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S3, EP18: Community over competition in the wedding industry!

CategoriesWedding celebrant.Wedding suppliers.Wedding tips.
20 Apr, 2023

On this episode of Project Engaged, we chat to a trio of Victorian based celebrants who are leading the way in the wedding community!

We were so excited to be joined on the podcast by not one, but THREE industry legends: Megan WatsonMatt Finch and Zena Lythgo.

We chat to Megan, Matt and Zena about changes to the wedding industry over the last few years, how the concept of CoC (Community over competition) started and why couples benefit from positive relationships between wedding vendors. We also share some hot tips and trend predictions for weddings and recount the fun and mayhem that is the annual CoC party!

We absolutely LOVED chatting to these legends! We hope you enjoy listening to our chat!


Full episode transcription

Eddy: Welcome back to another episode of Project Engaged.

Aleks: Oh, hello. Sorry about that.

Eddy: This is take two. I pushed the wrong button in the last take.

Aleks: We didn’t have to do the whole thing again. Anyway, welcome, welcome.

Eddy: I actually think second take is a lot more energetic than first.

Aleks: Natural. Bit more natural.

Eddy: Natural, natural behind the scenes sort of stuff. So how are you, Aleks?

Aleks: Great, how are you?

Eddy: Very good. I sensed absolutely no sarcasm there.

Aleks: Sorry. No, I’m good. I’m good, thank you. Bloody freezing, bloody freezing. And we are off to Port Douglas in a couple of weeks. So I keep thinking about that and I just looked up at the weather and it’s 29 degrees and it’s like eleven here.

Eddy: Paradise.

Aleks: I can’t wait.

Eddy: So for our listeners, I mean, suppliers, vendors, venues are going to know that it has slowed down a little bit. Perhaps not for everyone, but certainly for us. So any listeners out there that has it, it has.

Aleks: It will in a couple of weeks.

Eddy: I think we were doing like three and four in a row and now we’re doing one a week.

Aleks: Oh, yeah, but we block that out, don’t we?

Eddy: Yeah. Sorry, I sort of pointed because your face kind of screwed up and I’m like, are you in the same line of work as I am or.

Aleks: No. Just to explain to our listeners. So we have a break because we have chosen to take a break. Do you know what I mean? I don’t think, like, since the pandemic, I don’t think there is a season, obviously, it’s busier in certain times, but you could easily do weddings every week. But we choose during winter to take.

Eddy: Yeah.

Aleks: Little breaks.

Eddy: I’ll tell you one thing, this is actually the first time since, I guess, the industry sort of opened up again after the pandemic that I’ve actually felt like I’m able to take a breath.

Aleks: Oh, that’s good.

Eddy: It’s really nice. Anyway, moving along because we’ve got a very, very, very awesome podcast episode for everyone today. But we have to just quickly do a weekend roundup like we always do.

Aleks: I love that jingle. You do so much sarcasm today.

Eddy: You’re excited. Okay, so I will start. So I had Friday night off. We both had Friday night off.

Aleks: Yeah.

Eddy: So I had Saturday and Sunday last week. Saturday was Sarah and Adam at Connie’s Italian diner. And for those playing at home, it is above heartbreaker on Russell street in.

Aleks: The city, which I’ve heard about a lot, but I’ve never been to and I’m very keen. I think it’s like a late night karaoke it’s got. Well, it’s got late late night. I mean, it’s got karaoke.

Eddy: Does it?

Aleks: Yeah.

Eddy: That’s pretty cool. So above heartbreaker. Beautiful venue. It really is an italian diner, so.

Aleks: It looks so cool.

Eddy: They’re not lying about it. Very, very cool.

Aleks: How many disco balls do they have?

Eddy: They got two or three disco balls above the dance floor. And they’ve got the right lighting that hits the disco ball. So you get that nice speckled sort of effect, shimmery effect once the dance floor kicks off. Beautiful couple. Epic night. Just. Just good vibes all round for this one.

Aleks: Looks like a lot of fun and best content ever because you had a guest take your special 360.

Eddy: So I’ve got what they call an Insta 360 camera. So it’s kind of like a GoPro, sort of. And it takes a 360 degree video. So when you take the video and then you open your app on your phone after it’s been taken, you can pick any sort of. How would I explain this? Any side, any angle. Up, down, left, right, wherever you like. 360. There you go. So someone took that onto the dance floor and sort of danced around with it. And, yeah, it was pretty fun. I’m gonna try and get that done for most of my events.

Aleks: Yeah, you just gotta be careful of the drunk people takes it.

Eddy: Yes.

Aleks: If they look. If their eyes are glazed over, probably not. If they look a little bit jovial.

Eddy: Yeah. Yeah. So pick your battles there. And Sunday night, I was back at the post office hotel. Shout out to those guys.

Aleks: I’m there tomorrow. Saturday.

Eddy: Saturday. We’re recording this on a Thursday. And the podcast we recorded with the guys was last week, so we’re in the Twilight zone right now. And Mel, from love good images or love good photos, I should say, was there. So shout out to Mel. She’s amazing.

Aleks: She gets her in sound effects.

Eddy: She does get her own sound effects.

Aleks: She’s the best. She’s so much fun to watch.

Eddy: She’s great. Yeah. So that was a really fun one as well. A bit of an older crowd, so the older stuff worked really well. Jason serenaded Anna with a couple of tunes that he learned and sung.

Aleks: Is he a singer?

Eddy: He’s not a singer, no, but, yeah, absolutely. And one of them was actually a Van Halen song, so I had to play some Van Halen later on, which I never played at a wedding. Yeah. So two really, really lovely weddings for me.

Aleks: Awesome. I’m actually not going to talk about mine on Saturday because there were some unfortunate circumstances around it. Yeah. No, no sound effects, that one. So just out of respect for the couple, I won’t talk about it. Lovely couple, though. And we’re gonna do a little bit of a. An after party later in the year, so. Yeah, I shall debrief then.

Eddy: Excellent. Okay. So today.

Aleks: Yeah. Oh, we got a good one. Yeah.

Eddy: Massive, massive one. We’re speaking to three glorious individuals who are all at the top of their game in the wedding industry, working as celebrants.

Aleks: Yeah.

