Hello, and welcome back to this week’s edition of Wedding Experts at Home with Honey Lane. This week we sat down with the all-round wedding superstar; Gary Reilly (or you may know him as Gaz for short) from You May Kiss.
We have been huge fans of Gaz’s work and experience in the wedding industry for quite some time now. After recommending him to one of our gorgeous couples, there was no turning back – the couple were drawn from the get-go and insisted we locked him in right away!
Believe it or not, the Sydney Celebrant wasn’t always involved in the wedding industry. Gaz began his first gig into the events world exactly 20 years ago where he secured a part time gig as a tour guide for the Sydney Olympics. There was something about the atmosphere where he felt right where he was meant to be and in return spent the next 10 years at The Sydney Cricket Ground working on events for NRL, The Sydney Swans and *insert name drop here* Robbie Williams, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Cold Play and Foo Fighters to name a few.
Gaz enlisted the comedy scene as a way to enhance his public speaking skills and continues to use this experience into his work today. Gaz now finds himself conducting around 100 marriage ceremonies and 60 receptions every year as a celebrant, MC and On the Day Coordinator – he really can do it all!
“I love this job and lifestyle and have never been happier, I promise to be as excited about your day as you are.”
So now, in the midst of everything that is going on in the world right now we ask Gaz how things are going and what has been keeping him busy during this time.
With the downturn of our industry and the immediate effect on You May Kiss, he has been assisting those couples who have chosen to elope while the rest of the world stops and is looking forward to an awesome back to back 2021. And in his downtime, he has had a change of scenery, helping some of his friends on worksites.
"I am a full-time celebrant and work literally stopped in a day. But I have been lucky enough to help our a few mates learning new skills along the way, and also get the back end of the business sorted with a new website that I have never really found the time to do.”
Like many of us in the industry, Gaz agrees that we are slowly looking up as the weeks tick by and everything is beginning to build up again.
Moving on to the juicy stuff, we asked Gaz when and how should you consider your wedding celebrant?
As Sydney based wedding planners, we always suggest one of the many components you should consider first is in fact your celebrant – along with your venue and photographer. Celebrants are going to set the tone for the day, being the first thing, your guests will interact with.
Now we are seeing a such a unique and diverse range of celebrants evolving overtime and we asked Gary about his tips and tricks to choosing the right person for you.
“I like to tell my couples to have a little think about how you would like your ceremony to feel, what type of service are you going to need on the day – do you need your celebrant to be there a little earlier acting as your co-ordinator, or do you want something much smaller and simple that perhaps a local celebrant could do.”
Another great tip is to have a chat with your photographer and/or planner or stylist. These two vendors have the opportunity to work with a diverse range of celebrants and locations and a great celebrant will always stick close to them.
It is also important to dig a little deeper on social media. Go as far as their tagged photos and see how they are photographed and how they engage with their couple and audience. Where and how they stand around the couple is a huge factor to consider and how they stage their ceremony is key during the process. Your celebrant should navigate their way through the ceremony with your other suppliers in mind to ensure everything is running as smooth as it can be.
“Take your time to choose your celebrant. Catch up, grab a coffee or even a beer and allow yourself to understand and immerse yourself into what they are all about and what they have to offer. You want to ensure their personality is the right fit and when you know, you will know right away.”
Budgeting for a celebrant
With all of that in mind, we asked Gaz to take us through a rough price structure and what is the right number to consider within your budget.
There is certainly a range across the industry and of course it will depend on what your celebrant has to offer. You will find most celebrants start from no less than $700 and make their way up from there. With this price in mind you will find yourself a full-service celebrant where you have guests coming along, your celebrant will need to be there and hour before and after, including your initial meet and greet and perhaps a rehearsal – all the bells and whistles attached. The only extra cost with that is your marriage certificate which stands at $60 in New South Wales which your celebrant will usually help you to secure or you can do it yourself.
“Personally, my business has changed a lot overtime where majority of my clients incorporate my MC work with Celebrant and On the Day Coordination – so I am with you for the whole day which is usually a 10 – 12 hours stretch right by your side. For something like that works out to be about $2,500. I will also take into consideration, travel and the day of the week and things like that.”
Along with the man himself, like many celebrants Gaz will bring along his own sound equipment. It’s never a bad question to ask your celebrant what kind of sound they are using. It should always be top of the range with incredible quality to ensure each and every guest at the ceremony can hear them! And of course, he can assist and be of witness to your NOIM (Notice of Intended Marriage) – which is always incredibly handy to have someone guide you through all that important legal stuff!
On the day, you will find your celebrant there about half an hour to an hour before your ceremony (or if your Gaz, you will find him hanging out with the groomsman or sitting with the bride getting rid of all those wedding jitters and just enjoying the time they have)! And some will stay back after your wedding ceremony to assist with your group photos to ensure everything is running on schedule.
There is a such a great amount work that goes into your celebrant, and a great celebrant will find it a necessity to their job to get to know the couple as much as they can so that they can tweak and massage the ceremony and conduct it in a way that is going to be suitable for you.
We are so grateful to have had the time to chat with Gary today, allowing us to immerse in the life of a full-time marriage celebrant, MC and Co-ordinator. Gary filled us in on such great advice and we wanted to leave it at this…
“Impose as many personal touches and let your suppliers in on EVERYTHING that you want and need for your wedding day. As a supplier we aim to get around you, adapt to you and make sure your day is as truly as special as you hoped it would be.”
Would you like to see Gaz is action – Of course you do! You can check out one of his many videos right here! Check out his website https://www.youmaykiss.com.au/ or shoot him an email firstname.lastname@example.org.
And if you missed it you can check out our last two episodes on Wedding Experts with Honey Lane below!