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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. That’s not to diminish your want and desire to be generous and kind to your clients, be that, and more, but you are not their wedding insurance. Their wedding being postponed should not bankrupt you. So assuming you’re already ready to raise your price, if not read this, here’s three practical ways you can increase your price today.

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 -...

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.

If Facebook shuts your page down, are you prepared?

If Facebook shuts your page down, are you prepared?

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

How is OPD different in 2021?

How is OPD different in 2021?

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.

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 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.

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.

How to get couples to book you as their celebrant

How to get couples to book you as their celebrant

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

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.

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 ¯\_(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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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...

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.

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...

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

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.

OPD in 2021 is changing

OPD in 2021 is changing

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.

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?

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!

All good questions, Tamika, and I’ll address them separately.

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.

A marriage celebrant must call themselves a marriage celebrant, and other obligations

A marriage celebrant must call themselves a marriage celebrant, and other obligations

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.

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.

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.

Preparing for the aftertime

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,...

Wedding rehearsals – a video

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!

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.

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...

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?

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.