“The way you get married is how you’re going to be married.” Those wise words came from Josh Withers, wedding celebrant extraordinaire and our guest on Episode #25 of The Feel Good Wedding Podcast. The ceremony kicks off married life, and according to Josh, you want it to be as intentional as possible.

Apart from being a wedding celebrant, Josh is also the author of The Rebel’s Guide to Getting Married. He and his wife Britt are the founders of the Elopement Collective, a team of vendors that create epic elopements in Australia and around the world.

In this chat we discuss:

  • The history of wedding celebrancy
  • The Rebel’s Guide to Getting Married
  • Personalizing the wedding ceremony
  • Overcoming stage fright
  • Honouring your identity and story with unique elements
  • How to deal with pushback from friends and family

To personalise your wedding ceremony, begin by reflecting on who you are and what you value as a couple. From there, pick out vendors who understand how to make your vision come to life.

Now, what you’d like to include in your ceremony is entirely up to you. If you feel like you have to incorporate non-traditional elements, go for it! There might be some qualms about it, but your family and friends will understand as long as you speak to them from a place of love.

Vows and readings don’t have to be flashy, they just have to be true. Some couples get stage fright standing in front of a crowd. To overcome this, choose the venue, time, and guests that you’re most comfortable in. You’ll feel a lot less nervous when you’re in right environment. Remember: the wedding ceremony isn’t about putting on a show. It’s about celebrating your union in the most authentic way possible.

Links & Vendors Mentioned:

Josh Withers

Elopement Collective

Understanding “The Wedding Tax” With Josh Withers

Find Josh Withers: 

On Polka Dot Wedding: Josh Withers Wedding Celebrant


On Instagram: @hellojoshwithers

On Facebook: Josh Withers

On LinkedIn: Josh Withers

Find Dorothy & the Polka Dot Wedding team:

On Instagram: @polkadotwedding

On the website: polkadotwedding.com

This podcast was produced by Polka Dot Wedding

The Polka Dot Wedding team is honoured to conduct our work on the land of the BoonWurrung, WoiWorung, Eora and Kuring-gai people. We honour the traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders custodians of the land and pay our respects to Elders past & present.

Episode Transcript

Dorothy: There is nothing like a big warm hug, and so our podcast today welcomes you with exactly that. If you are newly engaged or dreaming of it, or a vendor or dreaming of it, then the Feel Good Wedding Podcast by Polka Dot Wedding is for you. Our mission is at Polka Dot Wedding is all about feel good weddings, and our podcast brings that to life because although we love the details, we love the bouquets, the cakes, the sparkly things. We want to dive into the stories and we want to take you along for the ride. We’re having conversations with couples, with vendors and everyone in between, and we really hope you’ll join us for this one. We have so much in store for you. So let’s get started.

The Polka Dot Wedding team is honored to conduct our work on the land of the BoonWurrung, WoiWurrung, Eora, and Kuring-gai people. We honor the traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander custodians of the land and we pay our respects to Elder’s past and present. Welcome back to the Feel Good Wedding Podcast.

Welcome back to the Feel Good Wedding Podcast. Today we are joined again by the lovely Ms Rose, also known as Mary, for a very special interview about, of course, the most important part of the day, the ceremony. Mary, can you tell me a little bit about your very special guest today?

Rose/Mary: Hi, Ms Polka and Dotties. I was lucky enough to have a great chat with Josh Withers. He’s a celebrant extraordinaire and we were chatting with him all the way from Italy, where he’s been holidaying with his lovely family. Josh and I chatted about all things ceremonies, surprise, surprise, being a celebrant and all, and how couples can make their wedding ceremony really unique to them, and really reflect them as a couple. We also dived into a bit about Josh himself, how he became a celebrant, what this wonderful job means to him, and we talked about his in the works book, The Rebel’s Guide to Getting Married. Look, Josh is a personable, funny guy, so you’ll catch us having a good old laugh throughout this one. It’s always so much fun to get to chat with our directory members, get their words of wisdom for our lovely readers, or listeners, and just click on another level, which Josh and I definitely did in this one.

Dorothy: I am so looking forward to this chat. Let’s get into it.

Rose/Mary: Let’s get into it. Josh is one of Australia’s leading wedding celebrants, and he also created the Elopement Collective alongside his wife Brit, which is a team of amazing wedding vendors who create epic elopements in Australia, New Zealand, Bali, Europe, and the USA. Josh helps create epic and honest, good, fun wedding ceremonies for adventurous couples around the globe. We are so excited to have him on the Polka Dot Wedding Podcast, talk about beautiful personal wedding ceremonies and the Australian wedding scene. Thanks for being here, Josh.

Josh Withers: It is so nice to be here, if for no other reason, I get to talk to someone with an Australian accent, speaking English, which in my current situation is really rare.

Rose/Mary: I was just going to say, hey, it’s a delight to have you join us and all the way from Italy with your family. What inspired you to go on this incredible journey to this beautiful destination and all around the world?

Josh Withers: Oh, this could have been a very personal experience, but some things happened through 2020, 2021, 2022, that really took the wind out of my sails.

Rose/Mary: Okay. Yeah. Anyone? Anyone?

Josh Withers: Actually, side note, I find it so funny, like we were also like tiptoeing around talking about COVID. COVID was just not great. Coming out of that, for a moment there, I thought, I wonder if I’m not going to do weddings anymore. Like, is that part of me dead? For those that follow online, you might have saw that I stepped into real estate for a couple of months and realised that it was not for me at all.

Rose/Mary: Live it, Josh, live it. Yeah.

Josh Withers: I’m a fan of you got to try anything once. I realised I do want to do weddings and elopements. I’m good at them. People like it. I like it. This is a good deal, but, we just need to have a break. At the time of recording about 11 months ago, my family and I put our house on Airbnb and we left home, and we’ve been, as the song goes, we’ve been everywhere, man.

Rose/Mary: This is fantastic. How’s it going with two small kids?

Josh Withers: They’re good. We’ve still got two kids that I do a daily headcount, which is important, they tell me. Yep, good point. Good one. Bought Louise of those little clickers they have at the front of nightclubs.

Rose/Mary: Yep, two. Two for two. Winning. Two. Yep. That’s great parenting. Yeah, winning.

Josh Withers: Yeah, you should honestly read my parenting book. It’s very thick and good.

Rose/Mary: Very thorough. Kids are alive and well. I am very jealous. That sounds incredible. Hats off as someone who has two small kids, hats off to you and Britt for really tackling this and knowing what you both needed to do, in a time where, like you’re saying, there’s wind out of sails and, a bit of a murky sort of time in life. Sometimes you just need to go, all right, what do we need as a family? What are we going to do? What’s going to lift us up and really let us be in the moment as well? Well done. I’m glad that you stepped into real estate and then decided to come back to weddings because you’ve made quite a name for yourself in the Australian wedding industry with your celebrancy work. Could you share a bit about your journey and the various interests you have beyond celebrancy?

