Celebrant Price Point- Uber Vs Uber X

There’s always so much talk in wedding world about price. Price of celebrants in particular.


The thing is, like anything in life- you get what you pay for.


FACT: The majority of celebrants in Melbourne charge between $800-$1600. In the $800 spot you’ll get yourself a fresh recruit or a mid ranger.


At $1500 you’ll get a shiny Uber X with a free bottle of water and a heated seat.


It depends what you are looking for.


As a celebrant myself, I obviously place a decent amount of worth on what we do.


For the record- you can get married in a bog standard ceremony amidst the salubrious surrounds of the Registry Office in the city for between about $400 and $600, depending on what day of the week you want. This means you go to them, there is zero personalisation and it’s purely a stiff legal affair basically. Too easy if that’s all you want.


However, if you want something more personal you’re going to have to pay more.


If you want someone to absolutely smash it- again- you’ll be paying more.


The greatest misconception is that a celebrant is charging you ‘$1200 for 20 minutes work’. That conveniently disregards the meetings, the travel, the document preparation, the research, the use of our audio equipment and yeh, the actual ceremony presentation.


For me personally, this encompasses a minimum 15 hours per couple. I put a lot into my ceremonies and into developing relationships with my couples. As such, my service is pretty popular and I’m often booked more than a year out from the wedding date.


A really amazing celebrant is a gifted writer and a charismatic presenter. They’re organised, experienced and reliable. They will get to know you, be approachable and available and full of good ideas- and take you into the day calm and ready. Then they’ll smash it. It’s a real talent to be able to engage people on the right level.


When all your guests are remarking on the ceremony and you’re all on an absolute high afterwards- you see the value then for sure. But it’s a bit harder to see it when you start your celebrant search. Perhaps you’re not really sure what a celebrant does, what differentiates an average one from a good one- from an absolute weapon.


So, when you’re sending out emails to celebrants – can you have a quote etc and you get one for $800 -900 and one for $1400-1500- there’s a reason for that price divide. That cheaper celebrant doesn’t have the same experience/ popularity or dynamic of the dearer one. They may do, in time mind you. But at this point you are getting what you pay for.


So, it depends on what you place value on. Call me naïve but if you’re getting married, I’d hope that there’s some importance placed on the actual ceremony itself- not just getting boozed afterwards. That being said, if you’ve never seen a brilliant ceremony then it’s possible you haven’t considered the value of dynamic.


I’d love to say the days of cookie cutter dross delivered in a monotone voice are past us. But they’re actually not. There’s still plenty of that that goes on. And plenty of ceremonies that are not written from scratch. Just the same pap rolled out at every single wedding blah blah yawn. You’ll get that cheaper for sure.


If you want an absolute banger that is totally you as a couple, that’s been lovingly crafted based on your celebrant’s relationship with you and their excellent writing capabilities- then you pay more. If you want the one where your guests laugh out loud and are totally captivated throughout- it costs more for that level of skill.


So, before you compare quotes, first of all, decide what kind of experience you want to have.


Then make sure you’re comparing apples with apples.


If you receive a quote for $1500, you can be sure that person is at the top of their game and you’ll be bloody lucky to get them.


Incidentally, these celebrants are being referred by photographers, venues and previous clients and their guests constantly. What does that say to you?


So, if you’re happy with a Camry- then you order standard Uber. If you want something spesh then you order Uber X.

Do we need a videographer for our wedding?

Again- as with DJ’s, I get asked this question a lot.

In short, I would. It’s better to have it than not and regret it.

Before I started as a celebrant I had a second and last baby and juggled the idea of having a labour and birth videographer come and film it for us. As with weddings, having babies is an intense, mind blowing and totally unique experience.

Anyway- I didn’t get the video and basically I really regret it, as I won’t be having any more babes.


Wedding video these days is so good. Like amazing. I get them sent to me from my couples and I get such massive feels from them as just their celebrant it’s not even funny. Have shed a few tears, have laughed out loud, have felt very nostalgic.


A great videographer captures people’s personalities and interactions as well as all the other ‘big moment’ stuff. And you know why? I had this conversation with awesome videographer Nathan Kaso about this.


People don’t really get it- video, that is. As in, they don’t know if they’re being filmed most of the time as the videographer seems to cruise about and is looking down into a lens of a camera that’s often held low. It’s pretty covert.


So, what does that mean for you? It means people are in their natural states, not posing or awkward. Which is of course AMAZING for footage. Unless you want them filming your new partner chewing your garter off your leg etc. In that case, there’s def people for that.


But you won’t find them on my recommendation list. Soz.


Have I sold you yet?


Secondly, ask any photographer if they had vid at their weddings or if they recommend it- betcha they do. It’s just a different perspective.


