please ask and make sure it is helping and that it’s not just that you think it’s helping.

I hope that doesn’t sound awful.

Anyway, I do want to go through the list because I do think that a lot of it is again really useful,

but I think there’s, there’s probably some wording things.

Actually, there’s just one more thing I wanted to say.

The other thing is that I think it’s possible that the people who read the

Instagram post and then moved to, moved on and read the,

the article we’re possibly preaching to the converted.

We’re possibly talking to the people who are already all over this stuff.

And they’re, you know, they’re professional, they really great,

great team players and they’re doing all the right things. Or, you know,

they’re working well together and checking in and communicating and all those sorts of


It’s possible that the people who really need to read this are not the ones who are following

us on Instagram and who are reading our articles.

So that’s another possibility.

And then of course, when you, you are already doing all of these things and it’s presented

to you as a you, because all of us are doing the wrong thing.

Sometimes that can lead to feelings of defensiveness as well.

So it’s possible we’re already preaching to the converted, but anyway.

Yeah. Yeah. Not very fair.

Yeah. So the first one here is that they don’t need us to set up shots.

I think that that’s really fair.

I am checking in with the photographer all the way through.

And by checking in, I mean, I’m making eye contact with them all the way through the


I actually had a ceremony many years ago where I was about to present, I was about to declare

them husband and wife and asked them to kiss.

And I happened to make eye contact with the photographer who started

desperately shaking his head at me because his SD card had run out in his camera.

And he needed to change it before the kiss to make sure he got the kiss shot.

And because I am always checking in and I happened to look at him at that moment,

I could go, okay, I’m just going to wait a minute before they say the next bit.

just while the photographer changes his card over.

So it’s that kind of that communication,

which is eye contact and gestures.

It’s not necessarily a,

hey mate, are you ready for the kiss?

Like, can I go?

It’s only ever happened once in my, you know,

nearly 500 weddings,

but I’m really glad that I’ve got that practice

of always kind of checking in through eye contact.

And yet the signing the same as Josh has said,

closest I would suggest is during the signing you respectfully and politely ask them if they’ve

got everything they need spot on. Um, and I will, I definitely do that also because I’ve had

photographers miss the entire signing because I’m really quick and they got distracted doing

something else. Oops, I was a little bit too quick that day. We just mocked up the signing

during the song. It was fine. It’s no problem. Um, this second one is a really big one and it’s

something that I’m a little bit horrified that we even had to list, but it’s in here.

When you’re on that, like when you’re celebrant, put your phone away. Don’t, don’t be filming

stuff for your TikTok or your, your Instagram. Absolutely the rule can be accepted if an alien

spacecraft arrives. But to be honest, I don’t have my phone anywhere near me. So I would still have

to run to get my phone to capture the alien spacecraft landing. That would be tricky.

Yeah, people. There’s plenty of people with phones and cameras and all the things. I know it’s really

hard to get stuff for social media. I know that it’s really difficult to get stuff from photographers

or even from families, from couples. But yeah, it’s not a good look to be filming stuff on your phone,

especially when you get in the way of the professionals who’ve been hired to be there

to specifically capture those moments. So I think that we can probably all agree that that one’s

not okay. And I think that that one’s written really well. Get out of the way of everyone else

doing their work. Yeah, make sure that people have the space and the time if that means that you

you know need to get there a bit earlier so that you’re set up and ready to go when the photographer

or videographer run in because they’ve been with the bride till the very last minute and now they

they run in and they’re trying to get themselves sorted, you know, maybe that’s okay. But,

yeah, stay out of their way. But I would add here, and I think that we talk about this

later is, is make sure that you check in with them while everyone is setting up. We’ll get

to that. You’re spot on about being in charge of the

vibe at the ceremony and being in control of how it feels. That’s our job. We’ve been

hired to create a feeling and that can then be captured by the photographer and

the videographer and also in the hearts and the minds of all the people who were

there. That was terrible. But that’s,

that’s why we’ve been hired. So we should concentrate on doing that.

You know, be like,

be really careful about making the ceremony as good as possible. Like,

as Josh says in the article, if we need to suggest that chairs could possibly be moved

or, you know, like I know I’ve turned up and the chairs have been not in a straight line

and like the aisle is not in a straight line.

I’m going to ask why that is.

Now, I’ve been to a venue where the venue is like it can’t be in a straight line

because there’s this kink in the way the hill goes and OK, fine.

But at least I’ve asked the question and now I’m satisfied that there’s a reason for it.

So, um, you know, so be it. We, but it’s about communication.

Here’s just a little tweaking with the wording for this one.

There’s a lot of don’ts in this paragraph. And I, um,

like literally the word don’t is in this paragraph quite often.

And I wonder if we can just soften the language a little bit to be things like,

Um, try not to be overbearing and be,

try not to be a drill sergeant. I can really be overbearing.

And I will tell people, I will own up to it. I’ll say, yeah,

I know I’m really bossy. Um, sorry about that.

I just want it to be perfect. So for me,

it’s not necessarily not being, so don’t be overbearing.

It’s sometimes being overbearing,

but then acknowledging it and apologizing for it. So, um,

I wonder if like softening that language a little bit as well would be,

would be softer and, um, less

telling off.

Yep. I think that’s what I’m looking for.

We talk about pay system spot on and we talk about getting the fuck out of the

way for the kiss shot. It’s so interesting to me that, um,

This is, this is a really, and this is something that came up in, I think in the Facebook comments

of somebody saying, “Hey, why don’t you tell the photographers that they don’t need to

tell us to get out of the kiss shot?”

Sorry, I think it was Kelly, I love you, but they do because a lot of celebrants don’t

get out of the kiss shot.

To be honest, it’s mainly religious celebrants who don’t get out of the kiss shot, to be


That’s fair.

see photos of them all the time. And so it’s,

I’m really happy for, um,

for vendors to come and check in with me to make sure that I’m already doing

something that they need me to do. Uh, and that is an often it’s a,

yeah, I’m all over it. Um, so for example,

I was working with a live, um,

duo one day and he came to me beforehand,

somebody I’ve worked with a lot and he said, so just confirming,

you’ll give me a nod when you need me to start playing. Right. And I’m like, yeah,

mate, of course. And he goes, okay, good.

Just checking because the celebrating yesterday didn’t and it just was messy.

So, um, if I’m okay with them checking to make sure

I’m giving them what they need. And so for the photographer,

checking to make sure I’m giving them what they need, getting a kiss shot.

I’m okay with that because then we’re going to make it better. And I, yeah,

I’ve seen too many photos of celebrants peering,

like weirdly, lascivious at the kiss.

It’s very weird.

Can I tell you, this is just a Josh thing that I just love to do because it’s,

I just like to watch the world burn like that. Um,

but if a photographer or someone will come and ask whether I’ll move,

I’ll look him dead in the eye with a really serious face and just say, no, I stand there.

I’ll leave, I’ll leave it for like three or four or five seconds.

I, of course I will.

And look, often when I’m briefing the photographer before the ceremony starts,

because it’s something that is part of my practice, I will go and say to them,

Hey, it’s a pretty standard ceremony.

It’s going to take about 20 minutes.

They’ve got their own vows.

Um, I’ve, they’ve got vow cards.

There’s going to be one reading.

the person will stand over here, whatever it is. And, and I always say,

and I promise I’ll get out of the way for the kiss shot.

So I kind of preempt it. They don’t have to ask cause I’ve already told them again,

some softening language in this one. Don’t be weird about it.

Don’t run or be awkward. A way of softening that could be,

you don’t need to run or be awkward. You know,

like just to be softening rather than starting lots of sentences with the word


Maybe, um, learn to use your PA system spot on.

Um, yeah,

I probably would take out the whole sentence about, um,

don’t blame them to the guests as if someone has screwed you over.

Oh, no, that’s a thing.

I know it’s a thing, but I think it’s a bit harsh. Um, I think,

I think saying just saying a blanket statement about don’t blame other vendors

either publicly or privately,

I think would have just softened that a little bit because I know that they’re

doing it. Um, but I think that that would just soften the message a bit because

it’s still, it’s, it’s really important. We do.

And we do see, we do hear this from lots of celebrants still who,

who do have trouble with the PA system is fine until all the guests arrive and the videographer

plugs in. Those two things often happen at the same time. Often it’s not the videographer

plugging in that is the problem, but it’s some interference maybe with a phone or something

else the guest is standing in between the receiver and the transmitter, those sorts

of things. But because those things happen at the same time, it’s very easy to go, well,

it must be because the videographer plugged in.

I think just a, yeah, just a blanket,

don’t blame other vendors either publicly or privately would just be softer.

Again, I’m trying to, I think the message is important,

but delivering it in a softer way. And look,

you people who are listening, if you disagree,

I would love to hear about it because we both need to make sure that our

language is, is not going to upset people.

Um, and because we don’t, that’s the last thing we want is to,

is to make people upset, um, share it if they want,

tell them how they can get it all good. Before you start the ceremony,

let them know that you’re about to start. That’s really, it’s really important.

Like have that chat. Hey, we’re about to get started. Is that okay? Uh, and,

you know, everyone kind of needs to, to be ready together.

if they’re still setting up their camera or they haven’t put the microphone on the groomsman yet

or whatever it is, they might just need another minute or two. So it’s the checking in. Again,

it’s this constant communication. This is what is super important. I didn’t have any kind of issues

with the language there though. Yes, spot on about their being, if there’s any rituals or things that

aren’t run of the mill, let them know just before the ceremony. This could include if the ceremony

is a bit longer or shorter than normal. The reason I suggested that you add this was actually a story

that a photographer told me many years ago, that there was going to be a candle lighting ritual

during the ceremony and she didn’t know about it and she was therefore in the wrong position

to capture the moment the candles were lit because of where it was in the space and where the bodies

would be between her and the candle. If she’d known about it ahead of time, she would have made

her way around to that side of the room and been there ready to go. So that’s always stuck in my

mind to remember to go, “Hey, there’s going to be a hand fasting and Gran’s going to come up and get

the ties and she’s, I can see her sitting in the front row or whatever it is, whoever’s got the

the rings, you know, just those little things that aren’t, that aren’t normal run of the

mill. And I, it was the same photographer who commented on Instagram and said that she’d

had a situation recently where the celebrant didn’t tell them they weren’t doing the signing

in the middle of the ceremony. They were pulling it out till after the ceremony. And so she

didn’t have chance to get people to hand out the confetti during the signing because that’s

when she usually organizes the handing out of the confetti.

So again, just that comms breakdown. Again, part of that is the breakdown between the

photographer and the couple not having that discussion. But also the photographer and

the celebrant having that discussion beforehand would have been useful. Because even though

that pulling out the signing and putting at the end of the ceremony is becoming a thing

that a lot of celebrants are starting to do in terms of other vendors, they don’t necessarily

know that that’s a thing. So because it’s not normal yet, we just need to tell them

that something different from what they’re expecting is going to happen.

It’s okay, this is a really big one. It’s possible that they want some help with the family and group

photos afterwards, but don’t assume it and don’t announce it unless you’ve spoken to them first.

So this is a really interesting one. I know some photographers who have a very structured way of

doing family photos and they don’t want any assistance with them at all. I know some

photographers who are like, “Oh, celebrant, here’s the list that the family gave me. Can you hang on

to this list and can you call out on your microphone for each group of people to come forward?”

Again, different photographers have different styles just like different celebrants have

have different styles.

So it’s really important that we chat to each other about how that’s going to

work before time, before it happens.

I always chat to my photographers during the signing and I say to them,

I just check in with them. Are you doing a group photo?

Even if the couple have already told me they’re doing one, I check with them.

Are you doing a group photo? Yes. And I say, where would you like to do it?

Because I’m going to send a couple there straight after the processional.

I’m going to say walk down the aisle and they go straight over to that tree

there because that’s where we’re going to do the group photo.

And I’ll explain that.

Which to comment on that,

that’s actually a really good method of moving that energy.

Um, cause trying to get everyone, everyone around is as hard for a group photo.

And so when they go over there, you wouldn’t believe it.

Everyone’s going to follow. And in fact, I put it in my instructions.

I will always say, you know, my housekeeping at the end.

So what’s going to happen now is the couple are going to walk down the aisle.

They’re going to go over to that tree over there.

You’re all going to follow them.

and then there’s going to be a group photo over there.

So please listen out for the photographer’s instructions for that group photo.

I can, I’m not going to do that unless I’ve had the discussion with the photographer though.

If they say I’m not doing a group photo, I go, great, shut my lips.

No comment about a group photo because that’s not what’s going to happen.

And the, what photos are going to happen is not my domain.

That’s the photographer and the couple’s domain.

So I’m not going to make, I’m also not going to make any other comments about who else is going

to be in photos. I sometimes on instruction by the couple, like I’ve had last week, I had,

or a couple of weeks ago, I had the couple say, can you please tell everyone except immediate

family to go to the stable for canapes and drinks and for immediate family to stay here for photos.