Josh Withers: Yeah, absolutely. This is my life’s work. I remember going to a family wedding and it was in Harvey Bay, which for anyone who’s been to Harvey Bay, I just want to set the scene. Harvey Bay is a beautiful coastal town. Not a lot of beach, particularly right in town, there’s beaches around a bit. There’s a family wedding in Harvey Bay, on the beach at Harvey Bay, so there’s all of the five metres of sand and I can just remember the celebrant there, just doing the work, but not really emotionally invested. I understand how that celebrant got to that place because you do a thousand weddings and you’re like, “Yeah, just another day at work.” Do your thing, ba da bing, ba da bam, get home and have a wine. I just remember thinking that that celebrant missed the mark on that wedding because it was really special that they were getting married. I  say everyone getting married is very special, but that particular wedding was very… It was good and it was special. It was just good. I walked away from that thinking, I could have done better. Which is quite an arrogant thing to think at the time, but that’s how anyone gets into anything. You see a photo of you. I could do better. You start taking photos, you realise you suck. 10 years later, you’re a good photographer. That’s what I’ve done. I walked away and I did the things you’ve got to do to become a celebrant, which there’s a lot of work and whatnot in that, and I became a celebrant in 2009. At that point you then realise that it’s all well and good to have the authority to marry someone and even to have the good idea. But, to run the business around that, to actually build a scaffolding that allows you to be a celebrant that you want to be, that’s taken time. I’ve been full time now for, it must be 10 years, in December this year I’ve been full time and it’s been the best ride ever. Yeah, in that time, I asked my now wife Britt to marry me, we’ve had two kids. Been lucky enough to do weddings on almost every single continent, I’m coming for you Antarctica and Africa. Bring it on. Yeah, bring it on. It’s been such a blessing to be the person who gets to stand with people on their wedding day and with them, breathe their marriage to life. It’s been such an epic journey.

Rose/Mary: That’s exactly what we’re all about, Josh. I love hearing that because it’s not just about throw the official words out there and get it done. It’s celebrating two people and a love story. I love that you’ve walked away going, “we need to do better, people need to do better, and I’m going to be one of those people.” You had mentioned to us that Australia is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Australian celebrancy program. It is evident how much it has transformed the way Australians approach weddings. Can you delve into the fascinating changes that celebrancy has brought to wedding ceremonies?

Josh Withers: Yeah, it’s still evident in the culture today that there’s a way that people think you need to get married. If you ask Chat GPT to plan me a wedding, if you just type those words in, it’ll bang out a bit of a timeline and you’re going to have some shares and an arbor and you’ll get a photographer, and all those things, which is not inherently bad, but that definitely was the way 50 years ago. If you got married, you would ask your local priest, pastor, minister, whoever it was. They would tell you, we’ve got this date free. It would happen within a couple of months, generally speaking you’d have the photographer for all of 15 minutes after the ceremony. The reception might be in the church hall next to the church and everyone would bring a plate. It was like, this is how you get married. If you’re a little bit fancier, you’d go to the hotel or whatnot and have the fancy hotel reception. The acts of that model that the Attorney General at the time made in saying the right to marry people should be extended to all Australians and they created the role of a marriage celebrant, which was a world leading role at the time. No one else in the world had done that, and still today, very few countries have done that. I’ve been talking to colleagues in UK and America and they’re still fighting for the civil celebrant role to be a thing that’s just enshrined in law there. Lionel said that, “Look, anyone can marry you as long as the celebrant meets these conditions and they do this education and they’re this kind of person. They’re a reputable person of good reputation or whatnot, then they can be a celebrant as well as ministers.” They created that role and 50 years on now, 80% or more of weddings in Australia are officiated by a civil marriage. Not only has that transformed the ceremony they do because it’s essentially put the ceremony on the free market. It’s this thing that happens where you get married. You can have any colour you want, there’s the old joke about cars that, when Henry Ford was making cars, he said, “Any colour you want it as long as it’s black.” That was definitely the way it was with ceremonies 50 years ago. Whereas today, you can have any colour you want of cars or marriage ceremony. That has rippled out from the ceremony to every aspect of marriage celebration. I deliberately not use the word wedding there because whether it’s an elopement, whether it’s a wedding, whether it’s a registry style kind of thing, going to the courthouse or the registry office or going overseas, whatever it is, if you’re getting married today, you have the world of opportunity to celebrate it in an authentic and real and true way for you. Which is just something that wasn’t made available to your grandparents and maybe not even your parents, which is crazy, isn’t it?

Rose/Mary: It is. When thinking about the scene now and how unique and individual each wedding ceremony and reception and hence, like you’re saying, the beginning of a marriage. That’s reflective of a marriage. Marriage now looks so different to what I think it used to look like. Your wedding is the beginning of that. So, of course, it should reflect you and look like how you guys are going to look and how you’re going to start your marriage together. It makes a lot of sense, but it’s also just crazy that so many countries are still holding on to a very traditional kind of blueprint for that and not letting so many people from different walks of life be able to create what they want for their wedding day. That includes who they choose to marry them. So yeah, that’s incredible. That’s really interesting. Little plug here, we’re also thrilled to hear about your upcoming book, The Rebel’s Guide to Getting Married. Can I ask what inspired you to write it and what can listeners look forward to discovering within its pages? Is it specifically around ceremonies or is it like you’re saying, there’s wedding and then there’s marriage or is it more on the marriage side of things?

Josh Withers: So getting married isn’t about getting married, getting married is about being married. The same way that if you get on a Qantas plane today at a Sydney airport and you’re going to America, people like me can get a little bit nerdy about the plane type and which seat you’re in. You’re flying economy or business and all of those things are really nice. Of course, it’s all very nice if you fly at the front of the jet on a nice plane, get a nice meal, that’s really lovely, but in the end, that’s not the thing. The thing is getting off the plane at LA and having a trip in America. Getting married or having a wedding, or an elopement, whatever it is a little bit like that flight. You’ve got options, there’s different parts of the plane you can fly on, different seats, different kind of tickets, etc., etc. But it’s not the thing. The thing is being married, being on the trip. So I called it The Rebel’s Guide to Getting Married, it’s about getting married in a true and authentic and intentional way. The book itself, I’m on a second rewrite at the moment because I wrote a whole book, which sounds like a great idea, but I gave it to some friends and they said, it just doesn’t sound like you, it sounds like the book you think you’ve got to write. So I’m now on a secondary route, which is lots of fun.

Rose/Mary: And injecting more of you in it. Is that more of sort of your tone or your sort of?

