Category Archives for ​Celebrant​

Celebrant Camille Abbott

We recently had a chat with Camille Abbott about Celebrant life –

• How did you get into being a celebrant?

Haha – it’s all my brother’s fault!

He knew that he wanted to include me in a special way during his commitment ceremony to my now sister-in-law (over 10 years ago). In his typical ‘all or nothing’ fashion, he decided that I should be the person to conduct it.

Like, run the whole ceremony!

What?!? 🤣

I remember asking him during the phonecall “and how would I go about that?” and him responding “isn’t that what the internet’s for?”

So my first ceremony was an induction by fire, but as it turned out, I did pretty well. And when my favourite uncle came up to me afterwards to congratulate me, he also added ‘I think you’ve found your thing, Camille’.

I attained my qualifications shortly after that and, although it took around 18 months to get registered by the Attorney-General’s office, I was excited and nervous in equal parts to start conducting legal ceremonies as a civil celebrant from September 2008.

Celebrant Camille Abbott

[ Credit to Dan Evans Photography ]

• Why do you enjoy what you do?

Oh, man – there are so many facets of being a full-time marriage celebrant that absolutely rock my world.

But I think it’s the job-specific perks really set it apart; helping gorgeous couples in love to express themselves authentically in front of their nearest and dearest on one of the most celebrated days of their lives.

Making them feel empowered and confident in doing things their own way. I love to watch them shine and their guests to respond to that with tears, cheers and knowing nods.

The high that I used to get from playing gigs as a musician, when I was much younger, just can’t compare to the experience of conducting a kick-ass ceremony.

• What are the biggest misconceptions about wedding celebrants?

Hmm, I guess one of the biggest would be the idea that my job consists of just the 20 minutes of the ceremony.

On average, I will spend 15-18 hours in meetings, answering emails/phone calls, completing legal paperwork, traveling, conducting rehearsals, writing several script drafts and other associated tasks per wedding.

The other thing that I don’t think is widely understood is that every celebrant does those tasks very differently.

Apart from the Marriage Celebrant Code of Conduct, celebrants don’t operate under any standard of business, require a minimum level of experience or service level or have to charge a set fee.

So, while you can book a celebrant for a couple of hundred dollars to ‘make it legal’, those who run fulltime businesses and offer premium services to deliver unique ceremonies for every couple and those who go the step further to coach couples through the process (understandably) charge more.

It’s like comparing apples and oranges, you know? And most couples don’t understand the difference and the huge impact of choosing the right celebrant for you can have on your wedding day.

• What book or resource should a bride or groom read before their wedding?

Unbridely (my wedding blog) – hands down!

It’s exactly why I created it with the help of my trusted colleagues and wedding industry pros; to help couples navigate their way through the wedding planning process with practical and relevant advice while experiencing less stress.

Hot topics like unplugged weddings, wedding photography copyright, if you need an MC, how to cull your guest list, first look photography, how to do a great speech and soooo much more is covered.

In the lead up to a wedding, what have you noticed your clients doing that ensures a great wedding experience?

You know what? You can pick them within the first 2 minutes of chatting.

They are the ones who understand that gravity will still occur on their wedding day. They know that it may be sunny, but there may also be rain.

They know that he world won’t stop for them and with that perspective, their expectations are realistic and consequently they have a much better chance of enjoying their wedding day and maybe even some of the planning process too.

I LOVE those couples!

• What trends have you noticed over the last 12 months?

There is a definite focus and an increased appreciation for smaller wedding celebrations.

Less people, but not always cheaper, as such.

I’m finding more couples are treating themselves and their guests to an exceptional experience, whether that be the very best champagne, live music, a food truck for midnight munchies or gin bar.

Micro weddings are gaining in popularity too – an abbreviated ceremony and photos sometimes followed by a separate big party with everyone else later on. Smart!

• How can people get in contact with you?

You can read some of my stuff at Unbridely, HuffPost or my celebrant blog and drop me a line at:

Celebrant Tracey O’Connor

We recently had a chat with Tracey O’Connor about Celebrant life –

• How did you get into being a celebrant?
I was kind of pushed into it, to be honest! Haha, best thing ever though. I found I was often asked by family and friends to be the one to stand up and deliver speeches on their behalf at birthday celebrations and other functions; until my mum (and number 1 fan) told me I should become a celebrant – she knew something I didn’t at the time I guess.
When I became licensed as a marriage celebrant, I was already running my own fairly successful Interior Design Consultancy, and figured I’d enjoy ‘marrying’ people as a wonderful hobby on the side! However, I found that by my 3rd year as a celebrant, wedding business was booming just through word of mouth/referrals and I couldn’t ignore the fact that I’d truly found my calling, so to speak; and have never once looked back.

