Over the Rainbow Celebrant Services
Personalised, Meaningful, Unforgettable (with the best Velvet Jacket Collection)
In this interview, we are thrilled to help you get to know, in a much deeper way, the amazing personality behind Over the Rainbow Celebrant Services. Craig Batchelor has been officiating weddings since 2018 and in a short space of time has grown to become a favourite wedding celebrant and MC in Sydney and beyond! We sat down with Craig to get to know his brand and what couples can expect should they book him for their special day. Now let’s get to it.
Craig, tell us more about Over the Rainbow Celebrant Services!
I became an authorised Marriage Celebrant for two reasons,
1: Because I LOVE love (I mean who doesn't), and
2: Weddings offer me an excuse to constantly top up my velvet jacket, bow tie and pocket square collection. Yes, I have one in EVERY colour imaginable!
Seriously though, I absolutely LOVE MY JOB! I get so much enjoyment from being an integral part of the biggest occasion in the lives of people I get to know well, and now call friends. I'm grateful for each opportunity to work with my Couples, ensuring that their ceremony is unique, thoughtful, sincere and most of all FUN. The ceremonies I love to create have family and friends still talking, laughing and crying about the wedding for many years to come!
Your wedding day should scream you - so let's scream YOU together
How did you get started in the wedding industry?
My journey to becoming a marriage celebrant was mostly due to my mum. My mum always wanted and encouraged me to become a celebrant, as she knew I had the personality, passion and love for weddings. So, after working as a Family & Children’s Lawyer for over 10 years, I decided to follow her advice, complete a celebrancy course and chase my dreams. Sadly, in the weeks before I became an authorised marriage celebrant, my mum suddenly passed away, never seeing me achieve my dream of becoming a marriage celebrant. So, in her honour, I named my business, Over The Rainbow Celebrant Services in her memory and also in honour of her favourite song by Eva Cassidy.
What are Couples looking for in a Marriage Celebrant?
Couples want someone who is organised, fun and warmly energetic, without being over the top. A Marriage Celebrant who takes the time to get to know the couple personally whilst behaving respectfully and professionally. Someone who cares about the love, fun, and commitment shared between the Couple while beautifully reflecting this in the marriage ceremony.
I draw upon my many years of experience in the corporate world as an Event Manager and MC, to deliver experiences that are personalised, meaningful and unforgettable.
You're based in Sydney but do you service other locations?
Yes! I'll travel anywhere for my Couples, so no matter where you are in the world, I'll be there to hitch the pants off you.
I have been lucky enough to travel the country marrying couples as no place is too far to go for love!
What do you love about weddings?
What's not to love about weddings? For me, the best part of a wedding is seeing so much love all in one space. From the newlyweds, parents and family, to the adoring elderly couple who still have that spark in their eyes. I also love witnessing a love story unfold, those that are just getting started and those that are getting to the best part.
It is amazing to witness a couple's creativity come to life -watching their reactions as dreams become reality. I am a sympathy crier and when I see a bride and groom tear up, then I'm gone. They get me every time!
I love witnessing the positivity, fun and energizing atmospheres that only weddings can create, including watching guests cut a rug on the dance floor later in the night!
Lastly, I love meeting couples and unearthing their shared stories, heartfelt moments and the love they hold for one another.
What's your role at weddings and what makes you different?
My role is to ensure that the ceremony is delivered in the best way possible without stress and with a bucket load of fun!
So here‘s what my role is…
You CONTACT me
If I'm the guy for you, then you send me an enquiry with your ceremony date, time and a little bit of information. I’ll quickly come back to you within a couple of hours with my availability and a quote for my services.
We lock in a time to chat over FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, phone or face-to-face before you confirm my booking. It is here that you get the chance to grill me with all the tough questions.
We CATCH UP
A follow-up meeting to complete some all-important paperwork, namely the Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM). I’ll use this meeting to discuss your ceremony in greater detail. This is when our creative juices can get flowing to create something amazingly unique, fun and different from what your guests have experienced before. But, most of all – something that reflects you as the couple. I will work on creating the ceremony from scratch and once done I'll send you a draft for review. I’ll be in touch to assist with your vows (if needed) and will keep you updated on the process as we go.
You get MARRIED!
On the day, I will arrive well before the ceremony with my PA system, iPod, Bluetooth connection and paperwork. I’ll deliver an engaging, personalised and fun ceremony based on the details we have discussed together. We’ll sign some paperwork, I’ll pronounce you married and then issue you with a marriage certificate to pose for some awkward photos.
The CARE keeps coming
After the ceremony, I will lodge all the legal stuff to BDM (Births, Deaths and Marriages) and guide you through the process to apply for your official marriage certificate and change your name if that is your preference.