Like that was the instruction they wanted me to give in the housekeeping.

I then double checked that with the photographer during the signing

to make sure they were happy with it as well.

And yes, they were.

So for me, again, it’s that communication thing.

Yeah, don’t force them into taking photos that you should take.

I don’t have any issues with the way that is written

because we just shouldn’t do that.

It’s not about us.

It’s about them.

So I’m totally okay with that.

And yeah, this last one, it’s really hard.

they don’t always photos and it’s really nice when they’re good enough to let us have some photos or

video. But yes, send them an email later. Also don’t send them an email like the day of the wedding

or the day after the wedding. My timeline is at the moment is I send it six weeks after the wedding,

even that’s a bit early I think at the moment because a lot of photographers even come back

I can say I’m not quite up to it yet.

So, um, send them an email, you know, eight, 10 weeks later to say,

I’d love to pay you for some photos, um, of the ceremony.

If that’s okay for me to use on my social media and be okay with paying.

I think that’s okay too. Um, Josh, I,

I am like, um, yes.

So your last sentence in there is if you’re like me, a budding photographer,

there’s usually no issue with you taking some photos surrounding the wedding for your social blog

and outside of anything the actual photographer is doing, but I’d run it past the couple when

meeting with them ahead of the wedding. I would also probably run it past the photographer

in my pre-ceremony chat. I would go, “By the way, after the ceremony or like around the ceremony,

I’m just letting you know that I’m taking some photos.” I think that that’s a professional

courtesy to let them know that you’re doing that too. So I think to me, to me it’s a good list.

It’s just there’s some softening in the way that it’s written. I think is what we,

and I think that’s what we’ve been hearing from the feedback of people feeling upset that we’ve

put everybody into the same camp, that everyone’s doing the same thing and that everyone’s doing a

a bad job. We don’t think that. And we’re really sorry that it’s come across that way,

because that’s certainly not the way that it was intended.

And can I echo that, that for the for that I am sorry as well. Mine, as I’ve already

kind of mentioned, but I wasn’t addressing all 10,000 odd celebrants or whatever the

the numbers today. Um, uh,

each and every one of you is terrible.

I purposely didn’t mention names. If you want to mention names,

I’ll be on the list. Didn’t mention names. And, um,

and I suppose if I was presented with that list, I would say, Oh, um,

these points apply to me. These points don’t cool,

but I do now understand how,

how it can be received in a way that has created the response that I’ve received.

And I think that it’s also important.

We are not, we’re not saying we’re sorry that you read it wrong.

We’re not saying that.

We’re not saying that at all.

We’re legitimately putting our hand on our hearts and saying,

we’re really sorry that it came, that it was written in a way

that could be received, not in the way it was intended.

So we’re both going to work on doing that better and, um,

and presenting things as not all some, um,

and the, you know, these are some things that you might want to think about.

So that’s kind of where I am at.

That’s good. I am. I appreciate your, uh, okay.

So as a precursor to this podcast, we had a weird chance and hello,

cause we catch up with friends, but I sort of like leave the, um,

leave the good stuff for the podcast. Cause I, I like, we’re not behind the scenes. Um,

you know, colluding against you if, if, if you’re a person that has responded negatively

because we, yeah, like I’ve already said a couple of times, yeah, my, my heart isn’t

to, to knock you down or to punch down. Um, a few people mentioned like, uh, so me painting

salivants like this does us no help. I’m like, oh, all those other people aren’t reading

this darling, like the couples aren’t reading it and yes, it’s publicly available.

But my heart really was to talk to sell up and say, Hey, I want us to be

appreciated, valued, revered, you know, kind of reminds me a little bit of that.

Um, the women talk about increasing our price and people outrage and like, Oh no,

I want you to have more money.

But that’s another, another podcast for another day.

So, um, Sarah, thank you.

You are welcome.

I hope for everybody out there that’s given some more context and some understanding that we

want to do better and we hope that this goes some way towards providing some of that reflection and

thinking about how we can do better. If any of you have specific comments on any of the specific

wording, whether it be wording that’s in the article or wording that I’ve come up with that might be

softer or different, we’re really keen to hear them because, you know, that’s, to me, that’s the

way we get better is by, you know, constructive feedback. And sometimes the feedback needs to be

specific because sometimes it’s difficult, especially when this is the way Josh always writes,

it can be difficult for him to go, “Okay, but exactly what was the problem?

And why is it a problem this time and it hasn’t been a problem before?”

So, yeah, really, really happy to receive specific feedback if anybody had any.

Yeah, that would be really cool too. Thank you also to everyone who has commented,

to everyone who’s reached out to me privately, and I’m sure there’s been some people who’s

reach out to Josh privately as well. Thank you as well to the people who did find the article

useful. That’s cool. All the celebrants are different and everyone’s going to take different

writing in different ways as well. So that’s another point too. But honestly, we just want

to get better. So any way that we can get better by receiving your comments and your feedback,

waiting for it.

How to become a wedding celebrant in Australia

How to become a wedding celebrant in Australia

How to become a celebrant? It’s easy. You just need to want the best job in the universe, you need to believe that getting and being married is important and awesome, and some public speaking skills wouldn’t go astray.

Here’s our complete guide on how to become a celebrant in Australia.

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Celebrant, help wedding vendors not hate you

Celebrant, help wedding vendors not hate you

After publishing this article and sharing it on social media, quite a lot of feedback was received. So an introduction has been added to add some context and explanation, and the original article has been edited. The original has been archived here. In addition to these efforts, a podcast episode about this post, including an apology, has been posted.


My – Josh’s – heart is to change the world through marriage. I believe with all of my heart that good marriages make good families which make good communities, which are the foundations of good cities, which makes a great world. I boldly believe that if we just married well, we could change the entire world for the better. I also believe that how you start something affects the whole thing, so how you start your marriage matters. This brings us to marriage celebrancy. We, celebrants, do the starting bit.

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Marry From Home – is it legal for Australian couples?

Marry From Home – is it legal for Australian couples?

Stephanie celebrant asks:

I think many of us have seen and have been contacted by “Marry From Home”, who are Advertising “Legal” online Weddings from anywhere in the world!? As Zoom weddings are not permitted in Australia and the company is based in the USA, would couples based in Australia still be considered married if they married over Zoom on a USA website?


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It’s time to update and modernise the Marriage Act of 1961

It’s time to update and modernise the Marriage Act of 1961

Over sixty years ago the Australian people were gifted one of the most progressive and liberating pieces of marriage legislation the world had seen. Anyone could marry, regardless of skin colour, place of birth, legal status, as long as you were 18 or over, not already married, not directly related, and could give one month’s notice – the law at the time assumed only one of you were a boy and the other was a girl. You had to say a handful of words in front of a celebrant – a regular member of the public deemed fit and proper to conduct marriage ceremonies, or a religious minister – and you were married.

Unlike other jurisdictions around the world where the laws and regulations changed from county to county, or even if they were federalised you needed to meet certain standards.

Even in Australia before 1961 different states had racist, sexist, and bigoted laws prohibiting marriage without permission for different members of Australian society.

But it’s been sixty years.

Apart from when the Howard government clarified that people of the same gender couldn’t marry in 2004, in 2013 the Australian Capital Territory same-sex marriage legislation was fought in court and solidified that marriage was not an issue for the states (or territories) and it also wasn’t a constitutional thing, and in 2017 when marriage equality came to be, the Marriage Act of 1961 hasn’t changed a whole lot. Of course there’s the 2002 proper recognition of celebrants, but the marriage legislation isn’t about us, it’s about people wanting to marry inside the boundaries of the greatest nation on earth, the great land down under, Australia.

So what do we think should change?

  • the length of the notice period (personally, I like three days like New Zealand)
  • where in Australia can you marry (why are some territories excluded?)
  • simplification of the paperwork required (what is back of a PDF?)
  • modernisation of the definition of prohibited relationships, taking into account what we know today about procreation with relatives (you know you can marry your dad’s twin brother right?)
  • civil vows to meet the standard of religious vows
  • handing the Form 15 to the couple after the ceremony
  • remote witnessing of the notice of intended marriage (as is currently allowed due to special COVID-19 laws)
  • modernising of the signing of paperwork (you can get a house mortgage with a Docusign)

The act isn’t bad, it’s just a bit crusty and a bit dusty, in need of some attention and love.

In a world facing significant change, from artificial intelligence to global boundaries shifting and changing, and relationships today being different from the sixties, how can we modernise the Marriage Act to prepare for the future, not react to it?

What else should be on the list? Get into the comments below and post, what should be updated, modernised, and changed in Australia’s marriage law to set it on a good path for generations to come.

We’ll take your comments, and those of the other celebrant associations and networks and put a submission together that we can all send to our local members of parliament with a unified voice.

I didn’t have a backup! Happy World Backup Day

I didn’t have a backup! Happy World Backup Day

As a wedding celebrant, you know better than anyone else how important it is to be prepared for the unexpected. From weather conditions to late vendors, to a family member showing up late, there’s always something that can throw a wrench into even the most carefully planned wedding day. And just like you prepare for these potential issues, it’s also important to prepare for the worst-case scenario when it comes to your digital assets.

Recently, as you would have heard in the podcast episode, I fried my laptop – and the worse thing is that I didn’t have a backup for 10 days! Luckily for me, I store most things in the cloud, but all of my current “working files” on my desktop and downloads folder were gone.

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Chat and AI is going to change your entire business

Chat and AI is going to change your entire business

My family was never intellectually positioned enough, or wealthy enough, to subscribe to a newspaper for regular delivery to the home. So, visiting my mate Andrew’s house was a joy because his dad subscribed to the Daily Mercury. I loved the idea of this bundle of paper being dropped on your doorstep every day with stories, classifieds, and information. Here in 2023 we now know that newspapers were disrupted, which is sad, but also the disrupters have brought innovation and efficiency. Ever since we’ve had ideas on how to do things there has always been a new idea on the way, a fresh way of solving the problem always coming down the river stream.

So over the past few years, you’ve probably gotten pretty used to ranking well on Google, making good social media content, and all those things we’ve gotten used to in order to run a sustainable and awesome celebrancy practice. Those ways of doing things are being disrupted.

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Love is patient, as should you business be

Love is patient, as should you business be

I was thinking about 1 Corinthians 13:4 to me recently. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.” If you’re a wedding celebrant you’ve probably heard it a thousand times before. A speaker I know once said, “Love is patient, lust is not.” Think about this concept not in regards to a marriage or relationships, but business.

We build our businesses on a love of the craft, the product, the thing we do. It’s near impossible to start a wedding business today without a spark of fire in your heart, without that deep love for the art in your soul. And that love is patient. Business lust however is not patient. Lust is impatient, rushed, and without thought or wisdom.

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My couple are breaking up, can I just not register their marriage?

My couple are breaking up, can I just not register their marriage?

Marie asks:

I married a couple last night and when I got home registered the marriage and ordered their marriage certificate. This morning I woke up to a string of texts from the bride to not register the marriage and that she no longer wants to be married to him. What do I do? Or what do they do?


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Email is the worst

Email is the worst

A terribly poor recording of the Celebrant Talk Show with Josh and Sarah this week, Josh’s laptop got drunk.

Topics on this episode include:

  • Does ageism exist in celebrancy?
  • Being a celebrant with a disability
  • Email systems and we’re changing them and email is hell
  • Changing the Marriage Act of 1961, Josh’s 2023 project.

Five phrases you should use in your sales pitch

Five phrases you should use in your sales pitch

I read an article on CNBC about five phrases you should use when you’re interviewing for a new job, and it led me down the path that every time we meet with a new couple we’re literally interviewing for the job. Here’s my take on CNBC’s five job-winning phrases with five phrases you can use in wedding sales meetings to win that wedding booking.

1. “In the past, I’ve couples/guests/vendors have noted that [X thing] was better at the wedding, thanks to my [Y skill].”

You’re showing that your skill level is so high, the people you work with or work for also benefit from it.

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I got scammed, and it’ll happen to you!

I got scammed, and it’ll happen to you!

Me, Josh Withers, the guy telling everyone to get better computer security, to change their passwords, and basically instilling the fear of god into celebrants that they will probably get hacked one day soon, that guy fell victim to a scam.

It was about 4pm in the afternoon here in Mexico and I had just emptied my inbox, a noble task in 2023, and the email came in. The email that scares me the most: my main domain name’s renewal had failed due a credit card issue. The last thing I want is for our business’s website and email to fail because the domain name renewal failed.

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The difference between religious ministers and civil celebrants

The difference between religious ministers and civil celebrants

Karen asks:

What are the differences/similarities, restrictions and allowances between a celebrant-led wedding and a church wedding, that is, by an ordained minister. I have noticed a lot of confusion and even ignorance about what can and can’t be done when the question of faith is raised. Can a celebrant read a biblical text, what constitutes a church and why can’t all ministers perform weddings? I am a civil celebrant who came from a faith background and I know, there are many others as well.


