The Geelong Celebrant Collective

I can finally scream it from the roof tops – our big exciting news that we have been working on for nearly 12 months!

I give you …..(insert drum rolls please)….. The Geelong Celebrant Collective!


What brings eight celebrants, from all walks of life and with uniquely individual
personalities together? Each member of the Geelong Celebrant Collective is
dedicated and passionate about creating a truly incredible experience for their
couples. We are united in our belief that your ceremony is the start of your
celebrations, and should be crafted to reflect the people you are.
Geelong, the Bellarine and Surf Coast regions are filled with spectacular wedding
locations, and we believe couples celebrating their wedding here deserve a
premium, authentic and professional service. Our couples experience a journey with
us, full of excitement, fun and seamless support.

Let me introduce our amazingly talented, passionate, dedicated GCC Members –

Nicole Penning | |
Jessie Belle | |
Sue Warner | |
Niki Currie | |
Anita Jenkins | |
Laura Kate | |
Di Schmidkte | |
Chloe Jetson | |

As co-directors and founders of GCC, Chloe Jetson & myself hope to lead the way in the Geelong Wedding Industry, surrounded by our beautiful colleagues, in showing Geelong and it’s regions couple’s JUST HOW AMAZING their Wedding Ceremony can be!

Love, The Geelong Celebrant Collective xxx or 0406 110 529

“Natural Death Advocacy Network MEMBER”

I am very excited to continue my new career path as a Funeral Celebrant, alongside this brilliant organisation – NDAN – Natural Death Advocacy Network.

I was introduced to NDAN by my amazing mentor and Celebrant idol, Sally Cant
who is a proud advocate for natural death and dying and is strongly leading the movement for change in Victoria and Australia wide in educating families on
WHAT IS POSSIBLE when you or a loved one dies.

  • Did you know – you can hold your Funeral Service on your favourite beach that you grew up visiting as a child on school holidays with your Grandparents?
  • Did you know – you can have your Funeral conducted in your backyard where you spent hours tenderly caring your beautiful flowers and vegetable patch which was your pride and joy!
  • Did you know – you can have your body at home, in your front lounge room where you always enjoyed a cup of tea, whilst reading your favourite novels – where your loved ones can come and visit you over a period of days…..saying their goodbyes, sharing with you their last words and holding your hand to pay their respects before your body leaves this world.

The possibilities around death, dying and funerals is endless – but the sad part is – most families DON’T KNOW THIS!

I will be proudly sharing these ideas and having these conversations with my family, my friends, my clients – and anyone that is willing to listen!

If you have any questions, or would like to know more – please feel free to ask me, or visit for more information.



I proudly support #marriageequality and want what is right for all humans – the right to get married, the right to choose if they want to get married, the right to publically acknowledge their love for someone and have that legally recognised under our Australian Marriage Act Laws.

LGBTI+ couples rights in all other areas of Australian Law are recognised as being equal, except under the Marriage Act. As a Celebrant, reciting the Monitum {Section 46 (1) of the Marriage Act} can be a very difficult and emotional legal requirement, but by law we are obligated to do at every Wedding Ceremony we conduct.

But this is not just an issue about Marriage – this is an issue about LIFE & DEATH.
Defacto LGBTI+ partners have no rights to their deceased partner when it comes to their body, their death and their funeral!

If you can’t support #marriageequality can you support #deathequality?????
Shouldn’t all loved ones be able to make funeral arrangements for their soul mate who has passed away? This is a huge reason why I support #marriageequality and one that not many people stop to think about. Because no one does, until it it too late.

I’m #votingyes and I have lots of other reasons why. I hope you can help support the #voteyes campaign and steer Australian’s future in the right direction, one where we can proudly tell our children and our grandchildren that we helped make this world a better place, for all humans.

“My new look for next season!”

Designed by Autumn Lane Paperie

Check out my new logo!!!


I was very lucky to stumble across, Bec, Lily and Barb at Autumn Lane Paperie in the United States and they came up with this pretty little number for me!

It has been over 8 years since my business had a face-lift….
so while Winter is here and every Wedding Supplier in town is working ON THEIR BUSINESS, rather than DOING their business, I thought it was time for a change!

This logo is definitely ME – gold and florals really are my thing.
I will miss my traditional black and white, but will pay tribute to my old logo every time I write a ceremony and put black font to white paper when I type!

A big thank you also to my amazing website team, Evolution Design Agency for helping me bring my new logo to life on my website! (And also taught me to do cool links like that – click on their business name!)

Designed by Evolution Design Agency
Designed by Evolution Design Agency

So here is to a new ME – a new LOGO and exciting times ahead at Nicole Penning Civil Celebrant!



“Winter is HERE!!!!”

Winter is no longer coming (thanks GOT) – it is HERE!

So to all the Brides and Grooms out there – now is your time to ACT!
(Gee, it sounds like I am selling you steak knives, but I am just passing on some words of wisdom I promise!)

It is this glorious time of year that all of us Wedding Suppliers get to sit back, relax, take a breath and STOP! Wedding Season is officially over until about September, so we don’t get long to catch up on free weekends, not having to put our make-up on or worrying if our P.A is charged or not!

