Hello, this is Matt Finch, Melbourne Celebrant and super cool guy
He’s a super cool guy, but he’s also one of Melbourne’s most sought after marriage celebrants. Celebrant Matt Finch chats with us about everything from why he’s a celebrant to his personal journey as a gay man during Australia’s marriage equality debate, and how he now helps countless couples on the journey to ‘I Do’
So, who are you? Wow. Big question straight up! Well, I know I’m a lucky man. I’m a gay marriage celebrant, so my career has never been so joyous & fulfilling.
I recently quit my ‘day’ job, so that I am able to focus on my celebrant passion 100%.
I’m meeting lots of incredible same-sex couples, some who have been together for sooo long but have never been able to legally (and locally) recognise it, so it’s exceptionally satisfying to help that change and be creative about the ways we’re doing it.
I adore my base here in Melbourne, but since I’m a traveller at heart, I love being part of weddings all over the world. Even though ceremonies abroad are not always legally binding, with personal touches, we make them feel real and amazing.
People don’t always speak openly about their lives or their relationships, so I feel really lucky that they do with me. I love being able to utilise that insight to create ceremonies that really mean something and make everyone feel good, it means that I leave ‘work’ feeling good too!
All in all, I really cannot complain. Living the dream! haha.
Why did you become a celebrant? My funny friends were having humourless ceremonies, my romantic friends were having soulless ceremonies. I just didn’t get it! Why?
I figured that I should have a go at creating ceremonies that actually suited the people in them! It all just kind of rolled on from there.
Plus, it just suits me! I love people and their stories, and I’m a sucker for a bit of romance and a belly laugh.
How long have you been a celebrant for? About 8 big years, and weirdly, I’m enjoying it more now than ever.
What is your approach to a wedding ceremony? Uncovering all the positives of people’s relationships and shining a light on them throughout their wedding. Digging up those details that will give people a chuckle or get that little gleam in their eye.
In your opinion, what is the recipe for the perfect wedding ceremony? Make it personal. Use specifics.
I love weaving in little details or quotes couples have shared with me to make it feel honest and real. Instead of including random boring poems, ask someone close to take a minute or 2 to say something authentic about you.
Don’t be vague in your vows, give real-life specifics about each other so that you actually connect and people ‘get it’. Give your partner some compliments you know they will want to hear and make real life promises related directly to your relationship. (Not just those standard topics you can find on Google).
The more ‘you’ in your ceremony, the more it connects for yourselves and your favourite people witnessing, so there’s no way it’s just considered the boring bit before the party.
I like to think that after your ceremony, your guests head to your reception with a smile on their face, feeling more aware about you and your relationship and all its positives, feeling pumped to celebrate it!
The topic of Marriage Equality was a tough one for many of us last year, tell us how it effected you personally and if it was extra hard being a celebrant and conducting weddings on a weekly basis... Luckily, I saw so much positivity. Many couples were demanding I point out that they disagreed with the out of touch laws and often the guests would applaud wildly in support!
The overwhelming support I received from couples and the wedding industry people around me was incredibly uplifting. I knew that even if our government refused to update, society was already stepping ahead.
How has your role as a celebrant changed since Marriage Equality? It’s been so much better! The emotions in the zone of a same-sex wedding are heightened so much more than our straight compadrés. We’ve had to fight so much longer and harder for this right, so it means so much more.
Some same-sex couples waited decades, so marriage is way overdue for them, meaning everyone in attendance is beyond ecstatic it’s finally happening for them.
I also love the freedom. Since there are no set rules as yet, it allows same-sex couples to be much more creative about how it all happens. I’m loving the variety and the personalisation.
Now that Marriage Equality is a reality and there are Brides and Brides, and Grooms and Grooms, what advice would you give couples that are unsure about how to translate those more traditional elements... I’m a believer in only including elements in your wedding that actually have meaning for you. Once we understand the reasons why you want any particular tradition, it helps us make it ‘connect’ - to be more specific, personal, fun, interesting and relevant. This often means that it’s irrelevant if you are a bride or a groom, it’s directly linked to you.
Whatever it is, it can be fun to ‘workshop it’ and see what might fit.
You’ve seen countless weddings... any secrets for the perfect wedding day? Yep. That’s easy. Let go. Let go and just relax.
You’ve done all the hard work, now just be in the moment, smile and enjoy the fruits of your labour! Trust the professionals you have hired do what they are good at, and have a blast!
One technique that helps is to have your photographs taken before the ceremony. You can still have that ‘reveal’ moment curated by your photographer or someone close so that you don’t miss out on that incredible moment.
Couples arrive way more relaxed and therefore, able to enjoy it. (Rather than when they are so overwhelmed that it’s a blur). And instead of having to leave your own party for pics, you can just stay with your people and not miss a moment of the fun!
Now, if a couple were interested in you for their wedding, what steps are involved getting from reading this interview to you pronouncing them Partners For Life? Just get in touch, and we’ll arrange a catch-up, simple as that.
We can have a relaxed chat about where you’re at and what you need to start thinking about. (And you can see if you like me!).
And finally.... give us your personal definition of marriage. I think marriage is about being thoughtful. Noticing the intricacies of that one special person.
Remembering the little things (because the little things are actually the big things).
Never forget how lucky you are to have found your ‘one’. As time goes by, it’s incredibly easy to take each other for granted, so we need to consciously fight against that!
Marriage is taking proactive steps to make your partner happier, just because you want to. Consciously choosing, each and every day, to love, support and encourage each other.
Being truly open - About absolutely everything.
A marriage where a couple are thoughtful and truly aware of one other is a beautiful thing.
At the end of the day, all we really want is to be happy. I think, to love and be loved, is a pretty great way to get there.
Don’t leave your Celebrant decision to the last minute, hit the button below and get in touch with Celebrant Matt Finch.
Image Credits: Main image, Image 2 & 3 - Corey Wright Photographer