Meet Pete Hordern, aka Pete The Celebrant; a Melbourne Celebrant who is now your wedding sherpa. Hear the plan for future episodes, why Pete became a celebrant and how he helps his couples.
Welcome everyone to The Wedding Guide Podcast.
Now I’ve wanted to do this for a while. And the reason is because I get to meet with couples, and I get to hear about how things are going in terms, particularly with their wedding planning and normally when I meet with couples as their second or third supplier and I ask them how things going and if you want recommendations, and a lot of couples say “please give us recommendations, because there are so many out there of everyone; So many florists, there’s so many photographers there’s so many venues. There’s so many people who do dresses and suits and there’s so many things that we didn’t even know we needed to do and know.”
It can be a lot. And so I wanted this podcast, to be particularly here for my couples so I can point them here so they can hear the conversations.
I want to make this easy, I want to make this simple, I want to help make your wedding planning stress free. I want to help you by talking to vendors and supplier, by talking to couples who have been married. And I want to ask them the questions that you would want to ask them. I want to ask couples who have been married, “what was truly important to you beforehand and what was important to you after the wedding?” I want to talk to photographers and florists and all these people, and I want to ask them; “what should couples know? What do you wish couples would know? What is some advice you would give them?”
And of course I want to get into the story of how these vendors and suppliers started? Then why did they choose to be what they are in the wedding world? Why did they start the photo booth? Why did they start as a DJ? To hear about their story and journey.
It’s a lot of fun. In fact, it’s one of the reasons I do my job is because I love just sitting with people and picking their brain, asking them “Why do you do what you do, how did start this?’ It’s always good fun.
So this as a podcast is here to help you organise and plan your wedding, learn from others who’ve already been married and then of course, to tell you the answers to the questions you have before you have to go and organise all these different meetings with other suppliers.
I almost want to be the Sherpa to your wedding. I don’t know why I keep getting that image but I don’t really want to climb that mountain… but I do want to help you plan your wedding.
So, I thought I would tell you a little bit about myself as your host, and a little bit about how I became a celebrant, and then I might go into how I help couples organise their wedding.
So the first one, how I became a celebrant is that it kind of starts where I grew up, specifically in the community that I grew up in. And that was the Evangelical Church, and I grew up in there since I was a young child, and the experience of growing up was incredible. It was great. I have always loved being up on a microphone. I remember doing a skit in year six: The Eddie Murphy ice cream skit. That’s a strange one to do. I asked to do it. And I don’t know. There’s just something about being up in front of an audience that I really enjoy the thrill. It’s exciting.
I got the chance to learn how to be up on a microphone, how to talk to an audience how to control and also understand an audience and how to get them from where they are to where I see they can be; whether that’s in terms of them just being excited or at times it might not be getting them any more excited. Sometimes that can go south, if they get too excited, particularly as I was a youth pastor, and you want to make sure that teenagers having fun, laughing, but if they’re having too much fun. It’s just chaos; and the same thing can happen at a wedding.
Sometimes you go there and it’s like “How’s everyone doing?” and the first question is me gauging where everyone’s at and some people are incredible; they’ve already had a few drinks and they are very excited for what the days about to hold.
It’s just knowing where people are at, and I learned this skill of how to engage with audiences from 20 to a couple hundred, I’ve had the privilege of doing an MC once for a rally of a couple thousand people, that was good fun.
Most weddings are anywhere from 50 to about 300; I’m remembering a small Macedonian weddings, haha, you know what I’m talking about.
So I started there and I had this experience and privilege of mentors really helping me learn how to be up on a microphone. And I then wanted to do that, I wanted to help other teenagers so I became a youth pastor. I studied in Sydney and then I moved down to Melbourne where I became a youth pastor. And that was also a great job, a great experience I had a great team of like 20 volunteers. It was a great role.
