Image by Amanda Fordyce 

Here at Polka Dot Bride, we are so inspired by and have the utmost respect for the chicks who are kicking goals in the wedding industry- and we think they should be celebrated! They’re hard working, creative souls who are often working weekends, travelling long distances, managing family, but all the while living their dream. Let’s get to know them one blog post at a time through our brand new ‘Women in Weddings’ column…

Image by Alli Campbell Photography

Women in Weddings: Celebrant Lara Williams

When did you officially become a celebrant?

I was given the green-light in April 2015.

What areas in Vic do you service?

Predominately inner city Melbourne, Yarra Valley and Mornington Peninsula.

Can you describe what you do in a couple of sentences?

I guide engaged couples through the maze of wedding ceremony options and ideas and the legal requirements. The process is entirely collaborative and hopefully it’s also fun and comfortable.

I’d also like to think I give couples a voice on their wedding day by delivering a ceremony that reflects their style and is a celebration of their relationship to the people who know and love them better than anyone. If you’re dress and suit fit you like a glove, why shouldn’t your celebrant?

How many weddings have you officiated? 

30 down with another 30 booked for 2018.

“Hoped it would be more but hey, two babies!” Lara jokes.

What did you do before you were a celebrant?

I’ve worked in sales, customer service and as a casting director for TV, Film and Deal or No Deal. I love getting to know people and learning about what makes them tick.

What was the lightbulb moment in your head that made you think, “That’s it, I’m going to be a celebrant!”

I was a guest at a wedding watching a celebrant who was cheesier than a margarita pizza and calling bridesmaids by the wrong names. Other guests began to laugh and cringe and I thought to myself what a sad shame it was that the couple’s special moment is being overshadowed by the celebrant who is also completely misrepresenting their style. I decided then and there to sign myself up!

What training and courses did you have to do to get your celebrant licence? How long did it take to complete?

I completed the Certificate IV in Celebrancy with The Celebrants Training College, (now Lifeskills Training) followed by an online exam issued by the Attorney General’s Office. The entire process took a year.

Can you describe the first wedding that you officiated? Were you nervous as hell or cool as a cucumber?

My first wedding was for some very close friends of mine and I knew the majority of the guests. I tried to look cool, calm and collected but the pressure was certainly on. I also conducted the entire wedding with a go-pro camera strapped to my head to capture the action from another intimate angle. At the couple’s request, of course! The go-pro proceeded to slip down my face, covering one eye like a pirate. However, I soldiered on and it all added to the fun. It was a very special day.

What do you think the celebrant world is/was lacking and how are you filling that gap?

I feel I am actually a part of a wonderful movement happening in the celebrant world right now. The wave of celebrant coming through are a little younger, a little savvier, and we are bringing to the table a fresh and modern perspective on what marriage and love means to this current generation of lovers taking the nuptial plunge. In short, we’re listening! And the results are these fun, stylish but romantic personalised ceremonies happening everywhere that set the tone for the rest of the celebrations.

Please describe one stand out moment that made you think “I’m so glad I chose to become a celebrant!”

December 9th, 2017 when I was one of the first people in Australia to say “According to law in Australia, Marriage is between two people.” It was an exciting and proud moment and I felt like I was a part of history in the making.

What sucks about the job?

Spending a lot of the weekend away from my husband and boys. Not being able to stay on at all these amazing wedding for cocktails and canapés. Saying goodbye to the amazing couples I grow close to over the journey.

What do you know now about the gig that you didn’t know when you first started out?

I don’t think I realised how many hours of work and energy would go into creating that perfect half an hour ceremony. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. I also didn’t know there was such a fantastic, clever and kind community of fabulous celebrants in this city that support and encourage each other with advice and recommendations. They are good eggs and I feel lucky to be in their company.

Image by Carmen Rose Weddings 

How does being a celebrant that works strange hours and weekends work with your lifestyle and with being a mum to two kiddos?

On one hand, it is fantastic. I can choose how much I take on, manage my own diary and work from home. There are not many jobs that allow mothers this level of flexibility. On the other hand, it’s challenging to fit it all in and give 100% of your attention to your kids or your work at any given time. Structure is key!

What do you do as soon as you get in your car after completing a ceremony?

Kick my shoes off. Literally. I am getting too old for high heels.

What’s your celebrant fashion style?

Keep it simple. Black or Navy are my go to’s with the occasion pop of colour if it complements the overall vibe/scheme. And I always check what the bridesmaids are wearing just in case!

What can couples do to get the best out of their ceremony with you? 

I believe the magic really happens with couples who are able to relax and open up about their relationship and their love. I think this really comes down to the celebrant building a rapport with them, establishing trust and then it hopefully feels more like chatting to a friend than an interrogation.

Image by  Jai Long via Free The Bird Weddings

Where’s the furthest you’ve travelled for a job?

I have travelled three hours each way but will gladly fly to Noosa or Byron if anyone will have me!

What’s your favourite cocktail?

Classic margarita. Extra salt.

Ms Zigzag says: We are so happy Lara is on the celebrant scene with her modern, fresh approach and humour. Thanks Lara for sharing your story with us. 

About Lara Williams Celebrant: Hello. I’m Lara Williams. I’m a wife, mum, seasoned bridesmaid, organised nerd and wedding enthusiast. And I am very excited to have added celebrant to my many hats.