Old marketing would put the right message in the right place so the right people would find it. The celebrant would advertise in the wedding magazine because people having weddings bought wedding magazines. The tools were at the tool shop so people who needed tools would know where to buy them. The cheap services were advertised where cheap people shopped, and expensive services were advertised where people with too much money shopped.
New marketing requires you to be found, to be stumbled across. For someone to tell someone else “look over there” and when they do, they’re pleasantly surprised as they find an opportunity to invest some of their money in something that resonates with their worldview, their needs, and their wants. New marketing is about aligning stories, creating serendipity, wonder, and aww. New marketing is a long term investment with even longer term gains.
New marketing isn’t about price, it’s about value, identity, authenticity, vulnerability, and care.
“Differentiation starts with the choice to do one thing well” says Bernadette at The Story of Telling blog.
I wanted to break that powerful statement down and offer up some food of thought for celebrants today.
Your celebrant practise, the act and art of you being the celebrant you are is a choice. It may well be that “every” celebrant does it “that way” or that there is an accepted or traditional method of doing something, but you still make the choice. Even if the choice is to change nothing and do the same as everyone else.
The art of being different requires doing. Then failing, flailing, and falling, and finking (I really wanted all the words to start with F), and facing forwards and doing again.
No-one’s been different by not doing.
The truth is that you’ll actually find out how different you are a year or two after you start the doing and you’ll actually be a whole lot weirder and more wonderful than you ever could have imagined.
I see celebrants worldwide offer up every single service and ceremony you could think of. If you don’t think you’ve found your difference yet, my challenge to you is to narrow that down to one thing, at least at the start. I’m not saying you can’t do funerals and weddings, but if you’re failing at finding your footing in both, put one on ice for a season and make the choice to do one thing …
You are really bad at a large number of things. I know I’m terrible at earthmoving, kitesurfing, video games, carpentry, the list goes on, but I would count my successes to figuring out what I can do well.
My question for you, and for the comments, is what do you think you do well. Shout your own praises from the comments section.
And secondly, if you know another member of this community does something well but they need to hear it, mention it in the comments. Or at least send them a text.
Help others make the choice to do one thing well.
Liene over at Think Splendid has published a super insightful blog post about how she prices herself for her speaking gigs.
I wonder if we as celebrants have considered not only our costs of doing business expenses, living wage, the average celebrant fee, the market’s response to fees, and everything else we can talk about when it comes to pricing yourself, but have we considered this important point.
How much value are we bringing to our couples?
How much better is their life, their wedding, their marriage, because of what we say and do?
It might cost us $100 to be a celebrant, and the average fee might be $200, and you’d like $300, but what if we are actually bringing $400 of value to our couples’ lives, and what if we had the potential inside of us already to bring $500 of value.
What if we revolutionised the whole game and our couples walked away $600 richer in their soul because their marriage was breathed into life by someone who cared?
Just some food for thought for all of us.
Hello again and thanks for tuning into The Celebrant Talk Show podcast! This episode we chat about:
- wedding planners
- receiving identity documents electronically
- Celebrant software: which package is bettter?
- the importance of paying your registration fee as soon as you receive the invoice
- what happens when a party isn’t consenting?
Let us know any thoughts!
I have been simmering on the idea that our clients don’t actually know what they want, despite almost all wedding vendor websites claiming to give them whatever they want, for quite a while now.
I even had half an article drafted, and then today Liene at Think Splendid wrote this great piece and it nailed the whole idea.
If you offer clients “what they want” without offering your expertise and insight, then your clients are actually getting a bad deal. You are getting paid for your professional opinion: speak up.
Read her piece here then maybe edit your marketing materials to reflect the professional you are. Or if you don’t have a professional opinion, develop one, or shut down. When your clients hire a celebrant, they’re hiring an amazing skilled and talented professional, not a “by the hour” legal signatory to some documents.
What professional association do I join? One? Two? All? I know this is tricky question and high levels of diplomacy may be required – but how does a newbie choose between the associations? My RTO has given no advice and all associations seem to offer the same or similar benefits.