Josh Withers: Yeah, more of me, but also more of my couples. I’m actually going back and I’m inviting couples to tell the stories that they want to share from their getting married experience because that’s what I’m passionate about. I’m passionate about not weddings, but people getting married. I always find it funny when you meet wedding professionals and they’re like, “I just love weddings.” I’m like, I know that they’re not saying something bad about that, but I’m like, “Oh. I don’t love weddings. I love the…”

Rose/Mary: Absolutely. You love the stories. You love to actually connect with people who just happen to be getting married and just happen to require your services.

Josh Withers: If I was attending 130 weddings a year, I’d probably just ….., I’m not attending 130 odd weddings but (marrying) a hundred odd couples.

They’re getting married and that’s great. God, could you imagine being a guest? You’d just, you’d die.

Rose/Mary: Alcohol poisoning would be part of it.

Josh Withers: Probably. Yeah. So that’s what I’m really passionate about. I’m really passionate about people. Actually, the kind of the spirit behind it actually came from Britt. Her grandma, who I never met from the time Britt was a little girl, and she imbued in Britt the kind of person she could marry and she would literally pray for Britt and say, “I hope you marry this kind of person.” Then Britt married me, and I hope and believe I am that person. Britt tells me I am.

Rose/Mary: Oh, good. That’s okay. Excellent.

Josh Withers: Yeah. She had this thing where she said, “You should start how you want to finish. Which kind of harkens back to, there’s so many people who’ve said this quote different ways, so I’m not really going to attribute it to one particular person, but the idea is that how you do anything is how you do everything. Which kind of the spirit behind that is, if you’re on a date with someone and the person that you’re on the date with is an asshole ……., then that kind of says who they are. I feel like the way you get married is how you be married. That you should have this intentional, good marriage celebration, call it a wedding. That how you get married is how you be married. Everything that happens there should just reflect who you are and that’s the spirit behind the book. That’s also just the spirit behind me as a celebrant and me as a person. That’s why I’m writing the book because I want to get that out in a way that could just maybe help someone else because I can’t be everyone’s celebrant. Not only is that mathematically, time wise impossible, but also I’m not the perfect celebrant for everyone and I don’t have to be everyone’s celebrant, but hopefully they can catch the spirit and actually have a really awesome wedding.

Rose/Mary: And connect with, like you said, you can’t be everybody’s celebrant, but even if they have this sort of tool and this sort of knowledge, it means that whoever they choose to help them, like you’re saying, create the start of what the marriage looks like, which is marriage celebration, call it wedding, that they will seek out the people who helped them create that as opposed to just going, I’ll just pick them because they’re free. We’re not free, but they’re free on the date so may as well just go with them. I guess it’s different for everybody in terms of what specific parts of a wedding they value the most. I personally think a celebrant is someone who needs to get to know a couple and gets to know who they are to really help reflect their love story on the day, and your dedication to helping couples create weddings that really truly reflect their uniqueness is really commendable. For our listeners, can you provide some guidance on how they can embark on the journey of this amidst all the noise and all the expectations surrounding all the planning of the day?

Josh Withers: Yeah. I’ve got a little, method that I just shared with a couple on a call before I was on a call with you.

Rose/Mary: It’s fresh, give it, yep, send it our way.

Josh Withers: We’ll call it the Withers Wedding Method. Okay. That you would start obviously with the person you want to get married to – obviously that’s a really good start.

Rose/Mary: That’s helpful. Yeah. Yeah. There are two people.

Josh Withers: Step two, you would figure out, and this is a real kind of introspective thing that a lot of people don’t get to, but figure out who are you? What are your values as a couple? Yes, they’ve got to change next month, next year, 10 years’ time. If you don’t change in the next 10 years, then you’re doing something wrong. So yes, you’ll change, but who are you today? What are your values and then how do you want to project that to your community? If you had to erect a billboard above your house, that was just telling everyone who you are, like thinking of it like a marketing campaign, who are you and how does that get reflected in your marriage celebration? Once you’ve got that figured out and then you don’t have to have this solid plan, like, “All right, we are this kind of people. We have an eight hour package.” It’s not about an eight hour package, but what are our values and how do people like us get married? How do people like us celebrate marriage? From that, you select a team that can help you bring that vision to be, and hopefully that includes a celebrant, maybe includes a minister, maybe includes, I literally had a meeting with a couple, they booked me, and then they apologised and said, “Look, after your advice on this method, we’ve actually decided to have a different person marry us.” No hate to me, but that was their story. I’m like, “I’m so glad that you made that decision.” The last thing any vendor wants to do was to talk to a wedding where they’re not the right person to do that. That same method would say, “Oh, we really value photography thus, we’re going to get this kind of photographer. This we’ve got XYZ photography.” To not use a name of photographer, XYZ photographer. We want this kind of thing you are going to have, and we want this kind of thing. We’re going to have an ice sculpture. We’re going to have Kath and Kim  impersonators, whatever it is. All the way you gather your team together and then with that team together, you find out when they’re available and you marry that with your budget. When can you afford to have this kind of wedding? So you don’t go into debt. You can say, we can afford to save this much money and thus we’re going to have it on. It might be that you can save up in 10 months. So you say to the team, “When can we get married in 10 months?” Team works together. They say we’re available this Saturday and you book it on that and the important elements of that are that you’re intentional with your wedding and who’s there and who’s doing what. You’re intentional with your money so you’re not starting your marriage broke or in debt. Then the date is a reflection of the team and your finances, and obviously, it might be you can get married in 10 months and that’s a dead of winter. You’re like, “Okay, that’s not a good idea.”

Rose/Mary: Depending where you are, if you’re in Melbourne right now, like I am, or if you’re in Italy, like you are.

Josh Withers: Yeah, exactly. Obviously you’ve got to use your noggin on these things, yeah, you would create a marriage celebration that is on brand for you, that is within your budget, and within your means with all the right people and the creators and the vendors, and whatnot that are there that can do that for you and the right guests as well. There’s this spirit of intention with it all that will hopefully just be like a virus for the rest of your marriage. That as you have kids or not or as you buy a car, or whatever it is, all these adult things that are the fruit of your marriage, they’ll just smell, they’ll just stink of intent.

Rose/Mary: I get it. I get it. It just bleeds into everything else that you do for the rest of your life together. This is how you want to start it. Not that for many people, it’s not the absolute beginning, but you’re saying it’s the intent of being, what do we want this to look like? How do we want it to reflect us? That doesn’t just end on the day, then it’s like, all right, that now goes into the rest of our life together. I agree what I think a wedding should look like. It should look like what you’re going to be, what your life is going to look like together. Just a big party version.

