Embark on a celebrant’s journey with Megan Studman and Josh Withers in the Celebrant Talk Show! From certification to conducting her first wedding, Megan’s story is a fascinating dive into the world of celebrancy. Learn about the challenges and joys of becoming a celebrant, how to stay motivated through the course, and what it takes to create ceremonies that truly resonate. This episode is a treasure trove of insights for anyone interested in the art of celebrancy, seasoned professionals, and newcomers alike. Tune in and be inspired!
In this engaging episode of the Celebrant Talk Show, host Josh Withers takes us through an insightful conversation with Megan, a new celebrant who has recently completed her certification with the Celebrant Institute. Megan talks about her journey, from her initial decision to become a celebrant during Melbourne’s lockdowns to the completion of her Certificate 4 in Celebrancy. She shares the challenges and triumphs she faced, including the nerve-wracking wait for her registration from the Attorney General’s Department and the excitement of conducting her first wedding.
Listeners will find valuable advice on navigating the overwhelm of starting the course, the importance of having a study buddy, and the practical steps to entering the celebrant market. Megan candidly discusses her aspirations, her approach to creating personal and meaningful ceremonies, and the importance of finding her unique voice in the industry. The episode provides a real-world perspective on the celebrant’s journey, offering encouragement and practical tips for both new and experienced celebrants.
Transcript[MUSIC PLAYING] You’re listening to the Celebrant Talk Show with me, Josh Withers. I’m your host today. And we’re on a series talking to new, fresh, fresh out of the gate celebrants that have done a Certificate Four in Celebrancy. And if you’re new to the game, as in, you’ll think about becoming a celebrant, that’s the qualification you need to get to become a celebrant in the Commonwealth of Australia. And so please enjoy their journey. Figure out what the course is like and how to become a celebrant. And if you already are a celebrant, I hope that these conversations are encouraging for you. You can learn a little bit more from someone who’s walked through the gates a lot longer after you have. To find more episodes, go to celebrant.fm. Of course, this podcast is produced by the Celebrant Institute. We provide help mentoring support for celebrants through our membership program. Plus, we also provide the certificate for in celebrancy through the Celebrant Institute RTO. And all of that can be found on the website, celebrant.institute. [MUSIC PLAYING] My name is Megan. I completed my certificate for with the Celebrant Institute at the end of last year, so the end of 2022. And about a month ago, I finally received my registration from Attorney General’s Department. So I’m fresh. I’m brand newbie out in the real world. Fresh off the block. Yeah, exactly. They sent me out into the wide world, allowing me to sell nice people’s marriages against all odds. So yes, I’m a newbie. I remember getting that letter. Actually, question, because it’s funny. I’ve talked to a few people about this, and I’ve assumed– is it an email now, or do you still get the letter? It’s an email. Yeah, I thought so. And funnily enough, I was hoping to do– so I had said I would do my first wedding for a friend I went to school with, with a huge disclaimer that at the time I agreed to do it, I was not actually qualified. But Attorney General’s had given me enough confidence to believe that I would get it in time. And I followed up, and followed up, and followed up. And then it was literally the afternoon of the exact day, almost three months later, that I received that email from them. I don’t know. So they told me not to follow up before three months, and it was three months to the day that came through on an email. It’s interesting you say that, because quite a few people have reported it as being like, give or take a day or three. It’s been dead on three months. I feel that’s just their thing today. I feel like it just must be a peak bureaucracy in action. And I say that with affection, being a camberen and a former public servant. I know how these things work, but they’ve got their dates that they’re going to process things and review them and send it out to people, and there’s no rushing that. So that was– it was a painstaking wait, because I then received that email from Attorney General’s office 10 days before my friend’s wedding that I was going to be celebrating at. So it was a very happy day, and I was very glad to be able to do my first wedding a couple of weeks ago, which was great. I’m really happy for you. Congratulations. And what I was going to say is I remember getting the letter, which was, back in my day, you got letters in the mail. But I felt the same way I felt when they handed me my newborn daughter, and they’re like, yeah, just– you’re a parent now. Just go on. Go on, get out there. It was a little bit like that being a celebrator. You’re a celebrator now. Just go on. You can do it, mate. Go on, get out there. Well, I can’t quite relate to being sent home the newborn, but it’s definitely up there the time I went to pick up a new puppy, and they just let me drive off with her. And I thought– and I remember just looking at it, we were just sitting in the car looking at each other, like, what do we do now? I guess we just go home and do this thing together. It was a bit like that, actually, and especially showing up to my first wedding. But I did feel– I felt like the trading kicked in as corny as that sounds. I do feel really prepared. Yeah. That’s the goal, right? Exactly. Exactly. Who would