Erica Evans of Erica the Celebrant believes that everyone deserves to marry the one they cannot live without. And that’s where the magic begins! In creating your dream ceremony, one that encompasses all that you are as individuals and as a couple, Erica invites her clients to have fun with the process. Through sharing your story with her, she will weave your personalities so skilfully throughout the words and moments of your ceremony. Today, we chat to her about why she wanted to become a celebrant, some surprising facts about the job and what sets her apart from others in the profession.
Where are you based?
Melbourne. But I live on the north side of town.
Do you travel for weddings?
I sure do! I love to travel for weddings. I think most of my weddings this year have been destination weddings.
How long have you been a celebrant?
Two years now and I LOVE IT!
Why did you want to become one?
I felt I always had the personality to be a great celebrant. I love to have fun, celebrate and who doesn’t love LOVE! My philosophy has always been that everyone should marry the one they cannot live without and I love being part of their special day.
I had been to so many weddings where the celebrants were so dull and lack lustre and the ceremonies were obviously just a cut and paste number. So, I thought yeah, I think I will give that a go. So, after a couple of years contemplating, I enrolled.
I love getting to know all of my couples over wines, coffees and chats. The magic of the ceremony is all in those catch ups. My couples and I create a great friendship and it’s so sad when it’s all over and I don’t see you anymore. But I often do!
Images: Ashleigh Haase Photography
What do you love about your job?
I love the big ol’ love fest that you walk into when you meet your couple. I love the laughs, the tears and the fun we have together along the journey to the big day.
How would you describe your celebrant style?
Fun relaxed and a little bit cheeky.
What sets you apart from other celebrants?
Probably the way I can instantly make you feel at ease when we meet. I want to know about your big day, but I also want to get to know you! I want to know the ins and outs, the quirks and the crazies of your relationship so you can have the best day ever. I want your day to be reflective of you both as a couple so you will be involved in all the ceremony writing and runnings of the day. I will just be there for guidance.
Tell us three surprising facts about your job?
1) It’s emotional (not just for you… but also for me when I’m writing your ceremonies).
2) It’s hard saying goodbye. It’s like being broken up with.
3) It really is a great job but it’s also hard work. I know some people baulk at the price of celebrants and think that the work is just simple and an hour on the day, but it is so much more than that. It would be at least 20 hours of work each couple. And I love it. But as the saying goes you get what you pay for.
Image: Balkan Photography
How far in advance do couples need to book you in?
Ideally, I would say one year ahead in peak wedding season. It’s always worth an email or enquiry to see if someone is free. You never want to miss out on your vendors, so I always say if you are interested/want a vendor… don’t wait too long to book.
What’s the process after booking you in?
A meet and greet usually over a wine or coffee. (In recent times it has been a FaceTime or Zoom with wine).
We will do your paperwork in the first catch up and get an idea of what you are thinking for your wedding day. I will go through my celebrant kit and chat about what you might like included.
On the second meeting, we sign the paperwork and finalise details.
I will then email you a questionnaire and this is how I start the ceremony. Once I have finished a draft, I send to you both (without your vows) and we go from there. I will happily change anything you like, but I would say nearly all of my couples love the first draft and it’s only minor details that need changing.
Image: Emma Wise Photography
Any tips for couples writing their own vows?
Definitely do it! You will never EVER regret it. It is such a lovely surprise for your loved one to actually hear on your wedding day. And to know that it is personal, intimate and only written by you… then that’s the best.
Some of my couples want to write their own vows but don’t want to actually say them out loud so I suggest saying the legal vows then creating a brief moment in the ceremony (or after if it suits better) where the couple each reads a love letter to themselves that the other has written.
And if you don’t want to write your own vows that is 100% okay too. I will always help you out with some examples or you just say the legal vows only. Simple!
How do you approach the wedding day?
I LOVE the wedding day! It’s the icing on the cake and I still get a little nervous each time to be honest. I spend a lot of time on my outfit! As I always want it to suit the vibe, the couple and the location.
I arrive at your wedding location an hour before (most of the time I’m there earlier). I introduce myself to your venue, if I don’t already know them. And then I set myself up. I take some photos and set up. Once I have steadied the groom, I do some final touch ups and mingle with the guests… then it’s GO time!
How do you make each ceremony you do super special?
I make each one different and unique. No couple is the same so no ceremony should ever be the same. I write each bespoke ceremony carefully using my interactions with my couples at our catch ups, phone calls, emails and from the questionnaire.
Images: Robert Geary Photography & Guy Evans Photography
What’s your advice for brides and grooms for keeping stress to a minimum on their big day?
It’s your day! Do it how you want to do it! Not how others tell you to do it. The best weddings are often simple affairs with a great venue, styling and food. You don’t have to spend thousands on a wedding. Stalk Instagram, get ideas and ask me!
Most memorable wedding you’ve been a part of?
There have been loads, but the one that springs to mind was out in Gippsland last year. My couple arranged a flyover by a jet to signal the start of the ceremony. It was a total Top Gun buzzing the tower vibe. The best.
Best testimonial you’ve ever received?
It was actually from an elopement I did in the Yarra Valley last year. It was a big surprise to pull off and we did it! It was the best and the couple spoilt me with the loveliest gift and review.
When you’re not working, where would we find you?
Working as a nurse. I love being a celebrant but I’m not ready to give up nursing just yet. I still love it!
Image: Balkan Photography
Thanks Erica for sharing your story with us and for creating so many beautiful, bespoke ceremonies for lucky brides and grooms out there! To find out more about Erica and her services, head to the Erica the Celebrant website or check out Erica the Celebrant on the Polka Dot Directory.