Josh Withers: Yeah. You’re right. It’s not the start, but it’s definitely part of the start process. I don’t know how old everyone listening is, but if you remember, I remember my first computer and you’d press the big button, you click on the front of the computer, my first computer, and it would take a good gosh, probably five minutes to turn on because there was a startup process. It would turn this on and it would turn that on and that part of the computer turn on. Then it’d spin that up and run this program, run that program and do any virus. To start the computer, there’s a series of processes, very slow processes that you would have to undertake for the computer to start. Your wedding is or your marriage celebration is part of that start process that it’s definitely, it’s hopefully not the first thing. Hopefully you don’t get married at first sight, but then it’s part of that start process. Your wedding or your marriage celebration is, it’s the opening ceremony to, if you think of the Olympics or Commonwealth Games, whatever, it’s like the opening ceremony. It’s like, “Hey, this thing is happening right now. We have a celebration for it.” Then you go into the games, you go into your marriage. It’s not this, it’s not this round out like, “Oh, I guess we’ve been together 10 years – Love, we should get married.” It’s not this completion certificate. It’s a much better thing.

Rose/Mary: I agree.

Josh Withers: I could only hope and pray that everyone would have awesome marriage celebrations. That would just be so good. Not that it would be blog worthy or anything, but it would just be good for you and you would just enjoy it.

Rose/Mary: That’s it. It doesn’t have to look like it has to be in a magazine or it has to be on a website. It just has to be exactly what you envision, you together have envisioned for a celebration and who you want there, whether it’s two people, whether it’s a hundred people, whatever it is, you just want it to be good for them. They walk away and go, “Yep, that’s exactly what I wanted it to be.” With ceremonies being your thing, when it comes to creating and crafting a meaningful ceremony, where do we even begin? What’s the first step do you think?

Josh Withers: Yeah. That’s a part of the process I find really interesting. I consider a ceremony the pinnacle of the ceremony –  of the thing, like the chorus of the song, if you like, is a collection, as in two personal vows. The couple would exchange these vows that are gifts to each other that are meaningful and beautiful and just true words that, not beautiful because you found them on Google, but they’re beautiful because it’s you being very honest and very authentic and very vulnerable. From there, there’s the lead up to the vows and then there’s the kind of I guess the walk away from the vows. So the lead up to the vows obviously starts with getting ready and everyone arriving and music. I consider that this ‘on flow’. The ceremony, it’s setting the stage, just warming up, not just the couple, but also your guests for a time when you can exchange vows confidently. We’ll start talking about who you are and why you’re getting married and obviously your story is part of that. Also the kind of thing I’m more excited about is your story that’s the way we’re writing today because it’s funny, a lot of celebrants really spent a lot of time retelling the couple’s story, their love story, as to how they met, which is a valuable and a good story. I feel like hopefully everyone there knows a lot of that story. We might retell some of it or can remind them of a few parts. But the exciting part is where we’re going, and so that’s where my heart is, that we would start talking about where are we going as a couple, get to the part where we exchange vows and rings are a thing people do apparently, so we’ll exchange rings. And walk out on a high. I feel like I didn’t go too deep there, but that’s because every ceremony is so different. Honestly, every couple is so unique and that’s definitely the template. That’s the scaffolding that I’ve got for a ceremony.

Rose/Mary: So not neat, not even specifically about how did we get together, or anything like that, but more in terms of who are we together and what do we want? What does the future look like together? Almost aligning that and really discussing that, and injecting that into a meaningful ceremony in that sort of way.

Josh Withers: Yeah, absolutely.

Rose/Mary: I think there’s been this sort of, not fear about a ceremony, but I think for a lot of couples, the ceremony, they feel quite on spotlight, that it’s the big show of everything, which it definitely can be, and for some they’re totally down for that. I think it’s also figuring out about how much you want it be the showy type of thing. There are couples who are a lot more shy and have a bit of fear around being up there and having everyone watch them say things to each other or along those sort of lines. Do you have sort of any tips or advice on how you can either overcome that or change your thinking around ceremonies in that way?

Josh Withers: There’s 2.5 attributes that you can set up in that problem solving place. The .5 is the vendors you’re going to involve because hopefully you’ve chosen them ahead of time. You haven’t just got a random celebrant…

Dorothy: Grabbed on the day. You’re from free ….

Josh Withers: I was on a Zoom, I was on a coaching call with a celebrant recently and he goes, “I’ve got to go, I’ve just got a wedding ceremony.”

He’s in L.A., he’s like, “Hello!”

Rose/Mary: Go I guess.

Josh Withers: Yeah go I guess. The .5 is the vendors so you’ve obviously chosen, you’ve vetted them, so they’re less of a wildcard than the two other things, which you still have a lot of choice over. Then the two biggest contributing factors, one is where it’s happening and two is who’s there. Actually, you know what, I’m actually going to say a third thing, when it’s happening.

Rose/Mary: When it’s happening. Okay.

Josh Withers: So when it’s happening because these are these three things, where and when and who’s there, they contribute to anything. If you and I were having a coffee, just as if this wasn’t a podcast, who’s having a chat?

Rose/Mary: In Italy.

Josh Withers: This is a very different conversation.

Rose/Mary: Can we have it in Italy not in cold Melbourne?

Josh Withers: Literally, but that’s a really good example. If you and I were having a coffee in Italy, at the sun setting, it’s at 8:30 PM and we’re at a cafe having a coffee. That’s a completely different vibe and you might be more or less comfortable doing it than compared to say, meeting in the morning in cold Melbourne and it’s freezing and maybe it’s raining. I don’t know. You’re more likely to be open and comfortable. Have you ever considered that? You know how we get really deep around campfires?

Rose/Mary: Yes, we do.

Josh Withers: We’ve got a drink and there’s marshmallows and it’s like 11pm.

Rose/Mary: There might be a guitar.

Josh Withers: Yeah. And like the next minute we’re talking about the universe even mean man?

Rose/Mary: What are the stars? What is this even like?

Josh Withers: Exactly. Yeah. Bring this back to your wedding. Where it happens, you get to choose what kind of setting, this is why so many weddings are outside because it’s just nice, but like what kind of venue, is it indoor, outdoor, etc. So where it happens, you get to choose that, you’re allowed and when is closely tied to that. Has it happened close to sunset? Because that’s just a really nice time or has it happen at 10 AM? Did we all just have some Weatbix and we’ve gone to, that’s a different vibe. Then who’s there? Once again, come back to the coffee conversation. If it’s just you and me having a chat, that’s a different conversation to say our partners there because then maybe they, I don’t know what yours is, but are they in the wedding industry or not? It’s a different conversation to, we’re in front of a crowd of 30 people having maybe this is a podcast in front of 30, Polka Dot readers and then we’re having a seminar kind of thing, which is again, a different conversation to if there’s a crowd of 30,000. Who’s there really dictates how you feel. Something I try to encourage couples that are eloping, is to consider because an elopement is different to a wedding. It’s less of a show. It’s more of a you’re inviting people to come and be with you for a thing. I say with elopements, I wouldn’t invite anyone that you wouldn’t invite into the birthing suite. That’s a select group of people like – Jim from work isn’t coming to the birthing suite.

