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S4, EP14: Chatting with “One Woman Show”, Renee The Celebrant

CategoriesLGBTIQA+.Wedding celebrant.Wedding DJ.Wedding MC.Wedding suppliers.
15 May, 2024

Talk about non-traditional weddings! On this episode of Project Engaged, we chat with the absolute master of alternative weddings, Renee the Celebrant!

In her own words, Renee is “really shakin’ shit up”! She’s all about helping couples design a wedding that truly reflects them, while hopefully re-thinking some old, pale, stale traditions along the way.

Beyond a celebrant, Renee is actually a triple threat “One Woman Show” – Celebrant, MC and DJ. She works with diverse and colourful couples who she describes as often being “left of centre”.

Renee’s got a couple of exciting wedding projects brewing, including her shotgun wedding offering, Flash Romantics (as featured in Broadsheet!), and chats to us about trends she’s seeing in the queer community, plus we chat all about music and creating epic dance floor moments.

We hope you enjoy this episode. We had such a great time chatting to Renee! Check out more about her on her Instagram page.

Full episode transcription

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 one epic party.

Eddy: Let’s get into today’s episode.

Aleks: Hello, hello. Very, very excited about today. Talk about non traditional weddings. Today we are so excited to be chatting with the absolute master of alternative weddings, Renee, the celebrant.

Eddy: In her own words and explicit warning straight off the bat here, Renee is really shaken shit up. She is all about helping couples design a wedding that is truly reflective of them as a couple while hopefully rethinking some old, pale, stale traditions along the way.

Aleks: Old, pale, stale. I love that. I use that a lot when I worked in the corporate world. Beyond a celebrant, Renee is actually a triple threat. One woman show. Celebrant, MC and DJ. And here’s what a couple of clients had to say about her. Brace yourselves. Renee, what an absolute delight. We loved every minute working with this true gem. She made us feel so comfortable throughout the entire process leading up to the wedding. Then, wow, the day itself. What a superstar. We really cannot say enough wonderful things. Everything went smoothly and was such a blast. Do yourself an enormous favour and book this legend.

Eddy: And another one committing to my first ever Google review to tell you exactly how much you should hire this powerhouse for your wedding. Powerhouse? Yes. That’s awesome. Renee was such a genuine and wonderful person to connect with and communicating with her was an absolute dream. I could not have asked for a better queer celebrant to liven up a ceremony or a DJ to crush the dance floor. While I’m not sad to be married, I am sad that we won’t get use of her amazing skills again. She is literally a triple threat. There’s that triple threat again.

Aleks: Yep.

Eddy: In action. And you would kick yourself for letting the opportunity meet to meet her go to waste. So. Wow, that’s, that’s pretty amazing.

Aleks: Huge praise. Huge praise. Renee’s got a couple of exciting projects and wants to chat to us about trends she’s seeing, weddings she’s involved with. So let’s not waste any time and welcome, Renee.

Eddy: Welcome, Renee. Hello.

Renee: You got me blushing after reading those reviews.

Aleks: Oh, come on. You love it, you love it. It’s nice. It’s nice to reflect.

Eddy: Give yourself a good pat on the back to start off with. I think.

Renee: I think definitely. Also, the reviews are what keeps you going. I don’t know about you guys, but we, like, really value reviews in the industry because we do put a lot into it and it’s really lovely to hear that we’re making an impact.

Aleks: Yeah, we always sort of laugh on this podcast. If you’re having, like, a bit of a down day, just go back and read your reviews and, you know, there you go.

Renee: Yeah. Get a little dopamine hit and move on.

Aleks: Exactly, exactly. Do you want to kick things off, Ed?

Eddy: I think I will, yes. We’ve. I mean, obviously, we sent a few cheeky questions your way. Renee Prior, a little bit of behind the scenes for our listeners. We do plan a little bit more than maybe it seems that we do listening to us, but let’s cap things off. So, Renee, can you let our listeners know how you first got into weddings?

Renee: Yeah, so, I used to be an event manager. I worked for the Victorian Aids Council at the time, which is now called Thorne Harbour Health, and it’s an LGBTIQ health service locally here in Melbourne. And during the marriage equality kind of debate campaign time, they made me sort of the point for all of the campaign stuff for the organisation, so I got to really be involved in the front line with the campaign. So organising things like door knocks, fundraising events, things like drag queen hens parties and things like that, just to really take the piss out of the whole idea of marriage and making it more queer. So we had a lot of fun with it. We did a lot of painting. Yes. Murals around the city and kind of bringing everyone together. That’s one of the things I love to do. And I guess after being involved in all of the campaign and seeing how painful it was for the queer community, I thought, well, it would be really nice to be part of the joy that then ensues once we do have legal rights to be married as queer people. And so decided, once we got married, equality, to go and train to be a celebrant.

Aleks: Oh, beautiful. I love that story. That’s so good. So that was 2017.

Renee: 2017. That’s when all that went on. Yeah. So it took me probably longer than I expected to become a celebrant. I feel like everyone just has that idea that it’s a really easy thing to do. And, you know yourself, Aleks, you’ve just been through it, it’s quite a lot in it. And, you know, I went in with the idea of. Oh, yeah, I’ll smash it out in six months. I think by the time I got registered, it was 18 months to two years. So doing that alongside full time events work was actually quite tough. But, yeah, once I got in there, it actually wasn’t that long before pandemic stuff then happened, and so it’s been a bit of a weird start. Two years in the middle. Yeah. Yeah. But I think that also kind of encouraged me to think outside the box a lot when it comes to how I created my business.

Eddy: Yeah, absolutely. And look, I commend anyone that’s able to work full time and study on top because you’re so tired after work and then to have to open your books up and punch out some assessments, it’s. Yeah, it’s a really difficult thing to do.

Renee: Yeah, it’s pretty dry stuff as well, becoming a celebrant. It’s not all the fun performance stuff. It’s very admin heavy.

Eddy: Yeah. Because there’s a lot of legals you’ve got to take into account, obviously.

Renee: Yeah, pretty serious stuff.

Eddy: Pretty serious stuff. You’re changing people’s legal status, so it’s definitely not a walk in the park.

Aleks: Yeah. And, yeah, I think. Look, I think most people would agree that the course is not exciting in the slightest.

Renee: No, I’m shaking my head here. No, absolutely not. And look, upon reflection, I sort of. If I could do it again, I reckon I would have done it in a classroom and not online, because I find it quite difficult to get the support that I needed. But following that, once I had done all of this, I very much mentored people that I knew who were going through the course to say, look, these are some of the hiccups I came up against and sort of supported them through those as they did, because it felt like the right thing to do. Cause it wasn’t easy.

Eddy: Yeah, yeah, it’s. I mean, I’ve had a bit of a window into Aleks’. She did it through this unleashed collective, which the community, they’ve got a Facebook community and everyone’s so, like, helpful. From what I can see. It’s. It’s lovely. People are always sort of helping out. And celebrants, I find a little bit different to DJ’s. DJ’s can be a little bit more standoffish, but celebrant community is so welcoming and so lovely from what I’ve. What I’ve seen through Aleks and obviously dealing with celebrants myself.

Renee: Yeah, it’s wonderful. I didn’t really know what to expect because it is quite a lonely job. You know, you work on your own most of the time, and until you start to reach out to other people in the industry, you really have no insight into what everyone else’s experience is.

Aleks: Yeah, I found it quite interesting as well because obviously I’d been working in weddings for a while, you know, before studying to be a celebrant. So I found that aspect of it easier. But there were people in the course who had, like, pretty much never been to a wedding, which I found interesting. I’m like, oh, okay. So, you know, how do things even run? What’s included? I found that was a bit of a head start. Tell us about the deejaying side. So when did that kind of come into play?

Renee: Yeah, so I guess before I was doing wedding stuff, I was producing queer parties under the brand tomboy. So not only was I working full time, I was also producing parties and studying to be a sailor.

Eddy: Did you get any sleep?

Renee: Oh, look, I go pretty hard. Hey, so. And when I created these events, it was very much about making spaces, community spaces that were free. And so I decided to learn how to DJ so that essentially I could keep the events free by doing the early and late DJ sets myself and only booking DJ’s for those kind of core busy times. And so I. I guess when I became a celebrant, I didn’t really understand much about the industry. And after a while I realised that I’ve got the skills. I may as well put it out there and see if that’s something that people would want. And they did. And now it’s become my most popular package, which is awesome. And I think it’s my favourite package to do because you really get to be part of the entire day and build such a good connection with the couple and all of the guests at the wedding, too. So people are always really pleasantly surprised when they see you jumping behind the decks and continuing. I’m sure you’ve had that experience too, Aleks.

