My first year as a Marriage Celebrant
Welcome to LOVE FROM LAURA,
I left this “blog” section accessible on my website in hopes that one day i might get the guts to write some things about working in this amazing industry, but after hitting one year as a celebrant plus a push from a friend I thought I’d just write down a few points about the roller coaster year I’ve had personally and professionally and then next minute i guess I’ve written a blog!
Ive pretty much just written a whole lot of random thoughts so I hope it makes some kind of sense and if it resonates with you at all in anyway feel free to send me a message :)
My first year as a Marriage Celebrant has been an interesting one to say the least don’t get me wrong I’ve absolutely loved every minute but I’ve learnt so much more than I ever thought possible.
So let’s rewind - why did I even become a Marriage Celebrant?
Well when we got married back in 2016 the only celebrant I knew and felt would be a good match for us was booked out! (Jess Maida - check her out)
So I was a bit stuck, we eventually (thanks to Joey Tribiani on the tv show Friends) decided to get one of our beautiful friends to perform our ceremony (funny thing her name was also Joey) as we thought this would make our ceremony that bit more fun and personal (with the help of a civil celebrant to do the legal parts). You can totally do this too btw - click the link to discuss.
Together I helped her create our ceremony and I loved every minute of it. With my background as a children’s entertainer and a Diploma of Musical Theatre plus the fact that I love to talk and write about love and life it was clear I was going to become a celebrant and 2 years later I eventually made that a reality ! I got my official celebrant registration in December 2018 and performed my first wedding in April 2019.
My first wedding ceremony was for a beautiful friend which made it all the more warmer and fuzzier.
I was of course nervous but also totally excited!
But it was wonderful and went of without a hitch but also with them getting hitched! Woo hoo!!
Wedding number 2 was my first for someone that I didn’t actually know - it’s such an amazing thing to think someone just finds you on the internet and likes you enough to trust you with such an intimate moment of their lives and of course you totally end up best friends by the end of it too.
A little bit like how we have been stalking Meghan and Harry for a glimpse of their baby I’m now following them on the gram as they will become parents in a few months as well!
Speaking of babies I was also pregnant when I performed both of these weddings!
(About 7 months pregnant for the second one infact see photo above) as I then thought I would have quite a few months off with bub expected in July before my weddings started again in October!
For those playing along at home this in fact was not the case, it was not perfect and our baby boy entered the world the next weekend. 8 days after my second ever wedding (I have to laugh about it now right?)
So that means he was born 2 months earlier than his due date and we are still baffled by why this happened as he was born pretty big and healthy for the situation. There was never anything wrong with him (and still isn’t) which was reassuring but still didn’t make it any less terrifying - it was for my safety that I had an emergency c section and delivered our amazing healthy baby boy Zephyr (yes, his name is Zephyr).
Anyway I’ll save the rest of those crazy details for Australian birth stories
But the reason I mention this at all is that i’d started this business of advertising myself as a marriage celebrant and then my life was changed and my “self” changed! I’d never even been in an ambulance before let alone stayed in hospital let alone do all of these things for the first time in the space of 24 hours and then spend the next 6 weeks there every day! I spent a week as a patient at the WCH and then was discharged as most mothers are however when your baby is prem and in SCBU ( Special Care Baby Unit) you pack up all your things and get ready to leave and then realise that your baby is not coming with you - a flaw in the system if you ask me, something that I would love to change one day. So of course we/I went back every day for 6 weeks which i think changed me even more.
Every day I’d go and sit by his cot in the ward, all day long, and see other mothers / family members doing the same thing often in much worse situations than myself and often alone.
I watched as terrible situations unfolded around me and baby monitoring machines continuously alarmed (which i can still hear now).
This plus the fact that the nurses working at the women’s and children’s hospital are absolute angels on earth is one of the many reasons why I now want to pay it forward and donate 10% of my fees to charity.
Ok but I don’t write this because I want sympathy, theres no reason to feel sorry for us or Zephyr (who is alive, thriving and is now about 6 or 7 times his birth weight might I add 🙌🏽). Honestly what happened to us only made our lives better! Obviously because Zephyr is a legend of a baby, but for many other reasons as well.
But I took a major break from my new business (also known as maternity leave) and really my life and that’s ok. It’s more than ok it was necessary but up until this week, now that I have a website, social media was my only form of advertising. So as much as I needed this time focusing on my family I knew that my business might suffer in the meantime which was fine but honestly I don’t think it did.
I think it only made it better - yes maybe i didn’t do 50 weddings in my first year but now what I have to offer as a celebrant is so much better than what i could offer before, my heart grew bigger throughout that experience which can only be a good thing in the industry of love, right?
But trying to sell yourself as the product of your business is hard? Especially when you don’t really know what that should look like or what on earth you are doing, not to mention the first time mum version of yourself? Theres no how to be a successful celebrant handbook? or if there is could someone send it my way.
I’ve always been a big lover of instagram but have always been a bit shocked by the insta world of celebrants - it blew my mind how much of a big deal it was and how I had had no idea that it existed before.
I also often felt like I had gotten a bit left behind with it, as my peers were doing amazing things that I couldn’t keep up with, especially with a baby. And I kept comparing myself to others even though I had absolutely no interest in marketing myself in the same way? (But don’t we all? 💁🏻♀️)
However I think this pause I had really let me see things from a better perspective a perspective I don’t think I would’ve had if my year didn’t unfold in the same way.
I feel like it’s taken me almost the full year to get back to my old self again but at the same time I will never “bounce back” to the old me, physically or mentally, nor do I want to because I will never be the same. I’m still me just a bit softer, a bit tougher, way more empathetic, way more tired and way less naive.
So thankyou to all the amazing brides and grooms who trusted me in my first year as a marriage celebrant with the important task of getting them to them married, It has been the most wonderful year of my life!
I have learnt;
To trust myself and do what makes my soul happy.
That I’m not “too young” to be a marriage celebrant - even if I’m possibly the youngest celebrant in Australia? 🤷🏻♀️
What it truly means to be genuine.
and to be more forgiving and understanding!
I have learnt;
To know my worth as a small business owner and the importance of community when working alone.
But also not to worry about about what everyone else is doing.
To reach out to people and check in with friends a lot more often. (Go message a friend you haven’t spoken to for a while 🙋🏻♀️ or message a mum you know and tell them that they are an actual queen 👑🌸)
And I have learnt that we should all be supporting each other more in whatever venture we are on - small business, insta blogger or raising money for charity. Go buy your friends hand made soy candles, share a post about your friends new business or host a tupperware party!
I have felt confident, insecure, confused, left out, excited, innovative, disappointed, stressed, vulnerable and so so happy! And I’m sure I’ll feel all these things and more again in my second year as a celebrant.
I’ve learnt to Marie Kondo’d my life - if it doesn’t spark joy I’m not doing it and i’m going to keep living and running my business with this motto in mind.
If you have kept reading this far Thankyou! And Thankyou for being a part of this (not to quote the bachelor but) journey.
Love from Laura,
Let’s chat anytime! Let me know what you thought!
Should I keep writing ? What should I write about next? 😬