Rose/Mary: So that’s exactly what you’re saying, which is create the space to be as comfortable. If you’re going to be possibly uncomfortable in this experience of feeling like you’re on show, don’t make it a show, surround yourself with the people that you really feel comfortable with in a safe space to do that. Make sure the vendors that you have, you’re really comfortable and feel, really connected with them so that you don’t feel self-conscious along that line.

Josh Withers: 100% Yeah. A lot of people don’t consider, particularly if you’re having, you can hashtag big Greek wedding, if you’re having that big 120 guests vibe, it’s highly likely the person you’re going to spend the most time with on your wedding day is your photographer. Not your maid of honour, not your best friends, not your partner. Nope. Your photographer. Hour on hour, you will see them more than everyone else. If you find someone, you’re like, “Oh yeah, they’re a bit off or they’re…..” I don’t know, whatever you think of them. You get to choose, there’s more photographers than there are celebrities. Get on Google, man, get on Polka Dot, have a look at something.

Rose/Mary: That’s it, put together an Excel spreadsheet and start chatting to people and figuring out who you really connect with and really feel like you vibe with. I think that’s so important. That’s really actually such a good point of the person that you spend the most time with on your wedding day. Probably the person you speak to the most too. Could you do this? Could you move this way? Can you turn this way? Ceremonies have traditionally followed a really specific format. You’re walking down the aisle, official stuff, the vows, first kiss, signing, and, all of that sort of stuff. How do you think you break this down so that if you’re planning your ceremony, so you figure out what you absolutely need to do and how you can make it your own? Is it just following that same sort of blueprint of what do you feel comfortable with who are you individually and as a couple, like what are your sort of thoughts on how you can figure out what your ceremony does or does not need?

Josh Withers: There’s ways that we feel, as humans, that we’ve accomplished something. For example, I can’t finish the day, like I can’t lay down in bed and really commit to a good night’s sleep unless I have cleaned the kitchen. I’ve got to clean kitchen and I’ve got to have a shower and brush my teeth. There’s been a few nights where I’ve been really tired and because we’re traveling, the, toothpaste’s downstairs or something like that. A normal person would be like, “Ah, I can skip this brush.”

Rose/Mary: No one’s going to know.

Josh Withers: No one’s going to know. The dentist isn’t even here, man.

And I’ve laid down and I’m like. All I can think about is that I haven’t brushed my teeth.

Rose/Mary: I can just feel my mouth.

Josh Withers: Yeah, my mouth is there. Consider that feel when you’re talking about your ceremony. That these things have to happen. I can’t get married unless…. and because I feel like a lot of people when it comes to, I’ll talk all of wedding planning, but especially the ceremony. People feel like they’ve got to stuff all this stuff into it like a turducken. Do you know what turducken is?

Rose/Mary: I think I do. Wait. Is it a turkey duck?

Josh Withers: The chicken and the duck and the turkey. It’s all shoved in there together.

Rose/Mary: Yum.

Josh Withers: I’m a big fan.

Rose/Mary: Oh, I don’t think I’ve ever had it. Okay. Note to self.

Josh Withers: It’s a win.

Rose/Mary: Okay. Okay.

Josh Withers: I don’t think they’re serving it in a Maccas. So your ceremony isn’t at the turducken and you’d have to stuff all of this stuff into it. You don’t have to like, I’ll get some readings and we’ll all get mum to do a thing and I shoved, shoved, shoved. It’s probably much better if it’s, more on the, I feel like minimal sounds like the wrong word, but.

Rose/Mary: Stripped back a little bit. Yeah.

Josh Withers: Yeah, just free for the celebrant to celebrate your marriage in an authentic way, free for you to say some vows so it doesn’t feel like we’ve got this, we’re going through this run sheet of 30 things and now Jack’s going to do a little dance. As long as it’s not this, bam, bam, bam let’s get these things happening. It’s much more a cadence that is more human. So I would encourage anyone to give their celebrant some rope to play with, to give them some freedom, that you would let them create a ceremony that they think would be good for you and a good celebrant can do that. You would also be very forward to saying what you do and don’t want, and you might have nothing to say on the radar. You might also say, “Hey, look, this is weird. You might not do it, but I’m just going to say it. I don’t want any snake sacrifices in my wedding.

Rose/Mary: What? That’s my speciality. Everyone’s doing them.

Josh Withers: Everyone’s, it’s the hottest thing. Have you not seen the 2024 wedding film?

Rose/Mary: Yeah, exactly. It’s on TikTok.

Josh Withers: So be honest about those things. You know the most common thing I still get told today? This is a thing, but they’ll say, “Oh, hey, we don’t want to do the kind of submission to husband obeying.” Oh yeah. That’s not a thing now.

I’m a civil marriage celebrant. Anyway, I thank you for telling me I wasn’t going to do that, but I will not do that. This comes down to everything, a lot of people, and I’m one of them, have not great relationships with parents and family. So if I was getting married today, I would say, “Hey, look, I don’t need to publicly say anything about my family, but particularly don’t need to do “who gives this person away and any of that.”

So say all those things because you get to say what’s in your ceremony. You get to decide how it is. So yeah, I know the way that I create a ceremony is very much by talking to a couple and as we talk about things, as we talk about life and your parents and how you met, I very much should have an idea. Like I think this ceremony would be good to them and then I might have a bit of a crazy idea and I’ll suggest it and they’ll say, yes, or no. That’s great because I’d rather say no today and then have a bad ceremony. I’d rather have awkward conversations today and have a good ceremony.

Rose/Mary: That’s it.

Josh Withers: That’s the plan.

Rose/Mary: Exactly. Back on the you talk about family and what to include if you may or may not want to. In your experience, how do couples navigate any cultural or family traditions while still creating a ceremony that still feels authentically like them as a couple?

Josh Withers: Yeah. That’s such a deep and long question because every family is so weird. If you think your family is the only weird family, you are yet to leave your…

Rose/Mary: You are cloistered. It’s because, trust us.

Josh Withers: Yeah, every family has their stuff. There’s some things in that list that you would celebrate, and there’s some things in that list you would, not hide or avoid, but just wait, okay, but I don’t have to mention my uncle, etc.

Rose/Mary: Don’t mention him.

Josh Withers: That’s the funniest comedian. He said, “I just became an uncle.” And he goes, “It’s really hard being an uncle because you’ve got not got much to do, but the second someone says you’re a bad uncle, everyone knows what that is.”

Rose/Mary: Everyone knows.

Josh Withers: They can say you’re a bad dad, “oh, what happened?” You say you’re a bad uncle, they know.

Rose/Mary: Oh, yeah. Let’s leave him out of gatherings.

Josh Withers: Family is such a personal thing that, I’ll be honest with you, I don’t avoid family stuff, but unless given strict direction, I personally don’t really go there, just because every story is so unique. I have so many couples on their marriage paperwork wanting to say, “Oh, hey, instead of putting my dad, can I put my stepdad?” And I said, “Okay, I hear you, but no.” You can, luckily in the paperwork, so you can say unknown if it is unknown. And don’t tell me you know if you’re going to take Unknown because I don’t want to be involved in a fraudulent thing. But hey, if you don’t know and that’s cool, don’t tell me.