Aleks: Yeah, I have. It’s funny when I don’t MC and I’m just like, celebrate. And DJ, like, Ed often asks me, he’s like, oh, what happens when you jump behind the decks and, like, you sort of like, have a very front and centre role at the beginning of the day and then it’s just like, hey, but I find what you, what you said is so true about kind of making a connection with the guests and, you know, like the family of the couple and that sort of thing. I find that you do get to know people a little bit more than when you’re deejaying. Of course, it depends on, you know, every couple and how kind of engaged they are in the, in the lead up as well. But yeah, I love the full day ones, too.

Eddy: Well, yeah, Aleks, you, you kind of announce that you’ll be the DJ after this ceremony’s finished. Is that how you kind of roll with it?

Aleks: I actually do. Do you do that, Renee?

Renee: I don’t know, but often the couple have already sort of told their people, you know, about me, and I’m going to be there for the whole day. But I mean, I think that’s a nice sentiment. I just never really thought to do it. But that’s really cute.

Eddy: I’m just managing now. I’m going to rock the ball.

Renee: I ain’t going nowhere.

Aleks: Me. Sounds like egotistical. I just make a joke about it.

Renee: I think it’s cute.

Aleks: I just like make a joke. Like, if you see me standing behind the DJ decks, like, you know, don’t worry, that is my equipment because I’m the DJ of the time.

Eddy: Speaking of equipment, and I’m sure most of our listeners might be super interested in this, but Renee, what do you rock? Like, what? What DJ controller do you rock? I’m not sure. I asked you before.

Renee: Oh, I actually don’t know exactly what it’s called. I’m such a girl with this stuff. It’s a pioneer something or other. It’s a little one that runs through my iPad.

Eddy: Nice. Yeah. Awesome.

Renee: Yeah. So it means that when people ask for requests, I can stream and mix requests as well, which is, I think, really helpful at weddings because you know what it’s like if it’s hard to get the dance floor started and someone’s got a request. Happy days.

Eddy: Yeah, definitely. Yeah.

Renee: If the couple are up for people making requests and they’re not shit songs, I’m always happy to play a few requests if they fit within the set.

Eddy: No, that’s so good. And it’s great that you’re streaming too. Like, Aleks has recently upgraded her DJ controller finally, so she can actually stream as well. So that’s very exciting for her.

Aleks: Yes, I’ve experienced my experience. My first completely rogue request from the father of the groove.

Eddy: It’s actually a funny story.

Aleks: And he came up to me quite early in the night, so it was before I even started. And he said he started a band, I can’t remember the name of it, some Aussie band. And he really wanted to hear this song. And of course I didn’t have it. Quickly jumped into the streaming software they had every single track except for the one that he wanted in the streaming.

Renee: I’m like, yeah, and you have to be so careful with that, too, because often there’s different versions and covers of songs that are not the one that someone wants. So I definitely have a good listen before I play something. And honestly, if it’s something I’ve never heard before or, you know, I don’t generally wouldn’t play it, but if it’s something that’s good and that I like and it’s not going to be random in my set, then I’m happy to play a request if it gets the dance floor going. And it often does.

Aleks: Yeah, absolutely. That’s such a good point to make. We often say that, too. Like, if it’s something we haven’t heard of before, if the DJ has a.

Eddy: Very special case, like, oh, trust me, like, the groom is going to lose his mind or whatever, but, like. Or if he’ll think, like, oh, is it really? Really? Or are they just, you know, is it just for the requesting?

Renee: Yeah. Well, look, I’m sure you guys work in a similar way where I get people to send me an inspiration playlist so that I can build my set in the lead up. And I think that if the couple haven’t requested it on their inspiration playlist and it’s not a good song, then I’m probably not going to.

Eddy: Yeah, it’s a good rule of thumb, I think.

Aleks: Absolutely the only exception I would make. So for this particular, I actually jumped into iTunes, or music, as it’s called now, confusing, because it’s apple music, but anyway. And I actually bought it, and the father of the groom said, oh, I’m not gonna, I’m not gonna dance, though. I won’t. Don’t dance. I’m too old. And I’m like, okay, well, we’ll see after you’ve had a few of those pints that you’re drinking. And lo and behold, 09:00 p.m. Comes up to me, you know, jolly, so. And because it was such a random song, I’ve never even heard of the band. I did jump on the mic because I was like, ah, I’m gonna get him.

Renee: Oh, yeah. You gotta blame someone for a request. You always blame someone for it, just in case someone thinks that’s your choice.

Eddy: Yeah, well, that’s it. You gotta give it context as well. But, yeah, if someone’s like, you must play this song. Like, all right, well, I’m gonna put you in the spotlight right now. Get on the dance floor and start.

Renee: And if they’re not dancing, I make them get up and dance. You don’t get to request a song. I’m sorry. Yeah, yeah.

Eddy: Love that.

Aleks: I’m so glad you do that as well. And look, normally it works. Or if it doesn’t work, it’s a very quick mix out. Okay, that’s drowning here.

Eddy: Let’s try something else.

Aleks: At least we tried. So let’s have a chat about the sorts of couples. I mean, you work with some of the most colourful couple. I don’t know how else to really describe it. One look at your instagram and I think people will get a very good sense of the types of couples that you work with. But, yeah, talk to us about who types of couples you do love working with.

Renee: I think colourful is a really good way to describe it. Something happens where the right people find me and I’m always so pleased with that. But I guess when I first started my business, I didn’t really know what my brand was going to be. I thought I was going to have to dull myself down a lot to be a celebrant. And then I wrote it for Jack the Hitcher and I realised, oh, like, she’s very similar to me and we, like, you know, she’s herself. And people love it. People want that. And so I think my brand originally was like, Renee the LGBTQ celebrant or something like that. And I was like, oh, actually, maybe I would be limiting myself in many ways if I only worked with LGBTQ people. And I kind of wanted to experience diversity and get outside of my queer bubble, too, you know, not just like, I only want to work with other queer people. So I guess bringing a whole community together is really important to me. And so, yeah, celebrating and respecting lots of people’s differences is where it’s at. And so, yeah, I kind of opened up and kind of rebranded to just Renee the celebrant. And, yeah, I think the kind of people that find me and that I like to work with are usually creatives. They’re like a bit left of centre, open minded, not scared to break the paradigm a little bit. Usually cheeky and funny kind of people. People who don’t mind me taking the piss out of them on their way.

Aleks: Nice. Nice.

Renee: But also people who are deeply emotional, too. You know, I think there’s something really lovely about finding that balance between humour and authenticity is kind of where it’s at for me and people who are crazy about animals, like, I get all of the animal people.

Aleks: How do you. How do you go. Have you had any disasters of, like, you know, doggies walking up the aisle and just taking a shit? All right.

Eddy: Yes.

Renee: No, I haven’t had that happen yet. I’ve definitely had a bit of a weird one where we were doing a ceremony, and this frog was, like, jumping in front of where the ceremony was happening, and I could see someone in the front row pointing to it as I was doing the ceremony. And I’m, like, not dealing with this right now. And then someone got up and tried to shoo the frog out of the way. And just as they were doing it, a magpie swooped down and, like, picked up the frog and flew away with it.

Eddy: Oh, wow.

Renee: It was all a bit of a whirlwind, and here I am still trying to hold it together.

Eddy: So just to be clear, the frog wasn’t somebody’s pet. Like, it wasn’t like, no, it was.

Renee: Just a wild frog. Yeah. And it was such a bizarre moment where nature, Mother Nature just had her way. Yeah.

Eddy: Wow.

Renee: Yeah. No, no. Really badly behaved animals during ceremonies. It’s more kids that are badly behaved than animals.

Aleks: Was going to make this exact comment. I feel like they can be more unpredictable, and there’s always a crying baby.

Renee: They’re always feeding off their parents energy, you know? So I can understand why kids do get, like, worked up and emotional in those moments because it’s a big moment. I often do weddings where, like, toddlers and babies are in their parents arms throughout the ceremony, and I’m like, fuck it, I’ve got a microphone. I’m louder than you anyway, so.

Aleks: Yeah, this is where the quality of the equipment comes in.

Eddy: Yeah, absolutely.

Renee: Yeah, yeah, for sure.

Aleks: Oh, I love that. I love that.

Eddy: Now that’s. Yeah, that’s very, very cool. I love. I love these little stories that, like, we don’t probably don’t share them enough. These little cute little wedding stories from Sarah, Montana, killed by a man.

