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

Luna’s debut on the podcast

Legal help, cancellations thanks to COVID-19, OPD over Zoom update, how to become a travelling celebrant, and how to get audio to videographers, all in this podcast episode with Sarah and Josh.

A terrible time to buy a business

Recorded on April 21 in the year of COVID-19, live on Facebook and here in the podcast. Talked about how OPD has moved to webinar, how business is in the era of the coronavirus, do we need business cards any more, and what to do if you’re now doing a small wedding instead of a big wedding.

I’m a CEO now!

Thank you again for listening! This episode we chat about:

Sarah’s exciting news

Privacy implications of hiring a virtual assistant

That old chestnut: thoughts about charging for travel and how to do it

As always we welcome your thoughts and feedback at!

Do not murder

It’s our first episode for 2020, and in this one we chat about:

  • the Celebrant Institute’s new partnership with Pod Legal
  • the pros and cons of leveraging the bushfire crisis (or any other charitable cause) for business purposes
  • what happens when a party changes their name before the marriage but after the NOIM has been lodged
  • a reminder that celebrants are not the police or the immigration department or anything other than celebrants

As always, let us know if there’s anything you’d like us to chat about on a future episode!

The one with the solid tangent

It’s a month until Christmas and here we are again with another episode of your favourite podcast! This episode Josh and Sarah chat about the latest newsletter from MLCS, our thoughts about OPD into the future, our obligations in an online environment, not stressing too much about the smaller details of the marriage paperwork, and how to bring the magic to every single ceremony.

Written to elicit a response

On todays episode, we discuss our seat at the big table with MLCS, caping celebrant numbers, and the new survey that was written to coerce celebrants into doing less OPD, the implications for the industry and what you can do about it. We also look at the celebrants obligations in an online environment and we finish the episode discussing the inclusion of children at ceremonies.

1.30 Preshow banter
6.23 MLCS inclusion for Celebrant Institute
15.55 Capping celebrant numbers
33.46 The survey that was written to elicit a response
45.27 Recap of electronic environment questions
50.27 Children at weddings

Are we finished being angry at Glenn yet?

A wide variety of celebrant chat in this episode! Celebrant Institute turns one (happy birthday!). We recap our first year and what we have accomplished. We discuss Glenn’s feedback from our previous episode plus general discussion on industry updates.

0.40 Sarah’s nicknames
4.00 Global Climate strike
8.50 1st year anniversary for Celebrant Institute!
14.11 Sarah is now training through CI
16.37 Community over competition and raising the industry standard
24.57 LGBTQI Awareness
27.17 Are we still mad at Glenn for his feedback?
29.11 Signing the certificates
41.06 Can we have the rings please?
45.05 High heels for presence
48.56 Continue to develop
51.15 CoCA update
62.38 Say yes to all the things and be a good human

Ladies And Gentlemen, And Everyone Else!

Today on the podcast we’re super lucky to be joined by Glenn Mackay, who is an award-winning wedding MC and DJ in SE Queensland. He’s seen hundreds of wedding ceremonies while he’s been playing the ceremony music, and we’re delighted to have him talk to us about his thoughts about what celebrants can do better.

Remember: this is only Glenn’s opinion! We’re not suggesting anyone has to do anything Glenn says. But it’s always good to be open to new ideas and new ways of thinking, so we hope listening to Glenn will at least make you stop and think about what you do and why you do it.

Glenn talks about the MarBecca method; you can find out more about that at

You can connect with Glenn at

Let us know if anything Glenn says resonates with you, if you’ve changed the way you do something because of something he said, or if you’re completely offended and hate every word that came out of his mouth! We always want to hear from you at

On the off chance that no-one knows what this sentence is about

Hello everybody! Thanks for joining us for another episode of The Celebrant Talk Show! This time Josh and Sarah chat about the annual registration fee (pay yours now!), the review of the marriage forms, the epic funeral course Sarah went on (, and the new fact sheet about celebrants’ obligations in an online environment, plus an exciting announcement! As always, shoot us an email at if you have any questions or topics you’d like us to discuss in an upcoming episode!

What a time to be alive!  The Marriage Act 1961 has finally aligned with the Electronic Transactions Act (thanks Josh)! and this ep chats about what this means for us.
Paying your Annual Registration Fee and why pricing yourself out per hour or perhaps why you can’t are also discussed in this episode.
Other awesome content re the MLCS fact sheets and Sarah has some wonderful advice for funeral celebrants.
You can’t miss this one!