• Why do you enjoy what you do?
I genuinely love to help create meaningful moments in people’s lives, and to celebrate those milestones with them. From meeting couples and getting to understand them and their ‘story’; then having the opportunity to re-tell their unique story in a fresh, fun and engaging way among their closest; followed then by the thanks and appreciation that comes from knowing you’ve just made their wedding ‘next level’ special, is the best feeling ever! And because each and every couple I meet is different, my job is always interesting!
Celebrant Tracey O'Connor

• What’s the biggest mistakes and myths about wedding celebrants?
Sometimes I hear people say, “what a great gig – just show up and deliver, and you’re outta there”, when referring to a celebrant’s job. There is SO much more to it than that, just come along to one of my weddings, and you’ll understand! To confidently ‘show up and deliver’ a great story with the level of detail and content required to make it especially memorable, takes a great deal of time, focus and skill. Luckily my couples see full value in what I give them in terms of service and peace of mind that they’ll have an amazing ceremony.

• What do you believe about the wedding industry that no one else believes?
Before I became a celebrant and understood the wedding industry, I had the same belief as many couples do – thinking that the moment you mention the word ‘wedding’, the cost of any product or service you’re considering using immediately increases in price…. I’ve since come to appreciate the great amount of care, time and effort my fellow industry professionals invest in their businesses, giving nothing but full value back to their clients.

• In the lead up to a wedding, what have you noticed your clients doing that ensures a great wedding experience?
Reading through the wedding pack I give them! I love to share lots of helpful tips and inspiration based around my own experience in getting married; as well as the eight-plus years of professional experience I now have in celebrancy. As I’m always looking for new and fresh ways to ensure the wedding pack I offer is helpful to my couples, those who take it all in really gain from it.
When it comes to their actual wedding day, I find that my couples place full trust in my ability to give them and their guests a great ceremony experience, so they can simply relax and let the day unfold. If the celebration starts with the ceremony, the rest of the event is sure to follow on a high.

• What is the disaster that you closely averted, that the client never even knew about?
One time a mother-of-the-bride had a considerable wardrobe malfunction; and we spent around 15 minutes in the bathroom getting to know one another whilst I assisted her; and at the exact same time I was on the phone to the limo company, asking the driver to take a scenic route with the bride and her dad until the issue was sorted. I’m not sure if the bride was told by her mum later, but she certainly knew nothing of it at the time.

• What trends have you noticed over the last 12 months?
Lots of Navy and Nude! A stunning colour scheme that always looks classy.

• What trends do you see developing over the next few years?
With the new Laws of marriage equality, I see far less of the traditional ceremonial elements happening, and scope for even more amazingly unique ideas to be shared in the industry. Exciting times!

• What kinds of wedding ceremonies are you not good at?
I’d sound conceited if I said I was good at everything – though at the same time I can’t think of anything I suck at… So let’s settle with saying that I give my best performance when I’m asked to deliver a relaxed, friendly, fun and engaging ceremony. I do easy-going really well :-)

• How can people get in contact with you?
Any which way it suits, I can be contacted. I’m always happy to chat over the phone, or if email works better for people, then that works for me too. It’s my job to make your wedding planning easy; let’s start there….. xx

Celebrant Julia Handford

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!
Celebrant Julia Handford

• 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

Interview with Wedding Celebrant Joshua Withers

What sets you apart as a celebrant?
Weddings are chock-full of meaning and purpose, but over the years traditions and weird people have clouded the goodness with pretty and meaningless things that are supposed to make the event better, but surveys say it doesn’t.

So I strip back all of the traditions, and peal back the curtains on your marriage and shine a big light on it so your friends and family aren’t celebrating a wikipedia entry on wedding tradition, but instead, they’re celebrating the fact that the two of you don’t hate each other, but you actually adore each other and that means that you have an awesome future ahead of you. Plus I wear wooden bow-ties. In fact, maybe just say I wear wooden bow-ties, that’s simpler :)