Eddy: They’ve created one stellar community and they talk about the history of that and where it is now. They throw one hell of a party every year for the entire wedding industry. And it’s just amazing.

Aleks:  Yeah, and it’s beautiful. Bigger and better every single year. This year it is on the 6 June. I’m sure we mention it on the actual episode, but if you are a vendor listening, there is. There are, I should say, links to buy tickets to the party on any of the celebrants of interview on their Instagram pages. I’m sure we’ll put a link up as well.

Eddy: Yeah, we’ll put a link up. It’s not hard to find. And even if you’re brand new to the industry or any vendor in this industry should go to party, basically, no matter how long you’ve been in the industry, it’s not a networking event per se. It’s a party. You’re gonna meet so many people, you’re gonna have a boogie with them all. It’s just unbelievably fun.

Aleks: It’s great. And we chat to the three of our guests about the importance of the concept of community over competition, not just for vendors, but also for couples and how it actually benefits.

Eddy: Absolutely.

Aleks: So if you are a couple listening, don’t give up. Listen to the episode. It’s worthwhile. And if nothing else, we do go over some hot tips as well.

Eddy: Yes, we do.

Aleks: Your wedding ceremony and some predictions and things. So definitely worth it.

Megan: Yeah.

Eddy: Some upcoming trends.

Aleks: Yeah, for sure.

Eddy: Excellent. Let’s get straight into it. Welcome to Project Engaged, a podcast for fun loving couples planning their non traditional wedding.

Aleks: We’re wedding DJs Aleks and Eddy Mac from Melbourne. We run a business called One More Song, and our tagline is No More Nutbush.

Eddy: In this podcast, we’ll share our wedding experiences and chat to some of our past couples.

Aleks: We’ll also interview bold wedding suppliers who share our philosophy of your wedding being a celebration of you as a couple and wild. One epic party.

Eddy: Let’s get into today’s episode.

Aleks: Today’s episode is an absolute banger. We’ve got not one, but three epic vendors that we’re chatting to. Absolute wedding pros. They are all legends of the industry. Legends of the industry. All celebrants, all super fun. And we are going to be chatting to them about community over competition, aka cog wedding industry. We’re gonna have to put an expletive. What is it? Explicit warning on the apple.

Eddy: Yep.

Aleks: Yeah. Cause there’s gonna be a lot of cock talk today.

Eddy: There’ll be a lot of cock talk.

Aleks: So let’s not waste any time. And welcome our guests, Zena, Matt, and Megan.

Eddy: Welcome.

Matt: Thank you very much.

Eddy: The crowd goes wild.

Aleks: That’s all our sound effects.

Eddy: Yeah, I used two of the buttons. Two of the four. How are you guys doing?

Zena: Great, great. How are you?

Matt: The season where we can kind of breathe a little bit more. So, happy days.

Eddy: Yeah. Actually, that’s a really important point for our listeners that aren’t wedding suppliers. Yeah. At this time, it does start to, for most people, kind of relax a little bit.

Aleks: Yeah, absolutely.

Eddy: Get some energy back, get some rest, get some sleep. It’s amazing.

Aleks: Mad much? Well, if you’re a DJ, the sleep is still questionable.

Eddy: Oh, stop it.

Aleks: We’re gonna kick things out. Obviously, we’ve got three guests today, so we’re gonna try and direct questions to certain people. Maybe, maybe not.

Eddy: Maybe.

Aleks: Free ball.

Zena: It’s just free ball.

Aleks: But let’s do a little intro from each of you for our listeners and tell us how long you’ve been celebrant for, what types of ceremonies you do, what areas you service, etcetera. Zena, why don’t you kick things off?

Zena: Sure can. I’ve been a celebrant for nine years now, and like all celebrates, I do a bunch of different ceremonies. I tend to get weddings on big properties in the country and lots of little elopements. And I do a bunch of legals only weddings with a couple of elopement businesses, too.

Aleks: Amazing. Very good. Who have we got next? Megan.

Me. Hi. So I’ve been a celebrant for 15 years now, which makes me sound so old but I tend to. Most of my weddings are bigger weddings, I would say lots of the big Yarra Valley properties, peninsula properties, and so on. So I don’t do as many elopements as the other two, but I’ll go wherever people want me to go.

Aleks: Beautiful.

Eddy: Yep. Love it.

Aleks: How’s that for service? And Matt.

Eddy: Matt. Yeah.

Matt: I actually had to look this up this morning because I had no idea how.

Aleks: What’s my selling point?

Matt: Yeah, and I have to admit, I just make up a number when people ask me how long I’ve been doing this. But I know now for sure it’s just over twelve years, which is kind of nuts, but, yeah, I think I’ve ended up in, I guess, a bit like Meg, some of the bigger weddings where, you know, a bit more probably city based with a lot of it. I’ll, you know, still do the yarra and everything as well, but it’s nice to get stuff closer to home. I do do the occasional little weddings, but not too much. It really has gone more that big, big personal stuff.

Eddy: Now that sounds really cool.

Aleks: So between you’ve got maths, you’re the mathematician, not me. A lot of experience.

Eddy: Caffeine still hasn’t hit me, so it’s not gonna happen, I’m afraid. And just to throw it back to you guys, so what made each of you want to become a celebrant?

Aleks: We’ll go back to it.

Zena: I have no idea why at 24 years old, I thought I had enough life experience to be a celebrant. But I’m really glad I had that crazy hair brain scheme and it’s led me to doing this full time. I was working in the gay community. Kevin Rudd was talking about passing same sex marriage. It just sounded like a buyer to be a part of. And it has been ever since.

Megan: That’s been her in a nutshell, that is. That’s so Zane and I, my sister in law, got married at home in a backyard, beautiful wedding with a marquee and so on, and had a horrendous celebrant. And I just remember thinking, I could do that so much better. I can’t do that. I’m sure all been to a bad wedding. But anyway, when I was on mat leave from my job with my first son, I studied by distance and, yeah, started doing friends and so on, and then eventually quit my corporate job. And here I am working full time as a celebrant. That was never in plan, but I’m so glad I did, too.

Eddy: And how did it feel quitting that corporate job, in one word?