have thought that almost two years, which is what I turned my daddy into, who would have thought I learned some things along the way? Yes. That turned out to be useful. Well, let’s start at the start then. Why become a celebrator? There’s a million good careers listed on Chat GPT. You chose celebrant as something you wanted two words to get involved in. Why? What was your genesis story? I guess there’s not one particular reason or moment that I decided to do it. It’s something that I’ve had in the back of my head for a long time. And I’d spoken to friends when they were getting married and gotten excited. I’ve always loved being part of friends’ weddings and being bridesmaid and being an emcee before. And always thought it would be very cool to be a celebrant, but not something I ever got around to looking into. And so being here in Melbourne in our extensive lockdowns was what actually prompted me to finally take the plunge. I had a lot of time up my sleeve. And I wanted to feel like I was using the time to do something productive. So I did a bit of quick bit of online research. I wouldn’t say it was extensive, but I came across Celebrant Institute. And I saw that they were delivering fully online and self-paced, which meant I could do it around my full-time job. I could do it in my own time. And I thought, it can’t be that hard. I’ll just give it a go. I feel like– Famous last words. I know. Can’t be that hard. I know. And if I send this recording to my mum one day, she’ll be laughing because she’s helped me a lot. And it’s been throughout this thing kept keep me on track many times when I wanted to give up throughout the study process. But I think more than anything, it was just a fun and creative outlet alongside my 9 to 5 job. I think my personality and temperament is well suited to it. I love hearing about people’s relationships and why they work and what makes them unique. I like drinking their champagne at weddings as well. So there was a little bit of that too. But it just felt like something I could basically get started is something I could just use my– and I would have felt like I’ve accomplished something, something that I’ve always had in the back of my mind as well. I didn’t quite envisage it would take me two years to do it. But that was what I was thinking at the time of taking the plunge and starting my certificate form. And you’ve already mentioned that maybe your expectations of the course were different to the reality. What’s your advice for someone getting into it today? I would say if you feel overwhelmed initially, don’t be scared off by that. I feel like that’s part of the process. The overwhelm is inevitable. So push through that. And secondly, buddy up with somebody else who’s studying. They don’t have to be in the same city. But just to feel like there’s somebody you can ask or even just study together over Zoom or meet up with, have coffee, ask you little questions with. Just someone to feel like you’re on the journey with them. Because I think studying can be quite an isolating process without that, particularly doing an online course. Or I would say those two things. Don’t be put off by the initial overwhelm and buddy up with somebody who’s on a similar journey. Those are the two things that really helped me. Having done the course and received your registration, what’s your plan? What’s your go-to-market plan? Is it going to be something you keep in your back pocket? Are you planning to take over the world? What’s the plan for you as a celebrant? Initially, maybe somewhere in between. It’s something I haven’t really proactively started looking into building a website or marketing or anything at all like that. I’ve got my first wedding under my belt. And I’m doing another one for some friends later this year. And I think once I get those two under my belt, I might feel a bit more confident in being a little bit more proactive. I always said I wanted to do it just for family and friends to friends and people I have a connection to. But I do foresee myself enjoying it so much that I’d like to find a way to do more of it. Because I think it’s one of those professions, the more you do, the better you get at it as well. So in the meantime, I still have my 9 to 5 job. And that won’t change. But if there’s a way I can add more of this lovely creative outlet and being a part of people’s special days in the future, I’m definitely going to pursue that. But I just want to get a first couple under my belt, get a bit of confidence from that, and then see how I feel. Because you’ve got to test the waters a little bit. I always like to ask people what their differentiator is, what their point of difference is. And I’ll ask you– I put a pin in there for a second. But there’s also the fact that I remember my first– I would say I didn’t really know who I was as a celebrant until late 2013. And I was authorized in May 2009. So that’s four years in the wilderness there, trying to figure out what am I good at, what are my strengths, what are my weaknesses, what do people care about. For example, a lot of celebrants get really up in the wedding industry game and with other celebrants and having celebrities. And please do all that. But there’s not a couple on the planet that cares so many celebrant friends you have. It’s their wedding. And so there’s that time that is required to figure out how do you matter to people. So as I said, I was going to ask, do you feel you’ve got a differentiator or something unique? But then also reflecting on that, how do you see yourself and your celebrants practice– celebrancy practice are mattering to people? That is an excellent question and maybe something I should have put more thought in before attempting to answer. Honestly, I don’t