The Value of Experience: Celebrant's Point of Difference

So when I started out I knew I would succeed because I had youth on my side! Oh, the confidence! I wasn’t going to be like the other stuffy old celebrants ( which they weren’t ) – youth was going to be my “point of difference”. Nowadays what is it? Age? I don’t think so! Experience of course… When he was in business my father’s slogan was “ Quality is Value”. He was a bit more expensive than the other butchers – but he sourced his “ country-killed beef “ in Blayney, not Homebush – that was the difference – and of course the wonderful customer service he provided. So I adopted

“ There is no Quality like Experience”

in my promotion from my 20th anniversary on.

I hope I bring all the charms of my youth with it too, and the value inspired by my dad. When the celebrant program started in the ‘70s and when I was appointed in 1995, couples didn’t question the value of the celebrant as they do now, they respected the role as the social responsibility it was. All that has changed, however, and celebrants are now wedding service providers like any other and have to demonstrate their value consistently.
The process of getting married has remained fundamentally the same – but there have been some important changes. These days you must give 30 days’ notice to your celebrant – for years it had to be “ one month and one day”; finally you may present your passport as evidence of place and date of birth – you don’t have to scramble around to locate your birth certificate anymore; you now must show your driver’s license/ ID card; and you are advised to apply to BDM for a copy of your official, registered certificate of marriage after the wedding to prove and protect your ID.

These days weddings can be registered instantly online before the paperwork is sent in. My first celebrant instructional manual was type-written! I couldn’t type anyway – becoming a celebrant was my motivation for this – I had to create documents!! Because of celebrancy, I became computer-literate and had a website form the start. How stilted and boring it was though!

In 1995 nobody really thought about marriage equality. The phrase hadn’t even been coined . Ironically, the section of the Marriage Act defining marriage could be applied more laterally – there were exemptions to the wording, “words to that effect” could be substituted, although rarely were, there being no point. The “ vows” too, have tightened up, and there is only one accepted legal version ( although you can add your variations as well).
Anyway, plus ça change…Maybe though, with marriage equality, ça changera beaucoup!!

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