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Creating a marriage ceremony versus re-creating a marriage ceremony

Creating a marriage ceremony versus re-creating a marriage ceremony

I recently read Will Anderson’s “written during covid” book I Am Not Fine, Thanks, and his thoughts on creating versus re-creating really captured my mind and has occupied it for the past few weeks (emphasis mine):

I once asked the former Australian cricket captain Steve Waugh what it was like to face the West Indian bowlers. How did you make the decision what shot to play when a ball was coming at your face at 160 kilometres per hour? He told me that you didn’t have time to decide. You just needed to train as well as you could, and then, when you were out there, trust your instincts that you will play the right shot. Try to get out of your own head and out of your own way. That is the approach I like to take with my stand-up. Part of the reason I normally like to keep my show a bit loose is that I have a theory that there are two distinct states of stand-up comedy: creation and re-creation.

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Change your passwords

Change your passwords

Depending on who you talk to, International Change Your Password Day is January 20 or February 1. Either way, in Australia we’ve missed both those dates, and because I’m writing this in Mexico I just saw the tweet from Fastmail reminding me.

Regardless of the “national date” consider this your reminder to change all of the important passwords in your world. In my humble opinion, all of the important passwords in your life should be changed annually. Because

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16 Ways a celebrant can end up in jail for six months

16 Ways a celebrant can end up in jail for six months

Sarah and I have been reviewing the Guidelines to the Marriage Act and one chapter caught my eye and I thought maybe you didn’t know how many things you could do that would end you up in jail for at least six months, or with “five penalty units” whatever they are.

You can find it all detailed heavily in the actual Marriage Act of 1961, but here’s the list of things a celebrant can do that could end them up in jail:

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Marry From Home – is it legal for Australian couples?

Remote witnessing of NOIMs in 2023

In early December the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s department’s Marriage Law and Celebrants Section let us know that the remote witnessing of NOIMs has been extended to 31 December 2023.

Here’s the email sent to all celebrants:

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I’m challenging you to learn Markdown

I’m challenging you to learn Markdown

Everyone has their little “thing” where they think if everyone else on the planet just did things this way then the world would be a better place, and honestly, I’m all for your and my weird little opinions. One that I really believe in is that everyone should write their writings, their articles, essays, notes, ceremonies, books, short stories, manuscripts and bodies of writing in Markdown.

And I’m willing to guess that most of you don’t even know what Markdown is so let’s start at the start.

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Can AI write an original marriage ceremony?

Can AI write an original marriage ceremony?

Yes, unfortunately yes artificial intelligence can write a marriage ceremony, but can it present one well?

You’ve probably read the news about OpenAI’s new GPT-3 chatbot, ChatGPT, so I won’t mansplain AI to you, but I simply wanted to share what AI thought should happen in a marriage ceremony.

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Cyberattack on AGD’s MarCel portal

Cyberattack on AGD’s MarCel portal

Some of you may have heard a radio report yesterday about the MarCel marriage celebrants portal being hacked. When I heard about it this morning I immediately found the Hansard record of the Senate Estimates Committee meeting where it was discussed on Monday (for those who don’t know, Hansard is the transcript of proceedings of the Australian Parliament and its committees).

The Hansard record was slightly alarming in that it didn’t provide many details. You can read it here; the relevant discussion is about halfway down (use the Find function in your browser and search for the keyword “marriage”).

Honestly, in the current environment with the Optus and Medibank hacks, I was pretty unimpressed that we hadn’t been alerted to this as people with details in that database. So I sent an email to MLCS:

I was pretty disappointed to read that the MarCel database was subject to a cyberattack three weeks ago but that we haven’t been informed. Although this Hansard record says no data was downloaded, I think in the current climate with the Optus and Medibank hacks, it would be prudent for the Department to be completely transparent with us about such matters.

Can you please contact all celebrants with details of the attack and what has and is being done to protect our information?

Lo and behold, an hour later my phone rang, and it was the lovely Kerrin from the Marriage Law & Celebrants Section on the phone! She wanted to assure me that what had been accessed was an old version of the database that actually holds no data but is used to point people towards the new version (something something – neither she nor I am particularly tech-savvy in that area!), and that therefore no personal details of celebrants had been accessed and nothing had been downloaded. They fixed the gap and we’re good to go.

I noted that given it hit the national media yesterday, celebrants were likely to start asking questions if they weren’t already, and MLCS might need to communicate ASAP with all celebrants to assure them there is no problem. She understood and noted we will discuss it at the MLCS/Associations meeting on 24 November. She will also be taking us through the stringent cybersecurity protections they have in place (such as us needing to change our password almost every time we log on to the portal!)

So that’s the info we have: no drama, more info to come 🙂

Your nerd chimes in

Hey, Josh here on the end of Sarah’s news because I wanted to chime in with a plea to all celebrants: one day soon, and maybe even sooner after this news, one of us is going to be on the news because we got hacked and we need to know how to lessen the risk of it happening.

The hypothetical news report will detail how all of the data on our local computers, in our emails, and our text messages were taken by a hacker. The celebrant’s clients’ passports, birth certificates, parents’ details (like the mother’s maiden name – that old security question), and our notes on the couples, like children’s and pets’ names, addresses, and love story details. Celebrants are hot fodder for identity thieves.

There was a time when locks and deadbolts were new technology and we had to learn how to use them to secure our offices, filing cabinets and homes. You now need to learn how to secure your computers, phones, and data stores. If you can’t put a hand on your heart and promise to your clients that their data in your NOIMs, marriage certificates, BDMs online, and emails are secure, then you need to figure out how.

The featured image for this story was generated by DALL-E AI with the prompt “photo of a computer hacker’s wedding” so that’s why it’s so creepy.

Marriage statistics 2021

Marriage statistics 2021

I was about to give myself a long lunch break when my daily statistics release email came through from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (yes, we all know I’m a nerd) and top of the list was the marriage stats release for 2021! This is two whole weeks earlier than usual! Here’s my thoughts, stream-of-consciousness style, as I review the stats for the first time.

Overall marriage numbers were below pre-pandemic levels again, which is unsurprising given the Delta-wave lockdowns in Victoria and New South Wales. 89,164 couples married in 2021, compared with the record low of 78,989 in 2020 (2021 numbers 12.9% higher than 2020) and the last pre-pandemic count of 113,815 in 2019 (2021 numbers 21.7% lower than 2019).

Low numbers were particularly seen in New South Wales (27,311 marriages: 31.0% lower than 2019, 2.1% lower than 2020) and Victoria (18,738 marriages: 34.6% lower than 2019, 12.7% higher than 2020), which is entirely unsurprising. New South Wales was the only state that actually had less weddings in 2021 than in 2020. Marriage numbers in Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Northern Territory almost returned to pre-pandemic levels.

Monthly numbers are also interesting: usually we see strong seasonal peaks in autumn and spring. In 2021 the first half of the year saw numbers almost back to normal, then they fell off a cliff (although not as dramatic a cliff as April 2020) with the June lockdowns in New South Wales and Victoria. August was a particularly quiet month for marriages last year, with 2,981 marriages compared to 4,636 in 2021 and an average of 6050 in the years 2015-2019. While New South Wales was in lockdown, only 327 marriages occurred in July and 153 in August. While Victoria was in lockdown, the worst month was September, with only 174 marriages occurring, 91% lower than pre-pandemic levels!

Although numbers were lower than pre-pandemic, characteristics of marrying people remain stable: median age for men to marry was 32.1 years, median age for women to marry was 30.5 years, and 80.7% of all marriages were officiated by civil celebrants (remember that includes the State and Territory Registry Offices).

Same-sex marriages represented 3.2% of all marriages occurring in Australia in 2021, with more female couples marrying than male couples. The median age for same-sex couples marrying remained higher than the general population, but lower than same-sex couples in previous years. Note: although I usually call these couples “marriage equality couples” because there may be, e.g., a woman marrying a non-binary person, therefore not being same-sex, the ABS doesn’t include marriages where one or both parties ticked the X or Non-binary box on their marriage paperwork. They say this is for “confidentiality reasons”. I have always found this weird and would love an explanation as to what exactly is being kept confidential in a list of statistics… if we have any statistics-savvy celebrants out there, I’d love to talk to you about this!

Divorce numbers rose in 2021: 56,244 divorces were granted, up 13.6% from 49,510 in 2020. Apparently this is partly due to administrative changes at the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia to increase finalisations and reduce timeframes, which meant more applications could be finalised than previous years and allowed the Courts to reduce a backlog. So we can’t really compare those numbers with any confidence; we’ll need to wait until next year to see what the 2022 divorce data looks like to see if the numbers are really changing. There’s also a reminder in the analysis that divorces can only occur after at least 12 months’ separation in Australia, so only a small proportion of the 2021 divorces granted relate to separations that occurred after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

And that’s my initial thoughts! Let me know if you have any specific questions you’d like me to dig around and see if I can answer!



Celebrant legal obligations online

Celebrant legal obligations online

Hopefully everyone has caught up on this major change to the way we do our work, but I know that some people missed it. So here’s a super basic update.

Until June 2019, celebrants had to sight original hard copy versions of all identity documents (think passports, birth certificates, driver’s licences), etc. We now have permission to sight evidence of date and place of birth documents electronically (as a scan or photo of the original document), and to sight evidence of identity documents electronically (via Skype or Facetime in conjunction with seeing the party’s face). We can also accept electronic copies of death certificates. Divorce certificates have only been issued electronically since 2011, so this is less of an issue with those, but if a party was divorced before that year, we can now sight an electronic copy of their hard copy original divorce order.

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Top ten tips for new marriage celebrants

On this special episode, Josh dials in from California to chat with Sarah about their Top Ten Tips for new Celebrants, as requested by Emily. But there are some tips in here for all celebrants, new or not!

  1. Network, network, network –  with anyone in the marriage industry
  2. Find a buddy/mentor
  3. Read the Guidelines to the Marriage Act cover to cover, and look at them regularly when you have a question
  4. Watch lots of ceremonies to find out different ways of doing things
  5. Learn how to business
  6. Figure out your differentiator, your point of difference
  7. Earn your fee … aka don’t just google other fees, but figure out how to charge what it costs you etc, and there’s the sliding scale of learner to expert
  8. Learn from other industries – business-wise – and ceremony wise
  9. Attend OPD in person! [We acknowledge this information is old now, for the most up to date information on OPD please visit]
  10. PA system/tech gear
  11. A bonus 11th tip is an ad, for Freshbooks – because honestly, the biggest tip you could get is to get on top of your money. Get on top of invoicing, getting paid, tracking expenses.

Times and topics

01.46 Tip 1 – Network, network, network. Sarah’s all about going to every wedding-related event she can. Josh agrees – it’s about building relationships, not only with other celebrants but with people and suppliers from all across the industry. It’s not just about getting work, but about making our work lives more fun
08.24 Tip 2 – Find a buddy/mentor that you can bounce things off, and ask for help
09.48 Tip 3 – Read the (current) Guidelines to the Marriage Act cover to cover, and look at them regularly when you have a question. The Guidelines will answer 95% of any questions you may have. Even Sarah, who knows the Guidelines really really well, still goes back and checks the Guidelines
12.47 Tip 4 – Watch lots of ceremonies to find out different ways of doing things
16.45 Tip 5 – Learn ‘how to business’. Understand your business accounts, how people want to pay for things, contracts. Know where & how to get advice and specialist help when you need it
20.00 Tip 6 – Figure out your differentiator, your point of difference. What are you good at/not good at? Your brand should reflect this, and explain how this matters to people getting married
27.10 Tip 7 – Earn your fee, aka don’t just google other fees, but figure out how to charge what it costs you etc, and there’s the sliding scale of learner to expert
34.59 Tip 8 – Learn from other industries – business-wise and ceremony-wise. Learn voice tips from other public speakers and even podcast hosts
39.44 Tip 9 – Attend OPD in person! (not distance) Josh has done both and it’s way easier to attend in person; also it’s good to meet other celebrants and learn from them
41.02 Tip 10 – PA System / tech gear. Know your gear and learn how to use it properly. Make sure everyone can hear you!
46.07 Bonus Tip 11 – Get on top of your accounts. Freshbooks accounting software can help with invoices and clients can pay directly from the invoice you send them

Being found is the new advertising

Being found is the new advertising

There are a few different kinds of marketing and advertising, but they can be mostly wrapped up under two headings: passive and active.

Passive marketing is my favourite because it actively respects the nature of the wedding industry. People getting married are normal people, who can’t easily be targeted using Facebook and Google ads because Meta and Google don’t know when the wedding is or even if they are having one. The “Engaged” status is nice, but the context is lacking. Weddings are a luxury spend, they are not necessary: people can get married without a wedding. Weddings are very personal in taste, and taste is hard to account for in an algorithm.