Renee: I do get visited by birds a lot during weddings, though. If it’s an outdoor ceremony, you bet I’ve got birds coming to visit. Like, I’ve had owls sitting above the tree. I’ve been visited by black cockatoos, kookaburras, flocks of galahs and cockatoos. Like, I’m a real bird lady. I love birds. Bit crazy for birds.

Eddy: Don’t let your cat near the birds, though.

Renee: No, I know, I know.

Eddy: We’re having this chat before we hit a record and Renee’s, so you might as well tell the story. Renee, your cat loves giving you gifts and those.

Renee: Yeah. We’ve got the same cat, actually, and my version of you cat, Minnie. She is, um, she’s recently just started bringing lots of bird gifts home, so we’re having to. We’ve got two bells on her right now to. Hopefully she’s a weapon.

Eddy: Sounds like it.

Aleks: Can you imagine? I reckon if we let khaleesi outside, she would.

Eddy: The only thing that our cat hunts is the odd fly that gets inside somehow. But she’s.

Renee: That’s adorable.

Eddy: She’s a monster. Like, I feel bad for those flies and. Oh, they. You know, time’s up for. For you, mister.

Renee: How do you think I feel about the birds, man? When the apocalypse comes, we’re sort of. Minnie’s bringing home the dinner on the daily.

Aleks: Well, yeah, there’s always a silver lining, isn’t it? How funny. I forgot.

Eddy: We’re going to continue with our line of questioning, I think.

Aleks: Yeah, sorry, sorry.

Eddy: So let’s have a chat. Talk to us more about the one woman show triple threat package. So how often would couples book this? And do you prefer to be involved in the whole day? I think the answer is yes.

Renee: Yeah, look, it’s. It’s definitely a popular package, although I don’t take more than one of those in a week, because it does take a lot of energy and planning and pre planning like this. There’s a lot that goes in before and after for something like that. And physically, it’s a lot to be on your feet that whole time. And as I said to you guys, when I seen you last, like, I bump in all of my pa and stuff myself. That’s all me. So it can physically take quite a lot out of me. So, yeah, I would only do one of those a week during the busy times. But, yeah, it’s definitely popular. People are like, why book three people when we can book one? And they save a bit of coin at the same time?

Eddy: Yeah, yeah, it is a lot of work. It is so much work. And it’s funny, I sort of had a chuckle when you’re saying you bumped all your equipment in. I think we had the same conversation when we saw you a little while ago, Aleks, you know, poodling on in everything, set up for her by her sound team.

Renee: I probably threw you under the bus by saying that, Aleks.

Aleks: Thanks for that. Thanks very much. You can’t see my face, but I’m very disappointed in you, Renee.

Renee: It’s big dyke energy, you know, like, we’re very self sufficient.

Aleks: I’m just useless. No, I am planning this year to set up some of my old stuff I was saying to Ed, though. And so, you know, I’m kind of the same as in the full day thing. The celebrate DJMC thing wouldn’t book more than one a week, but there are often weeks, you know, especially during kind of peak season where I think one of my first full day ones, it was a triple weekend. So it was the full day and then the next day was like, no celebrant, but it was like deejaying for the whole ceremony. Cocktail hour reception, plus a photo booth, plus lights, plus an audio guest book. And then the Sunday was like, again, the ceremony tunes outside at 38 degree heat. And I was like, that’s.

Eddy: You were.

Aleks: I was so cooked.

Renee: You would have needed a whole fortnight to get over that doll.

Aleks: And it’s hard. You can’t really sort of take that time off. But do you have, so if you’ve got like a full day one, will you, like, quite happily take on like a, you know, ceremony only or a DJ?

Renee: Yeah, yeah, yeah, for sure. Like, my average is one or two a week because I still have another job that I do in the middle of the week. So I try not to take on too much for that reason. But, yeah, like one, one woman show and one ceremony is fine. Or an elopement or something like that is good. But, yeah, I mean, that’s all just been learning over the years as to what I have capacity for and how fucking exhausted I am by the end of the season.

Eddy: Yep, yep, definitely. Do you, do you tend to take a bit of time off? Sort of. I mean, the seasons now. It’s funny, I get a lot of people asking me, oh, so, you know, when does the season end for you? And I’m like, what do you, what do you mean season? Like, I don’t, you know, I tend to just take them on when I need to. We might carve out a holiday here and there, but do you tend to take time off during the year?

Renee: I’m usually just quiet during June, July, August, like, I might have one or something like that. And so, yeah, I definitely take a big break. Me and my girl have a holiday somewhere, you know, Asia, something like that. Just one of those holidays where you can’t do anything at all but, like, get stoned and get massages, you know.

Eddy: Sounds pretty good.

Renee: That’s all I ever want. Warm weather, weight and a massage.

Eddy: Oh, yeah.

Aleks: Beautiful. Yeah. And that’s the thing with, with the, the season, I guess, is, yeah, you, and you do tend to take those triple or double weekends because you do have those three months where, you know.

Renee: Yeah, you know, you can crash at the end of it, for sure.

Aleks: It’d be so good if it was just like, consistent. Hey, just be like, you still need.

Eddy: To take time off, though. That’s the thing.

Aleks: Yeah, that’s true.

Eddy: Most people would just be taking like, summertime off, like, just working through the winter. I would. I’d take summer off if that was the case.

Aleks: I know.

Renee: Oh, that would be amazing, wouldn’t it?

Aleks: Do not have. Do not have that luxury. Um, let’s talk. So I mentioned, obviously, uh, about a couple of exciting projects. Let’s have a talk about, um, your shotgun wedding offering flash romantics, which was actually featured in broad. That deserves some sort of sound effect.

Eddy: Yeah, let’s give.

Aleks: I always put him on the spot. They’re just like coloured pads and he forgets which effects.

Eddy: I’ve actually learned them now because I’ve embarrassed myself so many times. But I could always put him in and post, post production. But thank you for keeping me on my toes.

Aleks: Sorry. Yes, flash romantics. Let’s talk about that. And how did you get featured in broadsheet?

Renee: That’s a good question. I can’t take credit for that media release. That was my mate and colleague Sass, who owns studio Tech Care, where we do flash romantics. So I met sass a few years ago at Sheila’s shack down the women’s motorbike festival. And both of us kind of knew of each other from a distance, but didn’t really know each other well. And they had been kind of watching what I was doing with weddings and they had mentioned to me that they, during lockdown, had put a lot of time and energy into this new space. And, yeah, they sent me some pictures and they’re like, I don’t know what it is we’re going to do together, whether it’s through tomboy, whether it’s through weddings, but would really like to put our heads together and create something wedding related for queer people. And so we, they had the tattoo studio upstairs and then the event space downstairs. So that was where flash romantics was cooked up. Cooked up upon based on, like, flash tattoo days. So we were like, if we can look at weddings like flash tattoo days, where we do multiple in one day, but we make them cheaper and more affordable, like flash tattoos. And so then we kind of set out to find a bunch of kind of left to centre suppliers to work with us on that. There were kind of values aligned and also kind of wanted to do this to fill their cup rather than to make a whole load of money because it’s not a big earner for us, it’s a community thing for us. So, yeah, we reached out to a few different people. We found Nick Gauchi, who does the tattoos, who goes by bloom boy, also queer. And then Charlie, who goes by ceremony by Charlie, photographer, also queer. And she brought in Ben, who’s these wild eyes videographer to do videos. Now, this guy is, like, top level. And an add on video from him for flash romantics is $500. Like, it’s just ridiculous.

Aleks: Wow, that’s good.

Renee: Yeah. I wouldn’t even want to know what a full price video is for him. He filmed Millie Savage and James from Rainer’s wedding and then we had other offerings that were add ons to Molly Baker and that. So I guess what we wanted to do was offer a flat rate package which included a micro wedding for up to 20 guests. We’ve reduced that now because 20 was too many to philtre in a note. I think we do, like twelve or 14 now. So a couple get tattooed after the ceremony and then the next couple and their guests come through and we kind of. Everybody sort of gets an r in the space and it kind of shuffles around. So, in that that’s included your photos, venue, legal wedding tattoos. And I think it comes in at like, 3300, including GST. So it’s really affordable for younger, creative hospital workers. You know, people who don’t have the kind of expendable income to have the big wedding but still want to do something really groovy and local and. Yeah. Fun.

Eddy: Yeah, that’s.

Renee: Yeah.

Eddy: I don’t realise that Bloomboy could do tattoos. What a multi talented person.

Renee: Different guy. That’s Boy Bloom. And this one’s bloom boy.

