We recently had a chat with Julia Handford about Celebrant life –
• How did you get into being a celebrant?
I was just a young’en when the idea of being a Celebrant popped into my head! I was waitressing at a few weddings and I always loved getting to work early to catch the end of the ceremonies. I was flipping through a course book and saw that you could do a cert 1V in business management and Marriage Celebrancy, so I signed up! By 20 I was registered and by 21 I was performing weddings running my own little business!
• Why do you enjoy what you do?
I love that weddings are always changing. People are inspired by their love of the outdoors, by music, by festivals, by food! Weddings have become a beautiful combination of what’s in fashion and what is meaningful for the couple. I love that this means my job is always changing and I get to travel to beautiful places and create ceremonies that are unique and fun. It suits me to a tee!
• Who trained you and what are they up to now?
Oh lordy, Marriage Celebrancy training has come a long way in the last 10 years and in my course there was a lot to be desired… Let’s just leave these details out as I don’t want to promote which training institution I used, they weren’t very good! :-)
• What’s the biggest mistakes and myths about wedding celebrants?
That we only work for a couple hours on the weekend! It’s been my full time job for nearly 7 years now and most of the work is predominantly mid week. Meeting clients, writing ceremonies, administration, data entry and just general business up keep. The actual wedding is only one part of the whole process so we definitely deserve to be acknowledged for more than just the 20 minute ceremony.
• What are your favourite instructional books or resource on what you do? what book or resource should a bride or groom read before their wedding?
Good question. I feel like there is no instructional book on how to be a kick ass Celebrant. It takes intuition, courage to try something new, confidence, beautiful ceremony writing and delivery skills. The best resource is other people, watching other Celebrants do their thing and then finding your own groove. Brides and Grooms should go with what feels right. A Celebrant who brings out the best of their personalities and makes them feel comfortable. If they loved the Celebrant at their friends wedding, then use them!!
• What do you believe about the wedding industry that no one else believes?
It could exist beautifully on it’s own without social media!! I have a love/hate relationship with social media and feel that even though it is so powerful for the wedding industry, we could definitely manage without it. Without it couples would simply just ask around more for recommendations, bringing more strength to word of mouth advertising. Too many images online of beautiful weddings I feel can actually make planning a wedding more stressful and overwhelming.
• In the lead up to a wedding, what have you noticed your clients doing that ensures a great wedding experience?
Taking time out to have some ‘down time’ in the lead up to the day can work wonders! I once had a Bride that told her family she was going on a yoga retreat the week before the wedding when really she just turned off her phone and had some quiet time to herself before the big day. She was so much more relaxed at the wedding! I also highly recommend the ‘pre-ceremony photo shoots’ that are growing in popularity. Doing the majority of your wedding photos prior to the ceremony leaves more time for fun on the day!!
• What is the disaster that you closely averted, that the client never even knew about?
Haha oh good question! There have been many many of these and I always thank the wonders of technology when it comes to a ceremony being in a pickle! Many times the wedding music has been put on a format that just does not sync with the PA system and thankfully we can always use the ‘good old internet’ to download music onto someone else’s phone and the crisis has been averted!
• What trends have you noticed over the last 12 months?
Couple’s are either going ALL OUT with their wedding and spending an absolute fortune, or they are eloping. There doesn’t seem to be as many fun backyard weddings happening anymore which is sad.
• What trends do you see developing over the next few years?
More and more elopements!! Bring them on I say! Less stress, more focus on what is important to the couple. Cheaper, easier to organise, the benefits are endless, plus you can still have the most gorgeous meaningful ceremony.
• What wedding trends are you seeing overseas that you hope come to Australia?
To be honest I’m not really paying much attention to what is happening overseas in the wedding industry. I do hope though that the white wedding dress goes out of fashion and Brides start wearing colours that they love and what makes them feel happy.
• What kinds of wedding ceremonies are you not good at?
Hmmmmm very formal ceremonies aren’t really my thing. Whilst I do enjoy dressing up formal, my style of language and the way I like to add colour to a ceremony definitely doesn’t gel well with ceremonies that are very traditional, or overly elegant and sophisticated.
• What is your advice for people that have just had their wedding and they want to start their own wedding business?
Be prepared to start off slow, be the little turtle that wins the race! Good decisions should feel light and exciting. Go with what feels right and mix with people who inspire and encourage you! Try to become good friends with wedding suppliers that share your target market. Spending a huge amount of money at the start with not much experience in the industry isn’t a good approach. Build your relationships and invest in them.
• How can people get in contact with you?
0402 916 245