But……….if you are a Bride or Groom – now is YOUR TIME to get busy!
Book in to see 2 or 3 Celebrants, go out and visit the 2 or 3 Wedding Venues you have been umming and ahhing over. You need to start researching, planning, meeting, deciding and LOCKING IN your Wedding Details – NOW!

Now is the perfect time as all of us Wedding Suppliers are FREE (not free as in our PRICE, but we have the free time to meet with you!)
In June alone this month I have seen 2-3 couples each week, because I can!
So start calling around, send those emails and make the time to meet with your florist, photographer, DJ/Band/Acoustic, venue, car hire, stylist, hair dresser, make-up artist, cake maker, dress maker……did I forget anyone? ……. CELEBRANT!

If you are getting married in Summer of 2018….it might actually already be too late – lots of the most popular Wedding Suppliers might very well already be BOOKED OUT for that time of year – so get in quick. If you are getting married in Spring or Summer of 2018 then now is your time to act! ACT NOW and we might even throw in a set of free steak knives!!! *we won’t, but I thought it would be funny to say that! 🙂

Please bare in mind, legally, you must complete the Notice of Intended Marriage and have it lodged with your Celebrant at least 1 month before your Wedding Date, for you to legally get Married, but no more than 18 months before hand – so please don’t forget!

So get on the phone, start sending out those emails – don’t get lost in the world of Facebook and Instagram or Pinterest (even though they all offer AMAZING Wedding Inspo!!!) Talk- ask around, ask those you trust, the suppliers you might already have booked in or those people who have recently got married – for who they recommend, or what their experience was like and you will soon work out who is right for you.

And finally, have fun – trust in the professionals – that is what you are paying them for. They are an investment in ensuring your Wedding Day is the best it can be, and what you have always dreamt of it being!

Remember – “may the love in your life, create a life to love.”

Love, Nicole.

Nicole on HER Wedding Day!

“Funerals – my new lease on life”

If you read my last BLOG post – you will know I can be a very passionate person when I want to be! (My fellow Celebrants can attest to that I know!)
I am a firm believer in supporting what you care about and following that passion to where ever it may lead.

Last year I had the empowering experience of being a Funeral Celebrant for the very first time in my career. I had the honour of leading a dear family that I love, on the hardest journey of their life – saying goodbye to their beloved family member.
It was a heart-breaking experience for me professionally and personally – but it was also one of the most rewarding moments of my life.

Being an advocate for a family, suffering life’s cruelest blows, is a role I take with extreme PRIDE.
I knew my words would affect them, and be a lasting memory that they would take away from the day, as they said farewell for the very last time.
But I wanted my words and my being there, to be able to protect them as well.
Protect them, guide them, shelter them, comfort them

Last week I had the priveledge of hearing one of this countries greatest Celebrants speak on this topic – and it gave me a new lease on life.
I found a new passion.
I am looking forward to the day when I can confidently say, “I am a Funeral Celebrant” and I will be proud and honoured to walk another family through their most difficult day.

Image by Tania Fernandes Photography
Image by Tania Fernandes Photography

“I proudly support Marriage Equality”

Last week I attended a seminar at Deakin University in Waurn Ponds for Marriage Equality in Geelong. The speakers at this event gave me an insight into what we can do, as the “little people” to make those in power know how we feel – and that we are not going away – and that we demand this injustice be abolished and same-sex marriage be legalised NOW.

I knew this was a topic that I believed in, I knew this was a basic human right, I knew that if I can marry my soul mate – why can’t ANYONE ELSE!!!!
I also knew as a Civil Celebrant, every time I say the Monitum which explains the Marriage Act under Australian Law that I feel daggers, I feel hearts break.
But when I add to the end of it, “However, our Bride and Groom wish to recognise those who are still denied the civil right of wedded union, and forbidden the social and legal benefits of Marriage. They look forward to the day when all adults are free to unite in lawful commitment, when Marriage is based on love, not gender.” …. often I will get CHEERS from the guests followed by a supportive applause in agreeance!!!!

SO….I now have set myself a mission. To do what ever I can, in my role as a Celebrant and as a human being – to not give up on the pursuit for Marriage Equality and keep this issue at the forefront of those minds who are willing to listen – to make a difference, to stand for change and have Marriage Equality legalised.

For all those that love – they should be able to marry the one they love.

#loveislove #equallove #samelove #marriageequality #isupportmarriageequality #geelongrainbowinc #geelongformarriageequality #justequal #australianmarriageequality

Geelong Rainbow Inc.Geelong For Marriage EqualityJust EqualAME_Support_Sticker_Print

“Christmas Season = Wedding Season”

So it is Christmas, and what have you done?

Christmas season, festive season, the silly season, in the eyes of a Celebrant also equate to WEDDING SEASON!

A time of year when “normal” people celebrate the joy of giving and share weekends with their loved ones, work Christmas parties and count down til the man in red climbs down the chimney!
But for us Celebrants, we are counting down ’til Winter!!!!

