Stories from my random résumé

Posted on 20 April 2011


I’m doing a course to get a Certificate IV in Marriage Celebrancy. Yep, you read right. I’m going to be helping people get married and the Department of the Attorney General is going to let me. (Hopefully.)

I’m doing it via distance so that I (a) don’t have to be anywhere at any particular time for classes (b) can do it as fast as possible and (c) don’t have to put up with making small talk and group assignments with whoever wants to become a celebrant this year.

Reading through the study materials is a bit disturbing. A lot of what they’re teaching seems to be basic social skills and self-awareness. Look at this passage in my workbook about customer service:

Think of a specific time when you have received good service, perhaps in a bank, or shop. What were the skills used when you were greeted? What do you think a skill actually is? One example is a smile. Not many of us will consider that a smile is a skill. However, when receiving a service, we would be unhappy not to receive a smile as we handed over our hard-earned cash or gave up our precious time to be there!

Mmm. Insightful.

Shouldn’t having learned that sort of thing via normal life experience be the first criterion for potential marriage celebrants? I mean, if you don’t know that smiling is important in a first meeting and that your personal presentation sends a message to the world about who you are, then maybe you’re instantly not qualified to certify marriages for the Commonwealth of Australia.

Some more insights I would expect someone who thinks they can be a good celebrant to know:

Your work area, your office, and your reception desk must be at a standard that will be appealing to your clients. It should represent you, who you are, whomever that may be.

It should have the appearance of professionalism, quality and high standards. Your client has no other means to judge you at this point.

And some gems of wisdom that I seem to remember learning in junior high school:

Verbal communication involves questioning, listening and answering.

Non-verbal communication involves body language, which includes facial expression, eye contact and posture.

Now I’m wondering if the celebrancy school is just really patronising or if people who sign up for this course are really this clueless and the school expects a Certificate IV course to be able to teach social skills and personal presentation, the basics of running a small business, and a working knowledge of Australia’s legislation around marriage.

Also, the punctuation and grammar are pretty bad.

Maybe I’m being a bit unfair. I have a degree in how people communicate. I spent three years pondering, reading about, and discussing social interaction. So it’s probably not unreasonable for me to find the “communication skills” portion of the course basic. Maybe if someone hadn’t already taught me communication theory thinking about these things wouldn’t be second nature. Does anyone else think about this stuff daily?

I need to be all accredited by October when two of my deliciousest friends are marrying each other in Sydney. It should be a super awesome party and  a ceremony featuring almost exclusively people I worked at Vibewire with.

At the request of October’s bride and groom, I need to hone my Tina Fey impression for the ceremony. Who’s got some tips for me? I need catchphrases!

Image credits
Wedding shoes by Rowena of the Rant used under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic licence
Wedding Feet by TheFirstMan used under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic licence
Mardi Gras Time!! by Emilie Gibson used under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic licence
Posted in: Life and stuff