Megan: Well, Eddy, if I can tell you, I’m my husband. So I had to resign to my husband. He just laughed and said, if you think you can do it, and if that’s, that’s your passion, go for it. And so I’ve been proving him, well, not proving him wrong, because he always would do it, but, like, I love seeing him go off to work. He’s in the city today working. And I was like, I’m just recording a podcast and hanging out with some friends.

Eddy: Somebody’s having more fun than the other person, so.

Aleks: Good. I’m Matt.

Eddy: Yeah.

Matt: I’d been working over in Europe for a few years and came home, and, you know, you have that bit of space when you get home, trying to work out what you do. And I thought doing the course could be a fun thing to do on the occasion, you know? And then once I got into it, I discovered people are kind of sexist, and there were really no males in the game so much, not many. So it just kind of started to take off. And the more I got into it, the more I was like, oh, hell, yeah, I like this. And so it just kind of happened. And it’s a bit like next to. I’ve been to all those weddings. You know, you go through that phase of your friends, and they’re all having weddings that don’t suit them, and it’s all a bit mysterious, and you kind of do sit there going, why? Why aren’t these celebrants doing something that makes sense? And so, yeah, it all just kind of grew, and it’s been amazing.

Aleks: And I have to. I have to say, Matt and I have mentioned this to you before, but you are actually my. You planted the seed in my head for quitting my corporate job and going full time into the wedding industry back in 2020.

Eddy: That’s amazing.

Aleks: Yeah, I know.

Eddy: I didn’t know that.

Aleks: Yeah, yeah, yeah. We had a bit of time after a ceremony to chat, and I was like. And you were like, you know, it’s been great. Like, really? And I was like, you’re right, Matt.

Matt: Yeah. I’m a bit of a. An advocate for the industry, so I’m glad you listened.

Aleks: Love it.

Zena: Me, too.

Matt: Here we are.

Aleks: Me, too.

Zena: And three years later, she’s joining the Sally ranks. Yeah.

Aleks: Oh, yes. Yes. I’m waiting patiently. I’ve done the celebrant course, which was fun.

Matt: Are you finished?

Aleks: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Finished. So I’m one month into my three month wait, so. Gotta get my shite together.

Eddy: Countdown is on. Yeah.

Zena: You’ll be celebrating at the cock party.

Aleks: Yes, yes. Yeah. Should be. Should be. So, end of May. End of May. Should come through, please. Attorney general.

Matt: We’ll have to have a welcome to the club party.

Aleks: Yeah, I know.

Eddy: Celebrate shots.

Aleks: I’m gonna.

Megan: Don’t need to twist our arms for that.

Aleks: Absolutely not. Absolutely not.

Eddy: Well, let’s talk about how the community over competition aka hashtag hawk concept started in the wedding industry.

Megan: Okay, who wants to take this one?

Matt: Oh, look, I know from my angle, when I started just over twelve years ago, it was completely different. And it was kind of extreme in that no one wanted to talk to me. No one wanted. Everyone was worried that I would steal their couples or steal their idea or, you know, copy their script or something. And it was really a surprise to me. I just kind of assumed that the industry would be much more friendly and I think that’s just always stuck with me and, and wanting to do the opposite, which makes so much more sense. Really?

Aleks: Yeah, totally. Megan, you were going to jump in as well.

Megan: Oh, well, I mean, Matt, and as I have spoken about this, but I think that we. Yeah, 15 years ago, when I did my course online, I didn’t know another celebrant, and it took me years before I even met another celebrant in the flesh. So it’s so mind blowing to think now that we’re all so close. Everyone shares leads, everyone shares best practise, you know, everything that can make us better as celebrants is disgust, usually over wine, but it. Lovely shift from where I began to where we are now.

Matt: Exactly.

Megan: And cock. This has a really nice ring to it. Really?

Eddy: You just said cockering.

Megan: Oh, my gosh, it’s so early in the morning.

Eddy: It’s too early for this and Zena, is this your experience as well in relation to the community aspect?

Zena: Oh, for sure, it was. Everyone in the wedding industry is just really good. Good folk, good humans. And it’s really lonely running your own business from home most of the time, too. And I think everyone really craves that connection. And we also work predominantly weekends and after hours, so it also makes it harder to connect with your friends and family who work nine to five. And I think we all bond over having time off mid week.

Eddy: Absolutely. Yeah, I agree with that 100%.

Aleks: Yeah, totally. And I think also just the work itself, like the amount of emotional, mental, physical energy that’s involved. I think if you’re not working in weddings, it can be hard to understand, but you’re part of so many people’s most important day of their life.

Eddy: One of. Yeah, absolutely.

Aleks: Over and over again. So I think it’s good to have friends, you know, who understand that, that aspect of it as well, because it’s not just like the hours or, you know, that sort of thing that goes into it. It’s actually. Yeah, you exert a lot of energy. I think you put a lot into each and every wedding for sure.

Matt: I think too, like, in the wedding industry, it’s common that there’s only one of you in the business and, you know, we have so many dates in the wedding season that are crazy popular and, you know, you can only do one of them. So it kind of makes sense to be ensuring that these couples are then going on to good suppliers that they can trust and have a good result from, rather than just being thrown back to try and pick up their own ideas. We’re all sort of sharing, sharing and even just helping them find, if I was the vibe that they were kind of looking for, and I can say, oh, well, look, a, b and c might have a similar vibe to me, why don’t you cheque them out? You know, I think that really helps the couples.

Megan: Yeah, and something you said before, Aleks, if I can just speak to that about the. No one else really understands. I think that became really apparent over the COVID time when there was really, you know, my friends meant really well, but it was difficult for them to understand just how challenging that time was for us in the wedding industry and to have each other and to have people who were really in the same boat as you really got it. That was so reassuring. And I think that friendship deepened even more over that period in the wedding industry. So I think the community is even stronger as a result of that experience.

Eddy: Yeah, I agree with that. Oh, sorry, Zena, you go.

Zena: Oh, no, I was just agreeing with Megs. And I think that’s why the cock mentality and the party in particular are so special to everyone across the industry, because, you know, I know on a wedding day, before the ceremony, I’m kind of getting in the zone to do the ceremony and I’m kind of ready for a chat afterwards. And that’s when the photographers and videographers are getting ready to really go for it with photos and, like, the makeup.

Megan: Artist isn’t even there.

Zena: So even though you have a lot of great connections, you don’t get a lot of time to necessarily connect.

