Author: Josh Withers

Decrypted Australian PDF Marriage Forms

We understand that accessibility is key in providing seamless services as a marriage celebrant, and we also understand that the Notice of Intended Marriage and Official Certificate of Marriage being provided from the AGD as protected PDFs is not just annoying but an impediment to a digital and modern paperwork workflow.

That’s why we’ve taken the initiative to make your life a little easier by decrypting the PDFs provided by the Marriage Law and Celebrants Section of the Attorney-General’s Department and making them available to members use. Here, you’ll find all the essential documents you need, free from the cumbersome password protections that can slow you down – or in my case recently, stop a marriage being registered by the BDM.

Our aim is to ensure that you, as a celebrant, have quick and effortless access to these important resources, allowing you to focus more on crafting memorable ceremonies for your couples. Whether you’re conducting legal paperwork or looking for guidance on the latest in marriage regulations, our unlocked PDFs are readily available for your convenience.

Dive into our collection today and experience hassle-free access to all the documents you need at your fingertips:

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Just a bunch of gibberish + legislation + quiet wedding industry times

In this episode of The Celebrant Talk Show, hosts Josh Withers and Sarah Aird discuss the current state of the wedding industry and the impact of COVID-19, inflation, and the “engagement gap” on wedding businesses. They also provide an update on the Attorney-General’s Portfolio Miscellaneous Measures Bill 2023, which includes amendments that would allow for remote witnessing of notices of intended marriage. However, the bill has been delayed in the Senate due to controversy over unrelated amendments to the Native Title Act.

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Blogging is coming back!

In 1997 the term “web log” was shortened to blog and ever since common people like you and I have had the power to write and publish on the internet. For the longest time it was the only way you shared your mission, your life, your opinion, your story.

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Embracing DMARC: A Must-Do for Celebrants

With the digital sphere becoming more integral to our work, it’s crucial we stay abreast of changes that impact how we connect with our couples and our industry. Today, I want to demystify a term that’s been floating around and is about to become even more significant: DMARC.

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Collecting email addresses at a wedding fair with a QR code and ChatGPT

Luke emailed me yesterday as I was about to solve for myself the problem he identified: What software would you recommend to use for a marketing list? Again are there any zaps or workflows in setting up the marketing list?

Great question Luke! I’ve been toying around in this realm for a while and have regrettably landed on the most expensive solution around: Active Campaign. I’m going to show you how I created a Zapier zap to collect email addresses at a wedding fair and get ChatGPT to send each person an email instantly after they scanned the QR code and entered their email address. It was such a smooth and professional workflow, I’m really happy with it. But before I show you how I created that I want to talk about email marketing for a moment. Email marketing is amazing and horrible. It’s amazing because people who identify with you and how you roll can and will give you their email address, and you have the opportunity to bring value back to their inbox via marketing emails. It’s horrible because trying to land in someone’s actual email inbox and not their spam folder is an arduous exercise that even yours truly finds hard, and tiring, and annoying. So you’ll try the cheaper products, then you’ll try MailChimp, and the rest of them, and marketing folklore tells us that if you are serious about this you end up on Active Campaign. so that’s where I am. Whenever someone enquires with me, books with me, or if I interact with them at an open day or wedding fair, that email address heads into my Active Campaign contacts list and I try my hardest to bring them immense value and joy. Not spam. So let’s have a look at this zap to collect emails at a wedding fair.

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Start playing with generative AI

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. So here are a few things you can try to get your hands dirty this week, some ways to put some garbage in and see what comes out.

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Chat and AI is going to change your entire business

Four points that you should take away from this article: 1) The power of the first-mover and the advantages you can take from being one. 2) Social media is both broadening and shrinking. Broadening into wider broadcast-style models like we used to know as TV and radio, and shrinking into smaller group chats like Wavelength or even iMessage/WhatsApp/Telegram/Signal groups. 3) Generative AI is a new tool for you to use to do your work. 4) AI chat is going to replace the traditional search engine.

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16 Growth ideas for wedding celebrants

A celebrant friend was complaining to me recently about the market, we’ve all had the same conversation, either us being whined at, or us doing the whining. The truth is that we are not owed our next enquiry or booking, we need to work for it. So here’s some ideas on how to work for it how to grow your business. Take any of these ideas and deploy in an authentic and meaningful way for you.

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

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

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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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.

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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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Can AI write an original marriage ceremony?

Yes, 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.

The preparation for this blog post involved asking ChatGPT a few questions, and minutes later I’ve got a simple and sweet marriage ceremony prepped. I also asked ChatGPT’s big brother, DALL-E to create a featured image for this post.

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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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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.

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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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How did I do 27 weddings in one month?

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

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