Interview – Rachel Green
Celebrant – Rachel Green
What do you consider the most rewarding and challenging parts of your job?
That’s an easy answer – getting to know people! I love meeting a new couple and hearing all about the moment they first met and why they decided to get married and what their future holds. So many people think their love story is average and not very exceptional but once they start talking, the beautiful and juicy details that set their story apart from everyone else’s are soon revealed.
If people were considering working as a celebrant what advice would you give them?
Being a celebrant can sometimes feel like a solitary occupation. When you are not talking to your couples and planning with them, the rest of the time is spent writing their ceremonies, preparing paperwork and maintaining the small business side of things. Finding a like-minded group of celebrants who value community over competition and enjoy sharing ideas and experience is invaluable, and having a network of celebrant friends to regularly connect with will enrich your professional creativity and inspiration.
What qualifications or experience is required to become a celebrant?
First you need to do a Cert IV in Celebrancy through a government-approved provider. Most of these courses can be done intensively over a week, or self paced by correspondence (it must be completed in 12 months). It took me about 5 months to complete the course. Once you receive your certification, you need to apply to the Attorney- General for registration. This application process involves passing an exam, providing personal references, and a criminal history check. To retain your registration you need to pay an annual registration fee and complete 5 hours of ongoing professional development a year.
No specific experience is necessary but I think being a confident public speaker and relating easily to people is a huge advantage. As a celebrant, I meet so many different personalities and I need to quickly figure out how to connect with them, and earn their trust so they feel comfortable sharing their story. Being organised and systematic and having a set process in place so you can keep track of all the people you are working with is also extremely helpful.
What path did you take to become a celebrant?
When my sister-in-law got married five years ago, I remember watching the celebrant and thinking “that would be a perfect job!” So as soon as I moved back to Australia, I applied for the course. I chose to do my certificate IV by correspondence at my own pace. If I had my time again, I probably would pay a little extra and do the intensive course just to complete it faster and meet other aspiring celebrants. I was extremely fortunate to meet another experienced celebrant while I was studying who mentored me and helped me prepare the business side of things (creating a website, developing client processes) so that as soon as my registration arrived, I just had to hit go!
Were there any other careers you considered pursuing when you left school?
I finished school not really sure what I wanted to do. I began a Bachelor of Photography but quickly realised that was not my passion. I then completed a Bachelor of Education (Primary) at QUT. My dream job is still midwifery but I don’t see myself pursuing that anytime soon!
Is this your first career? No, I have had a few different careers since I finished school 21 years ago (eeek!). I have been a photography school drop out, a primary school teacher, a librarian assistant and a life coach! I think all the things about those vocations and the skills I developed while working in those jobs are what drew me to celebrancy and why I find it such a satisfying career now. It ticks all the boxes!
Can you see yourself remaining in this line of work forever?
Who knows?! Life is unpredictable but I do know that celebrancy is extremely rewarding and I have absolutely no complaints about the work that I do. Being a celebrant is the perfect job when you have a young family because you can choose your own hours, work on the weekends and choose how many bookings you will take a year.
I would like to also expand into funeral celebrancy so that will be one of my goals for the next 12 months. I am nerv-ecited (that’s a portmanteau of nervous and excited that my kids coined) to complete a “Deathwalker” training later this year and I am very curious to explore the many different ways we can farewell our loved ones rather than just the traditional ones we are familiar with.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
According to the time capsule that was dug up at my primary school two years ago, my 12-year-old self thought I was going to be a teacher, a mum and a writer!!! It also said I would win the lottery to fund my world travels so I’m still crossing my fingers for that because so far everything else has come true!
What are your standard hours?
Celebrancy is extremely flexible. I often meet with couples on a Sunday afternoon at my favourite café or Facetime if they are interstate. I have the freedom to write during the day when the kids are at school or in the evening after they have gone to bed. The only true standard hours seem to be 3pm on a Saturday, which is the most common time for a wedding in Queensland!
Is there anything you can tell us about your job that people wouldn’t expect?
It can be a riot of fun and creativity. I make a promise that I will never re-hash an old ceremony for a new couple, so I’m constantly challenging myself to re-tell a couple’s story in new and inventive ways.
Wedding ceremonies do not need to be long snooze fests that you sit through before letting your hair down and party at the reception. I have had a bride play a practical joke on her father-in-law, I have had mid-ceremony pop quizzes and even sung (very badly) a medley of Kylie Minogue hits (never to be repeated!) These are of course the exceptions and the majority of ceremonies that I officiate are a balance of humour and sentiment so that everyone can cement their memory of a beautiful day with laughter and tears.