But the main reason is this: your day is going to go by in the blink of an eye, of that you can be absolutely sure. You’ll recall snippets mainly. Video will capture all the good bits. And then some.


Yeh, you need it.


I chatted to some of Melbourne’s best about what videography adds to your wedding day:

“The number one thing I hear from people at weddings is ‘We just got married and didn't get a video, that is the only thing we regret!’ It can seem like a bit of a luxury, but video is such a great way to
capture the mood and tone of a wedding, and if done right it can take you right back to how you felt on the day”

Nathan Kaso


 “Videography (along with photography) is one of the few things that gain value over time. Flowers wilt, dresses are worn once and memories fade but film is forever. It's not just about getting a video, it's more about investing in moments you want to continue to remember long after the wedding's done.

Sure, you can absolutely rely on a photographer to do that but you'll wind up missing all the wonderful little nuances and moments of the day that even the most experienced photographer misses. (Video is one of the most) invaluable things a couple can invest in on their wedding day. It's a deeply underestimated aspect of any wedding”

 Carlo Peritore  - Lunar Red


“Photography and video are very different, even though we work so closely together, the one thing that is special about videography, is we can capture the words that were said and how they were said.


This is how your wedding video can instantly transport you back to that moment, when your partner is saying their vows to you, and there's that crack in their voice just before the tears start flowing, the true emotion in that moment that you can relive over and over”

 Jack- Oneheart


 “Rather than a single snapshot in time, you get all of the truly intimate moments in a way that is so much easier to engage with.

 Couples get to see moments they would have just otherwise missed as they were wrapped up in the fever of the day. The way that dad looked as he first sees you in that dress, the laughter from the guests as you talk about them during your speeches.

 …re-watching it will give you the feeling of being there every time”

 Michael- Native


To wrap this up- watch this banging clip by Nathan Kaso and tell me you don’t want video/ need at your wedding. Sign me uppppp!








Page image: Anna Taylor

Do I need a DJ for my Wedding?

Oh man, if I had a dollar for every time I’m asked this question..

Are you thinking- we’re just going to do some Spotify playlists and go with that/ save money/ not essential yada yada?..

 I’m a big believer in getting a professional to manage the tunes on your big day. The main reason is- a playlist cannot read the vibe of your crowd and adjust its tunes accordingly.

 You might anticipate your crew will be at Drake stage at 8pm but they may still be in De La Soul territory. A good DJ will drop a tune and see it doesn’t have the desired effect so they’ll change direction.

 Music can make or break a wedding. Don’t cheap out on it.

 Good DJ’s will get you to guide the tune list for the night- what do you love and what don’t you want played? They can take requests and if they’re really vibing and interacting with the crowd that amps the d floor vibe even more. It’s also just more .. human..

 Secondly, putting together playlists is a massive undertaking if you really care about the music and the vibe it creates.

 Just leave it to the pros. I meet so many couples in the week of the wedding and the playlists remain on the to do list, creating a lot of unnecessary stress.

 Thirdly, they control the entry and exit tunes, which means you’re not allocating that job to a nervous friend who might stuff it up. Trust me- no one’s ever that relaxed about having that job.

 To finish, I’ll give you an example of DJ excellence from one of the best weddings I’ve ever done- who had the awesome DJ I used for my wedding.

 The couple arrived together to ‘You Make My Dreams’ by Hall and Oates- a total BANGER of a song for a high vibe entry. The bride told me the week later the DJ re-dropped it late in the night to a frenzied reception. The dancefloor was going off. The vibe was pumping.

 That there is pure genius and something everyone from that wedding will remember. A spontaneous decision by a pure pro to amp that vibe a bit higher by dropping a nostalgic track at the right time.


 Book a DJ. Please. There’s some recommendations in the Band Mates section on my site if you need direction.


My Wedding

Image: Oliver Yip

Image: Oliver Yip

I get asked a lot about my wedding. We were married back in 2012 in Summer at my in laws in Surrey Hills. It was all about our fave people, amazing food and drinks and mad tunes.

WHAT I WORE: Gave not many f#cks about my dress to be honest. Bought it off the rack at DJs. Charlie Brown. $500. Simple, long, big split, strapless with origami folding. Dry cleaned it and sold it two weeks after my wedding for half what I paid. Happy days. Wore some dark blue satin heels that lasted on my feet for about 31 minutes before being discarded for bare feet. Had my hair up with a rock vibe. Makeup minimal. It’s terrible but I have no idea who I used as vendors.

WHAT NIK WORE: A navy suit from Calibre and Cons. Boutonnierre was handmade- a timber guitar pick and various feathers. Was cool as hell.