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Market your celebrant services like Apple markets the iPhone

Market your celebrant services like Apple markets the iPhone


Jano le Roux, a copywriter, has done a deep dive on the marketing surrounding the new iPhone 14. Words matter, and they’ve pulled the Apple copywriting apart to show how it matters to the average Joe like you and me who will pony up for a new phone:

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Be a little more like Robbie Williams as a celebrant

Be a little more like Robbie Williams as a celebrant

I’ll get the disappointment out of the way for everyone, I’m no AFL fan. Can you blame me? I’m a Queenslander born and bred, we worship NRL gods up here.

Regardless, I heard people comment on Robbie Williams’ performance to open the match was amazing, so I fired up my Youtubes and watched the clip. I have a few thoughts and they’re mostly related to how you and I, celebrants, do our job.

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Tips for completing the compulsory OPD

Tips for completing the compulsory OPD

We’ve had a lot of requests about whether we’re going to run a session providing info about the compulsory OPD that is offered this year through the Marriage Celebrants Portal. In a word: no. The reason is that there are a bank of multiple choice questions and every celebrant gets a different 25 questions. It would be REALLY difficult for me to run a session covering all the content that is dealt with in the entirety of the bank of questions; we’d have to go through the Act, Regulations and Guidelines in minute detail, and we’d probably be there for a week.

Instead, here are some tips for how to attack your Knowledge of the Law OPD topic (all the answers for the Real Consent topic are included in the PDF booklet within that topic).

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Where should the celebrant stand in a wedding ceremony? Josh’s view

Where should the celebrant stand in a wedding ceremony? Josh’s view

Where should the celebrant stand in a marriage ceremony? There’s no rule, law, or correct answer, but I’ll lay out the fundamentals on how I make my decision on where to stand, because it’s not always the same decision being made.

If you make different decisions, like Sarah does, your view and decision is valid and fine. Like, I might think you’re wrong, but I’m not your mum or the police, so you’ll be ok.

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Utilise the power of the “Zero Price Effect”

Utilise the power of the “Zero Price Effect”

Communicating value, selling your services, and convincing couples you’re worth your fee, is all hard work. Sometimes we discover psychological tricks to lubricate that process, things that can make it easier.

Today’s introduction to that list of sales tricks is the Zero Price Effect.

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Ted Gioia’s 10 rules for public speaking

Ted Gioia’s 10 rules for public speaking

Every celebrant should read this post from Ted Gioia on his 10 rules for public speaking, and my challenge to you is to integrate at least one, if not all of them, into your next ceremony.

Bangers like this on how everyone listening wants you to win:

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You must call yourself a marriage celebrant

You must call yourself a marriage celebrant

I’m sure that all of you have familiarised yourself with the Marriage Act of 1961, so you probably don’t have to read this, but on the off chance that Sarah Aird has schooled you, like she’s just schooled me, on some things in the Marriage Act, I thought I’d share them here. These are new changes since marriage equality was legislated.

Today we’re talking about section 39G, Obligations of each marriage celebrant.

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Remote witnessing of NOIMS – help make it permanent!

Remote witnessing of NOIMS – help make it permanent!

As everyone knows, we’re currently able to witness signatures on NOIMs remotely, via a platform such as Zoom or FaceTime. This has been an absolute saviour for a lot of celebrants, not only allowing them to continue working while being infected with COVID, but also simply saving them and their couples the time of travelling to meet each other for a simple signature.

This modification to the Marriage Act 1961 is due to end on 31 December 2022, at which time we’ll go back to the couples having to sign the NOIM “in the presence of” an authorised witness. That, quite frankly, would suck.

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Happy Podcast New Year!

Happy Podcast New Year!

We know, we know, we’ve been away for a whole year, but we’re back! In this episode we talk about where we’re both at in July 2022, and the major things that have happened in celebrancy and at the Celebrant Institute in the last 12 months:
  • new forms released 1 September 2021
  • changes to compulsory OPD
  • new Cert IV in Celebrancy released
  • new PD options released
  • amazing meeting with the Marriage Law and Celebrants Section – email [email protected] with your examples of why being able to witness signatures on NOIMs over Zoom should be made permanent
We’re hoping to release more regular episodes in the coming months – let us know if there’s anything you think we should talk about!
A lesson from Kobe Bryant for celebrants

A lesson from Kobe Bryant for celebrants

Starting from zero is hard. I’ve found that creating from scratch, staring at a blank Word document, or an empty notepad, is the hardest work, like pushing a boulder uphill it requires you to muster everything inside of you.

It’s a question new celebrants pose to us here at the Celebrant Institute every week: how to get started.

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This is your permission to raise your fees in 2022

This is your permission to raise your fees in 2022

Sarah and my accounting software of choice – Xero – just emailed us that our Xero plan (the standard) is increasing in price by $5 a month to $59. Fuel costs a lot more. Lettuce costs a lot more. Housing, rent, and mortgages are costing more than they did one and even two years ago. The value of my home has almost doubled since we bought it four years ago.

This is the inflationary nature of the economy of the society we choose to live in. Things generally increase in price every year, and you should too.

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How did I do 27 weddings in one month?

How did I do 27 weddings in one month?

A few responses to my May 2022 email (check your spam if you don’t get my monthly emails or join here) about having done 27 marriage ceremonies this month 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.

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The law of social proof and celebrancy

The law of social proof and celebrancy

When unsure how to act, people copy others, outsourcing their own decisions to others. Not only is this true when choosing a shop, or a cafe, but in weddings as well.

When Sylvan Goldman invented shopping trolleys, people didn’t want to use them because they seemed silly. So Goldman paid actors to use trolleys in his stores, and everyone quickly followed the trend. Can you imagine a shopping centre without trolleys today!? All it took was a few paid actors and it took off.

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Do I need more than one domain name for my website?

Do I need more than one domain name for my website?

Elaine asks:

When I obtained my Domain Name of from Melbourne IT when I first started back in 2014, I was ‘advised’ to secure and too, to prevent ‘others’ from setting up a similar website.

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A ceremony as a series of ‘riffs’, that’s how I’m unscripted

A ceremony as a series of ‘riffs’, that’s how I’m unscripted

When you mention my name to another celebrant, apparently the most common thing people talk about is how I’m unscripted. Some people call it ad lib. I would never describe my method of creating and delivering a ceremony as ad lib or unscripted.

It’s a series of riffs.

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Computer and internet security for a modern marriage celebrant

Computer and internet security for a modern marriage celebrant

Every day I wake up and check the technology news – as is my habit – and scroll through the headlines I’m expecting to find a marriage celebrant in there. Why?

When a couple books with us they hand over a wide amount of personal data. Then when they sign a notice of intent with us, even more.

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There’s Gold In Them Thar Questions

There’s Gold In Them Thar Questions

There’s gold in the questions you get asked by other celebrants, people in the wedding industry, our clients, friends, and social media followers. The questions you’re asked reveal the knowledge, experience, empathy, or assets you have – that others value. As they propose a question to you, they’re signalling that you are a person who knows the answer.

This is such a position of strength.

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How to spy on other people’s Facebook Ads

How to spy on other people’s Facebook Ads

If you’ve been wanting a way to spy on what other people in the wedding industry are doing with their Facebook Ads, here’s a very easy, open, and regulated way to do so.

Building an advert that works well is hard work, and honestly, the world doesn’t need more ads, it needs helpful content. But you can pay to boost that content and in Meta/Facebook we call that an ad.

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Rounded prices are better than unrounded for weddings

Rounded prices are better than unrounded for weddings

When it comes to pricing, and pricing yourself, there are so many contributing factors. The first is that you need to cover costs, the second that you need to make a profit – a wage, and the third that you make a surplus so you have buffer for the future, savings, and the ability to invest in your business.

Coming in from the side of that equation is a number of psychological pricing trains of thought. These include Charm Pricing, where you “reduce the left most number by one” or in other words you make a $3.00 product a $2.99 product; Prestige Pricing, where you round up to a simpler number like taking an $8.96 product to $10; Comparative Pricing or Anchor Pricing, where you environmentally surround a price with other prices to make it look good – like creating a $100 option and a $10 option either side of a $50 option you actually want them to take – anchoring that main product well and truly in a position of value.

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A story for celebrants finding their tribe like Yeti coolers did

A story for celebrants finding their tribe like Yeti coolers did

Before Yeti created a $5 million cooler and adventure brand, the icebox/cooler market (aka the “esky” market, despite Esky being a brand) was a a low-cost and cheap product market.

Chris Hladczuk documents their story in a recent release of his email newsletter which I recommend subscribing to.

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Other avenues for networking and referrals

Other avenues for networking and referrals

In his book Perennial Seller, Ryan Holiday says:

I’ve always found that a critical part of attracting influencers is to look for people who aren’t besieged by requests. Authors are inundated with requests for blurbs from other authors; meanwhile, generals academics, and CEOs are asked much more rarely.

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When the celebrant gets sick mid-ceremony…

When the celebrant gets sick mid-ceremony…

As celebrants, we talk and worry and plan a lot about what we’ll do if a guest or a member of the wedding party or one of the couple gets sick mid-ceremony. Many of us have first aid qualifications so we’ll have some basic idea of what to do. I’ve run OPD sessions on this topic, and I cover it in my Cert IV training.

What we don’t ever talk about is what happens when the celebrant gets sick mid-ceremony. We might joke about it being our worst nightmare, we feel dreadful for the few of us who will admit that it happened to them, but I would argue we don’t seriously talk about it enough, and we certainly don’t make plans.

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Preparing for the inevitable re COVID

Preparing for the inevitable re COVID

I think it’s becoming pretty clear that we’re all either going to catch COVID-19 or (at the very least) be subject to isolation due to being a close contact of a positive case. For the type of work we do, even having to isolate for the 24 hours it should take to get your test result back (and it’s way longer in most parts of Australia at the moment) can mean not being able to perform a wedding or a funeral or other event. So how should we prepare for the inevitable to make the process of transferring an event to another celebrant as seamless as possible?

While I can’t tell you what YOU should do, I can tell you what I’m doing and have done. Here’s my steps to COVID preparation.

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Not-as-ongoing professional development

Not-as-ongoing professional development

For the most recent information regarding ongoing professional development and OPD for Australian authorised civil celebrants visit

As 2021 draws to a close, so does an era of celebrant-industry-driven professional development. Here at the Celebrant Institute our 2021 ongoing professional development program wrapped up on the weekend and we’re grateful for the thousands of celebrants who chose us for their own betterment – and for the fulfilment of their obligation to the Attorney-General’s department in 2021 to complete four hours of OPD with an authorised registered training organisation and then one hour with the department’s Marriage Celebrant Portal.

In 2022 that obligation remains, but is minimised to a department-only delivered “one to two” hours which you will complete through the infamous portal.

That means three things for Sarah and I in 2022.

  1. In 2022 and beyond we need not worry about applying for, and delivering, a government-blessed professional development program. They’re doing it themselves in “one to two hours”.
  2. In 2022 we can – and will – deliver an epic professional development program that will position you stronger and better to tackle the business goals and the art of celebrancy and give you an edge in the marketplace.
  3. From 2022 we can work with people who want to develop, instead of celebrants who begrudgingly appear at the workshop because mum and dad told them to. So many stories. So little need to publish them publicly, but if you shout Sarah an orange juice, or me a whisky, we can share too many stories. Like the ones about the multiple celebrants who wanted to send an assistant along to do OPD for them.

Today we’re proud to have delivered a really good OPD program. We’re taking a break over the Christmas and New Year period, we’ll be back into normal Celebrant Institute business mid-January, well before winter kicks in we’re excited to show off, and launch, our new Certificate IV in Celebrancy that will really be a game changer, and once we have that locked and loaded we’ll share with you our 2022 professional development program.

Of course here at the Celebrant Institute every day is a professional development day, and every day we’re answering your questions that you send through at

Celebrants can witness NOIMs over the internet!

Celebrants can witness NOIMs over the internet!

Breaking marriage law news – for the second time since 1961: Celebrants can witness NOIMs over the internet. You can start witnessing notices of intended marriage from the beach tomorrow.

In short

From 22 December 2021 you can witness the parties sign the Notice of Intended Marriage over an audio/video call, e.g. Zoom or FaceTime. Simples. You can send a couple their NOIM as a PDF, hopefully pre-filled with their correct information, call them on FaceTime or your video call app of choice, and watch them sign the form. Then they will scan the NOIM (using a scanner or a phone scanning app like Notes or Dropbox on your iPhone) and send it back to you, and you can then sign it with an ink or digital pen, and consider the NOIM received. The one month notice period begins on the day you receive their signed electronic Notice, and none of you had to leave the house and stick your tongues in each other’s ears or however it is you catch the spicy cough.

