A few responses to my May 2022 email (check your spam if you don’t get my monthly emails or join here) about having done 27 marriage ceremonies this month prompted questions from celebrants across our Australian membership base and even internationally.
Donna asked “how do you juggle that many” and others asked how I got that many bookings and other questions around the zone.
How did I get 27 weddings in one month? Well, first of all, two of them were last-minute additions because a Celebrant Institute member got the spicy cough, and only two were fresh bookings or “new money” if you like. The rest were layovers from the two years of Covid – many couples on their third or fifth date — plus there were a handful of flood postponements as well. In the end, I’ve committed to just getting them done.
That said, I’ve always operated at a high level of work in my business, and I’ve always had these words from Kevin Kelly in my mind when getting there:
[If you don’t know who Kevin Kelly is, you should read his 103 bits of advice blog post]
“Productivity is often a distraction. Don’t aim for better ways to get through your tasks as quickly as possible, rather aim for better tasks that you never want to stop doing.”
I’m not busy, I’m doing what I want to do. Fair enough that this season has been tough and I would’ve preferred to have done less work this last month, but I never want to stop being a celebrant. I’ve found my best task. I’m really good at this, and if you’re reading this I’m willing to bet that you are too.
When I say I’m good at this though, please hear my heart. I’m not winning awards (mainly because I’m not willing to participate in awards) or gaining accolades. My measure of whether I’m “really good at this” is based on three things:
- How do I feel about the work I do? Do I think it’s valuable and important?
- How do my couples feel about my work? Do they think it’s valuable and important?
- How do their guests respond to my work?
Everyone else’s opinion is lovely, but the first two are the main guiding lights for me. I try to ignore other people when it comes to my work. There are people I’ll listen to, like Sarah Aird for example – my co-founder here on the Celebrant Institute – but it’s because we have a relationship built on trust, if she tells me I’m wrong, she’s right. I’ll listen to may wife, and trusted wedding industry colleagues, but most other people – like other celebrants, my friends and family – don’t know my couples and they don’t know what is important about my work for those people.
So, I’ve developed a product — my celebrancy service — in a way that utilises my skills and talents, my resources and my abilities, and then assessed whether there is a market for it. Having identified a market for my unique offering I talk to that market and that market only.
I think the biggest mistake celebrants make is just doing what every celebrant does. You don’t have to. You have permission to be yourself. You have permission to be unique and to offer something new and different to the wedding industry.
You, and I, have permission to not write a script for a wedding.
You, and I, have permission to present uniquely in a marriage ceremony.
You, and I, have permission to offer extra services at a wedding.
You, and I, have permission to design unique websites, social media feeds, advertising, and marketing, complete unlike and different from what every other celebrant creates.
You, and I, have permission to be ourselves.
How did I do 27 weddings in a month? I know myself, what’s important to me, plus how I work, I know what’s important to my couples, and I moulded the month to make that work.
I had days when I didn’t answer phone calls or emails so I could be with my family, and I stayed in hotels to minimise time on the road so I could get a good night’s sleep. I ignored the status quo and brought ceremonies that I knew I could rock and that my couples would enjoy. I employed empathy so I could be present in the middle of tricky situations without being stressed.
That’s how, and why, I charge my fee – because I’m doing important work that my couples value. I find couples that will value my work, and I tell them about it.
That’s how you do 27 weddings in a month.