Eddy: Right. Okay.

Renee: Did I say bloom boy?

Aleks: Yeah.

Renee: That’s so confusing. Boy bloom.

Eddy: Boy bloom. Okay, well, shout out to boy bloom.

Aleks: Individual.

Eddy: Yeah. Just join forces and bloom, everyone.

Renee: Also, a very cute. Game on. Yeah.

Aleks: Bloom boy and boy bloom. Okay. Yeah. We’ll make sure that we show notes.

Eddy: And the plug, we’ll check it three.

Aleks: Times before it goes out. So how long do the. How long do the ceremonies go for, shorty and sweetie?

Renee: So, like 15 minutes?

Aleks: Yep. Yep.

Renee: That’s kind of including everything. And, you know, in Bobby, who is our logistics person, they do all the music and they make sure everyone has bubbles in the green room on arrival. And a lot of the couples that come to us through this are, you know, on the spectrum or shy or they don’t. You know, they don’t like, the attention being on them. So it’s often really nice that they have this green room that they can come and chill out and they don’t have to be, like, making small talk with everyone for ages beforehand. They just ground themselves in there and enter for the ceremony. And then they get photos and everything with Charlie and video if they want to add that on. And then we kick all of their guests out and they usually, you know, just go across the road to noisy ritual or something, have a couple drinks, and then the couple get their tattoos and we send them on their way. And then whilst they’re getting tattooed, the next couple are in getting married. Yeah.

Eddy: Wow.

Aleks: That’s amazing.

Eddy: I mean, noise rich is not a bad place to go afterwards either.

Renee: Yeah. Yeah. It’s. It’s on Lygon street, so it’s close to everything. Plenty of places to kick on.

Eddy: Absolutely.

Aleks: Yeah. Sorry, we should have mentioned it’s in Brunswick east.

Renee: In the hood.

Eddy: In the good. In the good Brunswick east part. Like, on the other good side. I always say on the good side. On the side that I.

Aleks: You mean that the good. You like that side of Lygon street?

Eddy: Of Lygon street.

Aleks: You like all of Brunswick east?

Eddy: Yeah, I’m not. I like all Brunswick. I like all of Brunswick.

Aleks: Yes.

Eddy: West. East.

Aleks: Yeah.

Eddy: Central.

Aleks: Yeah.

Eddy: No, what I’m trying to say is on the other side of Ligand. I don’t really like people trying to pull me into a restaurant.

Aleks: It’s a very different vibe in Carlton.

Eddy: Oh, I can just keep digging that hole.

Aleks: I wouldn’t. I love watching you dig a hole. It’s fun for me.

Eddy: Happens every day.

Renee: Yep.

Aleks: Yeah. Well, let’s talk about. Oh, so how many would you squeeze in a day?

Renee: Anywhere between four and seven, depending on how many bookings we get.

Eddy: Big day.

Aleks: A lot of.

Renee: A lot of paperwork.

Eddy: Yes.

Renee: Yeah.

Aleks: All the paperwork.

Eddy: Can’t escape the paper. I mean, I don’t have to do.

Aleks: It, obviously, but you guys do.

Renee: This is why I’m all about digital paperwork.

Aleks: I was gonna ask this. Okay. Okay. IPad.

Renee: Definitely iPad. Saving the trays and your ceremony and your paperwork is all on the one device.

Aleks: Level up. My.

Eddy: You need to level.

Aleks: You know, because I did my first. I think I mentioned to you, Renee, I did my first ceremony on a Kindle. The Kindle is great, but I think I must be nervous or something. Maybe didn’t practise on the Kindle enough, and I accidentally kept for going forward and backward in my script.

Renee: I’ve seen someone do that. Someone else do that before? Yeah. I don’t know how reliable the Kindle is. I’ve never tried one on, honestly, I just went straight to iPad, just probably for the best.

Eddy: I guess the only thing with iPad is if you’re outside and it’s really sunny and hot, does the iPad sort of wig out on you or.

Renee: It’s only ever happened once in the heat. You just got to not leave it in the sun, that’s all. But you’re never in the sun long enough for it to wig out during a ceremony.

Eddy: Yeah, that’s fair. And can you invert, like, the text? So it’s kind of black? A white on black. Trying to think about that for a second.

Renee: I haven’t tried it. I think if you put it into night mode, you can. Would you prefer to read white off black? Would you, Eddy?

Eddy: Oh, yeah, I do that for everything.

Renee: Oh, really?

Eddy: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Renee: I think that’s clearer to read.

Eddy: Yeah, it’s. Yeah. So I. There’s a few reasons why I do it. This is my eyesight, for one. It just works better for me. But. No, maybe we should try that. Anyway, I’m Alek’s tech guy, so I’ll be trying all these things out for Aleks when she’s ready.

Renee: Needs an iPad. When’s your birthday, babes?

Aleks: I do actually have an iPad, so I could just. I could just rock it. I’ve got a ceremony this weekend, and I’m just like, oh, I’ve been using paper. I’ve gone back to paper, the little a five, which, like, he’s okay. I mean, you gotta turn the pages. I was like, oh, I don’t want any more technology. It’s easier just to have physical paper. I know it’s there, etc. And from that perspective. Yeah. But now I’m like, I’ve got iPad, Kindle, and the paper option. Maybe I’ll just do all three.

Eddy: And just because you can sign on the iPad and stuff, right?

Aleks: No, I need to do digital. Don’t get me started by the paperwork. All right. I need to address all these things.

Renee: Let’s catch up.

Aleks: Yeah, yeah, we need to.

Renee: Sure.

Eddy: I’m sure most fellows listeners are really enthralled.

Aleks: Fascinating stuff.

Renee: Well, at least I think it’s important for people to understand just how much work and anxiety goes into all of these things that we keep composed on the outside. So we’re freaking out because our shit’s wiggin out, you know what I mean? But we never show it on the outside. We always make sure you have a wonderful time. And this is all part of it. You’re you know, in every wedding, there’s always going to be something that you’re going to have to manage in the moment, and that’s. Yeah, it’s a big part of what we do that people don’t see. And that’s really good that they don’t see it.

Aleks: Exactly. Yeah. I even try and shield my couples from the paperwork. I’m always like, oh, there’s just one little bit of paper that we need to sign, and then don’t have to worry about anything until the day, and then I’ll get you to sign another little bid, and you won’t even know you’re signing it because you’ll be so nervous for the ceremony. So just sign your life away.

Renee: And then there’s three.

Aleks: The declaration of no legal impediment to marriage. I’m just like you. I didn’t remember signing, so let’s not even count these to sign it. Hopefully the attorney general’s not listening to this.

Renee: Yeah, I was talking to him the other day, her the other day.

Aleks: For those who can’t see, Renee’s winking at me. She’s on video. She’s winking at me. So hopefully, I was like, hold on.

Renee: Actually, as a woman, I should never have assumed it was a man.

Aleks: I think the attorney general changed fairly recently, so I think you’re excused. I don’t even know that’s.

Eddy: Meanwhile, Aleks is getting randomly selected for an audit.

Renee: Stop it. Like, that’s.

Aleks: Yeah, I’ve got all my paperwork, so shush. I’ve got it all locked up in the storage cage. Locked up. All right. Anyway, let’s carry on. So we talked about flash romantic. Such a cool concept. And we’ve got a new ish one, too. Rainbow Romantico. That’s what we sort of came to the open day for, I believe, or you sort of promoting both concepts. So let’s talk about that one. Yeah.

Renee: And thank you for coming to the open day. It was lovely to see you both. Basically sas that owns the space. They used to have the tattoo studio upstairs. And, you know, these are pretty weird times that we’re in, and tattoos are luxury items now. So the tattoo business started to get very quiet, and Sass was panicking a little bit, but also really enjoying being around all of the love fests. And they were like, do you think there’s opportunity to have a proper wedding space upstairs? And I said, hell, yeah. Because, really, we don’t have any queer owned and operated wedding venues in Melbourne currently. I think there’s a couple, you know, out in the outskirts of queer owned and operated venues. But realistically, in Melbourne, we didn’t have anything. And so they’ve. They’ve got a space that they can have up to 100 people up there. And as you saw, it’s really beautiful and tasteful. It’s got the bar and everything built in. You can have food trucks come up in the alleyway for food. And, yeah, as I said, it’s like, right in the heart of Brunswick, so people can get there really easily and they can kick on elsewhere if they want to as well. But it’s all set up and ready to go for the full shebang if people want to. It’s not specifically for queer people, but, you know, it’s. It’s nice to know if you are a queer person, that you’re putting money back into the queer community, if you do want to get married in a queer venue.