In depth

The Attorney-General, Michaelia Cash, and the former Attorney-General had received recommendations for legislative changes in response to the Coronavirus pandemic – which only started more than 650 days ago – and the main one relevant to celebrants was the witnessing of signatures on Notices of Intended Marriage over a video call, like a FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, or WhatsApp call.

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Marriage statistics 2020

Marriage statistics 2020

It’s one of your favourite nerd’s favourite days: marriage statistics day! The statistics on marriages and divorces that occurred in 2020 have been released by the Australian Burearu of Statistics today, and I’m here with my annual summary.

The first thing to note is that for the first time the impacts of COVID on our industry are absolutely laid bare, and to be honest, the details are gut wrenching. It’s nothing we didn’t already know, and I guess in a way it’s nice to have our trauma borne out by the numbers, but it’s still pretty hideous reading. If you’re triggered by talk of COVID and weddings, it’s time for you to look away now.

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Why I hate wedding awards: “I am in competition with no-one”

Why I hate wedding awards: “I am in competition with no-one”

For over five years now I’ve crusaded against wedding industry awards. I don’t like them, I don’t enter them, and I try to convince my friends and colleagues to avoid them as well.

I understand how nice it feels to be awarded number one. If you sent me an email right now that said “Josh, you are my number one celebrant” I’d probably print it out and put it on the fridge next to one of Luna’s paintings, but the truth is, I believe that wedding industry awards are unhealthy and unhelpful for the wedding industry.

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My secret to business success: email

My secret to business success: email

Any successful endeavour requires a number of ingredients. An award winning cake recipe will have more than one ingredient, and an Olympic gold medal swimmer didn’t just swim their first lap that race.

There’s a process, there’s time, goal setting, and multiple resources being in the right place at the right time.

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How to start taking better photos at your weddings

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.

Here’s a few examples of my social media posts I’ve shared that have used his methods.

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Vaccine mandates and weddings

Vaccine mandates and weddings

As I’m sure will be surprising to absolutely nobody reading this, we’re already receiving a LOT of questions about COVID-19 vaccine mandates: how will they affect weddings? Can unvaccinated people attend a wedding at all? What about people with exemptions? Whose responsibility will it be to ensure couples/guests/vendors are vaccinated? How will we check vaccination status? Is it discriminatory to not allow an unvaccinated person to attend a wedding? Are we allowed / do we have the right to ask about clients’ (and their guests’) vaccination status?

The short answer, as at 22 September 2021, is that we don’t know yet.

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

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.


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The secret to having people share your social media posts

The secret to having people share your social media posts

When you hear of social media posts going viral, it simply means people are sharing it. They’re tagging their friends in the comments, sharing the post by direct message, and adding to the algorithm that decides who sees what on the internet.

There’s books worth of wisdom on how to go viral, and I’d argue most of us don’t want to, or if we do, it’s not for a healthy reason. Virality – in a business sense – isn’t sustainable, nor is it as fun as you think. Trust me, I’ve been there.

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How to get your couples to reply to your emails

How to get your couples to reply to your emails

If you’ve ever played the iconic Australian schoolyard game of handball, you’ll remember that the aim of the game is to intercept the ball on your quadrant/half, then to get it back out as soon as possible.

Here’s a demonstrative video from a former Australian Prime Minister.

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Build my own website or pay a pro? Build a business brand or a personal brand?

Build my own website or pay a pro? Build a business brand or a personal brand?

Suzanne asks:

Looking for advice on professional web design v. self design. Objective to attract biz, be good return on investment and not rubber-stamp like. Also some good advice on logo vs personal service brand.


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Writing prompts for social media and blogging

Writing prompts for social media and blogging

The Copywriting Course’s subject line generator might be just the gold mine you need to start writring that next blog posts, social media post, or recording that vlog or podcast.

Go to and enter a topic in the box, like weddings and you’ll get a list like this. Edit and change to your needs and start creating content!

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Questions to ask your couples for your review or testimony

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:

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Be vulnerable about your growth intentions to actually grow

Be vulnerable about your growth intentions to actually grow

A study has found that adding copy to a new app’s website around the lines of “we expect 1000 users to join this year” increased signups for the app by 20%. People respond to the developer’s expectations and intentions of the app’s growth because those intentions were expressed, documented, published.

The same study found that for an app that already had its 1000 users, adding a link that said so, with the actual numbers published, proved to be equally effective.

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Say, do you remember? Dancing (with new forms) in September?

Say, do you remember? Dancing (with new forms) in September?

September 2021 is bringing us new marriage forms, and to be sure that we don’t confuse things, let me quote from the Attorney-General office email sent today. If you haven’t received it, check your spam folder and then tell your email client it isn’t spam, it’s the boss.

The three new marriage forms: the Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM), the Official Certificate of Marriage (OCM), and Declaration of No Legal Impediment to Marriage (DNLI) forms, will be available for download from the department’s website on 31 August 2021.

We provide the following guidance material on the changes to marriage forms commencing on 1 September 2021:

1. Fact sheet on Changes to marriage forms and certificates 2021

2. Mocked-up new Notice of Intended Marriage

From 1 September 2021, all authorised celebrants MUST use the new NOIM, OCM and DNLI forms.

NOIM forms signed and submitted to an authorised celebrant before 1 September 2021 will remain valid for a period of 18 months from their date of receipt by the authorised celebrant. All NOIM forms submitted to an authorised celebrant after 1 September 2021, must be in the new form.

There are no changes to the Form 15 Certificates of Marriage (that is given by the celebrant to the couple immediately following the wedding). Authorised celebrants can continue to use their existing stock of Form 15 certificates. The Form 15 certificates continue to be available for purchase from CanPrint Communications.

We note that the Guidelines on the Marriage Act 1961 for authorised celebrants will be updated on 31 August 2021, to reflect the new forms commencing on 1 September 2021.

Please take the time to familiarise yourself with the information provided about the new forms ahead of 1 September 2021.

So on August 31 2021, you will find out how you get to do your work on the 1st of September. Heaps of time.

Also, if you have any questions, or need help from the AGD while Canberra is in lockdown:

During this period all communications with our office must be via email, subject to the below. If you do not have email access you may leave a telephone message by calling 1800 550 343. Please note – we are unable to answer telephone calls during the lockdown period. If you need to contact us via our telephone line because you do not have email access, it is very important that you leave a detailed message setting out your enquiry, and provide us with your full contact details including your ‘A Number’.

Hopefully this isn’t news to any of you, and luckily, if you’re a Celebrant Institute member, Sarah and myself (Josh) are at your beck and call, ask us a question at

One thing I will note, if you’re planning on signing a Declaration of No Legal Impediment to Marriage (DNLI) form for a September 1 onwards wedding, I’d leave it until September 1 onwards.

Finally, if you’re wondering what the title means:

Should we charge more or differently for public holidays?

Should we charge more or differently for public holidays?

Continuing a long running series on this website starting with how your price is part of your marketing story, whether or not you should list your prices on your website with answers from Sarah and myself, how to respond when someone asks “how much?”, how to be something other than the cheap celebrant, a different method to calculate your fee, about how celebrants are not paid per hour, on cheap breakfasts, whether there is room at the top of the market, on valuing how you interact, what travel fees are for, that you should raise your price after 2020, and most recently how to raise your price, today we wonder how and why people charge different prices for public holidays.

Kim asks:

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JPs witnessing the NOIM via audio visual link – NOT ALLOWED

JPs witnessing the NOIM via audio visual link – NOT ALLOWED

As you all know, the Marriage Act 1961 requires that the Notice of Intended Marriage is signed in the presence of one of the authorised witnesses. In the presence of means physical presence: the person signing and the witness need to be physically in the same room.

While there have been some attempts to have this requirement changed since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, they have been unsuccessful to date. NOIMs must still be signed in the presence of an authorised witness.

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What does your profile photo say about you?

What does your profile photo say about you?

If you’ve taken our branding advice before, you’re using the same headshot profile photo for your social media accounts and your website, and anywhere else you can upload an identifying photo, avatar, logo. But do you know how it’s performing for your brand and marketing?

Your face is your logo when you’re a wedding celebrant and if you don’t have one already, I recommend reaching out to a local wedding photographer and paying them to make some headshot photos of you that really scream “You!” The best thing about getting a wedding photographer to do it is because they know what wedding clients are looking for photographically, plus you get to either a) meet a new friend in the wedding industry, or b) support an existing friend. It’s a great opportunity to work with someone you’ve been wanting to work with.

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Three practical ways to increase your price

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.

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Legalities for parties who are vision impaired

Legalities for parties who are vision impaired

Tania asks:

I have an enquiry from a couple, one party is Visually Impaired. They would have the some of my ‘Welcome Kit’ translated to Braille, including the NOIM, DONLIM, OCM and Form 15. Therefore, I am comfortable that the party would be aware of what they will sign. But … How would the signing and witnessing actually work? Would having a Braille interpreter at the Signing who could tell the party where to sign be a legal solution?


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7 Insurances celebrants should have

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.

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Questions to ask your couples for your review or testimony

Wise words about reviews, for Billy Joel and wedding celebrants

I’ve got a confession to make: I can recall every single bad review I’ve had, and I barely remember the good ones.

There’s one I received while I was in Washington DC in 2015, a few days before I was about to speak at the International Association of Wedding Officiants conference. The couple had a bunch of comments that were mean and terrible, but they also shape a lot of how I work today. I should let go, but my brain says no.

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How and why you should position your speaker at a wedding

How and why you should position your speaker at a wedding

Many celebrants don’t know the science and method behind choosing where to position their speaker in a ceremony. This video will take you through the basic elements of choosing where and why and how to position your speaker, and one thing I didn’t note in the recording is that you want it up on a speaker stand at standing head height, you need those audio waves to be able to reach everyone’s ears and if the speaker is on the ground, people past the first row will be struggling.

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I’ve gone to court for cancelled covid weddings, and lived to tell the story

I’ve gone to court for cancelled covid weddings, and lived to tell the story

At the time of writing I personally have attended four court mediation sessions, and two court hearings. Theses are my stories. Dum dum. Ok, enough of the Law and Order jokes, but I am in the middle of a bunch of law suits and I figured that you, my fellow celebrants, would like to hear the stories, and hopefully you can learn from them.

What follows is in no way to be considered legal advice, I am not a lawyer, and the advice given to me by my lawyer is confidential. The stories shared are personal anecdotes that would hopefully encourage you to engage with a lawyer.

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Be vulnerable about your growth intentions to actually grow

A week’s worth of content prompts for your blog or social media

If you’re feeling a bit stuck on what to post on your blog, or social media, or both, here’s seven content ideas you can easily write right now. Then schedule them up to drop every day, and watch your online personal brand grow!

1. Recycle an old piece of content that went well

Do you remember that post, or photo, article, or infographic you posted last month, or last year (maybe the year before that), and it really resonated with the masses?

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

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

“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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You should charge more, and here’s 10 reasons why

You should charge more, and here’s 10 reasons why

Mel is struggling with mapping out her pricing as a celebrant, and when she mentioned it to me I went straight to a conversation I had with my brother earlier today. He’s looking at starting a new business based on professional skills he holds, and he was looking for some guidance walking into the project. So I’ll tell you what I told him, then give you ten good reasons why you should charge more.

How to enter a marketplace

Honestly, here’s a secret about business: the two most vacant segments of any marketplace are the top of the market and the bottom of the market.

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How to be “out there” and trust the process

How to be “out there” and trust the process

Krystal asks:

“I seek perhaps some advice on how I continue to be “out there” without sailing into the boring seas or moving into sharing content on social media that isn’t relevant. Maybe I need to be patient with the process, once my first wedding is over and I’ll feed my future marketing off that.”


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Advanced OPD topic on how to skin a rabbit

Advanced OPD topic on how to skin a rabbit

After a six month break from podcasting because our world’s got crazy and busy, we talk about what was keeping us busy. Namely, reschedules and postponements and cancellations of weddings, and how that’s affecting the whole industry.

Plus we go over our 2021 OPD – ongoing professional development – program in great depth. You’re going to love it! Go to to see the whole offering.

It’s time to change the one month notice period to one week

It’s time to change the one month notice period to one week

To my fellow celebrants, I have a proposal regarding the one month notice period, and I’d like to run it up your flagpole, so to speak, and then take it to the Australian parliament: that the one month notice period required by the Marriage Act, be reduce to one week. Or even better, abolish the notice all together.

Here’s my thoughts on the matter, and I’d like to hear yours in the comments below:

  • In most Western countries no notice, or short notice of 24 or 48 hours is required. Australia’s one month notice is unique and the longest in the world that I can find through my research. The UK is the closest at 28 days notice required.
  • What is the spirit of the one month notice and is that spirit not adhered in other ways by celebrants ensuring that the couple are consenting? If a couple is of age and of consent, what difference is it if they want to marry today or in a month?
  • The administrative burden the notice of intended marriage brings celebrants, the Attorney-General’s Marriage Law and Celebrants Section, and the state BDMs, seems to heavily outweigh the benefit the one month notice could bring.
  • The one month notice seems to be in conflict with the current government’s and the AGD’s reduction of red tape and encouragement of a free market.
  • The one month notice period is the most misunderstood element of the Australian marriage law, and yet it brings low value to marriages or the country.
  • If a shortening of time is required, this is almost always a painful process. Eliminating or reducing the notice would liberate this process.