The good news is that you don’t have to join a celebrant association, it’s a choice you get to make. As for which association, and there’s many, you ought to look at the benefits membership brings you.
As I skim the membership benefits pages of many of the associations, I see insurance being offered by many, although because of my corporate structure I have public liability insurance separately, some offer celebrant software, some offer copyright licensing, and others offer mentoring, meetings, and online forms and Facebook groups (oh so many Facebook groups), and if pushed I personally don’t see immediate benefit to many of them outside of discounted insurance.
Liaising with the Attorney-General’s department
There is however an important aspect of celebrant associations that many associations are dropping, that’s their liaising with the AGD office.
From this week’s issue of Marriage Celebrant Matters
The department met with marriage celebrant associations on 2 May 2018. Sixteen celebrants representing fourteen celebrant associations were in attendance. Issues discussed included improving consultation approaches between associations and the department, changes to the Marriage Act 1961 for marriage equality, and consultation activities including the review of official marriage forms. The meeting also included a presentation by the Department of Finance on the Australian Government Charging Framework. The department held a teleconference with associations on 10 August 2018 and the next face to face meeting is scheduled for mid-October.
Celebrant associations have a seat at the table with the AGD.
Our AGD needs to be held accountable to decisions they make, plus there needs to be open communication between that office and the celebrant population. In recent times our own Sarah Aird has taken that upon herself and if we don’t support associations, or have one worth joining, this kind of work will fall on individual shoulders.
Maybe that’s what the future of marriage celebrancy in Australia looks like?
“The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.”Henry David Thoreau
Self-employed creatives can talk about price and fee until the end of time. I’ve had celebrants privately, publicly, to my face, and behind my back, make all of the comments about why I charge too much, or not enough, and how that’s a problem, or an opportunity.
Everyone has an opinion on price.
Because our price is so closely linked to our soul, our heart, our skill, and as Henry says: the amount of life you exchange.
How much life are you exchanging per wedding? Are you charging a fair price, or giving away your most valuable asset for free?
I just did my tax and I'm very frustrated!!! I need advice on what software or system to use to make it easier. Most I see are not designed for a sole owner operator that has not registered for GST (I earn less than 75k); they seem too complicated. I know what I earn and spend this shouldn't be so frustrating. But I never know what category to put things in. I don't know. What do you use? I have a subscription to 17hats I thought that might help but its basically designed for America.The GST question isn't overly important in this issue; most software today can easily adapt to changing to being GST registered, but the question of what software to use, and how to use it, is important. Read More
Hello again and thank you for having us in your ears! In this episode we chat about the importance of exchanging value and not simply expecting things for free, we give a rundown of what we’ve written about for the Celebrant Institute over the past month, and we talk a bit about Vic BDM’s new online system (spoiler alert, it’s coming “soon”). Let us know your thoughts or questions at firstname.lastname@example.org!
For anyone looking to follow your example of maintaining "an email list of all couples I meet at expos, fairs, open days, along with all who enquire with me" and sending them a weekly newsletter - are there any legal considerations or permission issues (opt in/opt out) we need to consider? Is it fine to just add any email address to a newsletter database or is there particular wording we need to use in sourcing those addresses for that purpose? Cheers.So there's three issues to address here:
- Consent to being added to a list
- Sending commercial messages versus sending spam
- Once you've identified that you're within the law, are you sending an email worth sending
A common conversation amongst everyone in the wedding industry who is not a wedding photographer is asking photographers for photos.
It’s great when you get them, it means your social media feeds have a professional feel over an iPhone photo feel, and it’s literally their job to make art out of events so their photos are always going to be better than yours.
Some ground rules:
- Start this process knowing that no photographer owes you photos. They simply don’t, so if you get a photo, they’re doing you a favour.
- Never screenshot photos, just don’t, when you screenshot images you take a large high resolution beautiful photo and then recapture it at the size of your phone. It’s like a taking a photo of a photo and it’s the first way to annoy your photographer friends.
