The Celebrant Talk Show Podcast

Josh and Sarah host a regular talk show podcast for and about marriage celebrants. Some have called it helpful, others, funny, and few have called it “great”, but we’ll let you decide.

You can also get an email whenever there’s a new edition.


Listen to recent podcast episodes

Is that wedding today?

Hello again and thanks for tuning into The Celebrant Talk Show podcast! This episode we chat about:

  • wedding planners
  • receiving identity documents electronically
  • Celebrant software: which package is bettter?
  • the importance of paying your registration fee as soon as you receive the invoice
  • what happens when a party isn’t consenting?

Let us know any thoughts!

Podcast: The one about the wedding porn

Hello again and thank you for having us in your ears! In this episode we chat about the importance of exchanging value and not simply expecting things for free, we give a rundown of what we’ve written about for the Celebrant Institute over the past month, and we talk a bit about Vic BDM’s new online system (spoiler alert, it’s coming “soon”). Let us know your thoughts or questions at hello@celebrant.fm!

Podcast: We don’t think you’re smart enough to get two emails in the one day

We recorded this episode on 6 July 2018, before Sarah had a chance to read the fact sheet from the AGD about the change in the one month’s notice period, so we don’t discuss that in the episode. Sarah will write more about that change soon; suffice to say she’s fighting it because she believes it’s a mis-interpretation of the Acts Interpretation Act.

What do we talk about in the episode?

  • Adam’s question about whether or not to discount to get your first client as a new celebrant, and whether or not to advertise on an aggregate site such as Easy Weddings
  • Victoria BDM’s new online registration system
  • The Celebrant Institute: what it is, why we’re doing it, and why we hope you’ll support us!

As always, please check in at hello@celebrant.fm if you have any questions or anything you’d like us to talk about in future episodes!

Podcast: I’ve watched celebrants read a newspaper

Thanks so much for having us in your ears again! This episode covers the following:

  • Sarah’s experience performing Eurydice Dixon’s funeral
  • IGTV
  • Paperwork only, legals only, registry style wedding and the legalities surrounding them
  • Copyright for marriage celebrants. Check out the great information on COCA’s website:
    coalitionofcelebrantassociations.org.au
  • Exhibiting at wedding expos: styling, collecting info from couples, other tips and tricks

During the episode we talk about how many marriages are firsts for the couple, and Sarah promised to look up the official stats. According to the ABS 2016 data (that’s the most recent we have; the 2017 data will be released in November 2018), 81.2% of all brides and 79.3% of all grooms had not married previously. So Josh was right with his 80% estimate, and Sarah was also right that some of my couples have one partner who has been married before and one who hasn’t!

Finally, head over to celebrant.institute and sign up for the mailing list to be the first to know what Josh and Sarah are cooking up next!

As always, drop us a line at hello@celebrant.fm if you have any questions or comments 🙂

Listen directly, in the embed below, or subscribe

Podcast: A tribute to the greatest episode

We know, we know, it’s been a long time since we were both in your ears together. We’re sorry and we’ll try to do better!

We know you missed us, so we spent most of the episode talking about some major changes in the legalities of how we do our work:

– changes to the gender and sex questions on the NOIM through an updated Compulsory OPD booklet

– the new Marriage Regulations 2017

– the new Draft Guidelines on the Marriage Act

Hopefully we won’t bore you too much with this boring but important information 🙂

Listen directly, in the embed below, or learn how to subscribe on your device.

Podcast: Gay weddings are not a thing

This is a really important conversation for celebrants to have, because the words, the conversations, communications, inside a wedding are our responsibility. Lara is one of the heads behind Dancing With Her, a publication for LGBTQ+ women in love. Se’s a guest on today’s Celebrant Talk Show to help us use more inclusive, and friendly, language as celebrants and wedding professionals.

Listen directly, in the embed below, or learn how to subscribe on your device.

Podcast: We’re not so desperate anymore

As always, thanks for tuning in! In the episode recorded on 22 March 2018, we talked about:

  • funerals – the world of funerals has been pretty slow in Melbourne throughout February and March, and we talked about how we can manage a seasonal business
  • custom made coffins – Josh talked about meeting a graphic designer who works for a coffin manufacturer https://expressioncoffins.com.au/ Expressions Coffins designs beautiful wraps for standard coffins, that can reflect the personality of the deceased. Definitely worth a look if you’re interested in the world of funerals!
  • Official Certificate of Marriage and DONLIM template – the lovely Peter Willington was good enough to design some writeable PDF templates for the OCM and DONLIM, but we’ve found some users having issues with them, so we discuss the solution. Shout out if you’re still having trouble…
  • second weddings – how do we deal with couples who’ve already been legally married and are now having a big ceremony with their friends and family involved? We know that we have to make it clear it’s not a legal ceremony, but some couples are really unhappy about this. We talk about how we manage this with our couples.
  • gender vs sex on the Notice of Intended Marriage – that pesky descriptor question is a tricky one, and we talk about how Sarah’s advice in an earlier episode wasn’t strictly on point… http://www.coalitionofcelebrantassociations.org.au/issues/119-raised-with-the-ag-department/608-terminology-for-marriages-post-9th-december-2017
  • cancellations, refunds, contracts – having a contract or at least some terms and conditions around cancellations and refunds is super important. Have a look at Josh’s contract at www.marriedbyjosh.com/servicecontract

As always, let us know any questions!

