This is Meg from Married by Meg. Meg loves the beach, running, camping, getting out and being active in the great outdoors and most importantly, she LOVES weddings! Meg is full of energy and it is a very rare occasion to catch her sitting still. Meg is personable, perpetually enthusiastic and extremely passionate about helping others. Let's learn more about this highly sought-after celebrant.
Why did you become a celebrant?
The idea to become a celebrant came to me very VERY suddenly about 5 years ago while I was pregnant with my second child and attending a wedding back home on the South Coast. I will admit that in my younger years I was one of those people who went to weddings mainly for the free booze and bad dancing, so a combination or pregnancy hormones and complete sobriety led to me suddenly turning to my friend during the ceremony and announcing “I’m going to do that one day”. When I get an idea in my head I’m a bit like a bull at a gate, and within a few months – and despite the fact, my dad told me no one would take me seriously because I was too young (thanks dad!) – Married by Meg was born!
It was a huge leap of faith especially with 2 kids under 2 including a nonsleeping reflux baby, but I remember at the time it just felt right. Looking back, I can see that a lot of stars aligned to draw me towards Celebrancy, and it probably wasn’t as random as I initially thought. At first the attraction was definitely based on the idea of being involved in creating one of the happiest moments of people’s lives. Weddings are just FULL of positive energy and the good vibes are infectious. But I think a combination of life experiences, personal values and core personality traits meant that Celebrancy instantly ticked so many boxes for me. It really is my dream job!
On a more personal note, I also love being a mum, and this career has allowed me to stay at home with my children more than I otherwise could have. It’s a juggle, but I do the majority of my work for ceremonies at night while the kids are asleep, or in snatched moments of calm amongst the chaos, and then they have Dad home on weekends when I am at weddings. This means they are in less daycare than they otherwise would be, and have more time at home with mum - and for that, I am so grateful.
Why do you enjoy what you do?
Honestly - Celebrant life is FUN! There is so much about it that I love. In essence, I am a storyteller, an official party starter, and a curator of authentic ceremonies that bring a smile to people’s faces and happy tears to their eyes. Communities need celebrations such as weddings to bring them together, to remind them of all that is good in the world, and to bring hope and love to our lives. I also love that I get to explore new places and destinations, and meet awesome couples from all over this great country who are so in love and so full of hope and excitement for their future together. I love the challenge of teasing out all the best bits of their relationship from them so that I can create a ceremony that is truly reflective of them both as a couple, and also as individuals.
Seeing the excitement, joy and happiness these ceremonies bring to the faces of not just each couple but also their friends and family is truly priceless and knowing that I played a role in what people often describe as the best day of their lives is a really rewarding experience. I have been lucky enough to be asked to officiate ceremonies for close friends and family members and there really is no greater honour. I love knowing that I can gift people something that they will hold close and cherish for many years to come.
I’m also a bit of a silly person, I love cracking a joke and having a laugh, and I honestly have way too much energy – so Celebrancy definitely helps me utilize these traits in a positive way! I really feel like that saying “find a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life” is so true when it comes to Celebrancy for me. I absolutely have the best job in the world!
Do you get nervous when you have to stand in front of all those people? If so, how do you settle your nerves?
It’s pretty cool to be able to say that no, I honestly don’t - but it took quite a few ceremonies to get to that point! Now I really enjoy it and look forward to the buzz I get when I am up there doing my thing! I think what has also helped is finding and perfecting my celebrant style. I am a fairly low key celebrant - I don’t think of myself as an “entertainer”. I like to remind myself of something my husband said to me at the start of my journey – which was basically that it is not the “Married by Meg” show. It is the (…. and ….) show, and I am merely the narrator. At the end of it I don’t want people talking about ME, I want them talking about the couple and THEIR story. My job is to make that happen. Realising this and focusing all my energy on the couple really helps me to relax into the ceremony and enjoy making memories for people.
What is the worst thing you have experienced when delivering a ceremony?
Ummm well recently I had a very bad wardrobe malfunction but let’s not go into that….
I also had a ceremony a few years back near Grafton where a storm hit mid ceremony. A truly MASSIVE storm. There were 150 people running around madly making their way to the marquee. I remember running towards the marquee with my PA and stand and suddenly nan was zooming past me in her wheelchair on the shoulders of a few men! It quickly became evident that the marquee was not sufficient for the wild weather so again, 150 people had to be moved into a tiny old school building in absolute torrential rain. Having to coordinate that was pretty hectic but my god, the cheer when I pronounced this awesome couple husband and wife was bloody epic and we still laugh about it today when I see them.
What are the biggest myths and mistakes that people think about wedding celebrants?
Traditionally, I think people approached the idea of organizing a Celebrant and even their ceremony with very little interest. I think a common view was that the party started and the fun began once the ceremony was OVER – but times are changing now! I am noticing that more and more couples are wanting to play an active role in the creation of their ceremony and also realise that a big part of their day comes down to who they choose to steer that ship. People have started to realise that not all celebrants are the same and that it is their choice of Celebrant (and subsequently the ceremony that is created/delivered) that can actually set the tone for their whole day. There no longer needs to be a separation between formalities and fun. So many couples tell me that their ceremony was actually the best part of their day and I think a lot of this comes down to selecting a Celebrant that they really vibe and connect with.
I also think that people believe all Celebrants are a bit “out there” and love being the centre of attention. I can’t speak for everyone, but whilst I love talking about other people and public speaking doesn’t bother me, my idea of hell is literally being in a crowded room with everyone singing “Happy Birthday” – to ME! I am cringing just thinking about it!
