Celebrants Making a Difference

Comments (0) Interviews

The wedding industry is gearing up for a record number of ceremonies in 2018. This month, we met with one of our favourite marriage celebrants, Sam Dawson and local radio personality, Tullia Connor, who is currently going through the register to become a qualified celebrant. FOCUS had a chat about the role of a celebrant, and the support they have and share for same sex marriage.

TULLIA CONNOR – Celebrant in Training

Tell me a little about yourself and why you became a celebrant.

I don’t know if I can “fully” call myself a celebrant yet, because I’m still going through the register! But I have been to so many weddings, and I just love them. The ceremony for me is the most enjoyable part. I love seeing people express their love for each other, and I really think I can help couples achieve their vision of a beautiful ceremony. So, I just think it’s going to be such a nice and uplifting thing to be a part of.

How long does it take to become a qualified celebrant?

At the moment I have my Certificate IV, but I am currently going through the register – which takes a few months – so I can’t do ceremonies until that’s gone through.

It took me a year to get my Cert IV. That was my pace, plus I was working full-time, so I didn’t really smash through it.

What process did you go through to become a celebrant? 

I did it online. That was hard for me, because it’s not my preferred way of training, but I’m sure heaps of people would find it a breeze! There are other options that may suit others better.

Sam Dawson is your mentor. What did you learn from her? 

Sam is such a breath of fresh air. She’s so positive and accepting. Her vibrant personality is why she’s such a popular and great celebrant. Along with the nitty gritty paperwork stuff, I think the main thing I learnt is just to inject your personality into everything and to be supportive and lend an ear to the couple whenever they need it.

What should a couple consider when searching for their celebrant?

I think a couple needs to take into consideration what vibe and tone they want for their ceremony. Comfort is a big one; you want to be able to approach your celebrant with any questions. But seriously, all the celebrants I’ve met around Coffs are great, so I don’t think anyone’s stuck for options of an awesome celebrant here.

You are a big ambassador for same sex marriage. Tell us about that.

I think as a society we need to embrace and accept anyone who’s not causing any harm and are simply being themselves. We’re all born on this earth, we’re human, we want freedom, and we can never ever spread or practice too much love. Everyone deserves the right to be excited about a wedding day if they choose marriage!

How do we get in touch?

When I’m registered, I’ll flaunt it on social media!



Tell me a little about yourself and why you became a celebrant.

I became a civil celebrant in 2010 after always flirting with the idea of being one for a really long time. I had moved to Coffs Harbour from the NT and with a combined skill set of nursing, hospitality, events and being a TV producer, I thought – “Why not!”

I looked into the course and started the Cert IV in Celebrancy, which took a year to complete online. I’m so happy I pursued this career, as it has been so fulfilling and rewarding being a special part of a couple’s most important day. I decided to launch as a professional business with the name Married By Sam, and Bryn from Giant Media developed my logo and website and then people have told me that my pink VW cabriolet that zips around our town has been a great attention getter too!

What does your current role involve?

My role encompasses being able to legally marry couples and perform any life celebration from funerals to baby namings and vow renewals, and even milestone birthdays. I always chat and find out exactly what couples would like, as it is about them and what they wish for. I see my role as making sure everything is legally correct but also that the whole process is seamless, personal and fun. To date I have worked with over 300 of the most amazing couples and have travelled to Darwin, Sydney, Queensland and Alice Springs, but I love all the amazing venues and locations right here on our Coffs Coast, that is truly a popular wedding destination.

You are a big ambassador for same sex marriage. Tell us about that.

I am a huge supporter of same sex marriage. I was very vocal during the marriage equality campaign and for many reasons. I echoed the majority of my couples who wanted the wording – marriage is between a man and woman to be what it is now – marriage is the union of two people – and they would often ask me to offer wording in their ceremony expressing their strong belief on this. I am also passionate as a mother of an awesome gay son and I would say, “I have three children, and only two are afforded the right to marry”.

I also added in the social thinking of the various eras – me being adopted in the ‘60s, where it was commonplace if a young unwed girl who fell pregnant automatically went into a home and adopted her child out – I pointed out how aghast we are at the thought of this these days. I hope this analogy makes people think and reflect, as I hope in the future we look back on this part of history and see how unjust this thinking and people’s attitudes have been. I am so happy it was a yes to human rights too, and I’ve got quite a few same sex couples booked in now for weddings already, which makes my heart skip!

How do we get in touch?
P: 0417 861 045
E: sam@marriedbysam.com.au
FB: Married By Sam
Instagram: married_by_sam

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