03:00 – Sarah’s fav podcast. This podcast will kill you.
04:10 – Why it’s impossible to price yourself out per hour.
12:40 – Why do you have to pay your Annual registration fee?  Why such a big deal?
19:15 – What do the MLCS do with the funds from the Registration Fee?
27:45 – MLCS Fact sheet regarding Celebrant obligations in an online environment
28:25 – Accepting the NOIM, Date and place of Birth electronically! –  What a time to be alive! (Thanks Josh)!
30.20 – Sighting evidence of identity electronically.
33:40 – The Electronic Transactions act
34:07 – What is a Commissioner for Declarations?
36:15 – Children of previous marriages – Australian Bureau of Statistics
41:50 – Conference chat – DJ Alliance of Australia
52.22 – Doing the Cert IV with Sarah and Lifeskills Training
59:00 – Silver Celebrant Funeral training – Robyn O’Connell

Sarah is pretty riled up, plus funeral photography

Hi everyone and thanks for tuning in once more! This episode we chat about:

• funeral training and why Sarah continues to attend it, even with her level of experience
• funeral photography:
• outcomes from the May meeting between the Marriage Law and Celebrant Section and representatives of celebrant associations
• the disaster that is the Victorian BDM marriage registration system, and what’s currently going on with it
• why join or stay in an association?
• what advice would you give to an aspiring celebrant?

Wow! This episode really explains all the things!
To join an Association OR why you possibly wouldn’t….. ? J
It will have you counting your blessings you are a member of the Celebrant Institute and thanking the universe there is now an RTO lead by one of the best!
Lastly, valuable advice to aspiring celebrants.  So much gold in this ep!  You’ll love it!

04:35 – Why would an experienced celebrant attend training?
07:38 – John Slater – Sydney Funeral photographer
07:38 – Why would you have a funeral photographer?
12:30 – Silver Celebrant Funeral training – Robyn O’Connell
14:30 – More on why would you attend a Training Seminar?
16.57 – The second you make the statement that you are at the top of your game, that’s the direct indicator that you haven’t. Dunning Kruger Effect
20:30 – Forms review chat
23: 45 – Celebrants working in an Electronic Environment
24:54 – Why do we still need to sign two copies of the Marriage Certificate plus Form 15 when we upload the MC to BDM thus not requiring two copies of the MC?
33:57 –  Victorian BDM online – RIO Software – This is the part where Sarah gets riled up re delays in registration! (In relation to the VIC BDM System)
46:10 – Data entry changes in RIO (VIC BDM)
49:15 – Celebrant Associations – What is their purpose?  Why we ARE or ARE NOT a member of an Association.
49:54 – Is the Celebrant Institution an Association?
50:06 – What is the Celebrant Institution and what do you do?
52:00 – AFCC Australian Federation of Civil Celebrants
53.50 – AMC Australian Marriage Celebrants
55.23 – International College of Celebrancy Association of Alumni and Friends – ICCA
56.35 – Association of Civil Marriage Celebrants Victoria
59:43 – AFCC Australian Federation of Civil Celebrants
64:14 – AFCC Training strategy – The main reason Sarah was riled up this episode!
69:48 – Considering becoming a Celebrant?  Advice for aspiring Celebrants

The emotional bit, with Vickie Musni

A special guest, Vickie Musni personality trainer, on the podcast this week to talk about the upcoming Celebrant Institute conference where she’s talking plus hosting a workshop on how personalities work themselves into your business.

God bless the Facebook Groups

Hello again everyone! Today Josh and Sarah are actually recording this from the same room! Amazing and awesome. We had a bunch of topics we planned to talk about, but instead it appears we ended up talking about the importance and difficulty of language for almost an hour. Hopefully you’ll find something interesting in there!

You gotta know when to fold ’em

Get the low down on Sarah’s’ new Cert 4 in training with the Kick Start Session explained. Followed by the Marriage Celebrant Matters Autumn Newsletter Debrief. Josh gets a high five from all celebrants with the Electronic Transaction Act Commonwealth Legislation – Sighting ID over Skype. And lastly a big D&M session on the VIC BDM RIO System and how to get it working properly for you. Sarah is here to save us all!