- Do not edit, crop, change the colour of, or add a filter to any photographs you are given. This is art, and 99 times out of one hundred, you can’t make it better. And if you do edit the photo, then credit the photographer, your’e telling the world that the photographer had the final say on those colours, so maybe if you really like that filter, ask the photographer if they think it’s an improvement.
- Different photographers will have different rules for use, but unless they state otherwise, I would assume that these are only to be used in social media posts and blog posts that I own. So I’m not to send them to a wedding magazine or blog, submit them anywhere, or use them on billboards. If I was going to print photos for use in wedding fairs, billboards, or in marketing material, I would generally ask if it was ok.
- The easiest way to share photos and give honour to the photographer is to share their blog, Facebook, or Instagram post natively. Natively means not-screenshotting the images, but clicking share on Facebook, so the original post is shared. On Instagram this means sharing their post or story to your own story.
Now that we’ve discussed rules, let’s talk about how to get them.
How to ask
This is the easy part. Asking photographers for their photos is as simple as asking. I prefer email because they can reply in their own time, but if you’re already in conversation with the photographer, perhaps on Instagram DM or Facebook Messenger, then simply pose the question.
Try not to ask on the wedding day, don’t offer business cards or get them to write down your details. On the wedding day we are all-hands-on-deck and no-one cares about tomorrow’s Instagram post.
What to ask?
Can I share some photos from the wedding, I promise to play by your rules, always credit and not edit. You can use whichever words you want, but keep it simple, don’t waste their time, and be polite. (It sounds like a redundant thing to ask, but I’ve seen some of your emails)
Credit and not edit
When posting the photo/s, as early as your story allows credit the photographer. I like to try and make it a little bit cute and personal to, like how I’ve credited Michael Briggs in this Instagram post.
View this post on Instagram
I sincerely believe with all my heart, all, all my mind, and all my soul that the most valuable thing you can do when you get married is have an awesome ceremony filled with encouraging words, meaningful vows, and a sufficient supply of tears. This is humanity at its best. Acknowledging that something important is happening, turning up, communicating, loving, and being loved. This is living. Adam + Samara #marriedbyjosh with the @elopementcollective and the hardest working photographer this side of Bass Strait, @michaelbriggsphotography with @edward_and.i blooms.
Be sure to @mention them, which means before you start constructing the post you’ve identified what their Instagram username is, if you’re on Facebook, you’ve done the same, and if it’s on a blog then you’re linking back to their website, or if you want to get tricky and they’ve blogged the same wedding, link to their blog post.
On Facebook @mentions work differently than on Instagram, you start with the @name but then choose their business page from the drop down list so it looks like Dan O’Days name on this post.
You’re welcome to word and caption to your heart’s content, just make sure it is clear that you didn’t take the photo and that if you’re interested in finding out who the photographer is, that you can click a link.
A quick note on @mentions on Facebook: Each Facebook page has a username and a “display name”. For example my own Facebook username is marriedbyjosh but my display name is Married By Josh.
If you visit a business’ Facebook page you’ll generally see the display name like mine in this screenshot “Married By Josh” and the username beneath.
When creating the post you can start typing @marriedbyjosh and my display name should come up for selection, or if you start typing @married by josh the same drop down box should appear.
When to ask
Sarah notes in the comments, and my friend James Day, both add good notes about when to ask. The average wedding photo contract promises delivery in under eight weeks, and the average delivery time is three to five weeks. So I’d be setting a timer/reminder/note to not ask the day after the wedding but to wait about six weeks.
Final note, what can you give?
This whole post has been about what you can get from a photographer, but consider what you could give as well. If you’re a marriage celebrant you know the couple’s story, and possibly even some vows. They’ve got the photos but you’ve got the captions. You need to be respectful of your couples’ privacy, and not share too much, but I’ll ask couples if they don’t mind some of their story being told in social media, plus those that book me see me doing it for others, and if they would like it to be private, they’ll let me know.
If you’re not a celebrant reading this guide, then maybe there’s other value you can bring to a photographer. Don’t feel like this whole experience requires give and take, but it’s the human way of operating, so at least offer a thanks and if someone’s looking for a photographer, don’t be afraid to refer them.
