Unsolicited Testimonials




The college trains its students well, and prepares us for dealing with red tape! I hope to make the college and especially yourself proud of me in every way.
Module 3: This Module has pushed, challenged and driven me to even greater heights; time and time again. My expectations of this course of study, have been so far exceeded, that I now know – I had no idea of what it meant to be a celebrant when I first started out. I have grown not only in skills, knowledge, and self-confidence, but also as a person. I have enjoyed my study, more than I can say in words …
Ariel Brown

Am having a wonderful time being a full-time celebrant. I just love it. It is as though it was always meant to be -and now the timing is right. Without the background and training I had from the College I am sure that I would not be having as much positive feedback and referrals as I am. Thank you again.
Toni Richards DipMC: DipFC

Despite their ability to fully cover both the areas of symbolism and celebration of life, some civil funeral ceremonies fall short, particularly in regard to symbolic gesture. I have now been to a number of civil funerals conducted by College-trained celebrants, as well as celebrants otherwise trained and self-trained or un-trained funeral celebrants. It is clear that many of the celebrants who are not appropriately trained do not understand, or have no knowledge of, the importance of ritual and symbolism. It’s to the College’s credit that such significant time is spent exploring and learning about the history and ongoing aspects of this aspect of ceremony.

Had I not undertaken this form of training, I am sure once I had commenced working as a funeral celebrant, that I would have been intimidated by the wealth of knowledge and support that College-trained celebrants would have held over me.Graduates3Graduates4
Cathryn Walker DipMC:DipFC:DipGC

A minister came to me after the ceremony (which was my first chapel and graveside ceremony, and I had not witnessed one before). Anyway, this minister asked where I had trained and had I delivered many ceremonies. I was honest and told him only a very few – and this my first graveside, and he said I must have excellent training as everything fell into place — the way I had my PA and lectern set up at the gravesite to make the transition from chapel to grave flow. The sound system was the best he had heard and ………… now this is a boost for this girl. He said I had a gift to perform ceremonies – clear meaningful words, that included the guests, made them feel apart of the ceremony, and not just listening to someone talk … I won’t get carried away … …. but still nice to have a little praise …. I thank my lucky stars I decided to study with the International College of Celebrancy, and my wonderful mentor, Chris Watson.
Jane Gray

I am constantly talking to celebrants in waiting, who have completed their training by ‘the dodgie brothers’ etc and am recommending that they take up some of your courses on offer while they are waiting. I also offer my services to any of them to sit in on interviews and to come and observe ceremonies that I do.

Many, I might say, feel quite overwhelmed afterwards. I even had one woman say to me last week that she doesn’t feel that she could do what I was doing – she said you just looked so professional. I was gob-smacked at this statement to say the least – obviously these courses are not instilling confidence because of the lack of training. I am sooooo pleased that I studied with your College and will continue to sing it’s praises.
Lorraine Lehman-Jones

One day I will write and tell you how much being a Celebrant means to me. Your example — of a happy, successful professional Celebrant — has been amazingly inspiring. This truly is one of the best jobs in the world. Thanks for sharing it with me. Being a Celebrant has brought immeasurable joy to my life.
The best learning experiences for me throughout these modules have been the various ceremonies that I have attended and reported on. These gave me the opportunity to observe different personalities and styles in action, as well as giving me some good ideas on different things that can be included in ceremonies, such as alternative methods of acknowledging and including step-children, and variations of traditional ceremonial actions, like the processional.
Kim Kirkley DipMC (New York)


Regarding Module 1: I will be honest, I have had a lot of uninformed criticism from some of my colleagues about doing this excellent module, mainly because they are saying it is not needed, as it’s not recognized for national accreditation. What people haven’t been able to grasp through it all, is that I started this module for me. I feel there is incredible responsibility and accountability in being a celebrant. We are able to make or break an event, and I personally would rather make every occasion, for every person, I have the privilege to work for.
Stephanie Hymer

I absolutely love my vocation as a celebrant ……. I am very busy…. have been to Perth (at the invitation of a couple that I met at a wedding (my first) in the botanical gardens in Melbourne in March this year. I am booked right through to March … I attribute this success to the great teaching I received from the college…
Bobbie Symons