Listen directly, in the embed below, or learn how to subscribe on your device.

Podcast: It’s the Mabo of the thing

We know it’s been a while, but welcome back to The Celebrant Talk Show! In this episode we’re responding to questions from you, our lovely listeners. Feel free to send us your questions by email to hello@celebrant.fm, or even record yourself asking us your question and send us the audio file!

In this episode we look at:

– what’s going on (or not going on) with New South Wales BDM’s online marriage registration system
– insight into Customer Relationship Management software, in particular Tave and Studio Ninja. If any of you have had personal experience with 17Hats, Dubsado, or any other system, we’d love to hear about it and share it with our listeners!
– how to marry people in Bali (legally here first, emotionally there second)
– how to write the couple’s story – it’s much easier once you have a real live couple to work with! Sarah tells us how she approaches writing a couple’s story, and Josh tells us why he doesn’t write a story at all.
– all things “vibe” – tips and tricks for getting guests in the mood, engaging with the guests and the couple, and dealing with tough crowds
– some tricky legal questions about parties’ fathers and whether or not they should be listed on the NOIM, and about evidence of legal name changes
– who can witness a NOIM, specifically under the title “legally qualified medical practitioner” – download this list of medical specialties registered by the Medical Board of Australia. If the qualification isn’t on this list, they can’t witness the signatures on a NOIM!

As always, we want to know what you think and what you want to hear more of. Hit us up on Facebook or by email at hello@celebrant.fm! Thanks for listening 🙂

Listen directly, in the embed below, or learn how to subscribe on your device.

Podcast: I think I’ve already mentioned this

Welcome back to another edition of the celebrant talk show. In this edition we cover which BDM’s are on track in regards to marriage equality, hetero-normativeness in our wedding businesses, and address Guy ‘Cliffo’ Clifton’s question on processes in our businesses.

Listen directly, in the embed below, or learn how to subscribe on your device.

Podcast: Stupid questions about marriage equality

Marriage equality has come to Australia! Finally! And it came in like a wrecking ball, changing EVERYTHING for marriage celebrants whilst also delivering equality, love, and compassion to a large part of our population.

There’s so many questions to be asked about marriage equality and what it means for celebrants, so we hope you enjoy this ep – Josh is sorry for his terrible audio quality, it was recorded in a Brisbane co-working space which was noisey and echoey, sorry!

Listen directly, in the embed below, or learn how to subscribe on your device.

Podcast: Top ten tips for new marriage celebrants

A podcast by request! Emily wrote in and asked for some tips for new celebrants, so here we are, with Josh and Sarah’s top ten tips for new wedding celebrants!

  1. Network, network, network –  with anyone in the marriage industry
  2. Find a buddy/mentor
  3. Read the Guidelines to the Marriage Act cover to cover, and look at them regularly when you have a question
  4. Watch lots of ceremonies to find out different ways of doing things
  5. Learn how to business
  6. Figure out your differentiator, your point of difference
  7. Earn your fee … aka don’t just google other fees, but figure out how to charge what it costs you etc, and there’s the sliding scale of learner to expert
  8. Learn from other industries – business-wise – and ceremony wise
  9. Attend OPD in person! (not distance)
  10. PA system/tech gear
  11. A bonus 11th tip is an ad, for Freshbooks – because honestly, the biggest tip you could get is to get on top of your money. Get on top of invoicing, getting paid, tracking expenses.

Listen directly, in the embed below, or learn how to subscribe on your device.

Podcast: The one where we throw eggs at Sarah

Get your eggs ready folks, for once Sarah Aird says something controversial. Don’t worry though, anything she said is not as bad as whatever Josh has to say.

This episode is all about money, how much celebrants charge, why they charge what they charge, and we touch on the topics of price-fixing in the celebrant industry and why marriage celebrants should charge cold hard cash for the wedding ceremonies they perform. Show notes below.

Listen directly, in the embed below, or learn how to subscribe on your device.


On pricing, by Dally Messenger:

When Funeral Celebrants began in 1974, they inherited a culture.

The Funeral Director was in charge of the dignified disposal of the body.

The Church was in charge of the ceremony.

Funeral Directors ingratiated themselves with the clergy, because the clergy gave them work. As they presided at the last rites, the priest would recommend the Funeral Director who best understood that church’s ceremonial routine.

The clergy were the rulers of the roost – what they said went.

But the clergyman, strictly speaking, was not paid. He received a small amount of money as a gift – known as a stipend, It was presumed that the dead person had well and truly paid for his funeral in advance by his weekly offerings when he attended church.