Aleks: Oh, totally.

Eddy: Yeah, that’s right. You’re on the job, so to speak. So it’s. Yeah, yeah, it’s completely different.

Aleks: Well, we obviously community over competition, the whole concept, and the community started, you know, in the celebrate field, but we’ve tried to take that to, you know, DJ’s as well because we don’t see each other on gigs, obviously.

Eddy: Yeah, and it’s. Obviously. It’s funny that you’ve mentioned COVID. It’s one of the positives, one of the few positives that came out of COVID is that strengthening of relationships in the industry. And we found that, too. We have a little. It’s nothing like you guys, obviously, but we have a little DJ group, Melbourne DJ group that we’ve started on Facebook that we’re finding to be amazing, you know, and people really getting involved with. We’re seeing that community aspect start to flesh out, which is tiny compared to what you guys have built. But it’s a good feeling. Yeah, it’s amazing.

Aleks: It is. Yeah, definitely.

Matt: That’s incredible. It’s incredible. And that’s. I feel like part of what we’re talking about is that all these different industries can, can do the same thing and prosper rather than.

Eddy: Yeah.

Matt: You know, be alone, be lonely.

Aleks: It can be a bit lonely, let’s be honest.

Matt: Now, it was funny when we were talking about the. The cock acronym, because in the beginning, I think megs in particular, you were a bit nervous about throwing around the word cock.

Megan: Now look at me.

Matt: Yeah. We realised, like, everyone just kind of warmed to it. We had all these different kind of words and ideas flowing around, but everyone just locked on to cock and it was just hilarious. And we just kind of went, you know what? We’re just going to have to embrace that acronym. And it’s. It’s been amazing because it’s just obviously joke after joke that goes with it.

Eddy: Yeah. Oh, absolutely. There’s so many sound bites that I’m thinking about now from this podcast. It’d be incredible to market it with. I digress.

Aleks: Now we’ve got the explicit rating on it. We can do whatever we like, frankly. Don’t worry about it at all. So you guys have been obviously, in the Melbourne wedding scene for a while. What is it, like 50 years between years close to and sort of. Well, I mean, we can. We can include COVID in this, but are there any kind of, like, major changes you’ve seen? Obviously, we’ve talked about, you know, the community growing and people being much more collaborative and working together. But in terms of weddings themselves, what are the kind of biggest changes that you’ve seen? This is more for our couples, really?

Megan: Yeah.

Aleks: Zena?

Zena: Well, I just feel like in the last couple of years since COVID the game has changed entirely. Like, so many more people doing something during the week or, like, you know, let’s just go away to a small part of Victoria for a couple of days, or lope whelps were there, or lots more engagement parties that become weddings and. Yeah, like, people just doing it and a lot quick turnaround. Like, less thrills, less two years budgeting for it. Let’s just bring the closest family members together for a long lunch. Like, I just feel like there’s. It’s changed so much on the back of COVID in really, really beautiful ways.

Aleks: Yeah, I would agree with that. And that.

Matt: Yeah, I think, like, when I started, everyone just followed a very similar kind of rule book. Like, you know, everyone said, oh, this is what you do in a wedding. And so many couples just went, yep, we follow what we’re told. Whereas I think it’s just I’ve kind of gone out the window more and people are much more comfortable, I guess, to go, oh, well, what. What makes sense to me? Like, what? Yeah, what do I want to do? I don’t want my dad to walk me down the aisle. I want to do a, B or c. And, you know, just those simple old things that we all did. People are starting to go, oh, you know what? That’s not me. Let’s see what makes sense. And I love it. It just makes it so much better for everyone.

Aleks: And we’ve seen that a lot with, you know, obviously we’re involved in more receptions than ceremonies, but we’ve seen that a lot with the reception. So, you know, loads of our couples are opting not to have a first dance.

Eddy: I think it’s 50 50 at this point.

Aleks: Yeah, certainly even entrances and things, you know, they’re like, why? Why should we miss cocktail hour when we could be there enjoying with our guests? Megan, what have you seen in terms of kind of, I suppose, major changes to the ceremonies that you’ve done over the last kind of couple of years?

Megan: Yeah, well, because I do mostly the bigger weddings. If I was to, you know, 80 and above kind of thing is my bag, I would say first looks are really common now. It was quite an american thing a few years back, and I love first looks. For me, I just think I get my. My couples a lot more present in the ceremony. It takes extra layer of nervousness and they really engage with the process. So I love that. And also because a lot of weddings in Melbourne are at 4430 or five, which chatting to other states is much later than other states. Other friends in other states tell us they’re often at 03:00 so if Melbourne’s on that tighter timeframe, too, then first looks really, really work from that point of view. But what else?

Aleks: Odd.

Megan: You know, I actually think a lot of our couples have got ideas and they just need this in terms of ceremony, I’m talking, but they just need their celebrant to support those ideas. Like, sometimes couples will be like, what do you think about this? And I’m like, oh, I’m bang up for that. Let’s incorporate that. It might be something funny that they’re known for. It might be mums. Bringing the rings forward is really common at the moment. Really popular. So involving mums or surprising people with witnesses. So, you know, all these little things, they kind of want to do it, but they just need almost permission to be allowed to do it. They want to break out of the rule book, as Matt said, so.

Aleks: And it makes it interesting for celebrants because you’re always doing something that’s super unique and personalised for a couple. Yeah, absolutely.

Zena: Yeah.

Matt: Cool. That’s the thing. No one wants to do this thing.

Eddy: Yeah.

Aleks: I think I like flower boys.

Megan: Oh, yes. Love a flower.

Aleks: Grown men.

Megan: Yeah.

Eddy: So much fun.

Megan: I love it when they really, like, really turn it on, too, and they really, like, bot to the music on the beat and they do little flourishes and they get the grandparents. I really love that.

Eddy: They just own it. Yeah, it’s great.

Aleks: I love that. And, Zena, what about in terms of the smaller, like, the elopements? Are you seeing any changes in terms of where people are choosing to have those? Are they getting more adventurous?