Rose/Mary: Just leave it like that. None the wiser.

Josh Withers: Yeah. It’s your marriage paperwork. I just have to believe you’re telling the truth so don’t let me think otherwise. Family is a hard one. Yeah, I’ll give you some of the tips because a lot of people want to involve family. My favorite little thing to involve family is, particularly mums or because sometimes mums feel a little bit maybe left out, particularly mothers of grooms. Mothers of grooms are the number one red flag at any wedding. When you say my son’s getting married today, I’m like, “I am watching you.” So a nice way of involving mothers is, to get them to be the witnesses on your marriage certificate.

Rose/Mary: Yeah. Oh, that’s beautiful. True.

Josh Withers: It’s freebie.

Rose/Mary: Oh, thank you. Having been part of so many weddings, what do you believe are some of the key elements that make a wedding ceremony truly special and meaningful? From what you witnessed, what has really stood out of, as some things that make you go, yeah, that was really heartfelt? Oh, that got me right in the feels.

Josh Withers: It’s actually so simple, and this can happen and hopefully happens for both, but it can happen from a celebrant to a person or celebrant to a couple or between the couple, from one to the other, that they would just do something. It’s typically used for saying something, but it can also, it doesn’t have to be saying something. I’ll give you an example in a minute, but that would signal that they see you, that you’re seen, that, it’s as simple as that. Because it’s all we want on earth, hey, just to know that someone else saw me, oh, hey, you read my blog?

Thanks, man. I posted.

Rose/Mary: You commented? Thank you.

Josh Withers: You click like on Facebook. Oh you. You would just signal, you would communicate that they are seen. That’s more than saying, I love you. If you, and I’m not…….so don’t feel anyone need to do this, but if you want me to do anything for you ever, like just for free, if you want me to do your wedding for free, all you have to do is signal to me that you see me just like, “Hey Josh, I saw your blog last week.

It was really good. I liked how you mentioned X, Y, and Z. by the way, you’re free next week for the wedding?” Like, “Yeah, I’ll do it for free, I’ll do it.”

Rose/Mary: Thank you so much. Josh, you’re really setting yourself up here. People are going to note that down.

Josh Withers: Yeah, that’s dangerous ground.

Rose/Mary: Hey, this Josh does it.

Josh Withers: I’ll give you an example of a close friend that I married a couple of years ago in Western Australia. She’s an amazing West Australian celebrant. Her name is Dua Hari. Her brand is I’m Kissing You Phil.

Rose/Mary: Yeah, she’s fabulous. Yeah, she’s wonderful.

Josh Withers: She’s the best person. I was her celebrant at her wedding, and her husband, or her near husband, when it came to exchanging rings, they had rings, but he also had a surprise. He had a box of Jimmy Choos.

Rose/Mary: Oh my God.

Josh Withers: I’m like, I know everyone likes Jimmy Choos, but no one likes them as much as Dua Hari. If you think you’d like them.

Rose/Mary: You’re dreaming. You’re at like 30% like. Okay, so he had a box of Jimmy Choos. Okay.

Josh Withers: He reaches behind and pulls them out and out of anything else that happened that day, that was him saying, “I see you.”

Rose/Mary: Oh my God. What a catch, what a gorgeous guy, and not because, like you’re saying, like not because they’re expensive shoes, but because he knows she loves them, he knows her, he’s seeing her, and he wanted to do a thoughtful, surprising thing on the day, and again, it’s about her, it’s not about him. I love that…..

Josh Withers: There’s no trend list that’s going on. Jimmy Choo’s probably are on it.

Rose/Mary: Yeah, but not in a surprise your partner with Jimmy Choos on your, at your ceremony trend list. That’s metaphorical. It doesn’t have to be Jimmy Choo’s, but it could just be something else that you’ve either done together or you’ve done for your partner. That just makes it that little bit extra, little bit again, brings it back to the both of you as opposed to everybody else watching. They’re all there. They all love you. They’re an audience. They’re not actually part of what is properly happening and what’s going forward. So just meaningful, beautiful bits and pieces that mean something to you as a couple or to one of you.

Josh Withers: Yeah, it’s nice that guests are there, but the second AI can replace your guests, you’re out of the question.

Rose/Mary: Yeah, that’s it. ChatGPT. Please be our guests.

Josh Withers: The second ChatGPT can authentically clap and cheer and laugh at you.

Rose/Mary: Yeah, you’re done. You’re good.

Josh Withers: I feel sorry for the invitation guys, they’ll have no business.

Rose/Mary: Actually, one of my questions was on readings. I’ve got here readings are one way that we found couples can personalise their day. This is hilarious. Now going to talk about ChatGPT, but I loved picking out readings for my wedding. I found that a very personal process, I found it really exciting. I loved it was one of my favorite parts about planning my ceremony. Do you have any advice for getting started on where to find readings that reflect you? Because not everybody has them on hand like I basically did. Where do you look to start figuring out if you want to have readings, where do you find them? Where do you find ones that are unique to you or make you feel things?

Josh Withers: So I’m interested, I want to come back to, I want to turn this back round to you. I feel like there’s two reasons you have a reading. Maybe both or one of two. That the words have meaning for you and the best way to deliver them, or the best way to experience those words are for them to be verbally part of your ceremony. If you really like a scripture or a poem or something, there’s other things you can do with that. You can email it to each other, you can put it on a poster, you can engrave it on a ring. There’s a thousand things you can do with those words. So the one thing is like the word’s are valuable and important and mean something to you. They make you feel a certain way you want to feel in your ceremony. They would be audibly exchanged or broadcasting your ceremony or the other reason is that you want to have someone involved that you want, I want Jim from work to do a reading because…

Rose/Mary: Uncle Jim.

Josh Withers: For whatever reason. So for you, what was it, both reasons or one of those reasons or another one that I haven’t mentioned?

Rose/Mary: Oh my goodness. This is not very fair. This actually goes against what I’m pushing here because I think that should be, if you’re going to have readings, it should be a collective, you with your partner. What are we going to have? Why are we having these? Do we want them said out loud? Do we want someone to say them? Ours were chosen at my husband’s and my wedding because I love to read and I picked, two of them were from books, so one of them was from a book called The Alchemist and that was a book that I gifted to my husband when we were first together and he read it and it really spoke about the universe and love, and souls meeting. That’s how we felt and still do feel about each other. Then the other one was from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, which was a book that I’d read, a movie that we’d seen together. It basically talks about love ageing. The beginning of love is like a volcano and it erupts and it’s, really colourful and bright and very full on, but then, what happens when your relationship moves on and, you’re together for a long amount of time, and it’s about the planting the seed of what you want your relationship to look like for many years to come. We chose those because when we read them together, it really resonated with us as individuals and for what we wanted to say to the people at our wedding about us and about our relationship, and about the marriage that we were going to have. So that’s why we chose those.