I am taking this proposal to the AGD’s MLCS in our next meeting in May, and will also table the proposal, and your comments, with my local Member of Parliament.

Our 1st Birthday Competition

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.

For the past four years Josh and Sarah have been supporting the celebrant industry with their podcast, the Celebrant Talk Show, and their paid membership program at the Celebrant Institute, so with those four offerings continuing to grow in 2021 we wanted to celebrate the first anniversary of Sarah taking over Life Skills Training and beginning it’s move to becoming the Celebrant Institute RTO.

Our 1st RTO birthday competition

Everyone who registers for even a single OPD workshop this week, from now until 11:59pm Melbourne time on Sunday the 14th of March, 2021, receives an entry into the draw.

  • Paid registration for an OPD workshop at, for a workshop at any time in 2021 with the Celebrant Institute is how you enter.
  • If you tag another celebrant in the social media post you receive an additional entry.
  • If you book for more than one workshop, each registration is an entry.
  • Winner announced on our social media channels on the 16th of March 2021.
  • Competition entries closes 11:59pm Melbourne time on Sunday the 14th of March, 2021.
  • May the most tagged celebrant win! Facebook post to tag people inInstagram post to tag people in.

Registration for our OPD workshops is online at

Prize is a new Bose S1 Pro PA speaker, Sennheiser wireless microphone kit, and a K&M stand valued at $2042. Non-transferrable to cash, pickup from Melbourne if the winner is local to Melbourne, otherwise delivery will be arranged.

If you’d rather buy one yourself, we recommend Factory Sound, that’s who is supplying the prize.

Terms and conditions

Entrants to the competition must register and pay for at least one OPD workshop before 13/03/2021 11:50pm AEST. Additional entries available by registering for more than one workshop, and by tagging celebrants in Facebook and Instagram social media posts. Eligible winner must be an Australian resident, and be either a celebrant student studying the Certificate IV in Celebrancy, or an Authorised Marriage Celebrant.

Managing marriage documentation after death of a celebrant

Managing marriage documentation after death of a celebrant

A celebrant asks:

Just had a call from the local FD asking me if I knew what the family of a celebrant who died on the weekend needs to do re their wedding paperwork and records. No upcoming ceremonies, but several years of archived files, including recent weddings.

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12 months defending wedding industry disputes due to covid

12 months defending wedding industry disputes due to covid

I thought I would spend this fine morning outlining some of the things that I have learned over the course of the last 12 months when it comes to disputes in the wedding industry due to the Coronavirus and COVID-19.

Here they are:

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Facebook’s a bit salty at us

Facebook’s a bit salty at us

After posting a guide on making sure you and your business is prepared if and when the Facebook ban hammer falls on you, the Facebook ban hammer fell on us.

Celebrant Institute banned from Facebook

When we saw that Facebook had (in my own personal opinion, correctly) responded to the Australian Prime Minister’s pandering to Rupert Murdoch but banning news from Facebook in Australia, I checked our page to see if it had been swept up in the mess, and on Friday morning it had not.

In response to Facebook’s actions I wrote a piece on the Celebrant Institute website about preparing your business for a time that maybe your Facebook page, or other online sites, would not be available to you. Members can read that here.

On Saturday morning, though I noticed that our engagement had dropped from the regular few hundred people who would organically see our posts, to zero.

Celebrant banned from Facebook

We’ve lodged an appeal to Facebook on a few fronts, unsure if any of them are the correct course of action. If you know the best way to convince Facebook that we aren’t Rupert Murdoch’s playboy bunnies, please get in touch.


When Facebook shuts you down, are you ready?

When Facebook shuts you down, are you ready?

Today, being the 18th day of February 2021, thousands of Australians woke up to find that their livelihoods were decided by a CEO in California. Australian news organisations had their Facebook pages basically shut down because Facebook doesn’t want to play ball with the Australian government.

There’s a lot to be said about that entire action, but this isn’t a membership website for news organisations, it’s for celebrants.

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Quick way to complete the Certificate IV in Celebrancy

Quick way to complete the Certificate IV in Celebrancy

A friend asks me today what the quickest way is to complete the Cert IV in Celebrancy, the qualification needed to become a celebrant in Australia. Friends of my friend reckon she’d be a great celebrant and they’d like her to marry them. So although I already had some idea of what was required, I like feeling out the bounds of our society and seeing what money, time, goodwill, and effort can get you. Not that I want to game the system, but I wondered, if someone sat down with our own Oracle, Sarah Aird, for a week, could they gun through the Certificate IV?

So I sent her a text.

It turns out the Certificate IV in Celebrancy as it stands in 2021 is a far more intense course than even I bargained for.

So the quickest way to complete the Cert 4 in Celebrancy, if you invested 40 hours a week, would be to complete in six months, and even then you have to apply to become a celebrant at the AGD!

Sarah’s current advice is that if you can invest 20 hours a week, maybe that’s four hours a night for five nights a week after work, or that’s investing 10 hours a day across your weekend, you could qualify in a year.

So if you’re still up for the task, apply now.

Or just find a qualified celebrant already in the business and ready to rumble.

Where to focus on your celebrancy in 2021

Where to focus on your celebrancy in 2021

It’s been a weird year behind us as a wedding industry. I don’t want to dwell on it for fear of crying, but I’m of the belief that sometime soon we need to focus our energies forward, and I wanted to encourage you to do the same, with a framework that answers a big question: where should we focus?

If you’re a beginner celebrant, if you’re not full time yet, if you’re still finding your feet: execution.

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How to accept crypto currencies for your work

How to accept crypto currencies for your work

A celebrant has written in to the Celebrant Institute asking the question: “How can I, and should I, accept crypto currency for celebrancy?”

There are three questions worth answering here: Can I? Should I? How?

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Ultimate Guide to Creating Automation For Your Customer Journey

Ultimate Guide to Creating Automation For Your Customer Journey

I recently spoke via video at the Wedding Business CEO Summit (which you can still attend by buying an All Access Pass) 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. It’s about automating the things that you can automate, that you should automate, so you can really sow your efforts into the important parts of your business – the things a robot or a computer or a PA could never replace. The things that make you, you!

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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Acknowledgement of Country in our weddings

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.

Australia may call itself a sovereign state, but the Australia’s first people never ceded sovereignty. Those same First Nations people also acknowledge the power and the value of marriage. Celebrants, as the custodians of more than 80% of Australia’s marriage ceremonies each year, have a role to play in respecting the First Nations people’s place in our society, and acknowledging the country our ceremonies take place on.

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How to get couples to book you as their celebrant

How to get couples to book you as their celebrant

A Celebrant Institute member asks:

Hi Josh and Sarah, 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? Thank you!


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What if Google didn’t exist?

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.

But it’s an interesting thought process I’d put to you.

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Be the CEO your wedding celebrant business needs you to be

Be the CEO your wedding celebrant business needs you to be

It’s time to life up our heads from managing, or surviving, in our wedding celebrancy business, and to actually lead our businesses to a place where they bring us joy and happiness again.

This episode of the podcast is with someone who helps people like us do things like that, Heidi Thompson from Evolve Your Wedding Business. Heidi is hosting the Wedding Business CEO Summit later this month and Josh is speaking at the summit on automating your customer journey.

Celebrant Institute members and Celebrant Talk Show listeners get a free ticket to the summit by clicking here!

This event is specifically crafted for the wedding industry because we have different needs than other industries. Our goal isn’t to throw a pile of new strategies and tasks at you, leaving you feeling overwhelmed and like there’s no way you can do enough. Instead, we’re here to show you how to go from overwhelmed and overworked (like most wedding professionals) to how to make your wedding business more simple, efficient, profitable, and stress-free.

For 5 days, January 25th-29th, Heidi is bringing you presentations from 25 industry experts who have found ways to ditch the overwhelm & stop overworking all while streamlining things and becoming more profitable than ever. You’ll learn about everything from the steps to create new and passive revenue streams, how to create a profit-focused schedule, creating boundaries that will give you your time back, and so much more.

Register for your free ticket to the summit! And there is also an All Access Pass available which gives you access to the summit forever and comes with thousands of dollars of value plus free access to the Celebrant Institute.

026 Social Media Challenge: It’s not about you today

026 Social Media Challenge: It’s not about you today

Social media, and humanity in general, can become a little bit self-indulgent at times. It’s our tribal, animalistic nature, to look after one’s self first. But something beautiful happens when you turn the camera away from yourself, when you shift the spotlight onto someone else.

Today’s challenge is to do just that, to make a post not at all about you, but about someone you think your audience would be blessed to know about. We’re not talking about a simple shout out, or a “hey go follow this person” but produce a piece of content that would inspire people, in a relevant manner to your brand and the other person’s brand, to become a fan of them and their work.

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024 Social Media Challenge: Can I answer you a question?

024 Social Media Challenge: Can I answer you a question?

Today’s challenge is a little more casual after some intense training days.

Quora is a social network built on the simple premise of asking questions and answering them.

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022 Social Media Challenge: You can ASCII me anything

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 shrug:


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The best tablet computer for celebrants, is it the reMarkable?

The best tablet computer for celebrants, is it the reMarkable?

For almost the past three years an iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil has been my computer that left the home. I’d always loved a Mac but I predominantly left that at my desk and if I left the office for a marriage ceremony, a meeting, a photoshoot or for travel, I would take my iPad Pro.

I’ve written the story of how that’s no longer the case on my personal blog. It’s a two parter, the first part is introducing a new Apple Silicon Macbook Air which replaces my previous MacBook in speed and power, along with replacing my iPad Pro’s portability, responsiveness, and ability to run iOS apps.

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How to name your celebrant business

How to name your celebrant business

David Placek is the branding genius behind some of the biggest names in the technology world. The words Sonos, Intel Pentium, Apple PowerBook, Blackberry, Gimlet podcasts (home of Reply All), and the Impossible burger, all came from David’s branding company, Lexicon Branding. In 2014 Placek released a book which I’d love to read – but can’t find for purchase. Luckily for me, and for you, Om Malik recapped the book in his blog recently.

I’ll let you click through to Om’s fantastic post, but the points Om and David bring for naming a startup today are equally translatable to celebrants.

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019 Social Media Challenge: Combine the five

019 Social Media Challenge: Combine the five

We’re on the home stretch in this social media challenge, and you guys are absolutely nailing the challenge to the wall, good work!

Today is the last in the simple foundational steps we’ve been covering over the last five challenges. Today you’re combining as many types of content at once. We’re going to put them all in the same mixing bowl and see what we can bake.

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How to collect wedding guest information for your own COVIDSafe requirements

How to collect wedding guest information for your own COVIDSafe requirements

Many governments are requiring people running events to collect data about who attends the event. Your legal responsibilities regarding COVID and COVIDSafe plans are your responsibility and this article in no way communicates what you must do regarding COVID and any safety plans. But if you need to collect data about people attending a wedding or funeral you are attending, this is a quick and easy way of doing it safely and responsibly.

I’m not a fan of the data collection companies that have popped up offering to help with this responsibility this year. Data about who is at an event, when and where, and what their phone number, email address, name, and home address is – is powerful data.

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018 Social Media Challenge: Create demonstrating content

018 Social Media Challenge: Create demonstrating content

I started this little streak of content prompts highlighting the fact that there five different kinds of good content. This is the fifth: demonstrating content.

Content that is demonstrating the practical, simple, elements of what you do and how you do it.

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017 Social Media Challenge: Let me, entertain you!

Today’s challenge, once more without stipulation of network or medium, is to entertain us.

Get on whatever social network you feel comfortable with and put a smile on our face. Create a post that will help your audience feel joy and cheer.

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016 Social Media Challenge: Inspire us

016 Social Media Challenge: Inspire us

Today’s challenge is to mentally stimulate us, to make us feel something, something creative, beautiful, and hearty.

Today’s challenge, as is the theme in this current swing of content, can go on any network/s of your choosing, in any medium/s.

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014 Social Media Challenge: Be relevant

014 Social Media Challenge: Be relevant

There are five different kinds of good content. Before you click post on anything, ever, forever, it should be at least one. If it’s two, you might get a like, three and you’re having a party, four and you just put a hashtag in front of the word winning.


Today your challenge is to post something relevant to your audience. The audience you want to attract, the people you hope would engage with you.

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012 Social Media Challenge: Something beautiful

012 Social Media Challenge: Something beautiful

Ansel Adams said that we don’t take a photograph, we make it.

Your challenge today is to make a photo, a beautiful photo, a photo you’re proud of, that you’d be happy to see hanging in my lounge room.