Zena: I think everyone always liked the idea of being super adventurous, but then when you think about the logistics of, like, dresses and getting changed in the middle of the bush, it all becomes a little bit challenging. But, yeah, I mean, I feel like lots of people will, after they’ve got all their beautiful photos, maybe, like, be willing to, like, jump in some water and, you know, kind of do something like that at the end of it to make really memorable photos. Depending on how many guests you’re having, or if you’re having guests, it really changes the day, too. Right? Like, if you. If it’s just the two of you, you can kind of go to a bunch of different locations and you could even, like, do your vows at one location and then find the paperwork somewhere else. It can kind of be a bit of adventure along the way, but if you’ve got a few elderly guests, it’s harder to take them down. Slippery, slippery rocks and things like that just on that.

Eddy: Zena, what’s the most extreme thing? Sorry to put you on the spot that you’ve seen.

Zena: My two favourite ceremony stories are I did one in the photo booth at Flinders street station, that iconic photo booth, and it was. I think it was the fastest ceremony I’ve ever done. It was like 1 minute and 48 seconds. And then we put the dolly coin. It’s where he proposed. And they used to go there every year to get photos on their anniversary. And we put the dolly coin in. And then we declared the married. And then they captured their kiss on the. On film, which was super cute. And then I did another amazing one where there were a couple who were heading overseas for work. They were heading to America. And you have to. You have to get married. They don’t do partner visas for America. So it was too hard to bring everyone together. So they loved to go floating down the river at Warrandyte on inflatable devices. So they grabbed their two besties. They were all academics. They all read an excerpt from a favourite book as they stood in the shallows of the warrandight river.

Zena: And then we floated a little bit further down the river. And then we stood in the shallows and they said their vows. I don’t know. I can’t remember if he exchanged rings. I don’t know if we would have done that in the shallows of the water. It does sound precarious. And then we kept floating a bit further down. And then we got out of the water. They signed the paperwork and everyone had a cocktail and cheese platter. And it was delightful.

Aleks: The things you can do when you don’t have DJ decks involved. Hey.

Zena: Yeah.

Aleks: I don’t know.

Eddy: But if I was involved, I’d be playing some TLC.

Aleks: Don’t go checking waterfalls.

Eddy: That’s for sure.

Aleks: Nice. Nice.

Zena: Tell you one thing.

Aleks: I will not be doing any sort of like, scuba diving or anything adventurous.

Eddy: Scuba diving wedding. Yeah, that’s maybe one for Zena.

Aleks: No, I saw. I saw in one of the celebrant groups on Facebook, someone. You had a couple requests that they do a scuba diving wedding. And they had to figure out how to, you know, do all the legal wording. And I’m just like.

Zena: Yeah, well, Matt’s. Matt’s our salivary trainer. Is that even possible? Because you can’t say the words underwater. Like, you probably do it beforehand. Yeah. Or after.

Aleks: Yeah. Matt, we’re just talking about. I think you popped out. You’re back. He’s back. He’s back.

Matt: Yeah, we just lost power here. I’m on my phone.

Aleks: Oh, wow. Oh, wow.

Matt: What did I miss?

Aleks: Oh, scuba diving ceremonies. Are they legal?

Matt: They can be done. You’ve got to have an underwater microphone.

Eddy: Oh, there you go.

Matt: You heard it here first.

Megan: Yeah.

Matt: Which can be done.

Aleks: Yeah. That one’s for the too hard basket for me, but I’m sure there’s others out there.

Eddy: I’m looking forward to someone getting married in space. I mean, it’s even. You’re not even a country, I guess, though. So how do you. What about international water? You just read we’re really going down the rabbit hole.

Matt: Yeah, yeah, it can be done.

Aleks: Well, speaking of. Yeah, on the water, there’s always. Always see, um, posts about celebrants who have, you know, married a couple on an island somewhere or on a boat. And you’ve got to put, like, the coordinates. Is the location on the certificate.

Matt: Yeah, same for an aeroplane.

Eddy: Well, I’m learning a lot today. This is great. Anyway, we better get back on track.

Aleks: Yeah, you learn a lot. All right, we are going to talk about.

Eddy: Yes. Okay. So we can go back to the cock party. So, um, do you want to paint.

Aleks: A picture of last year’s cockpit?

Eddy: Oh, you’re more of a wordsmith than I am, so you can. You can go. I got way more drunk than you, so.

Aleks: Okay.

Eddy: I had no shirt at the end of it, remember?

Matt: I think you both gave it a good dig.

Eddy: I’m just trying to make Aleks feel better.

Aleks: Thank you very much. That’s fine. It’s. I’m normally drunker than Ed, so that’s, you know, it’s an achievement. Um, no, it was.

Matt: Aleks. This year, I’m going to bring some spare shoes for you.

Eddy: Client is listening to us and going, oh, no, he’ll be got deejaying.

Aleks: I did grow up in Matt Finch’s shoes, and I was wondering whose size nine Gucci sneakers I was wearing.

Eddy: It’s gonna be confusing. The next day, I might add. Yeah.

Zena: Yeah.

Aleks: All right. But I have to say something. Someone stepped on my foot and broke my shoe and also injured my toe. And I must have, at that point, decided to just do away with both shoes.

Matt: Why not?

Aleks: And I have this rule. I have this rule where I cannot be barefoot. It’s just, like, gross. It’s just like Britney Spears breakdown kind of vibes. But, um, you know, and a pair of Matt Finch’s shoes were better than.

Eddy: I think we are starting to paint a picture for anyone that is about the type of.

Aleks: No, let’s talk about it. So it’s. It’s at a great location. West beach. Thank you very much. You know, there’s. I think there was, what, close to 200 5300 people last year? A couple hundred.

Matt: It was over 250.

Megan: Yeah.

Eddy: Numbers. Yeah.

Aleks: Amazing. On a Tuesday or Wednesday in the middle of day.

Zena: Because we were working.

Aleks: Tuesday, 02:00 p.m. You go in, tunes are banging.

Eddy: There was straight, straight from the get live. There’s no build to this party. It’s as soon as the doors open, it is on.

Aleks: Yeah. You’re handed cocktails, you handed shots. There are performers. There was a burlesque stripper, I think. Is that the correct term?

Matt: Well, performer will say.

Eddy: We’ll edit this out post production.

Aleks: Yeah. And let’s talk about this year. So this year is going to be even bigger, because every year this party grows and we have more people attending and it’s bigger and better.