GUESTS: 50. This was hard but we were brutal. We wanted our closest people there and I didn’t want to spend my whole time making my way around to 150 guests making small talk. That was wasted d floor time in my opinion. The result: an intimate, relaxed and warm vibe with a strong party crew. Perfect.

BRIDAL PARTY: My two sisters were my bridesmaids and wore strapless pleated crepe dresses in dark blue. Hair up because hot AF. We had three little flowergirls in navy and pink tulle skirts and a page boy in mini version of what Nik wore- navy and Cons. It was fun and relaxed. Nik had his bro as Best Man and he wore what he wanted which ended up being pants and a waistcoat.

CEREMONY: Took place out the front. Business in the front, party in the back. We served heaps of bubbles and cold beers pre. I arrived in a Mustang and walked in to the XX ‘VCR’. Music is massive in our lives and was a big focus.

RINGS: Matt Wynne, Carlton. Support local guys. We had the rings in a vintage tape case- Talking Heads Stop Making Sense: one of our fave albums of all time.

AFTER PARTY: In the backyard. The garden was lush and green and we had a marquee housing one long table. We sat amidst our friends and family. I didn’t want a bridal table. It was either thongs or barefoot. Tunes, lots of good booze and massively chilled vibes.

FOOD: Totally self catered. My entire fam is basically in food and wine and we’re massive foodies so this was a pivotal decision in choosing to have it at home- being able to quality control everything. My father in law ran the kitchen with some hired staff. My brother in law, who is a winemaker chose all our wine. Everything was abundant and top shelf. Incredible bread and cheese, local organic meats, most served cold, whole baked snapper, quiche and tonnes of amazing salads that everyone pitched in to make.

BOOZE: We did Spanish bubbles, three whites, two beers and two reds. At 10pm we had trays of G + T’s come out. When everyone was sweating their bollocks off on the outdoor d floor and that icy blue glow in tall glasses materialised, a cheer went up. Master stroke. We also divided our guest list into ‘Normal Drinkers’, ‘Pissheads’ and ‘Total Units’ to guide the volume we needed. For the record we had 5 total units and got them t shirts printed with that on them which they were pretty proud of haha.

TUNES: Recorded for ceremony. DJ for after party. We had DJ Obliveus from Black Caesar Events and he was the first vendor I booked. I’ve know him forever and he is the business. He just totally got it and rolled out funk, hip hop and 90’s R + B all night. I can still remember him starting up and dropping Close to Me by The Cure and the d floor was pretty much rammed from then on. I still recommend Eric regularly to my couples now.

CAKE: My sister in law made a chocolate cake with textured buttercream and topped it with gorgeous hand made felted birds. It was delish. I ate it in the cab on the way home, extremely drunk. I have a talented fam.

BONBONIERRE: Hate that word. Meaning stuff you give to your guests to take home. We mixed a CD for them of our fave tunes. It’s still a banger to listen to today and was well received. Otherwise I think this B word is kinda a waste of money tbh (Controversial!)

Image: Oliver Yip

Image: Oliver Yip

What I’d do differently knowing what I know now:

Hire an amazing professional photographer: You cannot take it back people. Find your person- love their pics and love their vibe? Lock em in. I’d be all over one of my three fave photogs these days.

Acoustic Duo: For pre ceremony/ ceremony and that interim part before the DJ kicks off. Nothing better than rolling up to a wedding and there’s live tunes and great drinks. Instant vibe. Fidel and Sarah would def be getting a guernsey.

No cake: Look, our cake was beautiful but it was hot at hell and honestly- no one wants to eat cake in that kind of weather. They just don’t. Don’t ever do dessert and cake either. Complete waste of time. If I did it now in January- gelati cart or alcoholic icy pole cart alllll the way. People LOVE that shit and these are the little touches that they remember as being awesome.

Pay for the pack down: If you’re doing your own gig, when they ask you if you want them to dissemble the marquee- say yes. Just pay it. I tell you what- waking up the day after my wedding, boiling hot, extremely hung over- taking down a marquee and cleaning up was the last thing I felt like doing. Pay an event planner to deal with all the shit you don’t want to do.

Our kinda ring receptacle!

Our kinda ring receptacle!

How much does a wedding celebrant cost in Melbourne?

Answer: For a good one $1000-1600. Fact.

Like anything in life, you get what you pay for. You can definitely get one off Gumtree or some dodgy local directory for $400 but I can’t guarantee what your experience will be like.