2.30 Where we are both at this time as it is our first blog since December – Personal Info.
6.42 Sarah’s Cert 4 Training
8.29 Kick Start Session Explained – 5 Days face to face training with mx 20 people per class. Basically F2F is training then you have 12 months to complete the at home assessments. These include: Meeting, Paperwork, create ceremony and perform 5 weddings. 3 non marriage ceremonies: naming Day, Vow renewal & 80th birthday. 2 Memorials and 2 funerals. That’s 12 ceremonies in total and 10 performed.
11.27 500 to 600 hours to complete cert 4.
14.50 Explaining how everyone works differently and time varies for completion.
16.20 Discussions on choosing the right training courses to better equip you as a celebrant – not just price.
18.59 Discussions on how if you have bad training you might be prepared adequately for the celebrant world.
20.06 Marriage Celebrant Matters Autumn Newsletter – Debrief.
20.36 Sarah explains the different between the Commonwealth Attorney General Department and Births, Deaths and Marriages in each State and their roles.
23.22 Josh informed the appropriate people about the Electronic Transactions Act Commonwealth Legislation in regards to sighting ID over skype not physically.
26.10 The newsletter noted that a Factsheet was currently being created for celebrants in an electronic environment.
29.00 Discussions held on electronic signatures in the possible future – Pros & Cons.
31.00 Discussions on frauds in regard to adaptation of documents and our obligations as celebrants.
32.37 Finish Celebrant Matters Topics with the colour changes on the document.
34.16 VIC BDM RIO – Live 19th Feb.
39.00 RIO – Occupation Lists Discussions.
43.10 Discussions on QLD Systems in comparison and Josh’s input into the system.
47.00 The Frustrated State. Josh recommends book to read.
49.02 Going Full Time as a Celebrant: Member asked the question Josh & Sarah responded with their own personal stories. Josh – Brief explanation – No perfect way to do this just go out on fire. Story – May 2009 started no intention of going full time. 2012 Attended a wedding expo – Great Success – Pitch “If you book me this week I will MC your reception for free!” Focus on getting hours up. Started taking time off from work to do weddings increased. Decided to go full time as a Celebrant. Foundations – Tell your story authentically. Play the long game.
01.03.10 Sarah’s Story – Total Opposite walked in to do it full time. Inspired by another celebrant she saw. She it up the way she way she wanted it to end up. Had skill that she can work at all times of hours – Professional transcript typist. Made her available for wedding, funeral any day. First expo – 10 bookings. Priced it cheap to get runs on board. Got to a point where she had more celebrant work available. By default, it happened no time left for transcript work.
01.09.06 Refer back to member question – Budgeting as a Full time celebrant. Important to do your numbers and see what you need to survive and maintain your lifestyle and how many wedding that will take. If you have to cut costs can you diversify, funerals or training. Understand what full time means to you personally don’t be distracted by others term of this.
01.14.42 Josh’s methods of measuring his business. – Invoicing times and account receivable. Sarah Method is more based on number of wedding per year. Starting a business is the easiest part.
01.21.08 Member Question – How should one approach questions with their full time boss about reducing hours or taking time off for weddings without getting fired?
Answers: Depends on our relationship with your boss and how open you have been with them in regards to your plans. You might get to the point when you have to make a choice. Are there jobs in your skill set where you can reduce it to maybe 3 days a week? Every circumstance is different. Discussions on budgeting, money, paying bills personally and decisions they made throughout the process.
01.30.10 Wise note to finish – “You gotta know when to fold em”

These are bad vows, I’m out

Thanks for having us in your ears again! This episode we catch up on what’s been going on in both our lives over the past three months, we follow up on a few issues from the last episode, and we chat about what’s to come in 2019! Topics covered include:

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?

The podcast about the wedding porn

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”).

00:04.14 Consolidating photos, systems and using Dropbox.
00:11:45 Expecting something for nothing, and why its not OK. Value those that assist you with their intellectual property, and how.
00:32:35 The Celebrant Institute progress, what’s on there currently.
00:41:16 The what, when and how of Social media as a celebrant.
00:48:49 What’s coming up on The Celebrant Institute, and a call out for questions.
00:52:50 Victoria BDM update.
00:55:24 Electronic lodgement in Queensland BDM is coming.
00:56:18 Why you must still get three documents signed.

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.

In this episode we launch 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 if you have any questions or anything you’d like us to talk about in future episodes!

00:01:08 Josh and Sarah catch up on each others news
00:04:00 Shout out to Annie Moz and the Unholy Matrimony launch
00:05:18 Why terminology is important, and why what we say matters
00:10:18 How does a new Celebrant get their first clients, and should they offer a discount to get those first bookings?
00:22:54 Is it worth listing on aggregate sites such as Easy Weddings, PolkaDot bride, Celebrante etc
00:25:40 Why you must track where your enquiries come from
00:28:40 If you have a question please email us
00:28:59 BDM online systems updates, what’s new and what we need to know
00:46:2 Electronic signatures, the guidelines, and the electronic transactions act
00:49:36 New guidelines were published on Tuesday 3rd July 2018
00:52:46 The Celebrant Institute launch!

