I’ll never forget my very first wedding expo, where I arrived to the convention centre so green that I didn’t realise there was an expectation that I would design a booth. So we painted a board with blackboard paint and brought it to the expo, along with the required chalk, and with minutes to go until the expo doors opened I had to think of something to write.
Some words that would draw the crowds in and pay my rent.
“Fine young celebrant” was my first draft that lasted day one of three at the expo. In hindsight, expecting everyone to heavily appreciate my play on words, was my first mistake. My second was that no-one wanted a “fine” celebrant.
Day two brought with it a wet cloth, a clean blackboard, and a second draft that became my tagline for the next few years: “Young fun celebrant!”
It’s a marketing ploy that has worked well for many celebrants, I’ve no doubt that I was not even the first to spruik the moniker, but it’s also a tagline that has done much damage in the celebrant industry. The first problem is how do we define “young”? I’m 36 as I’m writing this and when my dad was my age, he had a teenage son. I get a little bit aggravated when there are local parties that I can hear in my home, and I don’t even listen to Triple J anymore. So I don’t think I’m “young” any more.
The second problem is that differentiating ourselves by age subtly, quietly, implies that maybe being not-young isn’t that great.
And the final problem, the one I’d like to focus on between here and the bottom of the page is this: what if being not-young wasn’t the problem, but being “young” meant you might not be able to bring the same product to market?
Marriage is one of those rituals in life that most of us don’t totally understand until we’ve passed through it. From the outside looking in we see our married friends make different decisions, spend their money differently, and budget their time differently.
I’m only six years into my marriage with Britt but I can confidently say it’s the best thing that has ever happened to me and six year on I am a different person, making different decisions, spending my money and time differently, and I have no regrets.
There’s a wisdom that hindsight brings, the kind of wisdom that can see train-wrecks coming, and even stop them.
There’s a level of experience in “doing life”, attending and running events like weddings, being human, being a friend, being a listener and a business person, that you simply can’t fake – it comes with time. If you’re a not-young celebrant then I’m willing to bet you’ve got this in spades!
Where some not-young celebrants possibly got lost was on two fronts, and it’s not limited to celebrants, I’ve no doubt it’s a cold the world could catch.
Firstly, as we age some lose the ability to fall in love again and again, to forgive as well as forget, to keep from growing sour, surly, bitter and cynical. Losing these essential elements to a joy filled, peaceful life, can certainly brand you as “old” far more than your birth certificate can. (Thank you to Henry Miller turning 80 for this inspiration)
Secondly, there needs to be a beautiful marriage of your wisdom and experience, with a relevance and respect for the culture and expectations of the people being married.
I am 38, a few years outside of my “core demographic” of 25-35 year olds, so I’m close enough to be relevant and respectful of a culture I’m a little bit out of, and I understand how this gap widens as we age, but it’s also not a gap we can’t close.
That’s a big part of our goal with this website, to help close the gap between the generation being married, and those of us doing the marrying. Our hope is that we can help you on the tech, legal, business, marketing, advertising, and presentation front so you can be the best you, the best celebrant, that you can be – regardless of being “young” or not.