Josh Withers: Which is a perfectly good reason, a perfectly cromulent reason as Homer Simpson would say. That’s why you include written, because these words, they’re part of their tapestry, they’re part of their story, either they have been part of their story or they’re part of their story moving forward, as to this is who we are. It’s a little bit ignorant to think that we all exist in this echo chamber and nothing influences me. You can put a rat in front of Fox News in America for 24 hours and it’s going to have certain opinions. Like the inputs to our lives, the podcasts we listen to, the books we read, the poems we love, the Instagram inspiration we love, whatever. They all shape who we are. So to share part of that is sharing part of your story, and I’ll be honest, I’ll tell couples that bring up readings that I’m capable of doing a good reading, sorry, I’m capable of doing a good ceremony without a reading. So if we’re going to have a reading, it has to have purpose.

Rose/Mary: Yeah, it can’t just be thrown in. It’s got to have a place. Got it.

Josh Withers: The other reason is I want to involve someone, I would say just throwing some words to someone because you want to involve them isn’t the best way of involving them because I’ll say involving slash acknowledging people is a unique thing. I had someone recently who said, “I really want to acknowledge my parents in the ceremony.” They were blessed to have great parents and they wanted to call that out in the ceremony. And I said, “It’s nice to acknowledge, that’s obviously a good thing, but knowing your mom and your dad, what is the best way to make them feel a million dollars?” Is it this stranger at the front going, “Oh, Jack and Jill are great people.” Or is it to pull them aside and say something to them? Is it to write them a note? I’m not saying me mentioning them isn’t the best way to acknowledge them, but what is the best way?

Rose/Mary: Yeah, for them specifically.

Josh Withers: Yeah, so they actually feel loved because I’ve seen people that have been given readings and oh, that’s my best ceremony and they get up and they’re like, “I want to die” rather than speak into this bloody microphone.

Rose/Mary: It’s like I’m doing this for you, but gee, I do not want to do it.

Josh Withers: Which is terrible and sad. It never have purpose in me.

Rose/Mary: If you’re going to have people making it, why are you incorporating them specifically and is this the best way to do it basically? Obviously the way that you’re speaking and everything you’re saying, you value individuality. What advice do you have for couples who want to incorporate non-traditional elements into their ceremony, like the snakes, the snake ceremonies and that sort of thing, but may face resistance from family or friends?

Josh Withers: You’ll let them know that a snake sacrifice…is really important to you….

Rose/Mary: It’s really important. It will mean really good things for your marriage going forward. It’s proven.

Josh Withers: I’m just going to get a TikTok mom.

Rose/Mary: Look at the reels, it’s showing. This is a thing. The algorithm, my algorithm going forward now.

Josh Withers: In one way, I find people, they acknowledge that they are weird, and I’m not saying that as if you are the one weirdo. I think it’s really healthy to acknowledge we are all very weird. Except for me. I’m the only normal one around here.

Rose/Mary: You’re very normal. That’s right.

Josh Withers: The rest of you guys are freaks. Hopefully people are at a place where they can just know how weird they are and they can find elements that would honour that, and would celebrate that because you certainly don’t have to fit a mold. I’m so glad that I don’t hear this phrase much anymore. The phrase is, “We’re having a rustic wedding, a boho chic wedding.” It’s not even to dig a boho chic wedding.

Rose/Mary: No, which is beautiful.

Josh Withers: They’re great and fine, but that’s not who you are, you’re not Boho Rustic Chic, you are Jack and Jill. I don’t know if you’ve heard me say that, Jack and Jill are my throwaway.

But that’s you then. So you were Jack and Jill, like you’re these people, and so yeah, be weird, walk down the aisle to My Chemical Romance, and then do your first dance to Taylor Swift, and no, those aren’t conflicting thoughts, they’re very honest.

Rose/Mary: Josh’s inner workings.

Josh Withers: Yeah. So I’d really harken back to that celebrate your weirdness and do things that would make you feel just amazing. That because it’s funny, so many things with weddings, they talk about my budget or I wasn’t planning to spend so much money on a celebrant, or a photographer and I understand those conversations, but also yesterday, we really wanted to have sushi and we wanted to go to the beach. If you were in Puglia in Italy, it’s very rare you’d get good sushi and very rare you’d get to a free beach. There are free beaches that are jam packed, you can walk five kilometres from a car park, and so no, I wouldn’t normally pay €200 to go to the beach, but I did yesterday because I really wanted sushi and I really wanted to go to a nice beach because it turns out that I wasn’t budgeting €200 on a beach experience yesterday, but you know what, I had sushi on the beach, my kids played, I had my burrito, it was awesome and I was very happy and no I’ll never see this €200 again, yes that’s a lot of money to go to the beach, but you know what, I had a bloody good time.

Rose/Mary: It’s the experience. It’s not about I needed to have that specific candle, I needed to have that specific shoe or whatever. If it’s important to you, then that’s fair enough. It’s saying, “Okay, but what is going to help you have the experience in the lead up on the day or after the day that stays with you that are going to create the memories?” Like you’re saying, embracing your weakness, embracing the things that you love that really make you, you – your partner, who they are and who you are together. If there’s pushback, if there are people there going, “What? No, you can’t do that. It’s a wedding. You can’t have that.” You know what? Apart from just basically swearing, saying a very not nice word to them, to the person pushing back on it, how do you find couples can work around that pushback, do you think, and really stay true to who they are?

Josh Withers: I heard a really good line in regards to inheritance yesterday. A podcast I love to listen to is the Dave Ramsey podcast and he talks about money and stuff. He had a caller who, he had been entrusted to deliver an inheritance to his a close friend’s daughter. The friend had died and he had many millions of dollars of inheritance for this daughter who was, I think, in her late twenties. He was just ringing for some advice, he’s like, “If you give a lot of money to someone and they’re not in a place to look after that, then it can be a curse instead of a blessing.” If you give a drug dealer two million dollars, you’re going to kill them. He was just looking for how to talk to that person about something so important. The advice he was given is actually similar to, I’d say having any of these conversations with parents, friends, etc. about your wedding, is the advice was to come at them with saying, “I love you so much that I want to talk about this. It comes from a place of, I love you and I care for you and I know you love me, and I know you care for me. And because we’ve established that kind of baseline that we love each other, you’re my mom or you’re my dad and then we love each other this much because of that. This is the conversation I want to have because I’m not, not getting married in a church mom because I hate you.”

Rose/Mary: The specific reason for this is because could you not come to my wedding? It’s purely saying, I want you to see me. I want you to understand me from a place of love.

Josh Withers: Particularly when it comes to guests, the best people to not invite to your wedding are people who have already been married because they get it.

They’re like, Oh, it’s $200 a head and you’ve already invited a hundred people.