Last year in August when I completed my Statement of Attainment with xxxxx course, I learned a lot of detail about the legal side but relatively little about the ceremonial side.
The College’s approach is much more rounded and personally satisfying for the couple and the celebrant. Unlike the other course, I observed no hint of mass production – rather professional pride in catering for the two individuals and their needs. I found that going to weddings and analysing them was very helpful and thought provoking.
Sarah Hepworth

Messenger’s articles were good, as they reinforced what I had already covered in my study of Module 2. All very helpful and practical tips provided by him. His information pack he sends out to clients is fantastic – covers everything I think I would send to clients. All of this helps me to start thinking in practical terms of when I start my business and practice as a Celebrant.
Jane Britnell

I received the reading material and assignments for the first module in this course. I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of material included, having been disappointed by previous experiences with some correspondence courses. This one seems to offer real depth and challenges.
The best learning experiences for me throughout these modules have been the various ceremonies that I have attended and reported on. These gave me the opportunity to observe different personalities and styles in action, as well as giving me some good ideas on different things that can be included in ceremonies, such as alternative methods of acknowledging and including step-children, and variations of traditional ceremonial actions, like the processional.
Mark Brady

Thank you for your encouragement and nurturing of me and giving me the strength and faith in myself that I could take it on. I felt an amazing calm and confidence when I was with the family and delivering the ceremony and much of that is from your training, support and the great conference which gave me the very practical tools and know-how to get through it without looking like the complete novice that I was.
Sarah Tolmie

I am amazed at Messenger’s generosity…. I think Messenger must be a very caring and generous person to enable students to use and adapt his work. He has saved celebrants a lot of work. I am very thankful!!
Jane Harvey

Working through Item 1 Task 1 has already opened my eyes to many aspects of ceremony that have previously gone unnoticed, and I have concluded that I will learn a great deal from this module alone!
Linda Staunton

In officiating today at my first wedding it was a blast, and all went well. My wife was there too and said that no one would ever believe it was my first, I appeared confident, competent and even seasoned. The bride was 20 minutes late but there was no sign of stress from me. Everyone apparently heard me clearly and there were several great comments afterwards. She said it was excellent and I looked very natural.
Now, here’s the thing. I had a couple of calls last night to give me support and urge me on etc but I was not in a place that I needed it! I was mildly excited yes, pleasantly nervous yes, but in doubt or confused? Not likely and in speaking with my wife at length afterwards she said it was obvious why. She said, all the information that the college had provided (that I constantly refer to) and the level at which the college conducts their courses, that is why I was ready and “seasoned”.
Sure it was only theoretical and semi practical but I was there! Amazing stuff and all worth it. My first people came to me only two weeks ago and I had to apply for a shortening of time, now where on earth would I have found the confidence to advise them on what was necessary to get the wedding to happen? The college, for all I put in and all I got out, the college was the right choice to get me where I am; A PRACTISING CELEBRANT!
Johnny Mackay CMC

Funeral Celebrancy: Thank you so much for your encouraging remarks as I have undertaken the Diploma of Funeral Celebrancy. I have thoroughly enjoyed the process and am relishing commencing practice… It is quite interesting the reaction when I tell people I have undertaken training and produce my card. I think they are actually quite stunned. With the training behind me I feel confident and assured of giving good value to clients…
Libby Urbahn, Whangarie New Zealand.

I can’t ever thank you enough for the support you have given me, and the education that the College has given me. I am so proud to be able to work by the standards the College has set, and to have met all the fine people I have (ie, our coffee meetings etc). Your inspiration is priceless.
Five day courses: In the meantime, I have interesting information regarding one of the 5-day wonder courses offered in Sydney, attended by someone I have recently met. The course was a total fiasco, and 3 out of 10 people have been authorised, my acquaintance being one of the lucky ones, much to her surprise.
Maggi Stewart CMC

I believe I have learnt a considerable amount throughout module one. The main thing that I have learnt is that ceremonies are important in everyday life. Ceremonies are important for simple events to major event and they need to be celebrated.
Michelle Davies

From an ex clergyman: Thank you for your welcome to the college and the information regarding sending in finished work. I thought the course would be a walk in the park with my prior experience working in the church etc,I don’t mean this in a proud way , I just thought I was well trained in this field of service ???

If all this wasn’t enough I made contact with Jane Day, as to arrange my initial assessment and to arrange further coaching etc as she sees fit? Well, what a mastery of words she had on the phone and an eloquence of years gone by, the books I have read of Jane’s are fantastic and encouraging to reach higher ground for those we serve. I understand it’s all about meeting your own full potential, but at first I was very overwhelmed with the challenge of the tasks that lay ahead, and the need for growth.