Aleks: Yeah, absolutely. And it is a really gorgeous space. And how many. So can you have like a. What would. I suppose, a full sized wedding, as in the length of time, can you kind of have your. Yeah. Ceremony, cocktail hour, and obviously, I suppose, cocktail hours. It’s just one long cocktail hour. Cocktail style. A wedding.

Renee: Yeah, I think it would be more of a cocktail style wedding. And they book the space out by the hour. So it depends on what the couple really want as to whether they want it to be like, you know, afternoon, right through to the end of the evening. But it’s fully licenced and everything, if that’s what they want.

Aleks: Beautiful. I love that. I think we’re gonna be seeing a lot more of this. I hope that we do. I mean, you definitely see a lot more spaces open up to weddings that, you know, wouldn’t have otherwise, which has been interesting to see, especially in the area, because I love, I love, you know, I mean, we’re completely anti like function space. You know, they’re like, wed. Like.

Eddy: They have that. They have their place, but it’s certainly not.

Aleks: Oh, I’m not talking like function space in a bar, I’m talking like wedding.

Eddy: Oh, no, no. But they had their place too. If you’ve got 500 guests, yeah. You don’t have a lot of options. You can’t do it.

Renee: They have those kind of weddings in book enough.

Eddy: Yeah, exactly. Well, that’s exactly it. Right. Um.

Aleks: Yeah, there’s a market for everyone.

Eddy: Yeah. Yeah. I’m like, why am I here? Yeah, I mean, I’ve done a few of those in the past and I’m like, I’m not the right. I’m not the right guy for this.

Aleks: Yeah. Yeah. Let’s talk a little bit about. Obviously, kind of. You work with a lot of couples who do things differently, do things their own way, don’t conform to old traditions unless they want to, of course.

Eddy: Big function halls.

Renee: Yeah, I kind of. Yeah, big function hall weddings. I kind of. I like when people want to bring little bits of tradition in that actually mean something to them. I’m not fully anti tradition like, but at the same time, I think it’s easy to just follow what’s always been done before us because someone else has done it. So I’m. I’m really constantly inspired and blown away by people’s creativity when it comes to weddings. And, you know, I’m using examples of what I’ve seen to inspire other couples in what they’re doing too. You know, like, even just right down to, you know, outfits and people hand painting their own outfits and things like that. But, you know, a couple I did last year, they rode the bus to their wedding. The local bus, and they only worked with local suppliers, so they were a footscray be a couple. And so they only booked suppliers who were based in footscray. They had the wedding cafe in Fitz Grey and they rode the bus there. And it was pretty bloody sweet. And I think there’s something to be said for that, keeping it local kind of style of doing things, which I think feeds into this Brunswick wedding thing as well. I’ve done lots of weddings with motorbikes because I’m involved in the motorbike community. And let’s be honest, motorbikes are hot. They’re always going to make a wedding look cooler, like, great for photos as well. I’ve done quite a few, like, festival style weddings where they’ve done them in school camps. I think that’s a really good way to also see of some money.

Renee: I know that these venues are, like, a bit more reasonably priced. I just did one at Camp Sunnystones in Marymoo. Sorry. And another one up at log carbon ranch in Montbaulk. Both very groovy, cool venues. And people can stay there. Yeah. Yeah. I’ve married lots of couples in ice cream parlours and in bars, like bar pub weddings. They’re the way forward, if you ask me. I also really adore a backyard wedding with food trucks. People are always really comfortable in their own space and kids can be there and they can be put to bed and all that kind of stuff. Yeah. I’ve noticed, like, working with a lot of queer people that they tend to think outside the box. And they just don’t generally feel as bound to the traditions because. Because they’ve never really been included in them.

Eddy: Yep.

Renee: Yeah. Even things like mixed gender wedding parties and posses and that’s not just a queer wedding thing. That’s all weddings I’m seeing now, you know, like girls having guys and vice versa. I think it’s bloody awesome. Guys holding bouquets. I’m so fucking here for it. And I’m not even just talking about gay men. I’m talking about straight men and bouquets and it’s really gorgeous. And then, you know, doing a bouquet tossed to all of the single and ready to mingle guests instead of just being to the girls.

Aleks: Yeah, totally.

Renee: I’ve done weddings with lots of drag shows. Lip sync for your life at weddings, karaoke at weddings. Some friends got married at splatters in Geelong. The cheese train. Yeah. And everybody that attended the wedding paid for their own drinks. There was no bar tab. And guess what? But nobody cared. Everyone was happy to pay for their own drinks. So I think it’s really important to mention that, you know, there’s all of these expectations around getting married that people have thinking, well, I have to pay for a bar tab. Or venues expect you to pay for a bar tab, but when you think outside the box, there’s actually lots of venues who’d be happy to take cash on the bar. People buy them.

Eddy: Yeah, absolutely.

Aleks: No, I love that we’re seeing some of those things that you mentioned we’re seeing as well with our weddings. Like, definitely the mixed gender wedding parties. We’re seeing a lot of no wedding parties at all. Yeah, most of my ceremonies have had no wedding parties, which is nice because it means I’m actually, like, in the venue and I’m presenting the ceremony and not like, you’re not on the street. Like, I did one with a wedding party. It was like seven on each side. Like, you could barely see me. Like, I think I was in the crowd. Like, he’s like, oh, I want to do, like, you know how some of the celebrants, I don’t know if you do this, Renee, but I’ve been inspired by celebrants who? To stand at the end of the aisle rather than, like, at the top. I’m like, that’s kind of cool. Like just walk down.

Renee: For the ceremony or at the beginning.

Aleks: Yeah, no, like, for the ceremony. Like, they’ll just, like, we just walk, walk down the aisle and everyone would kind of turn around and they’ll say something and then go back to the couple. And I’m like, ah, that’s a different way of doing things.

Eddy: Right.

Renee: I’m trying to visualise it, but I can’t quite visualise. You’ll have to be honest.

Aleks: Yeah, we’ll do a demo, but I’m not gonna do it. I’m not quite ready for that level.

Eddy: So you’re on the other end.

Aleks: So literally like, okay, so like, say in a traditional wedding, someone’s walking down the aisle.

Eddy: Yes.

Aleks: And that they’re at the top of the aisle. Sorry, at the. You are at the bottom.

Eddy: Hang on.

Aleks: At the opposite end where you start walking down the aisle. Yes. Go back down there.

Eddy: Okay.

Aleks: Deliver some of the ceremony. Like, down.

Eddy: Yeah, just, just, yeah, walking the room.

Aleks: Yeah, yeah, just walking the room kind of like, adds a bit like it. I don’t think I’m, yeah, I don’t think I’m ready for it yet, but, yeah, I kind of found it interesting because it kind of, I don’t know, I kept the energy a bit.

Eddy: That’s so interesting. Yeah, interesting.

Aleks: I’ve only seen a couple of early. I only know of a couple of people who do. Yeah. When there’s a huge wedding party and you just like stuff to the.

Eddy: You kind of. You might have to.

Aleks: Sorry.

Renee: Yeah. I think Jacqueline hitchhide would have done it like that from memory. She was very much about moving around the space. I think everyone finds what works for them, you know? I guess the reason why people choose to work with you and not someone else is because they like you and your style. So it’s good to get inspired by other people, but it’s also good to just, you know, do it your way as well. And, like, I guess even thinking about the couple who had seven on each side for their party, I’m sure if someone had given them permission to not have to choose at all, they probably would have been quite happy because they’ve clearly chosen seven people each because they couldn’t choose.

Eddy: Yeah, that’s a really.

Aleks: Yeah, yeah.

Renee: Sometimes you just need to give people permission to not have to follow some of these traditions. Right.

Aleks: Yeah. No, wedding parties is good. Each of their own. What do you see in terms of. Because we’re still seeing pretty traditional aisles, I would say. And like a lot of our couples, like, oh, you know, we’re not that traditional. But then you kind of still have quite traditional elements, I would say.

Eddy: Give us some examples. Give a listen.

Aleks: Okay. So, like, for example, with a wedding where there is a bride and a groom, the bride will come down at the top of the aisle. I’m still seeing that quite often. I’ve seen what I’ve loved, and obviously, again, each other, and I’m seeing a lot of, in that situation, brides coming down, like, with both parents or with, like, a sibling or something like that. But I love, like, a couple. Like, I have had a couple couples, like, dance down the together.

Eddy: That’s cool.