I’ve watched celebrants read a newspaper

Sarah & Josh, chat about Sarah’s experience performing Eurydice Dixon’s funeral; Paperwork only, legals only, registry style weddings and the legalities surrounding them; Copyright for marriage celebrants.

1.30 Advice and tips for anyone using a microphone
3.00 Sarah talks about her experience of conducting Eurydice Dixon’s funeral
14.10 Josh discusses IGTV
29.58 Sarah & Josh discuss Legal’s only/Registry Style/Paperwork only weddings and what makes them legal.
54.33 Copyright for Marriage celebrants
60.00  Discussions around exhibiting at wedding expos

A tribute to the greatest podcast episode

Sarah & Josh spend most of this 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.

1.20  Is there such a thing as wedding season

3.00 Sarah and Josh’s ramblings

6.29 Josh & Sarah discusses Pa systems

14.19 Wedding industry conference

15.30 Josh’s enquiry process

22.20 Josh & Sarah discuss their marketing process

26.45 Changes to the legislation

31.15 Changes to the code of practice

37.40 The New Guidelines

53.00  Changes to the sex and gender item on marriage documents.

Podcast: Gay weddings are not a thing

As the introduction on the title address says gay-weddings are NOT a thing they are just weddings!!

This podcast features Josh and Tara Baker who is one of the brains behind Dancing With Her a publication for LGBTQ+ women in love.

Together Josh and Tara discuss a range of topics that people within the LGBTQ+ community face on a daily basis and how the language we use is vitally important when connecting to couples. The need to be authentic in what we share, do we use the correct language on our paperwork, no longer using the Bride & Groom tag etc are all parts of the whole.

With the legalisation of same-sex marriages in Australia on the 9th December in 2017, weddings among the L.G.B.T.Q + the community have been on the rise.  So, when as a guest or vendor you find yourself working or witnessing their vows, it might be helpful to know-how you say something could offend the couple you so dearly love as you celebrate with them. Labelling same-sex couples as different from any other wedding is the root of the cause. The qualifier to describe the wedding signals that it’s unlike a wedding of a heterosexual couple. It feels exclusive. BUT it is a legal marriage like any between a man and a woman. A same-sex couple and a straight couple both say the required vows and sign the same marriage paperwork to be recognised as legally wed. So why has it taken time to get the language briefly and clearly expressed?

In this exclusive interview, Tara and Josh discuss the subtle differences of meaning, expression, or sound when engaging with couples. No matter how couples identify it is up to us to ask the question, how do you present yourselves?… what pronouns would you like me to use? Don’t just assume. This session also discusses the language used when addressing guests, the need to be inclusive to all.

The burning issues that came out of this podcast:

1:05: Begin by honest conversation, not assumptions. Taking responsibility on how to make a  spouse feel with conversation/language
4:00: Acronyms
6:20: Gay weddings “it’s just a term”
7:35: People as a whole, not just colour culture or sex
10:05: Genders/defunct idea?/scientific explanations. What pronouns do we use? *transgender *non-binary *no gender”
18:15: Relationships within marriage. What should we name our clientele, language to be used in ceremonies, celebrant paperwork-do you need to reword?
25:00: An open discussion on promoting business to the L.G.B.T.Q+ community. Remove Bride + Groom from advertising…don’t make assumptions… be inclusive, equality is the sentiment.
31:35: If using a styled shoot be authentic and open, everybody doesn’t want to be a poster-person.
33:40: Before December 2017
36:18: Life experience 2018, challenging for a time

We’re not so desperate anymore

Delivered with love and setting the tone for what was is to follow in this Podcast. Immersing their audience in a story is something both Josh and Sarah do because a well-told presentation will stick in their audience’s brain for years to come!