What makes me different is not only my velvet jacket collection (which I can match to the wedding party's colours) but also the way I take tradition and put a modern-day take on it. Not only are my ceremonies 100% personalised to every couple, I also encourage couples to take a tradition and modernise it, like including a tequila shot ritual at the end of the ceremony for the couple and their guests. Here I compare tequila to a marriage, we all have a shot, celebrate the couple's marriage and get the party started early. It sets the mood as we move into the reception!
What's your advice to couples planning a wedding?
1. Exercise Caution when Discussing the Wedding with Friends and Family
It's natural to divulge the finer details of your wedding to your favourite people, but, as far as I'm concerned, the fewer guests who know in advance of the big day, the better. You may not realise it, but by offering up information on your first dance song, or how much you're spending on flowers, you're putting your choices up for debate. Keeping quiet about the details of the day helps avoid conflict and upset, especially where the more opinionated people in your circle are concerned, as well as those prone to fretting. Just remember to have a handy one-liner prepared, in case somebody presses you for info. Something like, "We want to keep it a surprise", or "You'll just have to wait and see on the day!" works a treat. Oh, and I should point out, that exceptions should, of course, be made for essential information that impacts your guests' safety or enjoyment of the day!
2. Identify your Priorities Early On
Before you get started with wedding planning, sit down with your partner to discuss the kind of wedding you'd like to have. Think about the feel and vibe you want to create, and try to visualise the perfect celebration. You should soon be able to identify what's most important to you. Between you and your partner, try to settle on three or four priorities. Many couples choose showing their guests a good time, minimising stress so they can relax and enjoy the day, and throwing a party that reflects their personalities, but, of course, if having a pair of designer shoes is high on your list, that's perfectly acceptable, too! Setting these priorities out will set you on a path to finding the perfect vendors who align with those priorities.
3. Trust your suppliers
Assembling a dream team of wedding suppliers is no small task, but the good news is that, once you've done it, you can breathe a heavy sigh of relief! When it comes to suppliers, find the right people, communicate your vision, and then we should be able to do what we do best! When you're happy with the vendors you've booked, wedding planning becomes infinitely simpler. A good supplier will be able to improvise within your brief, suggest alternatives and problem-solve when issues arise. If you feel yourself sliding into micromanagement mode and you are not having fun in the planning stage, then you may have found the wrong vendors.
4. Delegate your heart out
It takes a village to plan a wedding - trying to do everything yourself generally results in unnecessary stress. For a lot of people, calling in favours and asking for help is really difficult, but just remember that your guests will be more than happy to lend a hand. In fact, your wedding party members, parents, siblings and closest friends will probably be expecting a job or two! As long as you choose your happy helpers wisely, delegation is your best friend in wedding planning. Some friends and relatives will be up for taking on big projects.
5. Don't sweat the small stuff
6. Breathe and have fun
7. Like Taylor Swift said - It's a love story baby, so just say Yes......too me (I may have added in that last bit )
What was your favourite wedding?
Picking a favourite wedding is like picking your favourite child - very hard to do! However, it would have to be MY OWN!
How would you describe the couples that you connect with the most?
Loved up, chilled, fun and energetic. These are the couples that instantly become friends and part of my family from the moment we connect.
What's the funniest moment from a wedding you have attended?
One of the very first weddings I conducted was a Disney-themed wedding where the couple wanted me to be dressed as Olaf from Frozen, in a full-character costume. I agreed, however, I am short and the costume was much bigger than me and so my eyes were not at the mouth for me to see out off. Unfortunately, mid-ceremony whilst trying to read the ceremony, Olaf's head became too heavy and fell straight off - so a headless Olaf had to continue with the ceremony. Poor little Olaf had begun to melt, starting with his head!
Do you offer other services?
Yes! I am also an MC for receptions.
As the Master of Ceremonies, I organise the flow of your reception and create a fun party atmosphere that celebrates you and your fiancé and the love that you have for each other. My role is to introduce you and your wedding party (and anyone else), coordinate and introduce speeches, first dance, cake cutting and farewell. I will work with your venue and DJ to ensure your reception timings align perfectly for your night and will ensure all glasses are full and ready to toast your love for each other! I like to take the stress and worry away so you can enjoy your night and celebrate with your family and friends. Some couples like this option rather than having family or friends do it as it allows their family and friends to enjoy the night without the added pressure and responsibility.
I also have a business partner, Lauren, who makes amazing grazing boards and platters for couples who choose to have one at the beginning of their ceremonies. It is a great way for family and friends to mingle before the wedding party arrives and even settles the nerves for some grooms. It is also a great little thing to have at the end of their ceremony before canapes.