View this post on Instagram
“We had the most sensational day and you played a part in making it that way. Your calm, humour, and kind spirit was a force amongst us all.” Ash & Dan (aka Chenga & Willy) #marriedbyjosh in the bush chapel at @kangaroovalleybushretreat with camera collector, @jamesdayweddings, and @bloom_films made a film!
We recorded this episode on 6 July 2018, before Sarah had a chance to read the fact sheet from the AGD about the change in the one month’s notice period, so we don’t discuss that in the episode. Sarah will write more about that change soon; suffice to say she’s fighting it because she believes it’s a mis-interpretation of the Acts Interpretation Act.
What do we talk about in the episode?
- Adam’s question about whether or not to discount to get your first client as a new celebrant, and whether or not to advertise on an aggregate site such as Easy Weddings
- Victoria BDM’s new online registration system
- The Celebrant Institute: what it is, why we’re doing it, and why we hope you’ll support us!
As always, please check in at email@example.com if you have any questions or anything you’d like us to talk about in future episodes!
If you’re a celebrant in Southeast Queensland or Northern New South Wales that would like to complete their OPD (ongoing professional development) commitment with The Oracle, Sarah Aird (through Qualtrain) we can do it if we get 30 people in the room.
Completing OPD in a room with likeminded people and an awesome trainer beats the ass off completing OPD online or in PDFs.
So follow this link and select which dates work for you.
Once a date has 30 people’s names next to it we’ll email you with the registration details.
Just a quick question about intellectual property of ceremony drafts. Hasn't happened to me, but have heard of stories of celebrants issuing a draft ceremony for the clients to look over, and then that ceremony being taken by the couple to a cheaper celebrant. Don't know how true it is, but it did get me thinking about my own Ts and Cs and about how I could best protect myself at the end of the day. Look, I know how easy it is to forward on a PDF or a Word Document and there's stuff all we can do about it at the end of the day, but it's just another aspect of this job that's been on my mind a bit lately.So there are three angles I'm going to answer this question from: Read More
Hey Josh, it's one of your favourite subjects - P.A. systems. I am saving up for my first one, not even sure where to start but think my budget might stretch to $2k. Is that too little? Can you provide some options and good suppliers? Would love to hear your thoughts.Jo, you are so correct, this is one of my favourite subjects. Well before I was a celebrant with opinions on PA systems I was a guest at weddings and even regular events where I struggled to hear the person speaking. Nothing frustrates my brain more than being able to see the lips moving but the sound isn't in my ears. In fact, good stage designers and performance creators base their decisions on the audience's five senses being in line with what they are trying to deliver. Can the audience member at the front, middle, and rear, see, hear, feel, smell, and taste exactly what we want them to. Read More
The Celebrant Institute, this website, exists for celebrants who struggle with their competence. It’s ok, you’re not alone in thinking “maybe I could do better.” Marriage celebrancy is my full time job, it’s all I do, and more often than not I question how competent I am at running a business, providing for my family, performing marriage ceremonies. My encouragement to you today is that it’s ok, this is human, our brains hate us.
But there’s also a chance that we could be better, so the Celebrant Institute serves that space, for celebrants who are already celebranting but want to be better.
As part of this betterment I’d like to introduce you to the Dunning-Kruger effect. The effect is this: people who think they’re incompetent are not in-fact incompetent, because people who are incompetent are not competent enough to realise their own incompetence.
So if you have any illusion of high-functioning competence, you are most likely incompetent.
And if you query your own competence, perhaps even thinking you are indeed incompetent, you are not incompetent, but instead you are on the scale of competence. I’m willing to bet you’re even more competent than you imagine.
So if you find yourself on this spectrum of competence, that is, you’re not incompetent as a celebrant, but you also don’t think you’re so competent that you’re probably actually incompetent, then come along for the ride as Sarah and I answer your questions about the legal side of marriage celebrancy, the business and marketing side of celebrancy, and of course the performance aspects. We’ll cover it all, and all we ask is that if you value that kind of contribution to your competence, you put your money where your mouth is and become a member.