2:17: Victorian/Melbourne Death Scene. How’s life in the funeral industry? why celebrants must diversify their roles within the industry, not just rely on one form of industry work. Figures from Springvale Botanical Cemetery show the drop-in funerals for February and March. With no apparent reason, the bottom fell out of this market. there is a reoccurring issue. and you can bet that the same time the following year it was reversed. We need to think about the way we market death! Weddings have changed “enormously” in the past decade, and for the better, with people taking greater ownership not only of their ceremonies but also their marriages. Civil celebrants, for example, have overseen the majority of weddings in Australia since 1999. Similar “exciting developments” have been slower to show in the funeral industry. Now we see families looking for a celebrant who fits in with who they are. However, many are at the whim of a Funeral Director. Which says to us, don’t just rely on this form of recommendation. to produce a sustainable business!
7:40: Custom design coffins: – Josh talks to a Graphic artist on the work that she is doing within the funeral industry, designing beautiful wraps for standard coffins. These wraps are designed with the deceased in mind. Their personality certainly shines through.
10:00: Templates of forms. 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, and the use of Adobe Acrobat versus Adobe Reader.
12:00: Technology, love it or hate it! Facebook information that we all should know about.
23:00: How to tackle a second wedding. When already legally married how you approach the conversation with couples as to why you can’t have a second “marriage ceremony.” The legal implications for celebrants, the nuances of this situation and the ramifications of your actions. Legal issues – wedding days = Marriage Act and consequences explained.
35:00: Marriage equality. NOIM descriptor was not clear, Sarah has since updated information that has been clearer in this podcast. Descriptor question is a tricky one, and we talk about how Sarah’s advice in an earlier episode wasn’t strictly on point.
45:40: Cancellations verses refunds.

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, or even record yourself asking us your question and send us the audio file!


00:00 Josh’s travel story: Plan to be early!


0400 All BDM’s (not NSW) … finally onboard online with Marriage Equality

0455 QLD online system kicking it!

0615 NSW Online System: Buzzfeed article outs NSW Govt for not being ready for Marriage Equality Same sex couples are filling forms out by hand

10:20 Lifehack: How to get around NSW system upload issues

12:20 NSW BDM wastes $$$


14:10 CRM (Client Relationship Management) systems: (Links: Zapier, Calendly, Todoist, Helpscout, 17hats, Dubsudo, Studio Ninja, Tave)

14:55 Josh’s touches on Studio Ninja

15:35 Who CRM’s are designed for

16:45 Do you really need a CRM? What is the alternative?


19:40 Are they legal or not? The in’s and out’s

21:30 Josh clarifies: What we as Civil Celebrants can/ can’t do 

24:20 How Josh does his Bali Destination Weddings

25:00 Don’t Overthink it – Australian laws irrelevant in Bali

26:25 Which date is the anniversary? Legal ceremony vs destination ceremony?


27:35 Jacqueline asks about scripting: Formula for the Couples Story

28:40 Sarah’s formula: What she loves, how she gathers info and delivery tips.

34:25 Josh’s Formula: Why he doesn’t tell the couples story.

40:05 Its the Mabo of the thing

42:00 Keeping the vibe 

43:15 Personalization: Sarah’s favorite bits


44:35 Andrea asks for tips in Public Speaking in Celebranting

45:20 Side bar: Words are less important than the Vibe

46:50 Tip 1: Rehearse Public speaking vs performance

47:40 Tip 2: Speaking ‘with’ not ‘at’ the crowd

49:45 Tip 3: Observe your peers vibe

53:00 Tip 4: Working it tough

55:50 Tip 5: Sometimes it is what it is

58:10 Tip 6: Giving permission

59:00 Tip 7: Popping Awesome: be authentic

60:04 Three Pre-Ceremony Things Josh does

1 Crowd participation

2 Relatable & safe

3 Be genuine

63:00 Creating the expectation of less than perfect (aka keeping it real!)

65:50 Its ok to be obvious!


65:40 Legal question: NOIM Biological Parents vs non-biological (step parents) and legal names. (Giving defective notice Section 104)

70:05 Documents required to confirm legal name change

73:00 Who can witness signatures on a NOIM?

74:40 Medical Practitioner (can witness NOIM) VS Allied Health Practitioner (can’t witness NOIM)

78:40 JP’s & the Police


79:45 Share the love! Like love or if you need any celebrant legal advice email or send a voice message to 

81:00 Outro music

I think I’ve already mentioned this on the podcast before

It’s been 7 weeks since marriage equality finally became a thing.  Australia has figured out that all people are actually just people…So what is the LGBTTQQIAAP alphabet soup? Today S & J take a detailed look at CRM systems and processes and hash out the customer journey they take their couples on. There are heaps of tips and hints that may add some value for you and your clients. Feel free to steal, and if you have any further tips suggestions or questions email or send a recorded voicemail message to:


00:00 Gold digging: It’s all about having a chat and digging up gold nuggets for you!

03:20 Shameless plug: If you like what you’re hearing send some love! …and don’t forget to share this podcast to friends and other celebrants

05:15 Industry wide: Shout out to non-celebrant listeners! 

