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?
This is a free article from the Celebrant Institute - please share with other celebrants and check out our home page if you're interested in becoming a member
8 July 2018
Most of you probably didn't pay too much attention to the fact sheet that was released on Friday 6 July 2018, in the email advising the new Guidelines were out. I certainly didn't until someone brought an apparent typographical error to my attention. You can have a read of it here:
Fact sheet re one month notice
According to the AFCC, who spoke to MLCS after the fact sheet was released, it is not an error but NEW GUIDANCE on how we are to calculate the one month's notice period.
I wrote this email to MLCS today. I'll keep you posted on the response...
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.
This is a free article from the Celebrant Institute
– please freely share and check out our home page
if you’re interested in becoming a member
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.
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.
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.