Eddy: I’m interested in the evolution from the beginning and how it’s evolved to what it is today and what’s, what it’s going to be tomorrow, in a sense. Not to give anything away, but let’s talk about, you know, the evolution of.

Aleks: The cockpit and when the first one was.

Matt: Yeah, well, I think we realised, you know, we don’t, because we work alone, we don’t have a team to have a Christmas party with. So a few of the celebrants go years ago, I’m not even sure what, like seven, eight, nine years ago, decided we’d all get together for a little Christmas party. And I think what Meg said was probably only about a dozen people there.

Megan: Yeah, yeah. The first one in the city. We had a lunch in the city. I reckon there was probably ten.

Matt: Yeah.

Megan: You know, and then each year it sort of grew from there. We went to Red Hill for lunch, stayed overnight. That was amazing.

Matt: That was sort of the first one where we had a few other non celebrants arrive. We had a few photographers and videographers and that sort of opened that door.

Megan: And then Zena had a fantastic contact at the West beach pavilion. And they were. They were really keen to have us on board at that point. It was still. Do you remember in those early days, guys, we were really, like, trying to guesstimate how many people we’d have. And our goal was 100. We were like, we can do this. And I was like, oh, I don’t know if we can get 100. And in the three years. So our first big one, there was a beach party. So that was a beach theme. We had a mermaid. What else do we have? Oh, yeah, we had beach lays being handed out by Sydney, who was a male. What was he?

Matt: Muscle man in speedos, basically, yeah.

Megan: Roller girl handing out, you know, canapes. And the muscle man brought in the mermaid from the edge of the beach, and she was our shot person.

Matt: We had a Shotski.

Megan: Oh, yeah, schottky. And then into the black theme of last year, which was coming. Your best Melbourne black. And then we went to. Because of COVID we went to a June party rather than December because everyone was just too busy in December. December was just still crazy with our COVID hangover weddings. So we decided to go June. We’ve decided to keep it at Tuesdays in June, the first Tuesday of June every year. And that was a black theme. Come in. Your best Melbourne black outfit. That’s when we had the burlesque and we had a. What was she called? Zena. The one that was the acrobat lady.

Zena: We had an aerialist.

Megan: Aerialist. The aerialist. And what else do we have? Zenes. I’m trying to think.

Matt: We had full Derek.

Zena: Yep. Eight foot Derek, as Eddy called him before, who was pouring shots down.

Eddy: People say no to him.

Megan: And that was actually last year was our first year that the venue decided to close to the public. And that would just be just for us because apparently we’re noisy. I mean, I don’t know what. Yeah. And we’ve become iconic now for our shots. And we always do a cocktail on arrival. We want our wedding vendors to feel a bit special and to feel like they’re being treated, you know, work hard and, you know. So this is just for everyone’s chance to let loose. And as you said, we did not expect the dance floor to be pumping at 02:00 p.m. I was also really that I would be the only person on the dance floor, but it turns out not to be the case.

Zena: And by chick.

Megan: Um, it’s going off.

Zena: Yeah.

Eddy: And shout out to what was our drag queen’s name?

Zena: What?

Megan: Sorry?

Matt: What was our drag queen’s name?

Aleks: Oh, art.

Megan: Simone.

Eddy: Simone.

Aleks: Was that the year before, the last year, each one?

Eddy: Yeah.

Aleks: Yes, that’s right. Yeah. So when that.

Eddy: You missed that?

Aleks: I missed you.

Eddy: I came to the after.

Aleks: Yeah, I did. And I was sitting in my office and you were sending me photos of.

Eddy: I was sending photos of, like, the rump shaker. With his, like, CO2.

Aleks: Yeah, with the cannon.

Matt: Yes.

Aleks: I was like, what am I doing with my life?

Matt: Oh, those CO2 canisters were amazing.

Eddy: Yeah, yeah, yeah. So for those who are listening to rum Shaker, Daniel is the resident DJ of the cockpit. He’s also a wedding DJ as well.

Aleks: Yeah. And he always, he always.

Eddy: Oh, he nails it every year.

Aleks: Yeah. He’s so good. And Zena, can you tell everyone about the theme for this year.

Zena: Our theme this year is party animals. And that’s what we really want to say at this stage.

Eddy: I think it leaves it quite open, which is what I like.

Matt: Yeah, yeah. We deliberately wanted people to just interpret that themselves and. And it’s funny because we did leave it quite open and everyone seems like they’ve automatically gone to really going for it.

Aleks: Have you guys got your outfits planned?

Megan: Oh, you do?

Matt: No.

Aleks: Have you?

Megan: Oh, have we? Oh, we have a little number for. Yes, we have a little arrival, don’t we?

Matt: We might have a few options.

Megan: Yes.

Zena: A few things going on.

Matt: I feel like nothing wrong with an outfit change.

Aleks: Are you guys gonna, like, turn into butterflies by the end of the night or something like that?

Zena: They’re laughing because it’s true.

Aleks: See?

Eddy: Yeah, it’s gonna be interesting when you guys are cocooned and you can’t do anything or say anything for an hour or so.

Megan: See what we have got planned. I can just picture. We’ll remember this conversation, guys, and we’ll be.

Eddy: All right. Let’s move on before we give anything away.

Aleks: Yeah. Tickets are still available and we have told everyone to come. Everyone. No excuses.

Eddy: If you work.

Aleks: Yeah, if you work nine to five, just take half a day off. Take the next day off. Just commit.

Matt: It’s really interesting because they say no one’s using Facebook anymore, but we started a Facebook group for this and it’s already got over 450. I’m not sure what we’re up to, which is just crazy. So, you know, there’s all those people not on Facebook as well, so it’s really just growing exponentially each year. Yeah.

Eddy: That’s so cool.

Aleks: I think groups are the only reason Facebook’s still going.

Eddy: Yeah.

Matt: Yeah.

Eddy: I would agree with that. Yeah.

Aleks: Anyway, let’s not give our opinions on social media. Put a link to the tickets with this episode so people can purchase them. And we’ve talked a little bit about, well, quite a lot about how, you know, having a strong sense of community amongst the. The wedding. In the wedding space in Melbourne helps couples who are getting married. Obviously, you know, if your favourite vendors aren’t available, knowing that you can get a referral to someone who’s a similar vibe and, you know, who that person. Trust is absolutely powerful stuff. Absolutely huge. And we’ve only been able to do that this year probably because of, you know, developing those relationships and having.