Renee: Yeah, that’s cute. I’m here for couples coming down the aisle together. I’m also here for pets walking their parents down the aisle. I think that’s bloody adorable. I do lots of those ones, but, yeah, I guess. I guess it just depends on what works for people. I think. I like the whole idea of walking the aisle. Like, I don’t. I don’t feel like there’s anything messed up about that tradition, but, I mean, I’m also here for anyone that wants to try and do it differently. I guess I always am guided by what people come to me with as well. But I do feel inspired when I hear you say that. Like, what is the alternative to the aisle walk? And is there some way we could do it differently?

Aleks: Shots down the aisle?

Eddy: I mean, sometimes there is no aisle walk. They’re both just ready to go, which.

Aleks: Freaks out the guests.

Eddy: Does freak out a lot of the guests.

Renee: I give people permission to do that if they want to. Some do, but mostly they still want to walk the aisle.

Aleks: Yeah, I do feel that as well. And I think it is important that as, you know, the celebrant that you do give, you know, a couple options or just let them know what you’ve seen. As you said, renee, you kind of provide inspiration to your couples based on what other couples have done. And the more experience you get, the more examples you’ll have, because I think a lot of people just don’t know. I mean, obviously, we don’t know what they have. Millions of weddings, but if you haven’t been to that many, or even if you’ve only been to a handful, you probably haven’t paid that much attention to the structure of a ceremony. You know what I mean?

Renee: So, no, I often say that to couples when I first meet them. Like, what’s your experience of weddings? Because most people have never been to a wedding that’s anything like what they would want for themselves, and so that’s all they have to go off.

Aleks: Yeah. Often it’s like they’ll tell you what they didn’t like at all.

Eddy: Yeah. Yeah.

Aleks: Same with music, right?

Eddy: Absolutely. Yeah. It’s like, um, I always sort of joke with my couples, like, do your wedding shopping for your own wedding as you go to weddings as guests, and then just tell, tell every, tell your vendors what you don’t like and what you love, and then, yeah, we can kind of bridge that gap.

Aleks: Yeah.

Renee: Yeah. And if you’re the first couple in your friendship group to get married, you’re going to be the inspiration for the rest of your friends and how they do it, it’s almost like it just starts a bit of a chin reaction, and they’re like, oh, that’s cool. I want to have a wedding like that. So, yeah, it’s interesting to watch that, too.

Eddy: It’s actually funny, and I’m sure you’ve, you’ve, you could speak to this, too, but, um, when you are involved in that first couple, then you just get their second couple booking, the third couple booking, et cetera, et cetera. So you get to see everyone and like, oh, my God, let’s party again. But they’re all guests. Much more relaxed, usually.

Aleks: Yeah. Oh, yeah, obviously. And I think it’s funny as well, from the music perspective, when you do have, you know, like, couples who are having a huge year of weddings where everyone in their friendship group is getting married, you do get more do not, like, do not plays of the songs that they would have.

Eddy: Well, they hear all the time.

Aleks: Yeah, there’s a lot of, like, no ABBA or no September, and you’re like, oh, you must have been to a lot of weddings. Do you see much of that, renee?

Renee: Oh, for sure. And also, like, even I’m at the point where I’m like, I don’t want to play murder on the dance floor again, but everybody requests it, and everybody gets on the dance floor, too, you know? So I feel like when you do this all the time, you do start to get to that point with songs where you’re like, I don’t know if I can play that one again.

Aleks: Yeah, yeah, I feel sorry for the other vendors. And I’m like, especially if it’s like, a photographer I’ve worked with quite a bit. I’m like, almost feel like, apology. Like, I’m sorry I’m playing September again. But, you know. Yeah, yeah, we all hear it all the time.

Eddy: We do. I’m always like, I’m rooting for that couple that, you know, they might have just had a, had a baby or something is their first time out in 18 months, and they haven’t heard it 20 million times like, I have. So I’m kind of like, I play this for you guys yeah.

Renee: But people still keep requesting it. So, you know, what are you gonna do? You’re gonna play it because it makes people happy.

Eddy: Absolutely. Yeah. Murder and dance was big. I’ve had that on some do not plays right recently, actually, because I think it has been, like, severely overdone. I think the one that flies under the radar the most and the one that gets requested the most and the one up never, I don’t think I’ve ever seen on the do not play is September. That song is just, like, never die. Yeah.

Renee: Yeah, yeah. Oh, look, I mean, you guys are around my age, so you’ll remember the first time that murder on the dance floor was out. And it definitely got to that point then, as well, where it was like, okay, enough now.

Eddy: Yeah. Sign of a good song when people get really over it, but then it, like, it all comes back around.

Aleks: Yeah.

Eddy: Give it a couple more years of people like, oh, my God.

Aleks: What? It was. It was because of salt burned. That it.

Eddy: Yeah. Well, had a big push because I.

Renee: Was playing it before I played inside.

Eddy: Same here. Yeah, exactly. I keep reminding people that, too. I’m like, hey, it was good.

Aleks: Just so you know.

Eddy: Just so you know. Like.

Aleks: And it’s not all about TikTok. Yeah. It’s all about tick tock and, uh, Instagram reels and the 30 seconds of. So, anyway, let’s not get started. Makes me sound super spoiled. Any other, uh. What are any songs that you personally don’t love playing or doesn’t matter as long as people enjoy, but there must be something you’re like, ugh.

Renee: Um, the happy song, uh, pharrell.

Aleks: Yeah, yeah, I know. That’s always what I do. Not plays that comes up all the time.

Renee: Yeah. The happy song is. Yeah. I don’t know what it is about that song, but it makes me want to rip my ears off.

Eddy: Yep. No, I’m with you. I’m with you. Yeah, definitely.

Renee: Yeah, definitely.

Eddy: I. You wouldn’t have heard this, renee, but I have said this on the podcast before. There was one year, and I was working for an agency at the time. This is a while ago. And every single request for first. Well, every what sort of felt like every single request for first dance, I think was every sort of. Every second wedding I did, 50% was I’m all of me for, like, the first dance followed by happy. I’m like, oh, my God. And I look back, and I’m like, oh, could you have choose to chosen a bit of song, guys?

Aleks: Like, what about thinking out loud in Sheeran? Did you have that.

Eddy: Oh, yeah, that was during kind of that time.

Aleks: What a time.

Eddy: Popping off different clientele to what we have now. Aleks, obviously.

Aleks: Yes.

Eddy: But it’s like, oh, happy but no, I feel your pain.

Renee: Right.

Eddy: I really do.

Renee: Based on the age group and the demographic of the weddings that I’ve been doing of Leah, there’s a lot of, like, used to be emo kids. So I’ve started dropping. I write sins, not tragedies by, and it goes fucking off. People just lose it because it’s fun. You can really scream along to, you know. So it brings everybody back for a bit of nostalgia.

Aleks: Yeah, we’re seeing that a lot.

Eddy: Massive. Yeah.

Aleks: So much this year especially. Welcome to the black parade is another.

Eddy: Oh, yeah, the best.

Renee: It’s a good long song too.

Eddy: So you like, I can really, like.

Renee: I’m gonna need you all to send me pictures of you in your emo era. Sorry, what?

Eddy: I didn’t. I wasn’t all your. Aleks sister was in the email.

Aleks: My sister was. And I was. I was in my fake tan bleach blonde era, which I’m still in.

Renee: Grew out of it.

Eddy: Probably the closest I got was I had like, blue tips. Like Mike Schonoter from Linkin park.

Renee: Oh, yeah.

Eddy: That’s as close as I got.

Renee: That was a look. I need a photo of that.

Aleks: Did you have. Did you have an emote? Did you have, like, dye your hair black and have the side fringe?

Renee: Oh, yeah. And I’m so fair. I should never have had dark hair. Like, it’s just wrong. Like, I’m freckly. People with freckles should not have black hair.

Aleks: It was not. Yeah, it has not aged well.

Eddy: That look I always get, like, the memes come up on Instagram and stuff now of that look. And it’s like, oh, wow, that was a thing.

Aleks: That was 20 something anyway, almost 20 years ago.

Renee: Sometimes I’ll be like, oh, my God. Young people listen to such aggressive, angry music. And then I’ll think back to what we used to listen to.

Aleks: Still better than, no, I’m not gonna get. No, I’m not gonna get into that. No, no. I think there’s a lot of good dance music.

Eddy: Oh, like night, like nineties dance vibe nowadays. Like, that’s with your Fred agains and all that. That’s really your dom dollars. They’ve really taken that because I’ve been. I’ve been doing some work on all my crates in. In my spare time. Since it’s a little bit quiet, I’m going through all my nineties, I’m like, and then I went through all, like, today’s dance, like, twenty’s dance, call it.