Thanks so much for having us in your ears again! This episode covers the following:
- Sarah’s experience performing Eurydice Dixon’s funeral
- Paperwork only, legals only, registry style wedding and the legalities surrounding them
- Copyright for marriage celebrants. Check out the great information on COCA’s website:
- Exhibiting at wedding expos: styling, collecting info from couples, other tips and tricks
During the episode we talk about how many marriages are firsts for the couple, and Sarah promised to look up the official stats. According to the ABS 2016 data (that’s the most recent we have; the 2017 data will be released in November 2018), 81.2% of all brides and 79.3% of all grooms had not married previously. So Josh was right with his 80% estimate, and Sarah was also right that some of my couples have one partner who has been married before and one who hasn’t!
Finally, head over to celebrant.institute and sign up for the mailing list to be the first to know what Josh and Sarah are cooking up next!
As always, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or comments 🙂
Listen directly, in the embed below, or subscribe
We know, we know, it’s been a long time since we were both in your ears together. We’re sorry and we’ll try to do better!
We know you missed us, so we spent most of the episode talking about some major changes in the legalities of how we do our work:
– changes to the gender and sex questions on the NOIM through an updated Compulsory OPD booklet
– the new Marriage Regulations 2017
– the new Draft Guidelines on the Marriage Act
Hopefully we won’t bore you too much with this boring but important information 🙂
This is a really important conversation for celebrants to have, because the words, the conversations, communications, inside a wedding are our responsibility. Lara is one of the heads behind Dancing With Her, a publication for LGBTQ+ women in love. Se’s a guest on today’s Celebrant Talk Show to help us use more inclusive, and friendly, language as celebrants and wedding professionals.
As always, thanks for tuning in! In the episode recorded on 22 March 2018, we talked about:
- funerals – the world of funerals has been pretty slow in Melbourne throughout February and March, and we talked about how we can manage a seasonal business
- custom made coffins – Josh talked about meeting a graphic designer who works for a coffin manufacturer https://expressioncoffins.com.au/ Expressions Coffins designs beautiful wraps for standard coffins, that can reflect the personality of the deceased. Definitely worth a look if you’re interested in the world of funerals!
- Official Certificate of Marriage and DONLIM template – the lovely Peter Willington was good enough to design some writeable PDF templates for the OCM and DONLIM, but we’ve found some users having issues with them, so we discuss the solution. Shout out if you’re still having trouble…
- second weddings – how do we deal with couples who’ve already been legally married and are now having a big ceremony with their friends and family involved? We know that we have to make it clear it’s not a legal ceremony, but some couples are really unhappy about this. We talk about how we manage this with our couples.
- gender vs sex on the Notice of Intended Marriage – that pesky descriptor question is a tricky one, and we talk about how Sarah’s advice in an earlier episode wasn’t strictly on point… http://www.coalitionofcelebrantassociations.org.au/issues/119-raised-with-the-ag-department/608-terminology-for-marriages-post-9th-december-2017
- cancellations, refunds, contracts – having a contract or at least some terms and conditions around cancellations and refunds is super important. Have a look at Josh’s contract at www.marriedbyjosh.com/servicecontract
As always, let us know any questions!
We know it’s been a while, but welcome back to The Celebrant Talk Show! In this episode we’re responding to questions from you, our lovely listeners. Feel free to send us your questions by email to email@example.com, or even record yourself asking us your question and send us the audio file!
In this episode we look at:
– what’s going on (or not going on) with New South Wales BDM’s online marriage registration system
– insight into Customer Relationship Management software, in particular Tave and Studio Ninja. If any of you have had personal experience with 17Hats, Dubsado, or any other system, we’d love to hear about it and share it with our listeners!
– how to marry people in Bali (legally here first, emotionally there second)
– how to write the couple’s story – it’s much easier once you have a real live couple to work with! Sarah tells us how she approaches writing a couple’s story, and Josh tells us why he doesn’t write a story at all.