I had this constant love of being on a mic and at that time it was a lot of teaching from the microphone, but again, you’ve got to keep things exciting for teenagers. A great space learning how to communicate to people who may have a short attention span; particularly teenagers let’s be honest. Keeping it sharp and snappy and fun. So, that was the training ground for how I became confident on a microphone.
Pete The Celebrant Love Story – See these blogs
Pete and Grace on their Wedding Day
During this stage I met my wife and I met my wife at a wedding. It wasn’t one that I was doing. That would be unprofessional. I knew a lot of people there at the wedding. And I didn’t know her, and she was this beautiful seven months pregnant, young lady just walking around, and she didn’t have a ring, I checked. There was no one there with her. Check that too.
And I asked a friend, Laura, and she told me “You should talk to her, I think you would actually get on really well.” So I went over and said hello…and for me there was, there was nothing. I was thinking “nice girl, just nothing there for us.”
She will tell you her experience was that…It’s creepy she was like “I knew we were going to get married from that moment.” And that’s creepy.
She didn’t say that at the time. That would have been intense!
So I left, you know, we chatted for a bit, it was fine. Then two weeks later I’m driving home from work and someone gives me a call and says Grace’s at a local cafe, just outside of work. And without even really thinking about I just turned the car around, walked to the cafe looked over I pretended I was booking a table for something. Then turned and looked all surprised, said hello and sat down there next to her. And as we’re talking…well you know where there’s normally that six month barrier of just being self conscious of what you say and what you share and not over sharing, but just enough to, you know, keep the person interested and just enjoying where it’s going.
And then slowly you take down the walls, and you both start to show each other You crazy. Your real genuineness. Well…
In this meeting, in meeting grace again, sitting there at a cafe in front of her. Grace is someone who doesn’t want to wait six months, and just is like here’s my whole life story. She’s like, this is who I am and This is where I’m at in life.
And for me, it was like a duck to water. I thought this girl’s awesome. You know, seven months pregnant, not what I would have expected myself to, you know, pregafile is what I’ve been called haha, whatever, that’s fine.
We connected and became really good friends quickly we would hang out, often. I told her after about a few weeks that I was pretty keen and interested but we were going to take things slow. Slower than what she thought when I said slow, she thought slow like a couple weeks, and I thought slow in like nine months getting to know each other.
And finally I was like hey, you know, I definitely want to, you know, date. And she was like we were dating the whole time, and that’s fine. You’re allowed to have differences in opinion in relationship; that’s what makes them good. After nine months of dating, three months later we were engaged. When I proposed I got my best mate down from Sydney help. Grace and I drove there under the allusion we were meeting her sister for a picnic or something, we get to the bottom of the hill and I asked her to put on a blindfold. That’s very 50 shades but it wasn’t …sort of just felt creepy to ask. My best mate set up all these big red balloons on winery posts. Her sister took pictures from the bushes. I guided her down the walkway, took the mask off and proposed in French.
I had to memorise like a fair bit – quite surprised it worked. And, you know, it wouldn’t matter, she wouldn’t even know what I’m saying. She can’t understand French but she liked the language, and that’s all that matters. And so yes she said YES.
Six months later, we planned a wedding. And we were married! We were an instant family straightaway. We had two more little girls – great chaos. Wonderful. And from then as a family and then as a couple, in particularly probably more so we just continued to grow into our own little journey and…
we changed and our worldview changed, and our experiences were changing us, and I actually made the decision that we were going to leave the community we were at. So I finished up my position there at the church. We just needed to pursue the people we’d become. And that was a massive step for us at that point because that was, you know, purely for me that was like my whole career.
Elopement Shoot with Daniel and Maleah – Styled and Arbor by The Small Things Company (@thesmallthingsco) at Allambee Farmstead (@elopeallambee, @allambeefarmstead) and photographed by One Heart Studio (@oneheart_studio). Florist @wildflos, Hair + Makeup @carliechristie, Wedding Celebrant @petethecelebrant.
That’s everything I’d always done that was the only thing I’d ever wanted to do. Then a good friend who was a civil celebrant up in Sydney; Jeremy Hudson. He recommended I should look at doing that, he said you will be great at this.