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011 Social Media Challenge: A day in the life of …

011 Social Media Challenge: A day in the life of …

One of my favourite uses of Instagram’s Story feature is to document the behind the scenes of what I’m doing. I see a number of benefits to the occasional behind the scenes personal documentary:

  • A curated view into the behind the scenes adds to your general brand value, as people find out more about what you do and how you do it and how maybe there is more involved than they imagine
  • The stories format disappears in 24 hours, so if it’s not that well edited or created then it lasts for a day
  • You get to do spontaneous and subtle shoutouts to other people you’re working with
  • You have an opportunity to show some personality and spirit

But I’ve got a couple of rules:

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Was the tinsel an acknowlegement?

Was the tinsel an acknowlegement?

After meeting with the Marriage Law and Celebrants Section of the Attorney-General’s Department, Josh and Sarah bring you all the updates to marriage forms, OPD in the years ahead, signing NOIMs online, plus we’ve got some helpful tips on social media content and live streaming wedding ceremonies.

010 Social Media Challenge: Let’s take the conversation to 11

010 Social Media Challenge: Let’s take the conversation to 11

Today we’re taking that controversial thought in your mind, and we’re turning it all the way up to eleven, Spinal Tap style.

That’s one louder than ten! Which is probably where your most recent posts have been at.

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009 Social Media Challenge: Your genesis story

009 Social Media Challenge: Your genesis story

Today’s challenge is an easy one, you already know everything about it, the key to the challenge though is

  1. Articulating it,
  2. Telling it, and
  3. Sharing it to as many mediums as possible

Today we’re telling your genesis story, the story of how you started, why you started, and how you felt you could do something important and different.

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Are you a workaholic?

Are you a workaholic?

It’s a weird world in 2020, one where our workload has significantly decreased, yet in other less familiar ways, our workload has increased dramatically with postponements, court dates, cancellations, emails, sending many of us into a spiral of lots more work that isn’t really earning us any more money or love. I’ve seen a few of my colleagues fall pray to this, and even I am finding myself identify as the “W word”, that word that some hold as a proud title, and some fear becoming.

Workaholic. Are you on?

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008 Social Media Challenge: Beat your own drum and testify

008 Social Media Challenge: Beat your own drum and testify

If someone speaks well of you, you’ve got to remember that, embed it deep into your soul, and know that you’re good at this.

And once you’ve done that you need to share that testimony

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007 Social Media Challenge: Blog a common reply

007 Social Media Challenge: Blog a common reply

In computer programming there’s a method of program called Object Oriented Programming, which recognises that some parts of the program are reused a lot. The programmers write the code once, then reuse it every time they need it.

Today we’re going to find that common reply you type into your email client. That question you always get asked, then we’ll ask it once and for all, in a blog post.

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005 Social Media Challenge: Let’s get podcasting

005 Social Media Challenge: Let’s get podcasting

Podcasts are so much more powerful than most people imagine. My little podcast, The Rebel’s Guide to Getting Married, has maybe 100-300 listeners depending on how passionately I share it, but the simple act of recording helpful podcast episodes has booked me weddings in Europe, the USA, around Australia, and last week a couple booked me for their wedding in Orlando. I am travelling to Florida because someone heard me on a podcast.

If you want that kind of influence, let’s dive into today’s challenge.

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004 Social Media Challenge: Reuse and recycle

004 Social Media Challenge: Reuse and recycle

I’m willing to bet that you have received a question about what you do before today, and you’ve hit reply with a really good answer.

Let’s find that email, or that instant message, or that reply to a post.

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OPD in 2021 is changing

For the most up to date information on Ongoing Professional Development/OPD for Australian Marriage Celebrants, please view

For your ongoing professional development as a Commonwealth authorised marriage celebrant in 2021, only four hours will be provided by your OPD trainer. One hour of your five hour commitment will be delivered by the Marriage Law and Celebrants Section of the Australian Government Attorney-General’s Department.

In simple terms this means that a one hour compulsory topic will be provided at no extra cost by the AGD online, and the remaining four hours of your commitment will be fulfilled by either:

  • attending OPD face to face if it is safe and allowable
  • attending OPD in a live webinar online
  • attending an approved conference
  • completing the distance education units and submitting them to the OPD provider

The department says of the one hour topic being provided by the AGD:

Every celebrant will need to complete the activity as part of their five hour OPD obligation.

So keep an eye on your inboxes in early 2021 for information on how to do that.

The news is fresh but our early prediction is that OPD is changing for the better. Even though it’s only one hour difference, a four session is a remarkably different event to a five hour session, online or in person. This will reduce hours needed for renting rooms, trainers, and even catering. A four session can be done after lunch with a coffee break in the middle, whereas a five hour session with lunch needs a break in the middle. Freeing up the schedule and the financial resources allows you to choose better OPD subjects and actually professionally develop yourself.

This is a win for celebrants and RTOs.

And in case you were wondering, or for many of you, as you might expect, we highly recommend completing OPD with us!

Moving a wedding from Queensland to New South Wales

Moving a wedding from Queensland to New South Wales

Luke asks:

One of my couples that had a Qld wedding booked, now want to change the ceremony location to NSW since the new border easing. What do I need to know and how do I go about doing a wedding in NSW? Is there a set criteria that determines the couples eligibility for getting married over the border into NSW?

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004 Social Media Challenge: Reuse and recycle

003 Social Media Challenge: Carrot Cake

Today’s challenge is to find something boring (like a carrot) yet necessary (like vegetables are for your diet) in your business that people really ought to know about, and to serve it up as informative, relevant, educational, possibly demonstrable, and maybe even entertaining content to your social media channels, like carrot cake.

Find the carrot, and then make a carrot cake out of it.

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002 Social Media Challenge: Introduce Yourself

002 Social Media Challenge: Introduce Yourself

Every month you should re-introduce yourself to your social media audience. I think you’d be surprised how many don’t really know you for the real “you”, and those that do, could probably do with a brand re-alignment.

Today’s challenge is simple: we’re travelling right across the social media spectrum, reintroducing ourselves to everyone.

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Creating elopement packages

Creating elopement packages

A reader asks:

I have a handful of elopement related questions, and I think they will be more relevant than ever given how our world has changed in 2020 and how weddings have changed/will change in the coming year(s). Last year I started doing these helicopter elopements, they’ve been 1. awesome 2. a fun new way for couples to get married and 3. given me lots of credibility as a pro in my area since literally no one in the area is doing this kind of elopement but it has a big-time cool factor. Oh ya, and it makes money on days I’m typically not doing a wedding (Monday-Thursday exclusively). I’m working at packaging a few more experiences for couples but I’ve been thinking through the entire process and want to figure out how to make it A+. The helicopter to a private island is an easy one – we’re on a helicopter, and we land on an island. That’s plenty cool. But these other elopements are more like hikes to great lookout points – how do you make that, from start to finish, awesome? How long is the experience typically? Do you have any +1 type things you might recommend adding to the experience or things to avoid? For the chopper, I’ve been bringing some random food (like specialty donuts and a bottle of champagne) to increase the fun and photo ops. I also don’t reeeally know about permits and things like that for some of these public spaces – better to just go on with it and hope for the best? Regarding back up-dates – do you normally have 1-2 other dates in the calendar for them? Lastly – pricing. The helicopter one right now is $6999, which is, I think, still a bit of a steal for couples, it includes basically 2 hours photo, a 2-3 minute video + me (and I’m worth at least $47.28). Choppers are crazy expensive. But the elopement without the chopper I just made up a price and sold it this morning – $3500, gets photos + me. Is that reasonable? I feel like I could go higher but really don’t have a frame of reference for pricing since no one is really doing these around here…

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What if you’re not available for re-scheduled wedding?

What if you’re not available for re-scheduled wedding?

Michael asks:

Just listened to the podcast episode (with Kathryn Adams), absolutely loved it. I have one common question/scenario that I’m pretty sure wasn’t asked/answered though. A couple postpones their wedding, but one of the suppliers isn’t available on the new date that the couple chooses. Where does that supplier stand in regard to retaining the booking fee? Or anything that needs to be discussed in this situation?


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001 Social Media Challenge: Lemonade

001 Social Media Challenge: Lemonade

Making lemonade out of lemons is a popular story, obviously backed by Big Lemonade, but it encourages us to make our proverbial lemonade out of the lemons we’re presented with in life.

For day one of the 2020 social media challenge, your job today is to find a story in your celebrancy life where you have made lemonade from lemons, where you’ve turned something not-so-good, into something good.

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Should I use a speaker stand, and should I use a PA for 10 guests?

Should I use a speaker stand, and should I use a PA for 10 guests?

Tam asks:

I have my first wedding coming up next month. My question is in regards to using my PA system. I have Bose S1 with Sennheiser microphone. The wedding is only small (approximately 10 guests). Would you use a PA system? They are having a videographer so I didn’t know if this would play into whether or not to use it? If you suggest not using it, at what size wedding would you? Also I have not yet brought a stand. Is this an absolute must/do you recommend any particular brand/price point to aim for to get a decent one? Complete newbie with all this stuff!

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Correcting marriage paperwork

Correcting marriage paperwork

There’s a new fact sheet on the Attorny-General’s department website on correcting marriage paperwork, and it’s an important read. Luckily for us, our own Sarah Aird heavily impacted the final draft. We’re copying and pasting the fact sheet here, but find the original on the AGD website.

This fact sheet is designed to assist celebrants when a need arises to amend information or correct errors made on marriage certificates and other marriage documentation. The fact sheet covers scenarios both before and after the marriage is solemnised.

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Do our social media challenge

Do our social media challenge

Social media is a powerful, simple, and accessible way to market your business, but so many of us don’t know what to do there. Kind of like working out, many of us don’t know the best exercises for us, or how to do them. So I’m writing a social media challenge for Celebrant Institute members.

Every four days from Monday a social media challenge will be posted, and of course it’s all voluntary (I’m not your mum), but it’s a prompt for you to create content aimed to brand you, sell you, and keep you top of mind for your community.

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If you have a non refundable deposit

If you have a non refundable deposit

An Australian wedding celebrant directory recently emailed it’s members guilt-tripping them into keeping non-refundable deposits. What a guy.

Honestly, it made me sad to see them tell members to offer compassion and a refund.

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The one in a hotel room with a lawyer

After five months of fighting for wedding vendors affected by COVID-19 lockdowns, cancellations, postponements, delays, booking fees, deposits, contracts, and the wasteland that is the wedding industry in August 2020, Kathryn from Hallet Law joins the podcast to talk about it all, and about her new service contract product which you can get from

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Where should we get clients to review us?

Where should we get clients to review us?

Gail asks:

Sooo… your couple love you and want to leave a review! Where is the best place/s for them leave this review to really market your business and what links would you send them?

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Replying to new wedding enquiries with Bonjoro

Replying to new wedding enquiries with Bonjoro

A Celebrant Institute member was listening to back catalogue episodes of the Celebrant Talk Show and found one where I mentioned that my sales process involved potential couples requesting an information pack from my website and a automated email would be sent to them containing a link to a secret page on my website which I called my “Information Pack” and that page detailed how I worked, what I did, what that cost, and how to book me in.

In the podcast I invited people to request an information pack, which that member did.

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Seth Godin on selling your time

Seth Godin on selling your time

Seth Godin today writing about charging per hour, something I still see celebrants do. I wrote about a similar idea a year ago here on Celebrant Institute so it’s nice to have kind of beat Seth Godin to something for once.

We don’t pay surgeons by the hour.

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You don’t have to do everything

You don’t have to do everything

A celebrant enquired today about a couple who wanted to do a live stream of their wedding to family in Europe, but the celebrant didn’t know where to start or what to do.

I thought it was a good prompt for me to remind celebrants of what we do have to do, and what we don’t have to do.

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222 reasons you need to secure your domain name for the love of God, please just do it

222 reasons you need to secure your domain name for the love of God, please just do it

A few years ago I lost control of my website.

Hackers accessed my GoDaddy account and took control of my main domain name, which at the time was The domain name is like the street sign and house number, pointing to the house, the house being my website hosting. So my website still existed but the domain name had been hacked. The long story made short on that is that GoDaddy isn’t to be trusted, but more importantly, my domain name matters.

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How to lodge marriage documents electronically with the ACT BDM

How to lodge marriage documents electronically with the ACT BDM

The Births, Deaths, and Marriages in Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria, all have their own online systems for logging in online and submitting marriage paperwork electronically.

For almost every other BDM in Australia you’re left with an envelope, a postage stamp, plus a hope and a prayer as Australia Post physically and delicately transports the marriage paperwork from your office to the registrar.

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Sarah’s gear – a video

Sarah’s gear – a video

I’ve been creating some video content for my Cert IV students and thought I’d share some of it with you in case you find it interesting!

