IN CONVERSATION WITH…. VICKY FLANEGAN
TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF, HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN THE WEDDING INDUSTRY?
I have been performing wedding ceremonies for 5 years now and let’s just say I fricken love what I do!
I am a Modern Marriage Celebrant and even though I don’t need tell the Modern Event Planner what that means I feel that I should elaborate on what a Modern Marriage Celebrant does vs a Marriage Celebrant.
A Modern Celebrant is a professional Celebrant, meaning this is my only gig and I do not work at anything else except making married people.
I believe strongly in the ethos, “If something is work doing it is worth doing like a rock star…”
Although I have heaps of inspo for any one ceremony, I don’t tell my couples what to do and how they have to do it (except the legal bits that have to be in there-which really is a super small percentage of what is said and done on the day). I listen, guiding them, so they tell their story, their way in whatever setting they choose on their big day.
I am up for anything. I embrace new and creative ideas that suit each couple and work hard to bring out the best in them during the process and on the day.
I do this by making my couples feel as comfortable as possible in the lead up to and during the ceremony (let’s face it everyone is at least a little bit nervous during the ceremony especially). I get so much wonderful feedback from my couples about how I helped them feel so relaxed and happy in that moment, because they have confidence in me, we are telling their story exactly the way they want it to be told and we definitely have a lot of fun along the way. There is nothing more boring than listening to your celebrant waffle for ages about irrelevant content and not tapping into the true personalities of the people getting married.
“People rarely remember what I say during the ceremony, but they always remember how I make them feel…”
I suppose that is my point of difference. Although I have some beautiful words written in my folder, people remember that I worked with them not for them, I made them feel relaxed and that I laughed out loud with them on their special day.
They remember how the party…whoop I mean the reception felt after I helped them set the tone for the rest of the celebrations.
Fun, lighthearted, relaxed and engaging ceremonies is my specialty.
WHAT WERE YOU DOING BEFORE BECOMING A CELEBRANT?
In reflection I was just acquiring skills to be the best celebrant I can be.
My background is in interior decoration and design as I have diploma in that field. I have worked in home décor retail roles in Adelaide, Sydney and Darwin. Constantly honing my customer service skills.
I spent most of my 20’s travelling and seeing the world, with no real fixed address. My adventures took me to many parts of Australia as well as the UK and Canada.
One of the highlights was spending 2 years on a little island you may know…Hayman Island– where my job consisted of having a chat and pouring champagne as I worked as a hostess/deckhand on a luxury catamaran. My days were spent snorkeling and exploring the Whitsundays. While most evenings were being spent on the back of the yacht watching sunsets with some awesome characters from all over the world. Sounds as tough as it was ;).
The time I spent travelling and working on the yacht made me realize how much I love people from all walks of life and I absolutely loved listening to everyone’s unique stories.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT WHAT YOU DO?
Just one thing???
I would have to say my couples and their people…In my journey so far I have had the privilege of meeting some insanely cool and beautiful people…sounds cheesy, but so true…
I honestly cannot wait to meet more and tell more love stories.
WHAT ARE THE COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT BECOMING A WEDDING CELEBRANT?
That what we do is easy and anyone can do it…
A lot of people think you just get your accreditation and are authorized by the Attorney General’s department, so you can marry people…
Sure you can marry people, but how well? It takes time, experience and training (that can only be done on the job) to bring your ‘A’ game and be memorable for all the right reasons (not the wrong ones eeep)….you only get one chance…no do overs.
MANY COUPLES ARE LOOKING FOR THE CHEAPEST CELEBRANT POSSIBLE; CAN YOU EXPLAIN WHAT WORK GOES INTO YOUR FEE STRUCTURE?
Great question, because majority of people do not know what we do.
When you choose a photographer, a florist, a cake decorator or a venue, they are all very visual and tangible parts of the planning process, but where can you see what a celebrant does. Even on my Insta feed it just shows me smiling all the time, taking selfies and holding a microphone up for two people under an arbor.
A lot of people feel that we just rock up on the day for an hour, say a few words and then take off, job done right?
