In every industry, it’s true that there is always someone, or something, new emerging and it is absolutely the case in the wedding industry, whether it be a brand new venue option, a newly opened florist shop, a makeup artist, a photographer OR a freshly appointed celebrant.

But it is also true that this wedding industry can be a fickle beast and it can be a long road to find your feet amongst a myriad of people and places. There are dozens of other vendors locally who are all doing similar things. No matter what your specific area of expertise, you’re going to encounter ‘competition’ – and the truth is you will always come across individuals who are more capable, more successful and more well-known than you.

While there are some with competitive behaviours out there, in my personal experience as a wedding celebrant is there are plenty weddings to go around and for the most part, other vendors are really lovely and supportive. Like any industry it can come with a bit of pretence and elitism, but the Taranaki wedding scene is a pretty friendly environment, where most of us are looking out for each other.

For me, the key has always been having a mutual respect for my colleagues, and recognising that ultimately, we all just want to succeed. A bit of healthy competition should push us – not to be unpleasant, underhanded or protectionist – but to develop new ideas for our respective businesses and to take chances while making the most of the opportunities that come our way.

This is why networking is SO important. The business contacts I have made over the past few years have been amazing. Any questions or problems I have had, I have always known someone who would be happy to help out and that is incredibly valuable from a professional, and personal, point of view. In most jobs, we have co-workers but in terms of the role of a celebrant, it can be a fairly solitary role, so networking is extra important. Through meeting with like-minded industry colleagues, you come across so many interesting people, some of which have become clients, and friends. For me, it is all about building relationships, so people can confidently recommend me AND feel comfortable approaching me for input, ideas and advice. It is most definitely a two-way street. Then every so often, you meet someone who really impresses you, and this happened in recent months when I met my colleague, and now good friend, Tracey Zehnder – Celebrant.

In days gone by, celebrants were generally people of a certain age and type of career background, for who becoming a celebrant was seen as a natural progression, of sorts. But not anymore. The face of the celebrant industry has changed completely in recent years and Tracey, like myself and many others, are representative of that. Tracey has burst onto the wedding scene this season and boy, is she making an impact. THIS. GIRL. IS. THE GOODS. And she is an absolutely AMAZING celebrant. I’m so glad that I met Tracey, and that only happened because of networking. In my time in this role, I’ve never met someone with such a complementary set of skills to my own. We share a great many things in terms of our business visions and principals and like me, she is in this job because she loves it. We both see it as such a privilege to be involved in weddings and place a huge amount of importance on telling a couples love story in a truly authentic way, free of stuffy ‘traditional’ expectations and cliché. But what has truly drawn us together is that she, like me, she is a true advocate for people, and for love. That is something that either comes naturally, or not – it cannot be faked because people soon see right through those that aren’t genuine advocates and who don’t see the role of Celebrant as their true vocation, but simply as a money spinner. And thank goodness for that!

So welcome Tracey, my colleague and friend. I’m so glad you are here – let’s do this!

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