Aleks: Twenties dance.

Eddy: And it’s the vibes. So similar. I’m like, wow, so all of these nineties babies are getting all this inspiration from the nineties.

Renee: Yeah. And they’re all listening to grunge again as well, so, yeah, like, everything has a resurgence. It’s cool to watch.

Aleks: Absolutely. And do you think about that too much? Yeah, no. Do you find that your couples do have, like, a specific, like, are there similarities in their music briefs or is it pretty mixed?

Renee: It’s really mixed. Hey. Which makes me glad that I do kind of get an inspiration playlist, because I, as much as I don’t want to be told exactly what to play, I think it’s important for me to get an understanding of what their, their musical kind of knowledge and taste is. Most of the time, I like it. Like, I’ve definitely had weddings where they’ve been like, we want you to play disco the whole time, and that’s great. But, you know, I think it’s usually quite eclectic, and I think because of streaming services and stuff, people do have a lot more of a broad taste in music now, which is good. But, yeah, I did have a couple that I met with recently who were like, we want you to play this and that from Triple J. And I honestly hadn’t heard of any of the artists, and I had to say no because I just knew that we weren’t going to connect.

Aleks: Yeah, that is such a good point.

Eddy: It’s a good point. And it’s not an easy thing to do if a couple really wants you to be their person, but you’re just not right. So being, being able to say no, it’s a big thing.

Aleks: Yeah, I think it’s important, and I think sometimes I’ve had sort of discussions with couples, too, and, you know, if they’re willing to budge, like, I’ll say, look, I’m a DJ. I play weddings all the time. I’ve never heard of this stuff. The chances are a lot of your guests, unless they’re the exact same age and listen to exactly the same music, will not know.

Eddy: Probably dodged a massive bullet there.

Aleks: And if they don’t know the music, they’re not going to dance and the night’s gonna be a flop. What else do you like? And I feel like if they don’t budge, then it’s a no. Yeah. But a lot of the time, luckily, you know, I can draw a little bit more out like you’ve got to have, you’ve got to have some oldie stuff if you’ve got family there. Especially the couples who are like, when we talk about demographics of their guests, they’re like, oh well, 50% of them are like over 50. Well, we can’t play Dom Dollar nine.

Renee: No, you’re going to be playing eighties bangers. You know what I’m saying? Like I love weddings for people who are in their twenties now because their parents all listen to eighties music and eighties is my jam. And I’m like, give me all of that eighties Aussie rock music. I’m fucking here for it. And so they’re the ones that do all the dancing. The parents and the aunties and uncles and that. So like half the time I’m playing for them.

Eddy: Oh yeah.

Aleks: Yeah. And it’s so important to note that couples listening.

Eddy: Yeah.

Renee: If you give me an inspo playlist, that’s all punk music, I’ll pick the best three songs and play them. And then the rest, I’ll be reading the room on the night and that’s exactly right.

Eddy: Yeah. So, and couples generally, so generally understand that. Yeah, we get it. It’s our wedding for sure. We want everyone to have a good time. So you know, you’re going to have to mix it up a little bit.

Aleks: But yeah.

Renee: Do you guys like to ask people what they want the final song of the night to be?

Eddy: Yeah. Yes. So Aleks and I do this two different ways. So I ask, we both asked for a couple of songs and so I will play. Yeah, we do. Do we? She’s shaking her head at me.

Aleks: We have the same question now. We send couples, but I do when we chat to them in the final call, I only asked for one.

Eddy: Really? Oh, I didn’t know that. Okay, cool. So yeah, we run a business together. We don’t know what each of us are doing.

Renee: That’s fine.

Eddy: Okay, so I’ll ask for two. Oh. Before I play the last one or the second to last one rather I’ll say this is the final song. You know, everyone get back onto the dance. So if you’ve left, etc. Etc. Play that song and then you got.

Renee: Your one more song.

Eddy: Yeah. So yeah, we call it the fake finish and obviously the couple knows, but everyone else gets their encore and it’s a lot easier to get people out of the venue. The venue staff is pretty happy. Aleks, you do it a different way.

Aleks: I announced the final. I let people know the second last song. So I will say, hey, it’s the second last song. We’ve got a couple songs left. Make sure you make your way back to the dance floor, join the couple. And then I find it gives people time because, you know, sometimes the couples are. They know they’re stupid, so they know. And I find it has the same effect. I mean, you still sometimes get people wanting one more song, but they’re less likely to because I’ve given them ample warning. That’s just me being, like, super cautious. But it means, I think the end goal is to finish on time and not have people feel like they’ve been ripped off or not given enough warning or whatever.

Eddy: Well, and that’s the tricky part, right. So you’ve got to kind of time it well enough. What I’ve also been sort of inviting couples to do lately is kind of leaving maybe at the second chorus of that final, final song. So the last memory they have of the night is everyone, like, cheering and screaming their name as they kind of walk out the venue and they don’t see that lights are coming on, the music’s finished. So that’s got that high point memory as their last.

Renee: Oh, that’s gorgeous.

Eddy: Yeah. Like I said, we don’t talk. Obviously.

Renee: He’s keeping all the good shit for himself.

Aleks: Harley, what the hell, mate? What do you do, renee? Do you ask for a final?

Renee: I give people the option of picking the final song for the night. And then sometimes if I haven’t played all of the inspiration songs and there’s something good left, I might surprise them by throwing one of them in at the, you know, the very last moment. But I often people don’t want to choose the last song of the night, and I like to kind of bring it down slow sometimes for the end and have a look, like, get people to do a bit of a slow dance. Also, there’s a lot of people at weddings that are single and, like, on the hunt. So I’m like, if you’ve been checking someone out across the dance floor all night, it’s time to, like, come up for a bit of a slow dance. Some weddings, people are, like, super into it, but it just depends if they’re shy people or if they’re dancers, you know? Yeah, yeah, I like that a lot.

Eddy: I mean, but they might, you know, if you’re a drinker, like, some of that shyness should have dissipated, I imagine.

Renee: Yeah, yeah, yeah, that’s great. You know how it gets to that point where, you know, it’s a four hour long or five hour long, depending on how long you guys do. Dj set, you’re kind of like, this is gonna peak far too early. So you just bring it back down again, get people to slow dance, and then you can build it back up.

Aleks: That happens to me. And I, like, I’m always fine, but I always have that moment of like, oh, yeah. I’m like, I’ve gone into, like. And it’s 930. And the wedding finishes at 01:00 a.m. And I’m like, I’ve just screwed myself.

Eddy: Just wind it back.

Aleks: What have I done? But again, this is why it’s so important for couples to provide, you know, like, an eclectic music. Brief is always better than just one genre because it does mean, okay, I’m gonna bring it back down with, like, an R and B. Like a slow, you know, September. September.

Renee: Yeah.

Aleks: Fisher. Followed by ABBA. And then you can kind of go into, you know, a bit more, I don’t know, seventies or eighties or whatever. But, yeah, because it’s peaks and troughs. You don’t want to kind of be on an upward trajectory and then where do you go? You know what I mean? It’s kind of better to have those kind of peaks and troughs throughout the night.

Eddy: Oh, definitely.

Aleks: But it depends. It depends how long the dance floor is. It depends on whether they’re running behind. You know, those, like, sometimes you get those weddings that are, like, really running behind, likely not often. And you end up with, like, an hour of, like, dance. Dance floor. And you’re like, I’m gonna bust out all these.

Renee: Yeah, thankfully, I’ve not had one. That’s only an hour. That would be very stressful.

Aleks: Yeah, it’s. Yeah, luckily we don’t get those, those either. We actually, I’ve noticed one thing. The dance floors do tend to be longer than pre pandemic because people are like, nah, screw it. I just wanna party. I wanna enjoy that bit of my wedding.

Eddy: Is there, like, a dance floor amount of time? Renee, that’s your sweet spot. Do you love that? Like a two hour? Do you love a three hour? Do you love a lot?

Renee: Yeah. Look, ideal is to a two hour set for me. But, you know, for weddings, it’s 4 hours. That’s what people get when they book me for my package. And it’s pretty full on. It’s a big responsibility to be taking people on that journey. And, you know, like, one thing I often say to people who have just deejayed a wedding for the first time, I’m like, you also have to be prepared for people to not dance and to not take it personally. Like, some people are big dancers and some people aren’t. And, you know, they still want music at their wedding. So it’s not always personal when people don’t dance.