I am looking forward to meeting Jane again and finding out where my strengths and weaknesses lie , as I find it hard to judge my own ability through lack of skill in Jane’s field.
Thank you once again
Paul Whitfield

Well, I was similarly excited to get my second module package as I was with my first. But, behold what lies in store for this humble student as she opens the package. What! Two books plus a textbook and a tape? Let’s get cracking. A number of nights are spent reading and reading and reading. Absorption rate is rapidly depleting. Must read them all again. Oh! I forgot to mention that I listened to the tape first. I just love the sound of Jane’s Voice.
Suzy Fleming

Clergyman on Module 2: I reflect back on my notes prior to starting Module 2, and compare what I had written, then, as expectations, to what I have gained now. I found the course well presented and laid out in such a way, that one could not BUT succeed. I did have difficulties in finding celebrants, who were willing to assist me in my studies, and also a suitable voice examiner for assessment. However, I did find an examiner of high calibre, well experienced in bringing out the best in one.
Being so far away from major towns was a problem, but not an insurmountable one. The Internet and Library opened, for me, a whole plethora of books and information on speech presentation, so much so, that I felt somewhat overwhelmed.
The Module 2 course seems to have taken the best, and put it in to such an easy to understand, and follow process, that any fears I had were annulled. Mrs Jane Day writes very well and gets one “involved”. To follow her instructions and exercises really becomes a self-revelation of just what capacities one has inside.
I had, prior to, exception with reading poetry, now. after the course, I actually enjoy poetry and poetic prose. Wonders never cease! I found that the main benefit for me; the bonus, the prize at the end, was the self-assurance I gained, and self-confidence I developed.
I enjoy giving my sermons now, knowing that I have the bulk of the audience actually listening!!
I was worried about the assessment, as, on the day, I was “stuffed” up with the flu, and my nasal passages were blocked. Mrs. Mac Isaac asked if I would like to cancel. But we both agreed there was a problem. What if this was a real wedding – what would we do?
‘Cancel because the Celebrant has a cold?? Definitely not!
I found suitable medicines at the chemist to get through the ceremony so this was a GREAT experience.
In conclusion. I would like to say that my original expectations were not only met but were exceeded. I did not find anything disappointing in the program, but rather found that I want to to continue with further studies for Diploma / Diplomas. The Module 2 course was everything I expected, and I would not hesitate to recommend it to others. I thank the College and Mrs Day for her books. and look forward to further studies.
Reverend Misha Zigas.

When I became a student, I expected the course to impart basic actual information as to how I would conduct Marriage Ceremonies, perhaps touching on some of the legal aspects required by the Attorney- General’s Department.
However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that, as well as those basics, the various courses went into great detail about the history and nature of ceremony and Rites of Passage. The course also placed strong emphasis on ceremonial public speaking and personal presentation.
Most importantly though, your insistence on providing the couple with a personalised ceremony of excellence that uniquely suits them indicates how dedicated the college is towards promoting high ideals and strong ethical standards.
John Dean CMC

I am a recent graduate from the College of Celebrancy.
I am a qualified community worker and an ex teacher with Victoria College and a practising counsellor today. l believe the best people to train a person in any field of study are those who are skilled and experienced within that arena.
So I deliberately chose to study with the College of Celebrancy.
The course included theory on a diverse range of topics applicable to conducting ceremonies.
The training also required students to work closely with practising celebrants where we were taught through demonstrations of various ceremonies, and then the same celebrants assisted us by explaining all the legal and ethical requirements that are part of celebrant work.
I highly and thoroughly recommend this course on every level.
Nadine Eagleson.

The above are only a few of the testimonials to the quality of our courses and training, there are many more, however enough for now!

Recent Posts

Civil Celebrant Ceremonies Enrich the Culture and preserve genuine values


Dear Attorney General
I have just finished watching the Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne Dawn Anzac services on television.
The woman surgeon who spoke at the Canberra Dawn Service and the other woman surgeon who spoke at the Melbourne Dawn Service movingly articulated the ideals in which they believed – such a contrast to Australian life as we currently observe it.

