A day in the life of celebrant Peta Hardley

How long have you been a celebrant for?

I’ve been a celebrant for just over 20 years. In that time I’ve officiated at over 550 ceremonies – most of them marriages. Lucky me!

Why did you become a celebrant?

I’m an extrovert who has always loved being around people. I was often told by others that I’d make a good celebrant. I finally listened, and decided to do some training. I have to say that it’s been a great fit.

What involvement do you have or had with CANZ at a branch or national level?

I was on the Auckland branch committee for a number of years. I’ve been involved in organising and presenting at several national conferences, and a few workshops. I’ve also enjoyed attending a number of National conferences.

What ceremonies do you perform?

I’m predominantly a marriage celebrant. I never wanted to do funerals, although I’m less averse to the idea nowadays. My favourite ceremonies are the small, personalised, family based ones. 

What do you enjoy about being a celebrant?

I love the variety of people I meet and being part of an event that celebrates love. I feel very privileged and grateful every day for the opportunity to do this role. I’ve had my fair share of ‘quirky’ weddings and I love it when couples come with new or unusual ideas. I love a good challenge.

What are some of the hardest parts of being a celebrant?

Life can sometimes get hectic, crazy or overwhelming. I hate the feeling of not being able to give 100% to my clients. 

What was the most memorable ceremony you have performed?

The quirkiest wedding I’ve been asked to do, was a ‘self marriage’ where a 65 year old woman married herself! She had so many things she wanted to incorporate, so the ceremony had many moving parts. It was very strange, but also very cool!

What would be your typical day as celebrant?

There’s always emails to respond to. I’ve started to offer couples video meetings if they prefer, which many are deciding suits them. I will only do one ceremony a day, so it often takes up most of the day (or longer if I host the wedding at my home)  

What advice do you have for someone new to the industry?

Stay open to new experiences. You’re not going to be an expert overnight. Meet and chat with other celebrants. Join CANZ and go to workshops. Be kind –stay gracious. Really listen to your clients. Don’t expect to make a huge income from just celebrancy (so it’s unlikely you’ll be able to give up your day job for quite a while)

How do you like to relax?

For me it’s getting outside and getting my hands in the dirt. I live on a rural 10 acres, so there’s always plenty of room to ‘play’. I also love spending time with my family and my animals - naturally.