Students and new celebrants always want to know about the gear I use, from the PA equipment to what I use to read my ceremonies from. So here’s a little video to show you all my gear!

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What does Instagram Reels’ launch mean for the wedding industry?

What does Instagram Reels’ launch mean for the wedding industry?

Instagram’s latest feature ‘Reels’ is in addition to it’s existing product suite of regular Instagram news feed posts, Stories, and IGTV.

Instagram Reels is a short-form, 15 second maximum length, video format where you can record, edit, and share the 15 second videos on Instagram. There’ll be a new Reels tab.

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How to be your own publicist

How to be your own publicist

A solid foundation of my business success as a celebrant has lay in the realm of good publicity. Good publicity can’t make a filling business profitable, or an unskilled celebrant, talented, but if you’re already rocking a good business operating system, and your ceremonies are resonating with people and getting good reviews, publicity is the cream on top that helps more couples find you, and book you.

In this article I wanted to lay out a few tools that I have used in the past, and continue to use today, to “get my name out there” but in a very deliberate and meaningful way.

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Wedding rehearsals – a video

I’ve been creating some video content for my Cert IV students and thought I might share it with all of you too, in case you find it interesting!

In this video I take you through how I run a wedding rehearsal. Please note this is only how I do it; I don’t expect you or anyone else to do it this way, but hopefully it will give you some ideas. Remember my philosophy with these things is that you should collect as much information from as many celebrants as possible, pick what you like and what you don’t, and hopefully that will help to inform the way you do things!

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How to to-do

How to to-do

Gail asks:

Hi Josh. You mentioned in one of the podcasts that you use ToDoist to organise your projects. Could you please run me through how you utilise this as I am also a ToDoist fan.

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My entire client journey, end to end

I was looking for a post where I’d mapped out my entire client journey in response to a member’s question, and realised I’ve never actually done it! I’ve talked about my ceremony creation process a couple of times, and I *think* I’ve talked about my whole client journey on the podcast, but at this point I have no idea lol. So here’s my client journey, as I wrote it for my Cert IV students, complete with links to other posts and podcast episodes.

The client journey: marriages

The client journey is literally the steps the celebrant and the client go through from initial enquiry to the wedding day. It is important to set up a streamlined, efficient client journey to make life as easy as possible for clients, and of course to ensure everything is put in place to provide them with a legal and personal marriage ceremony.

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We have changed membership systems

Just a quick note for members of the Celebrant Institute, your membership management, updating of cards, changing plans, logging in, and just using it, has become a whole lot easier.

It’s involved four weeks of work on my behalf to finally figure out how to move everyone from our old system, Membermouse, to our new system, Memberful, but we did it.

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Form 15 Record of Use in Excel

(Sorry for the radio silence on my behalf – I’ve been answering members’ questions, but otherwise frantically working on all things Life Skills Training, which hasn’t left much time for writing blog posts!)

As we all know, celebrants are required to keep a record of how we use the Form 15s that are registered to our A number by CanPrint. The paper forms come with the packs of Form 15s when we buy them, and most people fill out those paper forms and then have to store them for six years from the date of the last activity noted on them.

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Look out for a zero dollar invoice for the annual celebrant charge

The Attorney-General’s department has let us know that they are starting to send out those $0 annual celebrant charge invoices today. Make sure you pay that $0 quickly otherwise you’ll be in $0 debt, and the interest on that will be expensive.

Here’s what they’ve told us:

The celebrant registration charge notices are being sent out to celebrants today. As you are all aware the charge has been set to $0 for 2020-21. We are required to send the notice in accordance with the Marriage Act. Celebrants are not required to take any further action in relation to the notice and will remain registered for 2020-21. The value of the charge will be re-assessed for the 2021-22 financial year.

New South Wales’ Uppercase Requirement

New South Wales’ Uppercase Requirement

If you’ve been lucky enough to create a marriage ceremony recently, and it was in New South Wales, you might have noticed a change to their eRegistry software that requires all last names to be in UPPERCASE.

If you’re like me, you know this, but still type the names in Title Case when using the NSW BDM.

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We’ll do it live!

We’ll do it live!

My friend, and article writing accountability partner, Jeremy asks:

You mentioned in a previous podcast you would put up a post about how you live stream a wedding and what tools you use to do so. You still planning to put this up, mate?

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Creating an intimate ceremony, and including kids

Creating an intimate ceremony, and including kids

A reader asks:

I am officiating my cousin’s wedding next month and this is a particularly special one. It is going to be very intimate and relaxed – it’s also really important as my cousin was actually diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer this year (fk cancer!) and it’s really important to me to put together a really beautiful ceremony, but also one that is relaxed and casual just like their style! I was doing some research and wanted to find some nice ideas on how to include kids in the ceremony – they’ve both been married previously and are a blended family. I’ve mentioned how they can write special vows for their step children, or have a community vow – but i am very open to other ideas too – just nothing that is too ‘traditional’. I’ve never performed such a small and intimate ceremony before so was wondering if you had any advice for me – also with these special circumstances, we want to keep this a really positive celebration of their relationship but just wondering if you both had any experience with someone going through this and if there was anything different they included – i absolutely know it really comes down to the individual couple and what they want to include but just interested to know how you would approach this.

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Sending ceremony recordings instead of written drafts – a new idea!

Recently I was teaching an OPD session on ceremony writing. One of the newer celebrants noted she was a bit nervous about sending written draft ceremonies to her clients because she knows she writes very differently from the way she speaks, and she was concerned that if they read the words on the page, they might not understand how they would change when they were delivered on the day, with all her personality and inflection injected into them.

I started to tell her how important it was to learn to write the way you speak when I had an idea: what if, instead of sending them a written draft that they might read in a totally different way to how it was to be delivered, she recorded herself “performing” the ceremony just as she was planning to on the day, with all the pauses, vocal inflections, and personality included, and sent them the recording? The couple would still have the opportunity to check if there was anything they didn’t like, but they wouldn’t be correcting spelling or grammar issues, or getting caught up in the framing of individual words. Instead they would understand how the ceremony was supposed to sound, which could be very different from their reading of it.

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How to become a travelling celebrant

How to become a travelling celebrant

Alinta asks:

I am going to take up the gypsy/not-yet-too-grey nomad life for a year or so and I wonder if it would be possible to be a sort of travelling celebrant? We will be travelling in a substantial caravan and aren’t intending to be too structured about our timing so that we can follow our hearts and interests… Any thoughts or suggestions on if this would work?

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Getting ceremony audio to videographers

Getting ceremony audio to videographers

Maria asks:

Hi Josh, you’ve mentioned you record the audio during your ceremonies to give to the videographer if they choose for better audio. Firstly, what equipment do you use and how do you hook it up and secondly, do you use it for any other purpose other than to help with the videographer?

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Annual fee waived!

I’m pretty excited to let our members know that we’ve just received the following email from the Marriage Law and Celebrant Section of the Attorney-General’s Department:

Dear celebrant associations

I am writing to advise you that the Attorney-General has agreed to set the celebrant registration charge for 2020-21 at $0.

The charge is a legislative requirement so celebrants will still receive the registration notice after 1 July. However there will be no invoice to pay.

Setting the charge to $0 will be for 2020-21 only. A decision will be made prior to July 2021, in accordance with the cost recovery guidelines, as to what the amount will be for 2021-22.


Bridget Quayle

Registrar of Marriage Celebrants

So no fee for this year! We’ll still receive a registration notice after 1 July but there won’t be any invoice to pay.

Of course this is only for 2020-2021 and a different decision will likely be made next year, but for now I know this will be a weight off a lot of celebrants’ minds.



I see lots of people on Zoom calls not bringing their A-game to the call.

Read more

MLCS & celebrant associations/networks meeting 5 May 2020

I attended the meeting between the Marriage Law & Celebrant Section of the Attorney-General’s Department and celebrant associations and networks last Tuesday. It’s taken me much longer to write a report for you all than I would usually like, mostly because, well, it was pretty boring. Usually these meetings are face to face and last for about five hours. This one was via teleconference and lasted for one hour and a handful of minutes. So there was much less scope for discussion! Here’s a rundown of what was discussed and what it means for us as celebrants…

COVID-19 impacts on celebrants

MLCS is absolutely aware of how much of an impact COVID-19 is having on celebrants, and they appreciate that many celebrants have lost business during this time. It is also having a huge impact on them as a department. As is quite common in governments at times of crisis, a number of MLCS staff have been seconded to other departments to assist with the response, making MLCS remarkably short-staffed. This, plus most of them working from home, is why the MLCS phone line has been shut down (you can call it but the message says don’t leave us a message, we won’t get it, email us instead), and why it’s taking them a bit longer to respond to queries than normal. They have requested that celebrants only put URGENT in the subject line of emails if the issue really is urgent, as in if it relates to a wedding coming up in the next few days. Please don’t put urgent on an email that is about a request for your annual fee to be waived or similar.

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What it means when they say that weddings are coming back

What it means when they say that weddings are coming back

There’s a lot of talk about weddings coming back as COVID-19 restrictions are eased. This is not an article about when and what restrictions are being eased, but a reminder as to how Australia works and how to know if weddings are a) allowed or legal, b) when they’re allowed, c) what will be allowed.

This article does remind you though how Australian governance works.

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Baby Got Backend

Morgan Roberts invited me onto his podcast to talk about the back ends of a business. Systems, Tave, Dubsado, all that really boring and important stuff.

It’s worth a listen if automation is a scary word to you.

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When a bushfire ravages a land

When a bushfire ravages a land

I drove through a recently bushfire affected region last week. The ground was still blackened, but not as much as the tree trunks. The foliage and grass that would normally cover the bush floor was slowly achingly coming back to something that resembled life, and those trees that survived, still stood tall.

The stand out from the drive though were the two things flourishing today.

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How to marry people overseas

Maria asks:

I am hoping to be able to travel and marry people in other countries so how do I go about doing that? I understand the law is different in each state in the US and of course Canada so is there an easy process to get the legal requirements to marry people overseas?

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A terrible time to buy a business

Recorded on April 21 in the year of COVID-19, live on Facebook and here in the podcast. Talked about how OPD has moved to webinar, how business is in the era of the coronavirus, do we need business cards any more, and what to do if you’re now doing a small wedding instead of a big wedding.

Note: Since this podcast episode, Life Skills Training has been rebranded to Celebrant Institute RTO. We now also offer ongoing professional development at

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Check out an 11 year old celebrant survey

Check out an 11 year old celebrant survey

11 years ago (in 2009), celebrant directory website Celebrante, conducted a survey of about 1400 celebrants. I’m cleaning out my Dropbox folder and found the survey, so I thought it’d be an interesting piece of quarantine content for us all while we’re busy doing not a whole lot in regards to weddings.

Only one celebrant that responded to the survey charged more than $1000 and most were in the $400 to $600 range.

Less than 15% were full-timers. Which is about the same 10 years later.

78% of the respondents were conducting less than 20 ceremonies a year.

About the same number of celebrants have a service contract. Did I mention we sell a great service contract?

Interesting look at how businesses were set up then.

I’ve always found it interesting that anyone could ever proclaim that they do not need to improve. I guess it’s the posture you need to take to win at being a public presenter, but I could improve a whole lot, and I bet the celebrants in this survey could as well.


Personalised stationery!

“Do you have your own website?”!!!!

Oh website, how have you failed me?

So that’s a quick look at the survey, what are your thoughts on having a glance back over the industry 11 years ago?

Witnessing a NOIM over Zoom in the COVID-19 lockdown

Witnessing a NOIM over Zoom in the COVID-19 lockdown

With Police Officers and JPs being the most popular witnesses to notices of intended marriage forms when a celebrant cannot attend the witnessing, and with many celebrants unable to attend a meeting to sign a notice of intended marriage because of social distancing directives, the Attorney-General’s department is investigating an alternative.

One alternative being investigated at the moment is the ability for a celebrant to witness a NOIM remotely.

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When you are not different even Google is against you

When you are not different even Google is against you

A really powerful way for you to spend your time and energy whilst weddings are essentially furloughed, is to evaluate, reevaluate, and evaluate even more, your current business systems and marketing strategies.

I like to view my marketing strategy as a journey, and the end of that journey is when someone “walks into my store” and makes a purchasing decision, and my “store” is my website.

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COVID-19 and critical issues for marriages in Victoria – UPDATED

Update 1 April 2020: I got the following response from BDM to my questions:

How can couples with a genuine eligible need apply for a shortening of time if they are unable to access the prescribed authority at the BDM office or Marriage Registry, or even call them on the phone?

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COVID-19 and marriage practicalities – UPDATED

UPDATE RE PENS 2/4/2020: I wrote the initial post that included wiping my signing pen with antibacterial wipes between each signer based on the rule I learned many moons ago that when signing a legal document, all signers needed to use the same pen, as different pens may suggest the signers signed at different times or in different places. After much consideration I’m changing my stance on this; I’ve decided to buy a