These Dawn Anzac ceremonies were top illustrations of how ceremonies are meant to preserve our values. The civil celebrant program for which you have responsibility was not established by your predecessors for occasional use, but was instigated to permeate Australian life on all its occasions to express, inter alia, the values we acknowledge as good. Every family , every community is enriched and stabilised by ceremonies and rituals great and small. This need in our culture has become more acute as church attendances have declined dramatically. In short, Mr Porter, we civil celebrants were established to build and enhance a culture, wherein, at ever level of society, our best ideals were expressed, transmitted and reinforced.

Unfortunately, your predecessors have let us and the country down badly. September 1st 2003 was a sad day for celebrants. On that day our whole purpose was changed from creating the best ceremonies for the Australian public to a preoccupation with a mass of legal trivia.

In brief, the market was super-flooded with so many badly educated celebrants that original ideals were lost, understanding of the role became almost non-existent, and pre-occupation with ceremonies for the whole spectrum of human life was replaced with celebrant organisations seeking members, celebrant “trainers” without ethics, and individuals grovelling to a public servant, who over-asserted her authority, and who demanded strict adherence to her destructive ideas.
It is important to run a good country – good governance as we call it. It is important to develop a culture which supports decency, values, and principles. Civil ceremonies are one of the main means we have to influence society for the better.

Until that tragic day in 2003, Australia led the western world on civil ceremonies. Civil celebrants were abolished on this day and jumbled up with an unwilling clergy — a situation in law you have the power to rectify.

Lest this letter get too long to read, and just incase you are interested in this program, I have two recommendations for starters.

Recommendations for starters–

1. That in the next meeting of your representatives with celebrants the topic of excessive numbers should not be passed over until action is planned to begin solving the problem. My recommendation is a full or part moratorium on appointments – and a waiting list. As a partial moratorium, say, one appointment for every four who leave the list. (This has been done before.)

2. Then once something concrete has been decided about no.1 above – the meeting should discuss purpose. Similarly the meeting should not be allowed to continue until they have progressed towards expanding and encouraging the range and quality of the ceremonies which our society so badly needs.

3. My impression of your current staff is that they are decent people without the malice we have experienced in the past. But you as Attorney- General should not tolerate in the marriage celebrant section staff any public servant who does not understand and support the purpose of the civil celebrant program and who sincerely wishes, according to the highest ideals of the public service, to progress it.

Mr Porter, there is nothing better you could be doing for Australia, for its lasting good, than using your influence to enrich the culture of this country. The civil celebrant program began this way, and continued this way for a long time. I defy you to name anything in your portfolio of responsibilities, which is more important than the spiritual life of the nation itself.
With sincere good wishes for success in your portfolio. Yours sincerely

Dally Messenger III STB, LCP, BEd, DipLib, ALAA

Currently: Principal of the International College of Celebrancy
Sometime Lecturer – Victoria University – Graduate Diploma in Arts (Celebrancy) Sometime Lecturer – Monash University – Graduate Diploma in Arts (Celebrancy) Foundation President and Administrator of the Australian Federation of Civil Celebrants (1994-1999).
Life Member – Celebrants and Celebrations Network
Sometime Life Member of the Australian Federation of Civil Celebrants (1996).
(Until they abolished Life Members !!)
Foundation President of the Australian Association of Funeral Celebrants
Foundation Secretary of the Association of Civil Marriage Celebrants of
Australia (1975-1980).
Author, Ceremonies and Celebrations (4 editions) – a handbook for celebrants.
Author, Murphy’s Law and the Pursuit of Happiness: A History of the Civil Celebrant Movement

PS. In case I am maligned. I consider legalities are important, and I have always advocated exactness in the recording of marriages, and practised it with exactness in my own celebrancy. But it is not the main game – ceremonies are!

Dally Messenger

This is the reply I received via our representative at the Meeting with the Attorney General’s representatives

As Yvonne Werner will testify, I raised your recent letter to the AG with the MCLS staff at the associations meeting here in Canberra yesterday. They said they had read it. Nonetheless I raised the point of oversupply & moratorium in front of all. They simply said that the law says that if a qualified fit & proper person applies the Registrar has to appoint. ‘A moratorium or a delay (4 to 1) in appointments will not happen.’  I tried. Hope you are well. Charles 😎👍🏼

My Note: In the past The Marriage Act and the Regulations, especially those which oppressed celebrants, were changed in the blink of an eye.

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