06:00 Random  Accidental Tech Podcast: Josh’s fave nerdy tech podcast that started out talking about cars that accidentally became a tech podcast 


07:13 NSW BDM system not updated and printing blank NOIMs

08:34 VIC BDM updated within 24hrs 

09:50 Annoyed with AG website PDF forms? (type too small, fonts change aka rubbish). Shout out to Peter Willington from QLD (amazing listener) has generously gifted his writable PDF forms for you to overcome these issues. Now avail for Download: $5 Celebrant Institute Shop! NOIM, DONLIM, Certificate of Marriage that auto-fills as you type. Sales proceeds go towards helping us with hosting costs – Thanks Peter!)  

12:33 BDM aint got no Alibi: The forms are U-G-L-Y

13:23 July 2014 last time forms were updated the BDM advised they don’t care about the ugly forms are only needed for info only.


14:10 Mind your language! Josh talks about his coffee date with an amazing human Tara from magazine Dancing with her (free digital copy of their magazine when you click over to the site!) She is really passionate about raising awareness and helping businesses become better with their use of gender/hetero normative language 

17:06 Sarah listened to a podcast interviewing someone from Mrster (pronounced Miss-ter) on how to a make your websites marketing and conversations more inclusive.    So having a guest like Tara would be great to have on the show for those of us that are a bit unsure of how to better familiarise ourselves with unfamiliar territory.   

19:30 FYI: People are people

20:00 Check your privilege! Sarah feels concerned about her privilege but has nothing on Josh.

21:28 What is cis-gender? 

22:55 OPD Social impact of Marriage Equality, Alphabet soup, schedule dates/topics

26:20 What do you think about mixed industry seminars/workshop events? Email your ideas

Q & A: 

30:20 Send your voicemail questions to  and you too can become world famous on

30:45 Guy ‘Cliffo’ Clifton asks: What are your smart processes in celebrancy while keeping it human? 

34:00 Checklists as a process 


34:50 The Slippery dip: Josh hashes out this modern sensation. A visualisation of the playground and his customer journey from the tricky bits (steps of the sales process: enticing people to climb the stairs) to sliding down the slippery dip (slide). 

40:00 Getting personal: Abbie retired 

42:00 Josh talks journey focus vs tools, name drops CRM systems and tells us what he uses and why. (Links: Zapier, Calendly, Todoist, Helpscout, 17hats, dubsudo, studio ninja, Tave)

44:00 Pushing the envelope: why he redirects to email to fill out booking form check it out (just don’t fill it out).  You can view Josh’s booking form here (please do not fill it out). A whole lotta stuff happens once the booking form is filled out. Zapier automatically creates a calendar item with all the booking info, as well as invoicing in Xero. 

48:40 NOIM via Celebrant Suite and booking meeting via Calendly

50:55 Todoist kicks in with reminders at different times 2 weeks out from the wedding as well as after the ceremony

52:40 Josh’s greatest fear: Trying to stay a lovely human and geek

54:35 Creating trust on the slippery dip

55:45 You get what you pay for. what do you want your clients to say about you?

56:30 How a nerd keeps it human.

57:10 Summary of Josh’s bits: How it all ties together (links: WordPress, gravity forms, stripe, g-suite)

57:40 Keeping it human with tools.

59:30 Don’t forget to polish your slippery dip: The value of evolving your system 


60:50 How Sarah’s life changed. Pre vs Post electronic processes 

62:20 Show me the money: Why transparency works.

63:10 Smashing the mold: Why Sarah does ALL the talking.

64:35 Power questions & Options: Reinforcing value

66:30 Booking: Email next steps in the process via Tave 

68:14 Setting expectations: Service Agreement & Payment

69:35 Protecting IP and timeline to next meeting 

70:40 Rewind: Life before Tave 

72:10 How much time is saved with Tave ?

73:35 Calendly or not to Calendly: pros and cons 

74:15 Josh’s Calendly Tips 

76:20 MEETING 1: Process Overview

77:25 NOIM & Getting random: Turn it out and discovery.

78:15 Let’s have some fun! Ceremony planning 

7850 Stripping back the layers & Family Sensitivities: 

80:00 Ceremony Booklet run through

81:05 MEETING 2: Timeline to the ceremony

82:10 Mic drop! The importance of being careful about being careful 

83:25 Tave’s funky features, task list and post ceremony bits

86:00 Click here to download Sarah’s checklists and booklets in sop

88:05 Different strokes for different folks: Hash and rehash!

92:50 Bug Bears and Praises: Sarah summarises what Tave  can and can’t do.

