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.
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.”
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 -...
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.
A celebrant asks: RE NSW weddings Covid sign in is doing my head in. Until recently I've asked couples to create their own Safety Plan(via https://www.nsw.gov.au/form/covid-safety-plan/wedding-ceremonies-and-receptions) to cover the ceremony, and reception too...
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.
When a celebrant dies, what happens to their marriage documentation?
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: Suppliers have not experienced a raft...
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.
Your Facebook page, Instagram page, Google My Business account, your LinkedIn, and god forbid any of you have a Parler account, but they’re all not your property. Running your business on the back of those properties is like going to your local cafe and setting up shop at a table. Putting up a little sign with Married By John Citizen on it, and accepting meetings and enquiries there. It might be ok for the longest period of time (thanks for hosting me, Sisterhood Coffee), but at any time that business owner can ask you to leave and not come back.
If you’ve read your emails from the AGD recently, or heard rumours around the ol’ celebrancy water cooler, you might be a little confused about what is happening with ongoing professional development in 2021.
New OPD consultation survey out now: please respond!
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.
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...
A celebrant has written in to the Celebrant Institute asking the question: “How can I, and should I, accept crypto currency for celebrancy?”
I recently spoke via video at the Wedding Business CEO Summit and spoke on the process of creating a customer journey. My talk was called There’s A Fraction Too Much Friction: Automation For Your Customer Journey. I believe this is an important and valuable topic for all wedding business people to get in their life, and I’m so glad I get to share it with Celebrant Institute members.
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.
“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?”
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.
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.
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.
Your challenge today is to create an entertaining meme. Not an educational meme, or an instructional meme, or a demonstratable meme. Today we meme for fun.
Today’s challenge is a little more casual after some intense training days, and it’s about Quora.
Today your challenge is to write non-stop for five minutes.
In the beginning there was the text, and the text was good. It was all we knew. We called it ASCII, ASCII codes represent text in computers. When I first used a personal computer in 1991 “computer graphics” were mostly just text in the shape of graphics, like this was a ¯\_(ツ)_/¯: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. And despite us inventing all of the great technologies that allow us to view videos, blogs, photos, and the rest online, in today’s challenge, we’re sticking with the original: text.
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.
Here’s a chart that tells a story about my business. Before you read on or scroll, what story do you think it’s telling?
Today you get a rare and direct peek into my brain. This next diagram explains how I think about content.
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.
We’re on the home stretch in this social media challenge, and you guys are absolutely nailing the challenge to the wall, good work!
Many governments are requiring people running events to collect data about who attends the event using QR codes and web forms. 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 started this little streak of content prompts highlighting the fact that there five different kinds of good content. This is the fifth: demonstratable content.
Today’s challenge, once more without stipulation of network or medium, is to entertain 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. Just inspire us. Here's...
Good morning students! Today you’re all teachers and we’re taking your audience back to school.
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’s challenge is 98% in your hands, 1% in the calendar’s hands, and 1% from me.
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. It can’t be just any photo though, we want it to be made 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.
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...
Today we’re taking that controversial thought in your mind, and we’re turning it all the way up to [eleven, Spinal Tap style].
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.
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...
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
There’s a whole philosophy behind referrals and testimonies, but I’m not sharing them today, because I’m not a psychologist; I’m just a boy, standing in front a celebrant, asking them to testify! Testimonies about how you are good at what you do, and you do it in a certain way that makes a certain kind of person happy.
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.
Who would ever think that there would be a need for an [International Day for Nutella] to raise awareness of the delicious nutty goodness? Sara Rosso did.
Podcasts are so much more powerful than most people imagine. My little podcast, [The Rebel’s Guide to Getting Married], has maybe…
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.
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.
Sarah chats to Tasmanian celebrant Kathleen Pavlic-Ryan about the brand new online registration system available through Births, Deaths, and Marriages Tasmania!
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?
Today’s challenge is to find something boring (like a carrot) yet necessary (like vegetables are for your diet) in your business
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.
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).
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?
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...
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!
All good questions, Tamika, and I’ll address them separately.
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.
I’m writing a social media challenge for Celebrant Institute members to see out 2020…
An Australian wedding celebrant directory recently emailed it’s members guilt-tripping them into keeping non-refundable deposits. What a guy.
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.
Wedding ceremonies are works of art
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?
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.
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...
Seth Godin today writing about charging per hour, something I still see celebrants do. I wrote about the same topic a year ago so it’s nice to have beat Seth Godin to something for once.
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.
222 reasons why professionally operating marriage celebrants should secure their domain name registrar account and make sure their domain name is on auto renew.
A member asks: Am I correct in assuming that couple's cannot live stream their marriage ceremony given music copyright issues? So there's a few issues to address in this one short question. The first is responsibility. If you as the celebrant are not responsible for...
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. The Australian Capital Territory BDM doesn’t have an online system, but they do accept via email.
A video showing you all the gear I use for weddings!
Instagram’s latest feature ‘Reels’ is in addition to it’s existing product suite of regular Instagram news feed posts, Stories, and IGTV. This is a deep dive into how celebrants and people in the wedding industry can take advantage of Instagram Reels.
A brief update from Sarah on the Stage 4 restrictions in Victoria and what they mean for marriages – at this stage…
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.
In today's Celebrant Talk Show podcast episode recorded Saturday August 1, 2020, we talk about how branded face masks should in no way be a thing, giving terrible advice to couples about COVID-19 lockdowns, preparing for the aftertime, how to make a customer journey,...
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!
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.
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...
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...
(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...
10 ways to make wedding fairs, wedding directories, wedding blogs, wedding magazines, expos, and virtual wedding fairs, work for you.
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.
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...
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?
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.
What if we sent a voice recording of a ceremony to a couple instead of a written draft?
Legal help, cancellations thanks to COVID-19, OPD over Zoom update, how to become a travelling celebrant, and how to get audio to videographers, all in this podcast episode with Sarah and Josh.
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?
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?
There’s more than enough room in our ranks for talented, skilled, and diverse celebrants so please come and join us.
No annual fee for celebrants for 2020-2021!
I see lots of people on Zoom calls not bringing their A-game to the call.
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,...
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. You see, Australia as a nation is a lovely idea, but really, you live in a state. That state, be it Queensland, Victoria, Western Australia, or a constant state of joy, has made a number of decisions as to how certain things are governed. Many things are a state business, and they have then handed many things on to the [Commonwealth of Australia] for their governance. This article is an oversimplification of a complex structure, so please don’t quote me anywhere.
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.
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.