So I started this research and I was like, that’s pretty cool I get to run my own business was like that, that seems great, but the most important thing that I love doing other than being on a mic up front, is just sitting with people and asking them questions and finding out more about them and learning this story and learning more about them.
And I figured that’s pretty much the main role of the job. I can’t do what I do, being up front with their friends if I can get to know the couple well, so it’s of huge importance to me to be able to sit with a couple for a few hours and not that it gets like wierd and heavy but it’s we just sit over a drink and chat.
And what I love is when couples get talking about themselves, even couples who’ve been together like 10-11 years. When I’m asking them “when did you first meet? What was that like? Where were you?” It’s crazy how easy and enjoyable it is; it’s a trip down memory lane and couples love it because it’s your start . I start asking all these questions and finding out so much about each couple. It’s exciting to sit there and hear people’s journeys together, and it’s really exciting for couples to share that as well. And it just brings up a lot of memories, you know, a lot of reasons why we love the person we love, but don’t actively always think about it and the experiences, so it’s nice to have a reason to do that.
So that’s part of the job I absolutely love. And once I realised that was going to be part of the job. I did my study and started civil celebrant course just under four years ago. Pretty sure it will be four years in October. And I’ve married, I’m pretty sure it’s just under 200.
In terms of how I do what I do with my couples, most couples will find me on easy weddings, or just type in Melbourne marriage celebrant or wedding celebrant in google, might be Instagram, might be Facebook, might be recommendations from people from past couples and friends, and they get in touch and we normally meet, sometimes face time or catch up a cafe to talk.
It’s really just getting a vibe from each other, just to see if we are comfortable with one another. I leave it in couples hands and when they say Yes, I send them a whole bunch of documents.
I send them a blank documents that provides a framework to guide them in what it could look like. But it doesn’t have to be.
There’s lots of little things you can change:
– You don’t have to include a break for the signing in between or you can choose to have the singing in there.
-You can end on the kiss… do whatever you want.
-You don’t need to have readings if you don’t want, or maybe you do want readings and I can send you some recommendations.
Then I send them document for vows; the legal vows of the one sentence, and a whole bunch of samples of what you could say, just to help spark some ideas for personal vows.
I direct my couples to a form on my website that I get use the information from the prepare all the legal documents.
These documents are: Notice of Intended Marriage, Declaration or legal impediment to marriage and marriage certificate. All the fun stuff.
So each couple simply needs to come to me and I handle all the legal documents. Making it nice and simple, I ask them to fill out one form so I can pre fill all the other forms. And I take them through that process into the legal documents. Then we catch up around three to four months before the ceremony, we sit again and we sign the NOIM and start their story.
I start with your origin story: how you met; whether it’s tinder, whether it’s just through friends, whether it’s you just walk out of a club and you saw each other and work our way to the proposal.
In between proposal and meeting each other, there’s a lot of stuff.
Origin you go to that whenever you started dating, that little process, then significant moments or things in between like; travel, family, then with proposal, you’re also, I want to find out similarities, or dislikes, one of the things that really just irritate you about each other. Because of course you love each other, but a great story is not going to simply be about that.
My aim is to keep the ceremony genuine, keep it real.
The couples who come to me don’t want it to feel all Disney or weird. I don’t want to stand up there and be like “these couple
have loved each other more than any other couple have loved each other.”
Because we all know that’s BS, and everyone will know it’s BS.
So it’s about sharing a story that is real.
So we mention what irritates them both, because that’s real; it’s not about harping on them, but it’s about mentioning them, because it creates a balance, and you want to create this balance of humour as well, but also a balance of sentimentality.
Too much either way and you can lose that nice balance and harmony.
I also ask what you’re looking forward too in married life; some
people are just looking forward to starting a family, some people already have families now looking forward to just continuing as they are, but seeing where the life as a family goes.
