Andrew Deane is a fundraiser for a think tank and officiates weddings on weekends
“It was my sister who planted the seed when she asked me to be the celebrant at her wedding. It was six months away so I thought, ‘Why not?’ and I started studying to become a marriage celebrant.
At that time, marriage equality in Australia wasn’t recognised and as a gay man, it frustrated me that I would only be able to marry a man and a woman. But by the time I got my qualification, the marriage equality bill had passed [in December 2017] and my next gig was a lesbian wedding at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra.
In my day job I raise funds for a not-for-profit think tank that looks at the intersection of business and policy with respect to Asia and engages with ASX 200 companies, universities, government bodies and cultural organisations. It’s a busy job with significant hours and on top of that, I’m doing a master’s degree part-time.
My side hustle as a celebrant builds on the relationship management I already do but it connects me to people in a much nicer way. The ceremony itself is a culmination of weeks or months getting to know the couple and preparing them for this moment, in front of their family and friends.
Being a celebrant got me thinking about this passion I have for sharing other people’s stories. It also made me aware of how much creativity I have in my existing role. A celebrant sets the tone for a wedding and the couple look to you for direction. You’re a leader without realising it.
I wondered if I could make a small business out of this fun idea and calculated that to have a decent standard of living, I’d need to do two weddings a week and possibly become a funeral celebrant as well. Over time, it became clear that it would remain a side hustle. I started to design a logo and website but stopped, since I did well simply via word of mouth. I did a few weddings then the pandemic hit – I’ve done about 14 weddings in total.
I find being a celebrant very joyful. When you’re standing at the end of the aisle and a couple or bride or groom is coming towards you, the sense of responsibility hits. That feels very special.”