Have you ever closely averted a disaster, that the client was unaware of on their wedding day?
Haha yes, there have been a few. The first one that came to mind was a wedding way out west of Grafton, up at the Gorge on a family property. While waiting for the Bride to arrive, the Groomsmen were mucking about and one dropped the ring. We were literally on all fours looking for it in a paddock as the bride was driving down on the back of a Ute! Thank goodness we found it before she made it down the end of the aisle! It was a pretty close call though.
I also very nearly didn’t make a ceremony when I was about 32 weeks pregnant with our third child as I ended up in the hospital the night before with threatened early labour (I have something called irritable uterus in my pregnancies). We were hightailing it up to Lismore Base Hospital and I was timing contractions whilst frantically organising with an old friend who is now a celebrant on the Gold Coast to officiate the ceremony if I ended up having the baby. Luckily after a night of observation and a few drugs, bub decided to stay put and I was able to deliver the ceremony the next afternoon (albeit VERY sleep deprived)!
Obviously, most of your weekends are made up of performing ceremonies, on the ones you have off what does it typically entail?
Wedding free weekends are super rare so when they come about I usually stay true to my personality, get way too excited and try to cram as many activities as I can into those precious 48 hours! My husband and I have 4 small children who love the outdoors, so we try to go camping most weekends I have off. The ones we spend at home are usually full of lots of beach time, catching up with friends and adventures with the kids. My husband would probably say these weekends are extremely unrelaxing as I try and make him do “all of the jobs” we never get done, and that he much prefers it when I am at weddings so that he can watch the races in peace haha.
Do you listen to anything in particular on the car drive to the ceremony?
Not these days.... but when I was just starting out as a celebrant and was super nervous I used to ALWAYS listen to Post Malone, which is quite hilarious as it is absolutely not wedding appropriate! It also depends on which car I take – one has radio only (and no air con!) so I can’t be too picky when I’m stuck with that one!
What is the worst/funniest thing you have done whilst delivering a ceremony?
I probably shouldn’t admit this, but during the housekeeping, at the start of the ceremony, I actually forgot the Groom’s name once! Thank God I was pregnant (a common theme of life the past 7 years) and could blame it on the baby brain!
Can you explain the worst experience you have had whilst doing a ceremony?
Well, see above - I think that was pretty bad haha
What is your favourite type of ceremony to deliver?
Oh dear, that’s a bit like asking me to choose a favourite child! Honestly – I love them all. I do really enjoy elopements because I love how relaxed, intimate and often non-traditional they are. Everything is stripped right back which allows the couple to focus purely on what is most important - each other. But I do also love the energy of a big wedding. Similarly, I’m a sucker for a barefoot beach wedding but also love a good paddock bashing adventure out west to remote family properties. I think as long as the couple is happy and having a good time I’m a massive fan, no matter the size, style, overall tone or location.
Do you have a job outside of being a Celebrant? If so what is it and what does it involve?
Yep, I am a physiotherapist and am currently on Maternity leave but am returning 2 x days a week from April. I work mainly in Musculoskeletal / Sports Injuries but have a special interest area in Women’s Health and have run Pregnancy and Mums and Bubs Fitness classes for the last 7 years. When I return to work I am actually returning to the hospital system 1 x day a week and staying in private practice 1 day a week, which I am excited about as I haven’t worked in a hospital for many years. I’m looking forward to extending my Women’s Health skills this year and gaining my Lymphodema accreditation also.
Where is your favourite ceremony location in Yamba/Angourie and why?
Ohhh that’s a tough one. I’m going to say… Back Beach Angourie for elopements and I don’t think you can go past a good iconic Main Beach Yamba or Green Point Angourie ceremony for bigger weddings. In all honesty, though – my favourite spots are those that are meaningful to the couple. I’m also a massive fan of getting off the beaten track and being asked to officiate at locations I haven’t worked at before.
Do you prefer ceremonies where guests are asked not to use their phones or doesn’t it bother you?
At the end of the day, it doesn’t bother me at all as it’s not my day, it’s the couples. But in saying that I do think there is something special about looking out into the crowd and seeing the eyes of your loved ones staring back, rather than a sea of phones. True presence is hard to find these days. Removing the phones means that everyone is in the moment, taking in the ceremony.
When searching for a celebrant, what are some important things that a couple should consider?
I think couples need to remember that celebrants are in charge of telling their story, setting the scene and creating the overall vibe of the day right from the start! It is therefore really important that couples spend time thinking about their ideal ceremony. Not just what it would include, but how it would then feel. Once they have worked out what it is that is really important to them, having a chat with a few different celebrants and working out whose hands they feel truly comfortable placing these dreams into is a good way to go about it. Most celebrants these days offer a free obligation-free meeting where you can meet with them and decide whether they are the right person to play such an important role in their special day. Couples should definitely take them up on it!
Any last words of advice for brides beginning the planning phase of their wedding?
I think it is really easy to get overwhelmed, and even though in the age of social media everything is right at our fingertips, sometimes it can lead to information overload and make even simple decisions seem overwhelming! Keep it simple, figure out the things most important to you and lock them in early. And – this may be controversial – but don’t go too crazy. I love the quote “I want a marriage more beautiful than my wedding” and I think it is really important to remember this. Focus on the important things and let go of the rest.
Also, remember that there are only 5 legal things that need to be done to get you legally hitched. Everything else is just there to make your ceremony memorable, unique and authentically YOU. Take the time to understand this and work through this with your Celebrant. It really will result in you having the kind of ceremony that will still bring a tear to your eye and a smile to your face for many, many years to come.