Once I write your story I sent it to you and ask you to share with me your thoughts. You can tell me what do you think, make additions. Make sure I understood you right, maybe I might have misheard something, and sometimes I’ll put a little twist on it, as well.
For the best stories aren’t always just 100% truth and fact, sometimes it’s about putting a little bit of a spin on it. And that can just create balance, something a bit of fun, bit of humour.
And then we meet up again, normally we do a run through. And I normally recommend with a run through that we don’t meet up with everyone together.
And I used to be a big advocate for that. I used to be like let’s get everyone together. It’s gonna be a whole lot of fun let’s do it, let’s party. And the more I did that… the more I realised the stress it would take to get everyone together. Then once everyone’s there, you’ve got the venue, and everyone wants to talk to them. They’ve got their friends, they’ve got the maid of honour, their best man the bridal party and parents.
They’ve got at times the issues and the concerns that come with those lovely and beautiful relationships that are so close to us. And, you know, naturally family come in with their own expectations and can be let down by when the kids don’t want those expectations to be met.
I realised there was too many cooks in this kitchen. And what I do now is recommend that we just catch up either in person or even FaceTime or zoom. And we just chat about the flow. The ceremony. As long as I know what’s going on, it’s all good.
I don’t expect couples to remember anything, because there’s so much going on that day: you’re walking down the aisle, you’ve got you know you’re loving them, you’re loving the experience, but your brains also looking at everyone and thinking about what’s happening and I don’t expect you remember the order of the service or the ceremony.
That’s my job! So as long as I know what you want me to say in terms of housekeeping, e.g. phones or no phones. As long as I know if there’s anything you want me to say at the start or not. As long as I understand the flow that you want, we’ll be all good.
I then guide you into knowing when your vows will be, holding or handing the mic over.
As long as I understand what’s going on, and I know where we’re standing how are we going to stand.
For me it’s about asking the little detailed questions. Just because as long as I know them, we’re all good. All you have to do is be there, stare at each other or everyone else, and just enjoy it. And I’ll make sure everyone has an incredible ceremony.
Then of course we do the signing, make sure that’s all legit and legal.
At times I’ll be wedding reception MC. And that’s always a lot of fun. I get to have this incredible experience upfront.
What I love hearing are my couples friends asking them how long they’ve known me because it feel like we’re best friends, but they’ve never seen me before. And it’s true.
My job is to get to know you well enough that it feels like we are close friends that I know your story so well that I’m not reading from my iPad. I’m just telling everyone the story that I put a lot of effort into memorising. I glance down to know where I am, but I’m just sharing how you got together just telling everyone as if I’ve been there by your side the whole time.
Then after everyone sees that experience, and they go into the reception. It gives them a chance to come and say hello and then I get to build this rapport and this friendship with friends and family. And of course, most people have had a few drinks by this stage and everyone’s pretty happy and excited. And it’s a great experience to then take people from their wedding ceremony into reception into speeches.
It’s just an incredible day. I love to be part of that.
And then of course I submit all the paperwork, all the documents, and I let couples know when they’re married and I send them everything they need for getting the marriage certificate.
So that’s how I got into becoming a wedding celebrant in Melbourne, what I do as a marriage celebrant and why I do what I do as a wedding celebrant in Melbourne and how I do what I do as a marriage celebrant. It’s a lot of fun.
It’s great, and I love being part of couples day. So once again, thank you so much for joining me on The Wedding Guide Podcast, it’s going to be very exciting. It’s going to be an opportunity where we really get to learn about so many of the vendors and suppliers and professionals, and what and how to make this day incredible for so many and especially for you. I want to learn from other people’s mistakes to learn from their successes. Yeah. So thank you for tuning in. Well I hope you have an incredible day. Thank you for joining me.
If you would like to talk about your own wedding…
Planning your wedding and need a Melbourne Celebrant – Look no further, you’ve found me! I’ll guide you through the whole process; vows, paperwork, story writing and stand by you on the day to deliver the ceremony you desire. Let’s talk!
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