Eddy: Which were, of course, inspired by you guys.

Aleks: Yeah.

Eddy: Let’s be honest.

Aleks: Totally. I would say one other. One other positive is that, you know, there’s a real nice synergy when, you know, you show up at a wedding and there are vendors that you’ve worked with before that you enjoy working with, that you vibe with.

Eddy: Just people could see that, too.

Aleks: People. I think couples say that.

Eddy: Oh, absolutely.

Matt: For sure.

Zena: Yeah. And it’s like instant trust between the suppliers and you all know that everyone knows their role and can work together really seamlessly and, yeah, it benefits everyone, doesn’t it?

Aleks: Yeah, absolutely. And, yeah, it makes our jobs more fun, too.

Matt: Absolutely.

Eddy: Yeah. For those who have had any corporate experience, we call it synergy. There you go. Megan, do you remember that word?

Megan: Smiled as soon as I heard that word. Love it. It’s so true because I think it’s such a simple thing, but when we’re all on top of our game, we all feel relaxed and comfortable, the couple is going to have a much better experience. And I think that, as you rightly said, guests pick up on that vibe really quickly. If we’re all smiling and looking relaxed and calm, they pick up on that and then all the guests feel relaxed and calm. So I think it’s such a simple thing to say, oh, no, book a killer list of vendors, you’ll have a better day. But there’s just so many layers to that. It’s really important.

Matt: Yeah.

Eddy: Yeah.

Aleks: Could not agree more.

Eddy: Okay, so let’s talk about predictions. So we want to hear from everyone, if we can, what are your hot predictions for wedding trends in 2024? Maybe even 2025.

Aleks: Yeah, probably. Who should we. Zena, do you want to kick off first?

Zena: Oh, I am so bad with wedding trends. I don’t realise what they are until they’re on top of me weekend after weekend.

Aleks: Heart shaped glasses are still a new thing, right?

Zena: Yeah, yeah. Predictions? I have no idea.

Aleks: Good. Just more non traditional. More.

Megan: Yeah.

Zena: Just do your own thing. Drop it like it’s hot if it’s not you.

Aleks: I like that, actually.

Eddy: That’s.

Aleks: Yeah, I like that. Any. Any musical references? Welcome. Welcome.

Matt: The one I’m noticing at the moment that’s kind of kicking in is that whole aisle entry is just becoming whatever makes sense to them and whatever they feel like. So you might have, you know, the whole family come on down, or you might have the entire wedding party, or it’ll just be the couple and their kids, or they’re just doing whatever they want to do rather than that whole rule of this person and this person.

Eddy: Yeah.

Matt: Which. And, you know, gender is not a thing. It’s whatever. Gender. Whatever makes sense. It’s great.

Aleks: Yep. Love that. Megan, what about you?

Zena: Actually, can I quickly add. Can I quickly add to that? Sorry. One of my favourite things to see at weddings is if the couple decide to greet their guests on arrival. So they’ve already done, like, the first look, and then they’re there, and as everyone comes in, they kind of say hi to everyone and give them a hug, and they’re just having a drink alongside everyone for that first half an hour. And it makes the guests feel so appreciated that the couple want to welcome them into the space. And when it’s ceremony time, you just started whatever version you want, and it’s so lovely.

Eddy: It’s actually funny you mentioned that, because we interviewed a couple that had a wedding at Rupert last. Was it last year now? And they did exactly that. So they greeted just outside of the Rupert doors, and people were showing up and going, oh, my God, have we missed the ceremony? So they were having a bit of a chuckle over that.

Aleks: Totally freaking out. Yeah. But it does make everyone more, you know, more relaxed and kind of sets the scene.

Eddy: Everyone feels special. It’s really nice.

Aleks: Yeah, yeah.

Matt: Love it.

Megan: That’s what it’s all about. So that would be my prediction, is the continuation of the celebration vibe. Rather than doing what you expect, expect weddings to be like, do it because you want to celebrate of your relationship. And part of that is the smaller wedding. I think that we’re definitely seeing post COVID, but restaurant quality food and wine, I would say, is really big. At the weddings I’m seeing, couples more than ever are really focusing their budgets on the food and drink. From a ceremony point of view, I’m saying personal, punchy ceremonies, people are like, do what you got to do. Make it personal, but not long. Really focus on that. We’re not seeing any of weird stuff, you know, like, not that any of us three are into weird stuff. Anyway, at ceremony, and I did a wedding recently at one of the wineries, and the couple had decided to sign the legal paperwork afterwards with a glass of bubbles, which I would say probably 50 50 of my couples decide to do the signing afterwards, and 50% in the ceremony. And the photographer really freaked out. He was really unsure about what to do with that. And I said, have you never seen this before? And he was like, never. I’ve never, ever seen something outside. And I was like, oh. So maybe I’m thinking I’m unusual, but I would think that that was definitely part of that celebration vibe. And let’s get everyone drink in their hand. Let’s sign the paperwork with, you know, maybe a couple of people watching, but let’s not make it the focus.

Eddy: Yeah.

Aleks: And go hunt the couple down after they’re already, like, partying with all the guests. Hey, guys, we’ve got to make it official. Yeah.

Eddy: Be legal.

Megan: Yeah.

Zena: Let it. Yeah. It’s the best. Let them be a part of the vibe for ten or 15 minutes before you do the legal side of it. I reckon it’s, like, 80% of my couples. Next.

Eddy: Yeah.

Megan: There you go. Okay. Okay. This is good.

Eddy: Another trend.

Aleks: Yeah, yeah.

Zena: Prediction.

Aleks: Yeah, yeah, we love. Yeah, we love seeing. I. Particularly with the entrance. There was a wedding I did last week, a noisy ritual with Nat sproul. And the couple was so energetic coming down the aisle. The bride was so excited to see people, she just went up to them, started kissing people in the. Ok. Yeah. And she was just so excited to be there. I’m like, yes, that’s it.

Matt: Love it.

Eddy: She’s definitely my spirit animal.

Aleks: Yeah. She was runny, like, sweaty, like, didn’t care. Like, I’m so excited. So good. So good. We’ve got our favourite question.