Then came civil celebrants – who had not been paid “in advance” and who did not do, could not do, a “one size fits all” ceremony as the clergy had done.

But the Funeral Directors only paid celebrants the clergy “stipend”.

After the initial joy and sense of achievement had passed, many celebrants realised they could not pay the bills. Two things happened. Many celebrants ceased doing the work. Others lowered their standards of preparation and delivery. In Australia most of us had weddings to fall back on. A few who had private means kept a high standard and still do.

While this was happening a group of celebrants, of which I was part, politely confronted the better Victorian Funeral Directors and argued that we, in justice, should be paid more than the clergy. Two firms agreed – a Rob Allison of John Alison Monkhouse and Des Tobin of Tobin Bros Funerals. They gave us about double the clergy stipend. For a long while, funeral celebrancy in Victoria flourished.

But Victoria is but one state in Australia – and in the other states the funeral celebrants lacked political will, and to this day they only receive the clergy “stipend”.

Church attendance, however, has declined dramatically so the clergy (about 20% of funerals, we are 80%) have been demanding more.

The field is full of developments – not the least of which has been the takeover of most of the small funeral firms by the big corporation Invocare, whose one ideal is profit according to the norms of why corporations exist. In NSW there is now a campaign to have “the family” prepare and deliver the funeral to make their bill look less and to exercise their power ( They spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on TV advertising every day.).

In 1997, after I was paid $150 for a celebrity funeral that took about 50 hours to prepare and deliver and had 8500 people attending, I started a “Contact the Celebrant first” campaign and declared that I would only work for an hourly rate, from that moment on.

Needless to say, the Funeral Directors (except for one or two) blacklisted me and much more.

So I only dealt with my own constituency (people whom I knew and for whom I had performed ceremonies). I was up front about an hourly rate and a ball park figure.

I averaged $1500AUD (850 GBP) to $2000AUD (1130 GBP) per funeral. I am mostly retired now but I averaged 2 per month for a long while – one month I did 5. As I have always had an income from weddings I never became worried.

An hourly rate is fair – my clients have never given me a complaint – the general public is not the problem – the funerals directors are, and it is not only money it is a question of power.

A final note – I nearly always perform 90% of a funeral ceremony at a venue away from the Crematorium. I average an hour to an hour and a quarter per ceremony – I think a good life deserves a worthy tribute, and I see the funeral service as a very serious responsibility.

Podcast: The only podcast officially banned by the AFCC!

Welcome to the only podcast that’s officially banned by the Australian Federation of Civil Celebrants. We’d like to thank our families and our industry colleagues for supporting us thus far!

Seriously though, here’s another sweet podcast episode, enjoy!

  • Emily asks for a podcast episode with top tips for new celebrants, we’ll release it soon!
  • Marriage celebrant matters, the AGD newsletter is out and boy is it fun/boring. We deliver a blow by blow recap of this industry-defining PDF file.
  • CoCA comments “we don’t want the right to discriminate” in the SMH
  • Send in your feedback – why are you, or are you not, a member of an association
  • The Marriage Act (legislation) has not changed yet, so we can’t accept notices (NOIMs) for same sex couples until the marriage act allows us to.  On the 23rd of November the current statement is “celebrants are currently not able to accept a Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM) from same-sex couples.”
  • BDM (Births, Deaths and Marriages) chat on the new Queensland BDM online marriage registration system, NSW’s Lifelink and Victoria’s Marriages online, and why you might want to, or not use them. Facebook post to the new forms in beta release from the Qld BDM. When the new Qld BDM online system goes live, you’ll access it here.

Listen directly, in the embed below, or learn how to subscribe on your device.

Podcast: Never seen paperwork fly like that

Two marriage celebrants with wedding hangovers bring you this November 6 episode of the Celebrant Talk Show,

In follow-up Evie writes in on the topic of titles for the individuals booking celebrants, and Sean asks how does Josh sign marriage paperwork on an iPad.

Topics covered in this talk show

  • AFCC advertising in the “Qantas magazine” – see the ad
  • Stat dec required for proof of date and place of birth – download the template
  • Listing your pricing and packages live on your website for the public to see
  • WTF?!? “CoCA does not support the September 2017 guidelines and position paper on the Conflict of Interest and Benefit to Business because the Policy does not uphold the professionalism of celebrants and the consultation process was flawed.” – read the statement

Listen directly, in the embed below, or learn how to subscribe on your device.

Podcast: I’m not a scientist, it’s way above my pay-grade

Josh gets slammed for attempting to secretly rebrand his business, Sarah discusses how marriage equality will change everything and nothing for civil marriage celebrants, the AGD’s biggest job is trying to figure out how to politely name the two parties to the marriage on forms, and that’s our problem as well. Welcome to episode 2 of the all new Celebrant Talk Show.

Listen directly, in the embed below, or learn how to subscribe on your device.