Rose/Mary: Yeah. Don’t.

Josh Withers: If we’re getting married today. If we were literally Britt and I were engaged, we’re planning a wedding, I would rather elope and still identify those kind of 50, 60 people that would be on the guest list and say, “Hey, we’re eloping, but can I have dinner with you? Can I have a one on one thing?” I would rather that than have a dinner with 60 of you.

Rose/Mary: It’s hard to get around too.

Josh Withers: Because that’s just my personality.

Rose/Mary: It is, but that’s different personalities and it’s hard to get around to everyone as well. If what is important to you is feeling because look, it’s easy to say because I’ve had a wedding where I’ve had X amount of family and friends there and it feels incredible. You feel incredibly loved and incredibly supported, so there is that side of it, but you do lose the ability to have one-on-one time, with people.

Josh Withers: If they’re the kind of person that could take that well, then that’s great. If they’re not, then they’re probably the kind of person you need to talk to, really. I reckon Jim from work’s going to figure it out. He’s going to work it out.

Rose/Mary: Uncle Jim.

Josh Withers: Poor old Jim.

Rose/Mary: Poor old Jim. He’s been like, what did Josh and Mary think about me? Like it’s coming at any of these conversations with love and it’s saying, “I love you. You love me. I know you have an idea of what the day should look like, but it is my day and this is the reason why we’re doing XYZ and I want to explain that to you and I want you to see me. I want to be seen and understood by you.” So that’s it. Coming at it with love.

Josh Withers: Also, I don’t want to go into debt for my wedding. I’m going to start my marriage in a cash positive or as cash positive as I can and so I’m not inviting everyone I’ve ever known and I love you. You know what? Good friends or good people, they get that.

If you’re sitting down with your good friend and it’s like, “Hey, I want to go to do a thing, I want to do the thing, but I’ve got a thing where I don’t want to be in debt. And for me to do that thing, I’d have to go into debt. And do you want me to go into debt? Do you want me to pay 20% interest on this? Can we find another way for us to value our friendship?”

Rose/Mary: Exactly. Your friends and your family, if they, not saying if they truly love you, but if they truly understand you, they will understand why you, A, can’t invite them or B, can’t have this particular thing that they think a wedding should have or, any of those sort of bits and pieces.

Josh, your work is incredible. You inspired many, and we’re sure our listeners would love to know, apart from Italy, what’s next for you in your celebrancy journey? What projects do you have on the horizon? What are your plans? Can you give us any hints or any thoughts on what you have ticking away?

Josh Withers: I’m really enjoying the European summer just as a vibe.

Rose/Mary: What? What is that? What do you mean? Who would?

Josh Withers: I asked my four year old the other day, I said, “Do you know what a vibe is? Without prompting, I just, I wish I was filming. She goes, “no, but I wish I was one.”

Rose/Mary: Oh, babe. I bet she is. I bet she’s a vibe.

Josh Withers: She’s a vibe. Our plan is to actually, to work the European summer for, not just Australian couples. I said this, European summer, like the current period we’re recording. I’ve got couples from America and England and Australia that are they eloping with me, with the Elopement Collective with my wife, or they’re just having a wedding with their celebrant. We’re going to plan to do that for the next few years. We’re going to homeschool our kids and actually to make that a thing that we can be traveling people because we love to experience the world and show our girls the world. So that’ll always be an element of us, but I’ll be honest with you, I’m actually really excited about just coming home in August and just getting back to work. I feel and I hope that we’re not just post COVID, but we’re post post COVID.

Rose/Mary: I know what you’re saying. I agree.

Josh Withers: I’m really looking forward to getting back into it and because I talked to this earlier in the podcast through COVID and whatnot, I was worried that I was finished, that I was just tired and I was done and I was old and I should just hang up the hat, and I’m just finished. COVID did that. I know now that I’m so pumped to get back to work. I’m so excited. Today while I’m, I’ve put a day aside to talk to you and have some meetings, and I’m talking to couples from Western Australia, Victoria and Queensland about their weddings and it just feels really good to get back to that. Between the European summers and even talking about some other little travel trips we’re doing, getting back to work in Australia, between all those things and the book. I’ve been talking about this book for a long time and I’ve been working on it now, all of 2023. I’m really excited to actually finish it. It’s nicest to finish something. Like I was saying, everybody clean the kitchen. I, clean the kitchen in my book. I just want to wrap it up.

Rose/Mary: Clean the kitchen, brush your teeth and finish your book. These are the things. That sounds fantastic because, A, excited to get back to work,  that is passionate and that is motivating in of itself. So that’s very exciting and a book. Yeah. Okay. We’re keeping our eyes peeled for this. We’re very excited. Please keep us in the loop for how that is going for the rest of the year. I think we’re getting close now to wrapping up our fabulous conversation. Before we do though, could you please, Josh, share a heartfelt piece of advice for our couples and our listeners who are in the process of planning their dream wedding ceremony?

Josh Withers: You’ve got one shot at this entire life, this whole thing we’re doing, and the only one way to do it is in a way that just makes you feel completely fulfilled and happy and awesome. That spirit should just be imbued from all through meeting the person you want to marry, proposing, getting married, being married, all the rules you think exist about how you’re supposed to do things in life, they don’t exist. I had a guy overtake me at a traffic light here in Italy the other day, it was a red light and he just overtook me and went through the light. Red lights mean nothing to me now apparently. We’ve just made up all these rules. So whether it’s red lights, I am not a lawyer, don’t take this as legal advice. Red lights or planning a wedding. You are at the controls. You are holding the steering wheel and you get to decide how much money to spend or not spend, who to invite or not to invite, what, how big or small or where it is. I’m just absolutely sick of hearing couples be weighed down by either uncommunicated expectations or worse, communicated expectations that are like a weight around your neck. This is your life, this is your marriage and it’s no one else’s responsibility or fault if you guys don’t have the wedding you want. So just have an epic one, have the best one you could ever have and whatever that means. To whatever extent, whatever budget, large or small, do it.

Rose/Mary: Go have it. Have the epic wedding that is totally and utterly you. I love it. Oh, Josh, that is all we have time for today. I just want to thank you so much for this terrific chat, this terrific laugh. Not only have you made my day by sitting back with me and from Italy and giving me some fantastic words of wisdom to impart to our readers. I’m really excited to see what you and Britt have in store for us. So with your book, with your work. So again, thanks Josh. really appreciate it.

Josh Withers: Thank you so much.

Dorothy: If you would like to find out more about Josh, including how you can book him for your wedding or elopement, you can of course head over to weddingpodcast.com.au. We have a full written transcript there and every link that you need.

Now, of course, we want your feedback on today’s episode. We would love your reviews, your emails, your DMs, your messages and your comments.  Hop on over to your favourite platform because we’re pretty much everywhere because we’d love to hear from you.

We’ll be back very soon with another episode of the Feel Good Wedding Podcast.