– all things “vibe” – tips and tricks for getting guests in the mood, engaging with the guests and the couple, and dealing with tough crowds
– some tricky legal questions about parties’ fathers and whether or not they should be listed on the NOIM, and about evidence of legal name changes
– who can witness a NOIM, specifically under the title “legally qualified medical practitioner” – download this list of medical specialties registered by the Medical Board of Australia. If the qualification isn’t on this list, they can’t witness the signatures on a NOIM!
As always, we want to know what you think and what you want to hear more of. Hit us up on Facebook or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org! Thanks for listening 🙂
Welcome back to another edition of the celebrant talk show. In this edition we cover which BDM’s are on track in regards to marriage equality, hetero-normativeness in our wedding businesses, and address Guy ‘Cliffo’ Clifton’s question on processes in our businesses.
- Are the BDMs up to date on marriage equality yet?
- Josh’s column on White Magazine
- Gender conversation with Tara from Dancing With Her coming up soon
- Contact us with any thoughts on our own OPD in 2018 and conference in 2019
- Processes topic thanks to a question from
- Tools mentioned in the processes topic: Help Scout, Zapier, Calendly, Tave, , Gravity Forms, BombBomb, Xero.
This episode is all about enquiries season! Recorded on January 8th 2018, released a week late because life is crazy sometimes.
Marriage equality has come to Australia! Finally! And it came in like a wrecking ball, changing EVERYTHING for marriage celebrants whilst also delivering equality, love, and compassion to a large part of our population.
There’s so many questions to be asked about marriage equality and what it means for celebrants, so we hope you enjoy this ep – Josh is sorry for his terrible audio quality, it was recorded in a Brisbane co-working space which was noisey and echoey, sorry!
- Is Australian society now doomed?
- Is my marriage now less valid?
- Marriage equality info on Attorney General’s Department website: https://www.ag.gov.au/FamiliesAndMarriage/Marriage/Pages/marriage-equality.aspx
- What changed in the law?
- Is there a new category of religious marriage celebrants? Facgt sheet: https://www.ag.gov.au/FamiliesAndMarriage/Marriage/Documents/Fact-Sheet-New-subcategory-of-religious-marriage-celebrant.pdf
- Fact sheet on religious protections: https://www.ag.gov.au/FamiliesAndMarriage/Marriage/Documents/Fact-sheet-Protections-for-ministers-of-religion-and-marriage-celebrants-with-religious-beliefs.pdf
- How to become a Religious Marriage Celebrant:
- If you choose to be identified as a religious marriage celebrant, you must make your request to the Registrar in writing between 10 December 2017 and 9 March 2018. There will be no extensions of time. You can make this request by either:
- 1. Logging on to your self-service portal, clicking on the ‘Identification as religious marriage celebrant’ item on the left hand menu and ticking the box confirming you wish to be identified as a religious marriage celebrant. The portal will be available from 10 December 2017.
- 2. Replying to this email [the one received by all celebrants on 8 December] using the following words: ‘I wish to be identified as a religious marriage celebrant under the Marriage Act 1961. I confirm that this choice is based on my religious beliefs.’ With all emails to the department it would assist if you provided your A number.
- After 9 March 2018, you will no longer be able to make a request to the Registrar to become a religious marriage celebrant. This deadline is mandated by legislation. There will be no extensions of time or exceptions.
- The Registrar will give you written confirmation that your details on the register of marriage celebrants have been updated.
- Do we know if the Jedi religion has a position on same sex marriage?
- Can religious celebrants marry gay people?
- What are the key dates around marriage equality in Australia?
- When was the first same sex wedding in Australia? Saturday the 16th of December at 2pm in Sydney.
- Does a civil union automatically become a marriage?
- If you’ve already been married overseas, is that same sex marriage recognised in Australia? From when?
- Can couples married overseas in a same sex marriage now get divorced?
- Fact sheet on overseas marriages: https://www.ag.gov.au/FamiliesAndMarriage/Marriage/Documents/Fact-sheet-Recognition-of-foreign-same-sex-marriages-and-divorce.pdf
- Can I use the old NOIMs that mention groom and bridegroom since December 9?