93:50 Zero for expense reporting for finances: as Tave  still not BAS friendly 

94:25 Awesome Reporting in Tave : leads, pipeline, marketing and booking reports

95:35 Share the love! Like love or if you need any celebrant legal advice email us here

Imagine that you’re on a date with Facebook

It’s January – the traditional enquiries season for the wedding industry. Sarah and Josh reveal what their business focus is at the start of each year, and discuss in detail their process for dealing with an initial enquiry.

01.50 Marriage equality – following up from the last podcast, it’s now one month after the changes to the legislation
05.40 New question on the NOIM: Q1 Description of party
10.15 Difference between ‘partner’ and ‘spouse’
10.33 New question on the NOIM: Q4 Sex
13.37 Enquiries season (January) is here
16.19 Some wedding DJ love
17.04 The January Process – marketing, directories, expos; it is (or can be) a crazy time in the industry
18.05 Sarah does a major expo each January. Why expos can be good for your soul as well as your business
25.10 Josh discusses his marketing focus in January
30.04 Josh’s content sharing; blog vs socials. Episode title explained!
37.22 Facebook’s metric (measurement of success) is how many people CAU – Care About Us – Josh is aiming for similar – mattering to people.
43.25 Process! Methods & systems to avoid double-booking, especially in busy enquiries season
50.25 How Sarah deals with enquiries
53.42 How Josh deals with enquiries

Sarah’s CRM is Tave

Josh’s notification service is Pushover

Josh’s emailing system (since retired and replaced by Dubsado) is HelpScout

Josh adds video to email (since retired and replaced by Bonjoro) using BombBomb

All the stupid questions you’ve got 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 episode – Josh is sorry for his terrible audio quality, it was recorded in a Brisbane co-working space which was noisey and echoey, sorry!

Is Australian society now doomed? Is my marriage now less valid?

This episode answers so many crucially dumb questions, you can’t afford to miss it.  (Even if it is just for the giggle).

4.47: The biggest change after Marriage Equality – 7th December 2017
5.25: Previously only 3 categories of Celebrants.
A – Religious officiants of a recognised Religion.
B – State and Territory Officers (registry weddings),
C – Commonwealth Registered Marriage Celebrants.
6.47: The added 4th category after Marriage equality, D – Religious Marriage Celebrants
7.70: Jedi Warriors
8.10: What are Religious Marriage Celebrants?
9.26: Can new celebrants become a Religious Marriage Celebrant?
9.57: What if I have a moral objection to same sex marriages, but I’m not religious?  (If that is a thing)?
12.25: When did Marriage Equality become legislation?
17.26: The first same sex marriage in Australia.
20.56: Shortening of Time chat
22.25: Civil Union information
24.15: What if you were married overseas before legislation changed?  Is that now recognised in Australia?
26.35: Do I need to get divorced if I was married overseas but it wasn’t recognised in Australia at the time?
28.20: Can I use old NOIM’s that refer to parties as Bride & Groom?
32.26: Where can I download a NOIM?
34.33: NOIM info – Party 1 and Party 2 on the NOIM – which person do I put first?
34.50: NOIM info – Description of Party – What descriptor do I use?
37.00: NOIM info – Sex (Should be Gender) – Male, Female or X?
42.00: Official Certificate of Marriage
47.50: Form 15 – Canprint
50.44: Can we still use the words Bride/Groom/Husband/Wife in our script?
51.33: What does one month mean? 30 days? Or 28?  Or……????
52.40: Monitum – how has this changed since Marriage Equality?
53.45: Legally binding vows
55.14: Why does it say spouse in the vows but partner on the NOIM?
56.34: What do you say for the pronouncement?  I now pronounce you?
59.00: Saying “I do”
62.39: Celebrant Suite – Ron Byron and Ivan Conway

Top ten tips for new marriage celebrants

On this special episode, Josh dials in from California to chat with Sarah about their Top Ten Tips for new Celebrants, as requested by Emily. But there are some tips in here for all celebrants, new or not!

  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.