Why are you so passionate about what you do?
I’m passionate about what I do because it matters. What I do makes a difference in the world, but more importantly, it makes a difference in individual lives, marriages, homes, and families. How could you not be passionate about that.
I believe that awesome marriages make for awesome families which makes for awesome communities and an awesome world. It’s the small things that affect the big things.
Who trained you?
I learned to become a celebrant under a great man, Richard Nugent, who at the time was the Senior Pastor of SURFCiTY Christian Church. When he passed away earlier this year everyone talked of his love for people and I’m really inspired to carry on that legacy.
What gear do you use, and why?
In my weddings my sound gear is all Sennheiser portable gear simply because no-one else makes portable, all-in-one, battery-powered audio gear like Sennheiser. Their LSP-500 along with three of their wireless 1.8Ghz transmitter/receiver pairs just sounds amazing. Put alongside a MiPro, or a Chiayo competing units and the other two sound like they’re underwater.
I use a handheld microphone for myself, a Sennheiser E865, plus I have a backup E835 for a singer if there is one, and a beltpack transmitter for plugging in a guitar, or a sound desk, a DJ, or an iPhone.
The biggest complaint I hear about celebrants is that no-one could hear them, so I thought I best fix that.
What’s the biggest wastes of a couple’s time?
Arbours. The world arounds us is amazing, let’s stand in front of the world instead of in a poorly constructed wooden thing that is about to fall over. And after eight years in the business I can’t recall a couple that stood in the middle, almost everyone is off-centre which photographers love.
Who is the best wedding supplier you’ve worked with at weddings and why?
My wife, because she works me harder than anyone else! (She runs The Elopement Collective, an elopement planning business) but if I can’t vote for her then I’ve got to say wedding photographer, Michael Briggs. I work with happy people in every wedding on every day, but Briggsy is the happiest bloke holding a camera you’ll ever meet.
I know a bride and groom that want a really boring ceremony, what are the top 3 things to make that happen?
1. Google for “weddings”
2. Get as many people involved as possible. Get as many chefs in the kitchen as you can. Consider it a fun game.
3. Put as much focus on what makes everyone happy. It’s a well proven fact that the more people you can please in your wedding, the more boring it will be. Try not to listen to yourself or your partner and sacrifice everything that makes you you, and instead go as normal and mainstream as possible.
Where do you see weddings themselves changing in 5 years time?
Weddings are getting smaller, more personal, and more intimate. Less and less we’re trying to keep up with the Jones’ and instead we’re uninviting the Jones’.
What behaviour is common between couples who end up having a great wedding experience?
They have a simple and purposeful plan for their event, and they get the best people to make it happen. Simple.

– Interview with Daniel Toop @ Griffin Alliance (Wedding DJs Melbourne)

You can contact Joshua here:

Josh Withers
0411 849 404

Podcast: Australian Wedding Masters Series: Celebrant Camille

CamilleMeet our wedding master of the week, Celebrant Camille Abbott.

Personalised, fun, modern and relevant wedding ceremonies are Camille’s speciality and she loves what she does. With over 7 years experience, she is an award-winning, Huff Post blogging, full-time civil celebrant based in Australia.

Her no nonsense and practical approach is the credo underpinning Bridechilla Club; for couples who want their wedding to be special, but not at the expense of going crazy, broke or sending their friends and family running for cover.

You can test the Bridechilla Quiz HERE: Are you a Bridechilla?

Check out her website at: Ceremonies by Camille

Find her on Facebook at: camilleabbottMC

Find her on Instagram at: Bridechilla Club

Find them on Pinterest at: Bridechilla Club


Podcast: Australian Wedding Masters Series: Celebrant Julie

Julie_Byrne_Fb03Meet our wedding master of the week, Celebrant Julie Byrne.

As a Melbourne and Yarra Valley marriage celebrant who will conduct her 500th wedding this year, Julie has been described as relaxed, fun and casual, yet highly professional.

She offers a step by step approach to planning your ceremony and delivers it on the day with laughs and enthusiasm.

Many couples contact her after the wedding to say the ceremony was their favourite part of the day, and to mention how many guests commented it was the best ceremony they had seen!

Check out her website at:

Find her on Facebook at: celebrantjulie

Find her on Instagram at: @juliebyrne.celebrant



Featured on #1 wedding celebrant in Adelaide

Check out my interview with Celebrant Camille Abbott, about how to choose a great wedding DJ and other insider tips to save you time and money while planning your big day.

She was voted #1 wedding celebrant in SA at this years ABIA awards!
Check it out  HERE

There is also a BONUS just to keep you reading until the end of the interview; Camille has created a FREE 10-page ebook: ‘Wedding Ceremony Music Guide’.It includes:

1) the sections of a civil ceremony that need music,
2) the different kinds of songs that work and why,
3) how many songs you’ll need to choose for each section AND
4) a list of over 300 tunes to help you plan!

Its quite good – check it out!   HERE