Eddy: Yes. And this could be the toughest question we’re gonna ask you, by the way. So what song? And each of you have to answer this yourselves. What song will get each of you on the dance floor?

Megan: I think go first for this because Finchy has some really interesting wedding. Sorry, wedding music tastes.

Matt: Well. Come on. Not that much.

Megan: Go on, go on. What’s yours?

Matt: Who, me or you talking to? Zena.

Megan: Yeah. No, you or Finchy. You just tell her. You kick us off with something random.

Matt: I always think that a good bit of latin beats gets people shaking. Bits they don’t usually shake. And I love that. So it just. I don’t know, it just puts that bit extra on. So for me, like, you know, bit of. Bit of Maluma, bit of Ricky Martin, something like that. That’s got that good latino. But if I had to pick one, I’d say Mark Anthony’s Vivier Movieda.

Eddy: Oh, good choice.

Matt: That is just an absolute banger. And it gets everyone moving beautifully. Love it.

Eddy: Like it? Yep. Great answer.

Aleks: We’ll have to pass this on to the DJ for the cock party. These requests.

Eddy: Oh, yeah.

Aleks: And they’re.

Eddy: I’ve already started giving Daniel requests.

Aleks: Oh, God.

Matt: And I love that you two have made predictions about the DJ arrangement for our party.

Eddy: We have.

Matt: Anything can happen.

Aleks: We’ve made assumptions.

Matt: Yeah.

Eddy: I love how you just changed it. We’ve made assumptions.

Aleks: I think that’s what Finchy’s trying to say.

Matt: That’s all I’m gonna say.

Aleks: Look, there’s gonna predict there’s gonna be a peacock.

Eddy: I’ll probably put my foot in. It’s gonna be a peacock.

Aleks: DJ.

Eddy: He’s always there.

Zena: Oh, no. Definitely a safe assumption that Ramshaker is a part of it. Of course. An important part of the party.

Megan: Yes.

Aleks: There might be some others. There might be some others. Megan, what? What tune would get your. Make you shake your bonbon?

Megan: I’m kind of kidding. I’m known for my really corny music taste, so this is really embarrassing to put out in public, but anything that. Anything. Nineties classics, dua lipa, salt and pepper. And I’m mad for a bit of Fleetwood Mac. So if I hit and a Fleetwood Mac kind of reference anywhere I go. A bit silly, but I would say dua Lipa. Guys, would you say that if Dua Lipa is playing, I’m on the dance floor?

Matt: Oh, 100%.

Zena: Definitely. Yeah.

Aleks: I love.

Eddy: The only thing that worries me is you said any one of the classics like Dua Lipa. Dua Lipa’s pretty new.

Aleks: I would put the new bangers folder in my library, for sure. Yeah.

Eddy: Yeah. Julie is fantastic.

Aleks: Yeah. Awesome. Zena, what about you?

Zena: She definitely did feel like an instant classic, but wasn’t going to go anywhere, though, didn’t she?

Aleks: Yeah.

Zena: I am a sucker for call me l by Paul Simon. Love that song.

Matt: Oh, yeah.

Zena: And anytime Africa by Toto is playing, I will run for a dance floor.

Eddy: I mean, it’s going to go off this year given the theme, surely.

Zena: Like, right. Like, we need some serious animals, animal themed songs, which I’m sure will happen. I was so many good ones.

Aleks: I was listening to Rufus, you know, like an animal that is a banger. Yeah.

Zena: There’s so many.

Matt: Yeah.

Megan: Clearly Pony is gonna have to be played, so Pony is also a banger. As soon as Pony’s played, I feel.

Aleks: Like it would have been played anyway.

Eddy: My mind is racing right now just thinking about all these options.

Aleks: I know, totally.

Zena: And what is it? I don’t. I really bad with names of songs, but you know that you and me, baby ain’t nothing but mammals.

Aleks: Oh, yeah.

Zena: There’s so many funny ones.

Megan: Yeah, yeah.

Aleks: And we will remember them all.

Eddy: You could play doctor worm as well. I don’t know if anyone knows that song, but it’s a bit of an object.

Megan: Yeah.

Matt: That’s a tune we might have to get you to send through a little list.

Eddy: Oh, yeah, yeah, definitely.

Aleks: It’s because we don’t know who the DJ’s will be, Ed. So we don’t know, don’t just send it.

Eddy: Sorry.

Megan: I love this. We’ve got to keep the intrigue going. We’ve just got to keep it all excitement.

Aleks: Amazing. You guys have been the best to talk to.

Eddy: Amazing.

Aleks: Thank you so much for taking the time and sharing with us your celebrant journeys and insights and telling us all about cock. It’s so good to be able to say that word out loud like that. And we will put a link up. Is the Facebook group the best way for people to kind of keep up to date with what’s happening with cock? Party? Any announcements, etcetera?

Matt: Yeah, absolutely.

Aleks: Yeah.

Megan: Yeah. Everything that we’re sharing about the party is all in that group. And to be invited into that group, you just need to be friends with someone who’s in the group. So, yeah, it’s the best way to be invited.

Matt: But, yeah, in saying that, like, it, you know, it is an open thing. We want all members of all different angles of the industry to feel welcome.

Zena: Yeah, absolutely. That’s what cock is all about.

Eddy: Yeah. And you really do feel that. Well, as soon as you step in that door, you really do feel that. It’s so apparent. It’s incredible party. You’ve built such an amazing thing, guys. So I’m gonna give you some claps for that.

Aleks: I have had, like, you know, some of my couples sort of comment, actually, quite a few, being like, I’m in the wrong industry. Like, I’m just.

Zena: We can’t wait to see you, to give you a squeeze and have a. Have a dance together. So fun.

Aleks: So much fun. So much fun. Well, thank you so much, guys. Really appreciate your time and we can’t wait to party with you.

Matt: Thank you so much.

Eddy: Oh, yeah.

Matt: Thanks, guys.

Aleks: Thanks, guys.

Matt: Thank you.

Aleks: Thanks for tuning in. If you’re enjoying Project Engaged, please hit the subscribe button on your fav podcast app.

Eddy: You can also follow us on Instagram, @projectengaged and @onemoresongdjs.

Aleks: We’ll see you next time. And until then, have fun out there.

Best Wedding Reception Songs For Melbourne DJ

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