The value of a great celebrant lies in how they make you feel:

·      Excited as they have lots of options and ideas for your ceremony

·      Thrilled when you receive your ceremony that is personalised and perfect for you

·      Supported: being able to contact your celebrant at any time/ ask questions/ bounce ideas off

·      Relaxed because they’re totally on to it: they have a process they move through, everything is sorted and they’ll be there on the day, on time and warming up your guests, prepare all the legal docs meticulously etc

(Don’t scoff- twice last year I took over at the last minute for bargain basement celebrants who became uncontactable in the months pre wedding)

·      Happy when it’s delivered and it is awesome, gets the laughs, is delivered with warmth and humour and gets a few tears too

·      Stoked when your guests all remark about how fun the ceremony was and how much they enjoyed it. A great celebrant gets a little bit mobbed at the end of the ceremony- with positive feedback and requests for biz cards

15-20 hours go into the average ceremony so the fee is not for ’15 minutes work’ as we often hear.

There’s meetings, research, witnessing and preparing docs and writing and rehearsing before we even get to the presenting part. Then there’s more doc prep post.

If you’ve never seen a great celebrant in action it’s fair to say you don’t know what you don’t know. But do ask around- ask others about their celebrants and their experiences. They’ll either shrug and say ‘Yeh she was ok- did the job’ or will rave about them and foist their details onto you ‘I’ll ask my friend who hers was at her wedding a few months back- she was awesome!’

You can’t take it back once it’s done. If you’re going to do then do it well. Start your wedding as you wish to continue it into the reception- with great vibes.

Having a Summer Wedding? Hot Tips to Make it Awesome

Summer weddings are great but they can also get sweaty and uncomfortable. Read on for some tips to alleviate discomfort and make your summer wedding totally awesome. 

Firstly- don’t expect the guys to wear full suits. This is so ridiculous. They’ll be sweating bullets and that makes people self conscious and cranky. Guys in a nice shirt and pants (or for some weddings nice shorts are ok too) with suspenders and/ or a bow tie look awesome and will be infinitely more comfortable. Plus, this dress suits the summer vibe so much more.

Move inside/ undercover: Be prepared to let go of your outdoor dream if it means everyone including you- are going to be more comfortable. Sweating the makeup off that took hours to apply and guys with massive sweat patches: not fun, no good for pics. Just let it go. Your guests (and your vendors) will thank you. Celebrants have reported PA’s and Ipads failing in high heat and I’ve heard of a couple fainting. Come on- this is just silly.

Water: Provide lots of it. Sparkling and still and make it cold. You can never have too much. I don’t love the idea of bottles because allll that unnecessary waste. Allowing people to serve their own water via big cannisters with taps or providing jugs that are constantly topped up works well. Add ice and some sliced fruit in the dispensers and people are all over it.

On the subject of ice- lots of it: Serve beers and white wine and serve it cold. Signature drinks are awesome too- frozen margaritas, gin and tonic with tonnes of ice and sliced cucumber, dacquiris or mojitos. Serve em up, serve em cold. People love a personal touch like this and for years you’ll hear them talk about ‘that bloody steaming hot day, rolling out those margaritas was a master stroke’

Shade: Sounds simple right? Nup. Have turned up to weddings in the blazing sun and there’s not been any shelter. You gotta get the marquees up, the market umbrellas and even provide single umbrellas for shade. And while we’re on it, sunscreen- provide it in baskets so guests can put it on themselves. If you’re going for a fun vibe at a backyard/ winery/ brewery type wedding, get visors made with your wedding deets on them and hand them out. Great for pics and people will really appreciate them as the day progresses.

Forget the cake and do fancy iceblocks or icecream. I promise you no one’s eating cake when it’s 39 degrees. They want light snacky food, white meat, salads, fruit, water and ice. There’s so many amazing gelato and icecream trucks and vans that do weddings. My Goaty, Bianco Latte, Short Batch and Something Sweet all service Melbourne. Google what’s in other states.


You can also get fancy alcoholic icy poles. Champers, frosè, martini in an icy pole? https://wearepops.com/australia/ let you order online or can send a bicycle and someone to serve them.


Alternatively, have an old skool nostalgic fave on ice- Frosty Fruits, even Zooper Doopers. These little touches are the things people remember really fondly about a wedding. Promise.


Anti perspirant Deodorant: I recommend to all my couples Mitchum deodorant. I probs wouldn’t advise wearing it daily but for your wedding- it’s industrial strength and works a treat.


Misting fans/ systems/ bottles: these are relatively inexpensive to hire or buy. You can get hanging misting systems on line and at Bunnings that connect simply to a garden hose. Later in the day, when heat begins to really soar and you’ve had some pretty pics done, why not- get wet, get cool, have fun. Guaranteed awesome fun pics too.


Alternatively, get those nice looking slimline metal misting bottles from $2 shops, fill and leave in a bucket of ice. People can use at their leisure.


Feeling cooler? Sweet as. Have a killer summer wedding!