This is our busiest time of year – school teachers get married in December and enjoy their school holidays while honeymooning in Tahiti and Bora Bora. Everyone wants to get married in Summer, when (apparently no one told Mother Nature as we are yet to see proof of this) the weekends are warm, the sun is shining and everyone is in happy spirits celebrating nuptials with a glass of bubbles in their hand.

Christmas and Weddings also have a few more things in common –                                         FAMILY, FRIENDS, LOVE & TRADITION.
I love Christmas when I get to see my family, just purely enjoying being in their presence, with usually an obscene amount of food surrounding us, torn wrapping paper on the floor and kids running around on a sugar high, while parents try sneak in an afternoon siesta. (Yes Hubby, I am referring to YOU!)

But what I find so interesting is that every weekend, when hundreds and thousands of couples get married, little do they know it, but they get a little bit of that Christmas spirit bundled up in their very own Wedding Day!

Family marvel in the love between the Bride & Groom, friends celebrate and reminisce over stories of old, traditions are kept alive by the cutting of the cake, Bridal Waltz, Father/Daughter dance, signing the guest book and finally the circle farewell.

The spirit of Christmas can be found every Friday, Saturday or Sunday (even Monday – Thursday too sometimes!) in gardens, venues, private properties, Churches and backyards, all over the world. And I get to be a part of this joy!!!

The magic of a family, the love between soul mates, the traditions that we remember as kids and carry into our adult years can be found world-wide in every Community on the same day every year – Christmas Day. But I am thrilled to have found snippets of this in every Wedding I do too!

So for anyone reading this, enjoy the festive season, but try to find that joyous spirit in the everyday. Dinner with your kids, a walk with your dog, an hour long phone call with your BFF from Primary School – be grateful for the small blessings in your life and share the large ones if you can!

I’m thankful with every Wedding that I do, that I have been chosen to be a part of something extra special – and I am thankful every Christmas for my small beautiful Family and the very best of friends, that I was chosen to live this life – be a Mother, be a Wife, a Daughter, a best friend, a Celebrant.

Thank you to all my Family and friends for your love and support of me, always.
And thank you to my Brides and Grooms, and their loved ones – for including me in your memories.

Merry Christmas, Nicole. xxx


“Wedding Season = Cold+Flu Season”

To all my beautiful Brides and charming Grooms!

This is your Celebrant/Mother talking – please look after yourselves this Wedding Season.

Time and time again I see my poor couples working so hard leading up to their BIG DAY,
not just in the planning and organising – but in their normal working lives as well.
Be it their 9-5, their house renovation, their full-time studies, or baking a bun in the oven –
my couples are SO BUSY they can easily forget to put themselves first, BEFORE their Wedding Day, that they run themselves sick and are not in a good place health wise, leading up to W Day!

It’s hard enough with the nerves, balancing the budget, making sure the dress zips up – to add a cold, a flu, tonsillitis, or a migraine to the list – that is no one’s idea of fun leading up to their Wedding Day.

So try to have faith in your suppliers – the professionals you have PAID TO DO THEIR JOB, and know that all your hard work over the last 18, 12, 6 months will pay off and you can rest and take peace in knowing WE KNOW WHAT WE ARE DOING – all you have to be is:


Rest up, eat well, stay healthy, drink lots of water, take vitamin C tablets, sleep …. or consult your Doctor not your Celebrant on actual Medical advice – but please look after YOURSELF.

Your Wedding Day will be the best day of your life, with the love of your life – you don’t want to be under-the-weather on your Wedding Day, when all you no doubt will be worried about, is what the weather is actually doing itself that day. (One other thing I urge you not to worry about! But that’s clearly a totally other blog post for another day!)

Image by Tania Fernandes PhotographyI wish all Brides and Grooms, mine and others –
a beautiful, love filled Wedding Season.

And remember – “may the love in your life, create a life to love.”
Love Nicole. xxx
Image by Tania Fernandes Photography


“The importance of CEREMONY”

What is a ceremony???

Google tells us a Ceremony is a formal religious or public occasion, especially one celebrating a particular event, achievement, or anniversary and the ritual observances and procedures required or performed at grand and formal occasions.

But in Australia – what rituals or symbolic gestures do we use in our Wedding Ceremonies to highlight the importance of such a grand, formal occasion?

I had the pleasure of conducting a Wedding Ceremony on the weekend which involved an ancient Chinese Tea Ceremony – where the Bride and Groom paid tribute and shared respect to their Parents in thanking them for raising and caring for them their whole lives – until this pivotal, momentous life event.

It was beautiful, even filled with a few laughs – but the ceremonial importance of what it symbolised – moved me. I was touched and also sad at the same time – that Australian Wedding Ceremonies don’t have such customs or traditions.

We all know the “ritual” Australian’s enjoy at the Wedding Reception, and yes, I enjoy a glass of bubbles or two myself of course – but in the Wedding Ceremony, I would LOVE to see…Australian Ceremony customs or rituals! Real Ceremony, not just the words us Celebrants have to say, or the vows the couple share together.

Yes there are Sand Ceremonies, Love Lock Ceremonies, Hand Fasting Ceremonies, Dove Releases, Butterfly Releases….but which of these if any is a true Australian Wedding Ceremony tradition???

That I would LOVE to see, if I knew WHAT that was, that is!