know because I know there’s so many incredible celebrants out there who’ve nailed their niche. And I followed them on Instagram for a long time. And I think I really aspire to be that honed and they so clearly know their audience. I haven’t really thought about who my audience is beyond people I know, to be honest, friends or friends or friends or family. I think going forward and what really sparks joy– sorry to use that phrase for me– is feeling like I can deliver a ceremony that genuinely represents who the couple are. And I genuinely have a connection with them. They’re people that I could have a drink with or have a great chat with, whether we’re talking about planning their wedding or not. So finding a genuine connection with a couple well before the wedding day is something I would like to become very good at, I think. I’m sure celebrants probably say that. But in terms of my differentiator, you might need to give me some time for that one, Josh. Well, you can have all of them in the world. Luckily, myself and no one else was pushing you into the marketplace. But yeah, it’s good to start thinking about that. And as you’ve already identified, wedding after wedding after wedding, that’ll become much more clear. I like you’re going to have times when you– I don’t wish this upon you. It’s just a simple fact of being human on the planet. But you’re probably going to screw something up, so– Oh, I’m sure I already have plenty of time. Yeah. But those things are such a beautiful opportunity. When you get that feedback from the couple, like, hey, you’re screwed up. And at that time, it’s such a good opportunity to be humble and kind, but also go like, oh, wow, this is a really good learning moment for me to do X, Y, and Z better, or don’t do A, B, and C, or whatever it might be. Yeah, I think it is. I’m so– yeah, absolutely. And I think I’m really open to– I think the nature of the course as well made me open to feedback and seeing that as invaluable little nuggets that I should be getting– taking from each couple and each experience to learn and grow, hopefully. That’s the plan anyway. I know you’re fresh into celebrancy. Your email is still drying. I think– does that analogy work? Yes. I think it does. I wanted to seek your final feedback as part of this interview to just– there’s so many different places that offer the cert for celebrancy. And there’s different ways of doing it. As someone who’s graduated, done it, what’s your feedback on the Celebrant Institute RTO and studying online? I would say I feel– I found it a challenging experience, probably only because I was in lockdown and I was doing it online, self-paced and in isolation. And I think I’m somebody who works generally, tends to get energy from working more in a team and with people. But I couldn’t change the nature of not being able to go and meet up with people at the time. And I’m grateful that I still could pursue the certificate for in that time. I think coming out– so I had plenty of moments where I felt like it was far more work than I bargained for. And I know that’s not necessarily the Celebrant Institute. That’s the requirements of the Attorney General’s office. And I wanted to– and I probably would have thrown in the towel plenty of times if it wasn’t for my friends and family who I’d already roped in had been on the journey with me because I talked about it all the time, encouraging me to continue. But now I’m on the other side of it, and hindsight’s a great thing. I do feel– I came out feeling really, really prepared. Like I found that even when couples were– not couples, there’s only been one– asking me questions, like I was– and I was sort of sitting across them and expected to answer with some authority. Even though I’d never, ever done it in real life before, I felt like I had enough experience from studying, that I could come up with an answer. And I didn’t feel– and I’d done it so many times through all those practical assessments that I surprised myself by how well prepared I felt when I stood up there in front of my first– for my first wedding. So despite it, it was challenging. And I found sometimes some of the feedback I got challenged me and it was pedantic. But you almost can see now on the other side of it why it was like that, and I’m grateful. I’m really grateful for the support of the trainers and, in particular, Tanya, who always took the time to explain things to me as we went along and cheered me on. It was a really, really good learning experience. Now I’m on the other side of it. I’m just not someone who’s ever really– I made uni much harder for myself than I needed to. But I’m really glad I’m on the other side of it. And I definitely feel– and I definitely felt prepared when I stood up there in front of my first wedding. So I guess I can’t ask for anything more than that. Well, I’m so glad that you got through the process. I know one of our stresses with the Cert 4, just with any kind of adult education, Cert 3, 4– it’s not Cert 5, but onwards, is a lot of people– a lot of people start and don’t finish. And so we’ve gone to great lengths to make sure people finish. And sometimes that means saying no early on. Well, it’s not necessarily no, but just really say, hey, this isn’t easy. And so if you’re not committed, then don’t start. We would rather you not do it and not pay, then start, pay, and not finish it. So congratulations on finishing. Congratulations on becoming a celebrant. And best of luck on your journey. Thank you so much, Josh. I really, really appreciate it. Lovely to talk to you. We’d see you talking to your voice. You’re so familiar to me. And now I’m actually speaking to you. It’s weird. But anyway, thank you so much, Josh. I really appreciate it. And lovely to talk to you.