Company Name: Lesley Baker Hames – Civil Marriage Celebrants
Company Address: PO Box 826 Armadale WA 6992
Phone: (0618) 9497 4428
1) Can you tell us a little about your wedding celebrant services? How did you get started in the wedding industry?
I decided about 10 years ago that I would like to be a celebrant after attending a couple of weddings where I thought what a wonderful occupation to be involved in. Unfortunately, my enquiries revealed that it was a closed shop then, and it wasn’t until 2004 that I saw a Marriage Celebrant course advertised, that I decided to have another shot at it. I was unavailable to do the first two courses in the March and October, so rather than wait any longer I decided to do my course online. Like everybody else at that time, I had to wait my turn to be appointed due to the quota system, and it wasn’t until September 2006 that I became a registered Marriage Celebrant, doing my first wedding in October 2006. I did the follow up Certificate IV of Marriage Celebrancy in 2010.
The philosophy behind my celebrant service is that each of my couples is the most important couple in the world, and I will do everything I can to make their day the best that I can. I go out of my way to make the experience easy and stress free for my clients and will go the extra mile to make their experience enjoyable .
2) From your experience, what type of couples search for your services? Who is your ideal/typical client?
My couples are all individual, there is no type. However, there are circumstances that some have in common. I have very many couples who have met on the internet, find they have similar interests, values and sense of humour, and have the common goal of love, companionship and a future together. They are young, old, professional, trades people, students and the bride or groom might even be from overseas. Speaking of which, I have many couples who elope from overseas or interstate, or even from locally who just want a simple, no frills affair where the emphasis is on the marriage rather than the wedding. My service allows them to do everything by email, and often I only meet them the day before the wedding.
3) How many weddings have you done? How many do you do a year?
I have done nearly 300 ceremonies over five years – currently between 60 and 70 wedding, renewal and naming ceremonies per year.
4) What do you do best and enjoy most about being a wedding celebrant?
I consider that I am very well organised and have good communication skills, as well as a good command of the English language. I enjoy everything about being a celebrant. I love meeting new people, hearing their story, helping them to understand the intricacies of the wedding process, and creating a special ceremony for them. I love going to new and beautiful venues, meeting the family, and the actual wedding itself, reassuring couples at the rehearsal and reminding them of the truly important thing to remember – the marriage, rather than the wedding. And if things go wrong – don’t stress, at the end of the day you will still be married, and they are the things you will laugh about in retrospect.
5) Why do couples choose you over other celebrants? What do you think makes you stand out? In other words, what do couples get with you that they might not get with others?
I think couples can see that I am empathetic, that I care about them, and have a sense of humour. I have a good enunciation, and use my voice well. I make it easy for couples to understand what it is required of them (particularly the legalities), and don’t spring unpleasant extra costs on them. My website is informative, clear, up to date and easy to negotiate.
6) Can you describe a normal wedding day in your life as a wedding celebrant?
Three days beforehand I would have finalised all the paperwork, printed off the ceremony on beautiful parchment paper, have any readings, palm cards etc printed off, the certificates finished and the Register ready. The reason I do this three days beforehand is to allow for any printer/computer/power malfunctions which could (and have) occurred on the day of the wedding.
The day beforehand, my briefcase is packed, PA system checked to ensure batteries are fully charged, table cloth and chair covers are all freshly laundered and packed, table and chairs ready to go.
On the day, I ensure that I am well groomed, and ready for business. I always endeavour to be at the wedding location at least 30 minutes prior to the ceremony and allow plenty of time to get there to allow for traffic hold ups etc. My husband is my self appointed roadie, security guard and chauffeur and has fulfilled many other roles including accompanying the bride down steps, acting as witness, pouring champagne, setting out chairs, chasing umbrellas down the beach, moving rubbish bins, babysitting etc, so after the ceremony we usually go out for a coffee, or a meal to unwind.
7) Can you share your top tips to find the ideal wedding celebrant? What do couples need to look for?
Couples need to find a celebrant that they feel comfortable with, and who is well organised and professional in what s/he does. Slipshod practices are not acceptable in the marriage industry because it could lead to a celebrant forgetting to attend the ceremony, an invalid marriage, or a just a plain disappointing day.
8.) What’s your top 3 questions couples should ask prior to choose their celebrant?
How do you ensure all the required legalities are met?
What contingency plan do you have in the event that you are ill on the day? (Only one couple has ever asked me that question!)
How will you meet our needs for the ceremony that we require?
9) Trivial question… favorite wedding location?
It has to be Araluen Botanical Gardens – so many absolutely beautiful locations in the grounds, and all of them so tranquil and unique.
10) Please share one last message to our site visitors. Make them an invitation to visit your company/website, and please indicate 3 AMAZING (yep REALLY AMAZING) reasons to choose you for their wedding day.
Visit my website www.lesleybhcmc.com.au to find out everything that you need to know about getting married in Australia – including the time the sun sets on your wedding day! Read dozens of genuine heart felt testimonials from my couples, download a Notice of Intended Marriage, find out where you can get documents translated if required. And find out about me, my costs and what they include at the click of the mouse.
You would choose me to be your celebrant if you are looking for a well organised, well spoken, well groomed, full time professional celebrant who cares about you and your wedding, and will design a personal ceremony for you.
Let me allow a recent response to the first draft of a ceremony speak for itself.
Oh Lesley – you made us cry! That is the most beautiful piece of writing and SO exactly what we hoped for, even though we couldn’t express ourselves what it was we hoped for! You have captured Bill and I so perfectly – our life and love together. My usually not overly expressive Bill was lost for words initially, and then couldn’t stop talking about how beautiful it was. He also said, and I wholeheartedly agree, that you have a gift. Thank you from the bottom (and top!) of our hearts for expressing in words everything we feel.