- Are the old NOIMs invalid from December 9? Yes. NOIMs lodged with the celebrant before December 9 are valid for their regular 18-month validity period.
- Link for the new marriage forms: https://www.ag.gov.au/FamiliesAndMarriage/Marriage/Pages/Forms.aspx
- Fact sheet on the new forms: https://www.ag.gov.au/FamiliesAndMarriage/Marriage/Documents/Fact-sheet-Changes-to-marriage-forms-and-certificates.pdf
- The new interim NOIMs have jammed new lines in to the existing form.
- There’s a new description of party and gender line.
- Is there a new Guidelines on the Marriage Act yet?
- The new official certificate of marriage has changed.
- Can we use our old Red Book of marriage certificates?
- How has the new Official Certificate of Marriage changed?
- The declaration of no legal impediment has not changed.
- Has the form 15 – the pretty presentation marriage certificate – changed?
- Has the period of notice changed to 28 days?
- How has the marriage ceremony changed?
- Fact sheet from the Attorney-General on the marriage ceremony requirements as discussed in this episode https://www.ag.gov.au/FamiliesAndMarriage/Marriage/Documents/Fact-Sheet-Changes-to-marriage-ceremony-requirements.pdf
- What is the new monitum?
- What are the new marriage vows?
- What do we pronounce the couple married at the end of the ceremony?
A podcast by request! Emily wrote in and asked for some tips for new celebrants, so here we are, with Josh and Sarah’s top ten tips for new wedding celebrants!
- Network, network, network – with anyone in the marriage industry
- Find a buddy/mentor
- Read the Guidelines to the Marriage Act cover to cover, and look at them regularly when you have a question
- Watch lots of ceremonies to find out different ways of doing things
- Learn how to business
- Figure out your differentiator, your point of difference
- 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
- Learn from other industries – business-wise – and ceremony wise
- Attend OPD in person! (not distance)
- PA system/tech gear
- 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.
Get your eggs ready folks, for once Sarah Aird says something controversial. Don’t worry though, anything she said is not as bad as whatever Josh has to say.
This episode is all about money, how much celebrants charge, why they charge what they charge, and we touch on the topics of price-fixing in the celebrant industry and why marriage celebrants should charge cold hard cash for the wedding ceremonies they perform. Show notes below.
- Annual marriages reached new low http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/an-industry-in-need-to-help-marriage-falls-to-alltime-lows-20171128-gzufqm.html
- Actual data cubes: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/3310.0
- Victoria the culprit for the more than usual late registration of marriages – it was up to 10 weeks post-marriage date in summer 2015-2016
- Pricing, thanks to Karen Cramer for sending in a voicemail
- Price fixing links:
On pricing, by Dally Messenger:
When Funeral Celebrants began in 1974, they inherited a culture.
The Funeral Director was in charge of the dignified disposal of the body.
The Church was in charge of the ceremony.
Funeral Directors ingratiated themselves with the clergy, because the clergy gave them work. As they presided at the last rites, the priest would recommend the Funeral Director who best understood that church’s ceremonial routine.
The clergy were the rulers of the roost – what they said went.
But the clergyman, strictly speaking, was not paid. He received a small amount of money as a gift – known as a stipend, It was presumed that the dead person had well and truly paid for his funeral in advance by his weekly offerings when he attended church.
Then came civil celebrants – who had not been paid “in advance” and who did not do, could not do, a “one size fits all” ceremony as the clergy had done.
But the Funeral Directors only paid celebrants the clergy “stipend”.
After the initial joy and sense of achievement had passed, many celebrants realised they could not pay the bills. Two things happened. Many celebrants ceased doing the work. Others lowered their standards of preparation and delivery. In Australia most of us had weddings to fall back on. A few who had private means kept a high standard and still do.
