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Our trainers

Meet our team and what they're teaching this year

The best celebrant trainers for the best OPD for the best celebrants in Australia

Alison Pickel

I ditched deadlines for 'I do's when I left my media career for something that better suited my love for people, celebrations and endless admin. In making the switch, I brought more than 15 years' professional writing, storytelling, social media and digital marketing experience with me, having worked with brands such as David Jones, delicious. magazine and New Idea Food, as well as hundreds of small business owners.  

I use the client-first mentality I've been teaching the big guys in my own celebrant practice, crafting dynamic experiences based on my couples' needs. My natural nerdiness means I'm often found poring over the Marriage Act and figuring out new ways to use technology to make my business more efficient.

Away from the arbour, I like to eat dumplings, re-watch Parks & Recreation (again), and take way too many photos of my two rescue cats, Pancake and Barney.

Anna Smale

Anna Smale is a celebrant based in Melbourne and became a registered marriage celebrant in 2016. After meeting with her own celebrant and planning her own wedding, Anna decided that it was the perfect path to take.

Anna loves to get to know her couples and being creative with ceremonies. The best compliment she has received from a couple was that “it felt like we were being married by a close friend”.

Having a corporate background in training and development, it made sense for Anna to step into celebrant training and OPD. She is passionate about being a celebrant and supporting others to be the best celebrants they can be! 

Charyl Walsh

It was after being married by a celebrant that I knew becoming a celebrant was the path I wanted to take.

I am a people person, and gain great reward from helping people at both ends of the happiness spectrum, to ensure the day meets their expectations.

As I tell all my couples"“it’s your wedding not mine and it’s my intention to ensure you have the wedding you have always dreamt of".

Elsa Tuet-Rosenberg

Elsa is a queer, multi-racial, Jewish and Chinese woman of colour and Co-Founder and Director of Hue.

Elsa grew up in Naarm (Melbourne) and started working in the peer-to-peer learning space at RMIT in the PASS program and in the Study and Learning Centre as a Student Learning Assistant and Facilitator. She also worked for PROJECT ROCKIT facilitating anti-bullying workshops for students designed to empower young people to stand up against bullying, hate and prejudice.

Elsa has developed a range of social justice training experiences, co-designing a social change program that toured around Australia, upskilling young people to create change on the issues they care about in their communities. She also established the Anti-Racism & Allyship training program at Democracy in Colour as the Director of Training, developing and facilitating strengths based and interactive workshops for racial justice across the NFP sector. She has also been involved in extensive organisational antiracism work, advising on policy, development of POC forums, and language, HR and cultural audits and reforms within organisations.

Josh Withers

After a career in breakfast radio all around Australia, Josh saw the light in the celebrant industry. A father of two girls, and the support act for the sweet Brittany of The Elopement Collective, Josh Withers is a world-renowned celebrant and wedding industry educator. Josh has spoken at conferences in Europe and America, and performed marriage ceremonies on four continents plus whichever continent Iceland is on.

Josh is famous for his style of ceremony, and his brazen approach to social media, sharing his controversial views on weddings, getting married, and being married. He's also the host of a podcast, The Rebels' Guide To Getting Married, plus the co-founder of the Celebrant Institute along with Sarah.

Jules Leggett

We’ve all had one of these in our time, a monotone, rambling teacher who explains things poorly, waffles on and goes off on irrelevant tangents, well, this is definitely not me. My approach to my work (and to life in general) is this: uncomplicated, positive, enthusiastic & loads of fun, concise & a lateral thinker, creative & resourceful, practical, empathetic, energetic, friendly & warm, polite & always professional. This is the type of trainer you’ll find in me.

Julie Byrne

My career started as a Drama and English teacher in the late 1990s and I've have now clocked up 23 years secondary teaching experience. Roles included a leading teacher running the Arts Department, Literacy Intervention Coordinator and Careers and VET manager for the last 5 years. For a change, I have now entered the adult education sector, casual teaching at Swinburne TAFE.

My background in teaching is fundamental in providing quality training to celebrants; I get that we are all at different levels, abilities and stages of our vocation and can adapt the OPD to suit all and ensure that your 5 hours is of great benefit to you and your business. About 10% of my couples are students I taught over those years so I certainly do make a lasting impression and love to develop quality relationships! Teaching and training is a passion of mine.

Kathryn Adams

Hi! I am Kathryn Adams, and I am a commercial lawyer of seventeen years experience. I have had a pretty wild career, having been based around the world (including Australia, Singapore and the United Kingdom), specialising in the vast areas of commercial, corporate and employment law. People know me as the assertive, “no-nonsense” lawyer who avoids the “pomp and ceremony” and just focuses on getting the job done.

What people tend not to know about me is that I have previously run my own wedding and events company, am a lifestyle and product photographer and love of all things interior design. That gives me the “inside knowledge” of the workings of event businesses.

As a result, it made complete sense that when COVID-19 brought havoc to the Australian wedding and events industry, I “stepping into the ring”. I was able to utilise my skills as a commercial lawyer, use the love, passion and experience I had with all things events, and merge it all together to assist people with the complicated legal issues that were surfacing as a result of the pandemic.

Fast forward to now, I am Australia’s first lawyer to specialise in “wedding and event law”, with the focus on advising wedding and event suppliers.

Madeleine Little

Madeleine is a passionate, driven and multi-skilled theatremaker and performer with skills in ticketing operations and arts administration. Her interests lie in collaboratively devised works, traditional and contemporary theatre, and inclusive creative processes and outcomes. The inaugural winner of the Stella Young Award from Arts Access Victoria (2018), Madeleine is a disabled artist and is available as an advocate and access consultant for arts organisations.

Matt Finch

It blows my mind that over the past decade as a celebrant I’ve been able to help over 500 amazing, diverse couples become married in a way that suits them. I love it. To me, marriage is a huge, beautiful thing. 
 
I get such a kick out of it; Sharing couple’s hilarious antics or emotional angles. Giving their guests insight into who they are. Helping create lifelong memories. 
 
From the outside it doesn’t look that hard: say some stuff, sign some papers. But it’s soooo much more than that:

  • 
It’s bonding with each couple.

  • Knowing legalities inside out.
  • Being aware of your options and creative enough to craft new ones.
  • 
Invigorating ceremonies with meaning and relevance so that modern day guests can connect.
  • Always learning, honing our craft, making couples happier.

 
As your trainer, I’ll help you move toward being the most open minded, informed, creative celebrant you can be.

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