IN THE SPOTLIGHT WITH
GEELONG CIVIL CELEBRANT
NICOLE PENNING

Nicole Penning is a young, vibrant and passionate Authorised Marriage Celebrant. Described by her peers as “The best in the business”, by fellow Wedding Suppliers as “A new breed of Celebrant”, introduced as “Geelong Wedding Royalty” and given the title by her couples as “The Queen of Weddings” and “My Wedding’s Fairy God Mother”.

She specialises in performing Weddings, Renewal of Vows, Commitment Ceremonies, Funerals, Naming Days, Wedding Day Personal Assistant and Celebrant Coach in Geelong and surrounding areas.

source: https://nicolepenning.com.au
Nicole Penning Geelong Celebrant profile shot

“Nicole could not be any more invested in your Wedding Ceremony, if she tried! She will bend over backwards and always go that extra mile for her couples – just ask her happy couples!”

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A CELEBRANT IN THE WEDDING INDUSTRY?

I have been a registered Marriage Celebrant since 2009 (11 years) and working in the Wedding/Event/Hospitality/Tourism Industry since 2000 (20 years!)

 

3 THINGS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?

My children and my Husband (Archie is 11 and Lacey is 9 and my Husband is Scott!)
Chocolate (might be obvious for most, but anyone that knows me well knows how much I love chocolate)
My indoor plants (it has turned into a little obsession with over 60 plants inside now!)
 

SOMEONE YOU ADMIRE/LOOK UP-TO IN THE WEDDING INDUSTRY?

All my couples that have chosen to break traditions and what is considered “normal” and have chosen to get married their way! At 11am on a weekday. With only their parents present. A surprise wedding ceremony at a birthday party. A ceremony at 12pm with family then a massive party at 8pm later that night with their friends. A surprise wedding at a Naming Day ceremony. Eloping with 2 witnesses, then renewing their vows the next year! I love it when a couple truly thinks about what they want, what is important to them and they work out how they can combine their values and wishes together to create their dream perfect wedding, that is perfect for them!!! Not just what is expected or what everyone else does!

 

ARE YOU A MEMBER OF A GROUP/AFFILIATION?

YES!!!! Absolutely! A few actually! I am the co-director at Geelong Celebrant Collective with 7 other amazing Geelong celebrants. I am the co-founder of Geelong Celebrants for Marriage Equality and the founder of Geelong, Bellarine & Surfcoast Region Marriage Celebrants Network. I am also a member of the ACMCV – Australian Civil Marriage Celebrants of Victoria

Nicole Penning Celebrant

“Being a “Geelong-girl” and having performed so many ceremonies (over 500), Nicole has developed strong relationships with local suppliers and has exclusive insider knowledge that will save you time, stress and money.” – Nicole Penning Civil Celebrant

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO BE A CELEBRANT?

Coming from a Hospitality and Tourism background, I found these industries not very family friendly to raise children whilst working. I moved into Sales and Recruitment, again, not that family friendly but the Monday to Friday was nice. So…. I decided, I wanted to work for myself, from home, so I could raise my family. I wrote down all the things I love in life on a piece of paper: weddings, parties, champagne, photos, music, dancing, family, friends, love, celebrations, kissing and hugging – and I quickly realised that all sounded like a great wedding! So I thought – I could become a Marriage Celebrant! I thought if I do 5 or 6 weddings, so be it. But 11 years on and over 500 ceremonies conducted – it is my full time job and I love every single thing about it! I want to be a celebrant every day for the rest of my life!!! I love it so much I now mentor and train other Celebrants, to be the best Celebrant that they can possibly be!

 

WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT WORKING IN THE WEDDING INDUSTRY?

Personally, that I get to work in a job I love whilst financially being able to support my family!
Professionally, (and selfishly personally as well!) I get to be part of a couples most important day, right by their side. I am there from the start, planning the day, creating the magic and delivering everything the couple wants, to their most loved family & friends! What an honour! I get to stand right by their side as they exchange their vows, literally the moment they become a married couple. I am right there, in that moment! I think that is so, so, so special and such an incredible privilege. 

 

YOUR MOST MEMORABLE WEDDING INDUSTRY EXPERIENCE?

It would probably be a mixture of two! The first a horrible experience, of a fellow celebrant who did not give me the time of day, knowing I was a competitor of hers and treated me quite badly. But I used this experience to motivate me to ensure no other celebrant ever felt the same way ever again, or got treated in such a way as I did. I created the Geelong Celebrant Network and Geelong Celebrant Collective. So from such a bad experience, came the most fulfilling, rewarding experience in the relationships I have been able to forge with other fellow celebrants. We unite as one. We believe in collaboration over competition. We have formed alliances, bonds, connections and friendships that I never thought possible. And ultimately – I now have life-long friends in my colleagues that I will cherish forever.

“Nicole’s promise to you – is she she will do everything in her power to make your wedding perfect.”  –  Nicole Penning Civil Celebrant

BEST ADVICE FOR COUPLES LOOKING TO HIRE YOU AS A CELEBRANT?

Be confident that there is the PERFECT celebrant out there for YOU! And if that is ME – I will bend over backwards to ensure your wedding ceremony is everything you dream it to be – what ever that is! I will do what ever it takes to give you that. Be true to yourselves. You do you. 🙂 

 

WHAT QUESTIONS DO YOU RECOMMEND COUPLES ASK WHEN LOOKING FOR A MARRIAGE CELEBRANT?

Oh gosh, so many! If it was me, I would want to know:
 
      • How long you have been a Celebrant for?
      • Is it your full time job? Or a hobby?
      • How many weddings have you performed?
      • Can I come and watch you do a wedding rehearsal?
      • Can I come and watch you do a wedding ceremony?

 

WHAT TRENDS ARE YOU SEEING IN YOUR PARTICULAR AREA FOR 2020/21?

Hmmm…. is that a trick question? 🙂
 
2020 has been a difficult year to date obviously, so a mini trend I have seen are couples getting married in a “legals only” or “registry style” marriage ceremony now, and plan on renewing their wedding vows in 2021 or even 2022 when they can safely celebrate with all their family and friends!