What Would They Know? Julia Doeven of Julia’s Celebrancy Services

by | Ceremony Wisdom, What Would They Know?, Wisdom


Polka Dot Bride

From fun themed weddings to relaxed backyard weddings Julia’s Celebrancy Services celebrates them all with her infectious smile and sense of fun. Being part of this very personal life transition with all the guests dressed in their best, anticipating a wonderful celebration, excitement in the air, must be the best feeling!  Celebrating love  – now that’s the best job! And for brides marrying in 2015 and beyond – keep an eye on Julia’s site for the launch of her new venture – Julia’s Celebrant Agency launching in January 2015.

Why did you become a celebrant?

When I decided to become a Celebrant I was just 20 years old. I was waitressing at a beautiful winery and wedding venue in the Yarra Valley and I LOVED arriving at work early so I could stand and watch the wedding ceremony before my shift started. Regardless of which couple was getting married I remember always being so engaged in the ceremony and just loved how they made me feel. So happy, elated, emotional… and I was always so interested in the Celebrants and thought I could very happily do their job and would love every bit of it! My Mum also thought that a young Celebrant in the market was a brilliant idea so her encouragement definitely motivated me to sit the course and I’m so glad I did!

How are you different from other celebrants?

Where do I start?? Haha. The obvious difference is my age and effervescence. I can’t help but get excited by a wedding! This combined with my ambitious and entrepreneurial personality certainly helps create point of difference between other Celebrants and myself. I genuinely love what I do and this shows through each wedding ceremony and how I conduct my business.

Image by Michael Briggs Photography

What do you love about a wedding?

There is SO MUCH to love about a wedding! For me it is that heart warming energy in the air. Everyone is excited and looking their best and they have all come together to celebrate! I love the unplanned bursts of emotion. The tears in the parents eyes; the gasps from the crowd when the radiant bride enters the room or …. that look of pure love between the couple at unexpected times. It is the best! Love is the best!

How do you start to write the ceremony vows – what is the starting point?

I encourage all my couples to write their own vows, or if they are terrified of this task, I say just go with something classic and simple! I provide a good spread of simple vows if they want to choose from my collection. I say choose something timeless that wont sound silly if you say them again on your 50th wedding anniversary.

If writing your own vows a good way to start is to think about the word vow… What is a vow? It means a solemn promise. So the idea is not to write a massive love story or get caught up in how it sounds. Get back to the basics and think about what you want to promise to each other. With just that in mind, vows already seem much easier to write and much more heartfelt and meaningful. Oh… and it’s good to mention the word love… at least once! :o)

Image courtesy of Julia’s Celebrancy Services

Are you known for having a particular ‘style’?

I sure am! I’m the “short and sweet” Celebrant! My motto at Julia’s Celebrancy Services is “Fun, Sincere and Relaxed” and the best way to achieve this is to not waffle on too much! Everyone is there to celebrate so I try make my ceremonies as engaging as possible by cutting out the boring stuff and stick to engaging stories, meaningful vows and a happy upbeat tone throughout the whole ceremony.

Are there any special words or gestures that you’ve been part of lately that you feel have made that ceremony all the more special?

Lately I’m noticing a big shift in the way that bridal parties are chosen and used throughout the ceremony and it is an awesome change! Couples are either choosing to go completely without a bridal party so they can really use their marriage as the focus of the ceremony, or else they are choosing a bridal party based on how much they love and value that person, regardless of whether of not they are a male or female. To me this just makes sense! It shouldn’t be about trying to colour co-ordinate, or make your photos look symmetric by having an even number of girls on one side versus boys. My favourite gesture most recently seen was when the bride and groom really wanted their grandmothers to be involved in the ceremony and so they gave them the roles of “flower girls”!!! I have never seen two happier grannies!!

Image by Noraa Photography

Is it important for the couple to organise a rehearsal before the wedding day?

I’m very on the fence with rehearsals! I love a good rehearsal when a lot of time as passed since I’ve seen the couple as then we can reconnect and sort out a lot of last minute issues and unanswered questions. However if a couple feel happy and confident enough to ‘wing it’ on the day I am all for that too! A rehearsal is only important if it will help the couple feel more prepared and relaxed for the day.

Do you travel away from Melbourne/Victoria to conduct wedding ceremonies?

Absolutely! I love a good road trip and it’s always a good excuse to make a day out of it and see more of this beautiful country! Some of the best venues are hidden in the outer regions of Victoria and I am all the more happier to get out there and discover them!

You also have an agency. Would you tell us about it?

Yay I was hoping you’d ask me about my agency! Julia’s Celebrant Agency is the wonderfully exciting new business of mine! It’s stemmed from something that I never quite understood…. Which was… Why isn’t there a platform out there that let’s a Bride and Groom see every Celebrant’s availability straight away?? Similar to a snazzy hotel booking system??! So I’ve put together a team of lovely Celebrants who are all creative, fun and professional and I’ve found two very clever computer programmers to help me create a website whereby Brides and Grooms can search for a Celebrant using a simple enquiry form. What’s awesome is that only the Celebrants who are available on the selected wedding day (and time) will appear. Saving everyone so much time and hassle! Celebrants love it because they are only getting enquiries for days they are available, and couples love it because they save so much time in emailing trying to find out who is available!

Julia’s Celebrant Agency is launching on the 7th of January 2015 so I’m pretty pumped for this new venture of mine!

Image courtesy of Julia’s Celebrancy Services

Can you describe a typical wedding day in your life as a celebrant?

Even though most people see my job as just a “Saturday” job, I feel that it is quite the opposite. Mid week is where all my appointments, preparation and rehearsals take place, so on the weekend I’m usually pretty relaxed and have time to enjoy it like everyone else! My day usually starts with a decent sleep in (you can tell that I don’t have kids yet hey!!) and from there I like to have a decent breaky and maybe do some exercise if I’m in the mood. Chances are I’ve already packed my bag with the couples ceremony booklet and marriage certificates the day before, so all I really have to do on the day is make sure my PA system is charged and ready to go! I will use the location of the wedding to determine what my plans are that day… If it’s near my Mum or Dads house, I’ll pay them a visit before or after the wedding, or if I have time, I’ll try organize a breakfast or lunch date with a girlfriend before the wedding. I usually get to the wedding about half an hour before the ceremony starts, catch up with the groom, the people in charge of the music, any readers or musicians and then it’s show time!

Evenings are spent with my partner whether we’re at home or at social event. The life of a Celebrant is pretty fun and it gives me a lot of freedom to enjoy life just the way I like it! :o)

What is your favourite social thing to do when not working?

Eating out at new restaurants or taking a Salsa dance class!

Do you have other hobbies or interests that you pursue?

At the moment my hobbies are quite varied! I’ve been learning the Harp these last 2 years and I just sat my very first level 1 harp exam so that was a challenge! I LOVE the harp and have always wanted one, so I finally bought one a couple years ago and it’s been a slow but rewarding hobby ever since. Aside from this I am always planning the next date night with my partner or enjoying a good book or trying a new recipe. I love to cook! I also want to get really good at Salsa Dancing so I might take up some proper lessons in the near future.

Image courtesy of Julia’s Celebrancy Services

I love living in Melbourne because……

Of all the awesome food!!

Thank you Julia for sharing your story. For more information about Julia’s Celebrancy Services visit the website.

Headshot courtesy of Julia’s Celebrancy Services.


  • Friday Roundup - Polka Dot Bride says:
    January 25, 2015 at 6:21 pm

    […] Would They Know? – Julia Doeven of Julia’s Celebrancy Services 2. Industry Event – The Launch Of Noel Nassar […]



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