Times and topics

01.46 Tip 1 – Network, network, network. Sarah’s all about going to every wedding-related event she can. Josh agrees – it’s about building relationships, not only with other celebrants but with people and suppliers from all across the industry. It’s not just about getting work, but about making our work lives more fun
08.24 Tip 2 – Find a buddy/mentor that you can bounce things off, and ask for help
09.48 Tip 3 – Read the (current) Guidelines to the Marriage Act cover to cover, and look at them regularly when you have a question. The Guidelines will answer 95% of any questions you may have. Even Sarah, who knows the Guidelines really really well, still goes back and checks the Guidelines
12.47 Tip 4 – Watch lots of ceremonies to find out different ways of doing things
16.45 Tip 5 – Learn ‘how to business’. Understand your business accounts, how people want to pay for things, contracts. Know where & how to get advice and specialist help when you need it
20.00 Tip 6 – Figure out your differentiator, your point of difference. What are you good at/not good at? Your brand should reflect this, and explain how this matters to people getting married
27.10 Tip 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
34.59 Tip 8 – Learn from other industries – business-wise and ceremony-wise. Learn voice tips from other public speakers and even podcast hosts
39.44 Tip 9 – Attend OPD in person! (not distance) Josh has done both and it’s way easier to attend in person; also it’s good to meet other celebrants and learn from them
41.02 Tip 10 – PA System / tech gear. Know your gear and learn how to use it properly. Make sure everyone can hear you!
46.07 Bonus Tip 11 – Get on top of your accounts. Freshbooks accounting software can help with invoices and clients can pay directly from the invoice you send them

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 also dives deep into what price to charge your clients, and why? Everyone has an opinion on this and want to ask the question, but the conversation is taboo right? Not on this podcast! Undercutting, undervaluing our profession, but more importantly encouraging you to charge what you are worth, are just some of the topics we chat through today.

1.00: Rain event/Consider your back up plans! (inclement weather)
1.22: Tattersalls Club Brisbane City.
Massive Grand old Ball room. Well priced and beautiful backup option for outdoor weddings in the event of inclement weather $250 (Weekend rate).  Good for Summer wet weather backups.
2.15: Community Park Hall across the road from Centennial Parklands Sydney, in the event of inclement option $185  ??
4.00: Ceremony and reception at the same location is the norm? Or close by? Are guests going to have a good time travelling if at different locations? Consider your guests.
4.30: McLaren Vale Pennys Hill Winery (reference)
5.52  (reference)
6.45:  2016 Australian Bureau of Statistics – chat  – Nerdy numbers stuff- An industry in need of help. Annual marriages reached new low. ABS actual data cubes.
14.00: Money. What we charge. To chat about or not to chat about it…
15.50: Opening up the conversation
16.20: Celebrant pricing conversations – The background.
17.00: Price fixing conversation (ACCC) – The history / Dally Messenger.
20.00: Why our conversations are NOT price fixing
21.00: Karen’s points and opinion on the subject– Melbourne Celebrant
(Highlighting the variety of products and levels of pricing in the handbag industry – to compare with celebrants in celebrant industry)!
27.30: Karen highlights the different reasons people become celebrants and what factors may contribute to their price.
36.48: Karen’s respectful request for us to stop howling at each other for devaluing our profession by undercharging, without knowing all the circumstances. ?
37.15: Josh and Sarah dive deeper into money – knowing your worth.
39.35: Pricing Tips– What should I be charging? Where to start? Charging an hourly rate?
47:17: (reference)
47.22: Tenielle Nuske Adelaide Celebrant reference
48.20: Charging an hourly rate?
52.10: Charge what you are worth, what covers your bills, and what you are proud of.
55.46: Feeling comfortable with your fee
57.02: Sarah’s price points
59.35: Josh’s pricing structure
59.56: Alex from Time With Alex

Podcast extra:

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

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

Josh discovers that not everyone (no-one?) likes a rebrand; Sarah discusses how marriage equality will likely affect celebrants; and why both Josh and Sarah think telling people to kiss is a bit weird. Plus, the Marriage (Queensland) Arrangement 2017, why the marriage industry needs to start being less heterocentric now, and Josh is not a scientist.

0:00 Sarah and Josh have made a thing (podcast). Please send your questions.
2:45 Josh makes a boo boo – a lesson in rebranding.
25:36 What we think marriage equality will mean for celebrants (recorded pre-postal survey).
44:38 How the Marriage (Queensland) Arrangement 2017 will affect the Marriage Act 1961.
48:32 Making the wedding industry less heterocentric.

We accidentally created a podcast

And so it begins. In the very first episode, Josh and Sarah discuss the change in the Conflict of Interest guidelines for marriage celebrants, and introduce the world to their very particular sets of skills; skills they’ve acquired over their celebrant careers; skills that make them a delight for people like you.

0:00 Josh & Sarah decide to start a podcast.
1:35 Chit chat: Josh discovers how expensive it is to plan a holiday in less than a week; when exactly is “wedding season”?; and the one thing Melbourne wedding expos always seem to forget.
6:27 The change to the Conflict of Interest Guidelines.
22:00 Introducing Josh and Sarah.