Eddy: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I think every single wedding DJ at the beginning has beat themselves up over that very thing. And it’s funny, like, we’ve all been there. Like, I’m not gonna say that, like, every single wedding is like a bangin dance or. Because sometimes they’re just not a dancey crowd, but you’ll get one person that will tap you on the shoulder at the end of the night sometimes that you haven’t seen on the dance floor. Like, I loved everything you played, and they were just chilling, but they were just loving it. And, like, oh, wow, I have.

Renee: Yeah, yeah. One of my good mates, lady love potion, she’s also a DJ. Shout out, Lis. She gave me a good bit of advice, and she said, whenever you’re doing one of those gigs and people aren’t dancing, you go into this kind of style of doing it where you play a song for yourself, a song for the guests and a song for the staff, and then that way it means that you’re still keeping yourself entertained when nobody’s dancing, and you’re also keeping the staff entertained when no one’s dancing. And it’s kind of like a nice way to get you through those, like, moments. And I. That really stuck with me.

Eddy: I love that.

Aleks: Oh, I like that one. Are you on our DJ group? Are you in our Facebook DJ group?

Renee: I don’t even have Facebook.

Eddy: That’s. No.

Renee: Yeah, that is no, yeah.

Eddy: I wish I’d. I didn’t have Facebook.

Aleks: Well, we probably wouldn’t if we weren’t running a DJ community group, but anyway. But we might do that as a post and inspiration from Renee because, you know, there is a lot of discussion on that group about. Oh, you know, we sort of talk about how our weekends were and everything, and it doesn’t matter how experienced you are, you still have those moments where, like, oh, you know, you had really high expectations, but for whatever reason, the fire was up, people were drinking, and you feel down. You do.

Eddy: It’s hard to think, to remember, like, you know, you might get a couple, everyone’s gonna dance, it’s gonna be a huge night, and then it’s just the biggest flop. For whatever reason, there might be something going on with the family. I don’t know, but it’s. I just have zero. Almost zero expectations walking in. Like, obviously I’m ready to give it my all, but I’m not. I’m not going in saying, I know this is gonna be a huge dancing night, or I’m not going in saying, oh, I don’t expect much. I’m just going in level headed.

Aleks: Just, I’m prepared. Yeah. There’s only so much you can control. At the end of the day, you do the best job there that you can. And you obviously play within the couple’s brief and throw in their, you know, special requests and everything. But you can’t, like, physically force people.

Renee: No. And look, the other thing that makes you good at what you do is that you’re very good at reading people and knowing the energy in the room, which means whenever it isn’t going your way, of course it’s going to affect you and impact you. But, yeah, just to remember it’s not personal and to play stuff that you want to hear as well. Entertain yourself in those moments, because, you know, if nobody’s dancing, then you got to play a tune that makes your heart sing.

Eddy: Yeah.

Aleks: I love that. Yeah. And I think it’s important as well, because if people see that you’re still enjoying yourself, they’re more likely to get on the dance floor and come and party with you. If you’re kind of looking, you know, like, oh, why am I here? Kind of vibes. It’s just gonna throw this. You’re definitely not gonna get people, like.

Eddy: Because you do it, too, obviously, Aleks. And I’m sort of dancing way. And some people, like, look at someone’s point, like, oh, that person’s actually enjoying something. Well, yeah, like, obviously. Like, like, who else have you seen some boring DJ, like, behind the decks? Like, of course. You need. You need to harness that energy.

Renee: It’s all part of it. I think ambience is important to note as well. Like, if you’re. If you. If the lights are too bright, if you don’t have good lighting, even some smoke or hazers, if you’ve got those, it just. Ambience makes people feel more comfortable and less, you know, in the.

Eddy: In the kind of limelight, almost.

Aleks: Limelight.

Renee: Yeah, that’s the word I’m looking for. And it just makes them feel like they can lose their inhibitions a little bit more.

Eddy: Yes.

Aleks: Oh, kitty.

Eddy: It’s kitty.

Aleks: Has the kitty brought you a prison?

Renee: No, she hasn’t been outside yet.

Eddy: She’s wanting to go outside.

Renee: She’s wanting to go out. She’s awake. Yeah.

Aleks: Do you want to let her out?

Renee: No. Are we nearly done?

Aleks: Sorry. Yeah. Chat for ages. We could chat.

Renee: I know.

Aleks: All right, well, let’s. I did want to ask one more question, which I think is really important, which is around, obviously, wedding vendors kind of, you know, making sure that they’re being inclusive to all types of couples. And sadly, you know, you do see the occasional posts from a vendor referring to brides or brides and grooms, and just not, obviously not thinking about the full spectrum of couples out there. Is there. Are there any tips that you would have for vendors who do want to make sure that they’re being more inclusive?

Renee: Yeah, I think the first thing to know is important is to not sham people when they mess up, because it doesn’t actually help the situation. Like, don’t make people feel like shit for messing up. They’re not intentionally doing it. But, yeah, I think it’s interesting how people do just default to saying bride and groom, and it might be useful and helpful to just use more generic terminology all the time. Like, just talk about the couple and using their names, and then that way there’s less opportunity for you to fuck it up. I think, like, I work with a lot of gender diverse people and I’ve been in those spaces for a long time, so I feel comfortable with that stuff. But it is still really new for a lot of people as well. And so I think, you know, when you do make them feel seen and heard and use the right pronouns and all of that kind of stuff on their wedding day, it makes them feel like extra special. So, you know, noting that it can be difficult and confusing if you mess up. Don’t make it about you. Just move on. Apologise and move on. I think that’s kind of the best advice, is don’t assume someone’s gender based on how they look, because often gender diverse people might look like a different gender from what they are.

Aleks: Yeah. And ask the question. If you’re not sure, ask the question.

Renee: Yeah, exactly. And queer people don’t really love the term same sex as well. And. And I know that that’s legally the terminology when they talk about marriage, but we’re not really mad about the term same sex. So I mean, LGBTQ, like queer, we’d prefer any of those things, even gay before same sex, honestly. And I think that people who aren’t queer love to try and use the correct terminology, but it’s just a bit of an odd one. same six, we don’t love it.

Aleks: Very good to note. Very, very good to know. All awesome advice. We could talk for hours. Kitty is waiting. We know how important the kitty is. We absolutely love this chat. We’re going to ask. Oh, you could ask my final question.

Eddy: So, Renee, what song will get you on the dance floor?

Renee: The nut bush. I just wanted to fuck with you. I guess it depends. It depends where I am and what the, the occasion is. But like, one of my favourite bangers is born to be alive by Patrick Fernandez.

Aleks: Yes, correct answer.

Eddy: Not one we’ve had before.

Renee: Yeah, it’s so groovy and upbeat and makes you want to dance.

Eddy: How can you not dance to that? How can you not be happy and dance to that song? If you play that song and you get no response when you’re like, all.

Aleks: Right, I’m playing for myself and the staff.

Eddy: I’m playing myself doing the three, doing one for yourself, one for the staff.

Renee: Yeah, but that’s definitely one for parents who are like eighties people. They eat that up beautiful.

Aleks: And it’s super, super high energy. So yeah, it works well any, anytime. Amazing. And where can people find you? Where’s the kind of bedroom place to get in touch with you? Are you a dm.

Renee: Now? Please do not dm me. I closed all my socials over a year ago and I only have my business socials now and I only have them on my iPad so that I can have life boundaries. And it’s been life changing for me, but it also means that if people dm me, I ain’t going to see it for maybe days at a time. So. Renethecelebrant.com dot au everything they need is on there.

Eddy: Love it.

Aleks: Go to vendors, websites.

Eddy: Go to the website.

Aleks: You will get everything you need. All the information. Remember websites, everyone.

Eddy: Yeah.

Renee: Even pretty pictures and videos and prices, like everything you need there. Yeah, there you go.

Aleks: Prices.

Eddy: How often I’ll be responding to a DM’s like, hey, can I have a price? Is like, like, hey, everything’s on the website. Like put so much effort into it. Yeah, I know it’s a very expensive website.

Aleks: Please go to it. All right, the kitty’s definitely got to go. Renee, you’ve been an absolute joy. We could have chatted for hours and we sure that our listeners got loads out of that. Covered so much stuff. Yeah. Just would love to be at one of your weddings one day. That would be. Fingers crossed.

Renee: Yeah. Come along, please.

Aleks: Have to plan my outfit for a long time in advance. Pressure’s on. Thanks so much. Enjoy the rest of your day. Bye. Thanks for tuning in. If you’re enjoying Project Engaged, please hit the subscribe button on your fave 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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