That would be cool, but it is definitely not the case… Any one wedding takes a minimum 20 hours to put together between meetings, paperwork, writing a personalized ceremony, a rehearsal (onsite usually) and delivering an awesome ceremony on the big day. So my first meeting with couples can be a real eye opener as I go through the time, energy and thought that goes into a good ceremony behind the scenes.
As we all know…with anything in life you get what you pay for. My package not only includes the ceremony writing, paperwork etc. but it includes something that cannot be replicated, something as unique as two peoples love for one another…it includes ‘The Vic Factor’ which I hope is just the right amount of energy, friendliness, personality, regard, sense of humor and experience.
WHAT ARE THE MAIN THINGS COUPLES NEED TO CONSIDER WHEN PICKING A CELEBRANT?
Obviously things to consider are how long the celebrant has been performing ceremonies, how they write the ceremony etc. but I think the main thing to consider is how comfortable you feel with your celebrant?
This person is standing next to you and the love of your life, on one of the biggest days of your life and is a part of some of the most intimate moments on the day, in front of all the people you hold dear, so if you do not feel comfortable with the person pulling it all together, then it comes out in everything to do with the ceremony and how you remember this wonderful moment…
I encourage every couple to pick all their suppliers for their wedding, based on the fact that they feel 100% comfortable with the professionals (preferably) they have put in place, enabling them to relax, put their party pants and dresses on, knowing these talented individuals have it all sorted.
This brings a peace of mind that you just cannot put a dollar value on…
ARE THERE ANY NEW TRENDS YOU SEE EMERGING IN CEREMONIES OR WEDDINGS IN GENERAL?
There are so many new and exciting ideas thanks to our good friends, Insta, FB and Pinterest.
One of the trends I am seeing evolve in the wedding industry is individuality and authenticity…If you want to have both your Grandmothers as flower grans or a mixed bridal party on top of a cliff with a flamingo giving out expresso martini’s as everyone arrives then do it!!
Let’s face it…A wedding day is usually the biggest party couples will ever throw and I love the fact that people are embracing what they are all about and thinking outside of the box when planning this super fun, loved up occasion…
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE WEDDING? WHAT PROCESSES DO YOU UNDERTAKE TO FORMALISE THE MARRIAGE?
After the wedding day I post off the Official Certificate of Marriage and the Notice of Intended Marriage to Births Deaths and Marriages SA where they lodge each marriage in their system.
This process usually takes about 3 weeks (Sometimes more and sometimes less depending on the time of the year).
What a lot of couples do not realize is that the marriage certificate that I give them on the day is just a pretty certificate and does not do a lot. Each couple have to apply online (or it can be done in person) for the marriage certificate that they need to change their name.
To help my couples do this very last step (as I do all the rest for them). I send all my couples a link to the BDMSA online applications page where they can apply for this certificate. BDMSA will then send the certificate to them after it has been lodged in their system, so the changing of the name process can commence (if you choose to do so of course).
DO YOU HAVE ANY SPECIAL/OUTSTANDING MOMENTS THAT YOU CAN SHARE?
I actually had a beautiful moment on the weekend during a backyard surprise ceremony…
Surprise ceremonies are super fun, organic and involve a lot of raw uncensored emotion, as people don’t know that it is going to be a wedding, so they do not feel the need to act like a ‘wedding guest’. They have just rocked up to a party and all of a sudden are witnessing a marriage which is so much fun to be a part of.
So during this beautiful and intimate ceremony the Bride reads her heartfelt secret vows that she has written from the heart and crying, she hands the cue card to the very emotional Groom, so he can read his beautiful words.
He was meant to start with…
“From the very first moment I laid eyes on you I was in love…”
But instead he said….
“From the very first moment I laid on you I was in love…”
Needless to say the whole backyard erupted in
laughter. It truly was so gorgeous and lot of fun…
DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR ENGAGED COUPLES TO CONSIDER FOR THE THEIR CEREMONY?
I would just encourage couples to think a lot about what they want their day to feel like, not just look like and choose suppliers based on that…especially the celebrant as without us it is just a very pretty party…especially if The Modern Event Planner has anything to do with it…
Thank you Vicky!
For more information on Vicky visit www.vickyflanegan.com.au