While this was happening a group of celebrants, of which I was part, politely confronted the better Victorian Funeral Directors and argued that we, in justice, should be paid more than the clergy. Two firms agreed – a Rob Allison of John Alison Monkhouse and Des Tobin of Tobin Bros Funerals. They gave us about double the clergy stipend. For a long while, funeral celebrancy in Victoria flourished.
But Victoria is but one state in Australia – and in the other states the funeral celebrants lacked political will, and to this day they only receive the clergy “stipend”.
Church attendance, however, has declined dramatically so the clergy (about 20% of funerals, we are 80%) have been demanding more.
The field is full of developments – not the least of which has been the takeover of most of the small funeral firms by the big corporation Invocare, whose one ideal is profit according to the norms of why corporations exist. In NSW there is now a campaign to have “the family” prepare and deliver the funeral to make their bill look less and to exercise their power ( They spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on TV advertising every day.).
In 1997, after I was paid $150 for a celebrity funeral that took about 50 hours to prepare and deliver and had 8500 people attending, I started a “Contact the Celebrant first” campaign and declared that I would only work for an hourly rate, from that moment on.
Needless to say, the Funeral Directors (except for one or two) blacklisted me and much more.
So I only dealt with my own constituency (people whom I knew and for whom I had performed ceremonies). I was up front about an hourly rate and a ball park figure.
I averaged $1500AUD (850 GBP) to $2000AUD (1130 GBP) per funeral. I am mostly retired now but I averaged 2 per month for a long while – one month I did 5. As I have always had an income from weddings I never became worried.
An hourly rate is fair – my clients have never given me a complaint – the general public is not the problem – the funerals directors are, and it is not only money it is a question of power.
A final note – I nearly always perform 90% of a funeral ceremony at a venue away from the Crematorium. I average an hour to an hour and a quarter per ceremony – I think a good life deserves a worthy tribute, and I see the funeral service as a very serious responsibility.
Welcome to the only podcast that’s officially banned by the Australian Federation of Civil Celebrants. We’d like to thank our families and our industry colleagues for supporting us thus far!
Seriously though, here’s another sweet podcast episode, enjoy!
- Emily asks for a podcast episode with top tips for new celebrants, we’ll release it soon!
- Marriage celebrant matters, the AGD newsletter is out and boy is it fun/boring. We deliver a blow by blow recap of this industry-defining PDF file.
- CoCA comments “we don’t want the right to discriminate” in the SMH
- Send in your feedback – why are you, or are you not, a member of an association
- The Marriage Act (legislation) has not changed yet, so we can’t accept notices (NOIMs) for same sex couples until the marriage act allows us to. On the 23rd of November the current statement is “celebrants are currently not able to accept a Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM) from same-sex couples.”
- BDM (Births, Deaths and Marriages) chat on the new Queensland BDM online marriage registration system, NSW’s Lifelink and Victoria’s Marriages online, and why you might want to, or not use them. Facebook post to the new forms in beta release from the Qld BDM. When the new Qld BDM online system goes live, you’ll access it here.
Two marriage celebrants with wedding hangovers bring you this November 6 episode of the Celebrant Talk Show,
In follow-up Evie writes in on the topic of titles for the individuals booking celebrants, and Sean asks how does Josh sign marriage paperwork on an iPad.
Topics covered in this talk show
- AFCC advertising in the “Qantas magazine” – see the ad
- Stat dec required for proof of date and place of birth – download the template
- Listing your pricing and packages live on your website for the public to see
- WTF?!? “CoCA does not support the September 2017 guidelines and position paper on the Conflict of Interest and Benefit to Business because the Policy does not uphold the professionalism of celebrants and the consultation process was flawed.” – read the statement
Josh gets slammed for attempting to secretly rebrand his business, Sarah discusses how marriage equality will change everything and nothing for civil marriage celebrants, the AGD’s biggest job is trying to figure out how to politely name the two parties to the marriage on forms, and that’s our problem as well. Welcome to episode 2 of the all new Celebrant Talk Show.
Hi, Josh here!
Sarah and I spend way too much time on the phone talking about celebrant related stuff that we thought it would make a great talk show.
Welcome to episode 1.