1 | Name, age (optional) and where you call home?
My name is Aniella Batten, I am 32 years old and I live in the beautiful Suburb of Fairlight on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.
2 | What is your job, side hustle and/ or creative pursuit?
First and foremost, I am a mother to two beautiful little girls (Aggy and Effie)- it is my most challenging and rewarding job to date. Parallel to this, I am a marriage celebrant, and I absolutely love it. I also own two coffee shops with my husband, Effie’s and Aggy’s Corner, and have an online store, nuage, which houses a curation of premium gender neutral and environmentally conscious clothing and lifestyle products for children, mothers and home. I get a different fix from each business- my (happy) cup is absolutely full.
Images courtesy of Maple + June
3 | We originally met through The Lane, and I’ve since watched your creative practice become impressively diverse to span across multiple industries. How do you balance being a full-time Mum, Aggy’s & Effie’s, your celebrant work and Nuage? And what drew you to expand your creative practice this way?
We did, and I am so grateful for that!!! I loved my time at The LANE- it definitely helped keep my love of weddings alive and fueled by all of the beautiful brands and businesses I was surrounded by on a daily basis.
My life has certainly changed since then, however my interests and passions have remained consistent. I have always loved fashion and interiors, and of course weddings and events, so I guess I have just focused on those passions and skills and created jobs that allow me to be both creative, and a mother at the same time. But balance is certainly the key word, and having a supportive husband definitely helps. My days are busy, but we just make it work. I couldn’t imagine my life any other way, I love every aspect of it, and the rewards make the juggle so worth it.
Image courtesy of All the love letters
4 | How do each of your endeavours influence one another?
I have never really thought about it this way, but I guess they do, in that each business is about providing a service with meaningful connections. Our coffee shops are all about community, and supporting small, local businesses/ brands, nuage is centred around sustainability and promoting slow fashion, and my celebrant business has me working closely with my couples to to learn about their unique love story and allows me to create a meaningful ceremony that them and their loved ones will connect with. Each businesses style/ branding/ interior is definitely an extension of my personal style.
5 | Stepping back into the wedding industry as a supplier, how did your time at The Lane shape & influence your work as a celebrant?
My time at The LANE taught me to push the boundaries and break the “typical” wedding mould. I approach each ceremony with the view that no two couples are the same, and every ceremony should reflect that couple’s unique narrative. Setting the tone for the entire wedding day is so important to me, so I work closely with my couples, getting to know them and their love story to ensure a truly bespoke ceremony that intimately reflects them as a couple. Paying close attention to detail is something that The LANE pride’s itself on, and something that I have always carried with me.
Image courtesy of All the love letters
6 | What comes easily to you in your creative process and what have you had to hone your skills in? How did you hone your skills?
I absolutely love writing, it has always been a creative outlet for me, so I really enjoy the process of creating the ceremony for my couples. Organisation also comes naturally to me, which allows me to effortlessly guide my couple’s every step of the way through the planning process. My background in event planning and performance helps when it comes time to officiating the ceremony on wedding day. I am confident in front of any size crowd, which gives me a relaxed presence, enabling me to create a meaningful ceremony for all to connect with. What doesn’t come so naturally to me is time management, which you think would come hand in hand with organisation, but for me, it doesn’t, so this is something I have been working on, through the use of lists (I love a good list) and a diary.
7 | Where do you turn to for inspiration to fuel your ideation and creative process?
Inspiration for me comes from all over but if I were to pinpoint some of my favourite sources of inspiration, I definitely lean towards Interior design blogs/ Instagram’s (EyeSwoon, Tamsin Johnson and Phoebe Nicol are my go-to gals), fashion, poetry.. I still visit The LANE when I feel I need a little creative push, and there is always something that will spark my interest and give me the little nudge that I need, and also fellow creatives on Instagram- there are so many gems in the wedding industry, from all over the world. I love the connections I have made since launching my celebrant business.
8 | I believe the home and creative studio play a huge part of giving us the space to ideate and create. What is your philosophy / aesthetic around your home / studio styling and what are three of your favourite pieces in it. Where did you find them and why do you love them?
For me, less is more. I feel I work best in a clean and tidy space, filled only with objects that I love. I don’t have a studio at the moment, so I tend to work a lot from our coffee shop, Effie’s, or in our living room at home. If I am at Effie’s, it’s all about the beautiful marble, the most incredible Ash Holmes artwork that sits on fresh white walls, and the Sarah Ellison dining set..I have literally designed my dream home in that space. If I am at home in the living room, it’s a Lucinda Jones original painting that she did for my online store, nuage, Dina Broadhurst’s print, Ladies in Waiting, and a black and white check ceramic bowl that my beautiful friend, Sam McIntyre (@thesodafountain) made that sits atop a white plinth that my husband made, especially for it. They all complement each other so beautifully.
Images of Effies courtesy of Michaela Taylor
9 | You & your husband Sam work together on Aggy’s & Effies as well as raising two little girls. How do you approach working together as a couple and balancing your life outside of work?
It certainly is a juggle. Some days we nail it, and other days, it can be tough. Communication and mutual support/ respect is key. It is hard not to bring work home with us, especially when it’s family time, but this is something we are working on, to try and do less of. Our girls adore Sam, and are always very excited for their alone time with him when I am at weddings. Thankfully being the owner of the coffee shops, he’s got the flexibility to be home when needed. In terms of our life outside of work, this is also something we are working on- we used to plan a surprise date for each other once a month, which is something we are looking forward to bringing back, to ensure we are giving ourselves some much needed “us” time.
10 | For other couples’ in creative business together, do you have any advice on carving out space for your relationship?
Communication is so important. As is having mutual respect for each other. You have to see each other as equals, and support each other in both your relationship and in business.
Image courtesy of Maple + June
11 | For anyone who has never had to book a celebrant, what does a celebrant actually do and what happens with your celebrant in the lead up to your wedding?
A celebrant’s job is to provide everything necessary for a smooth and meaningful wedding ceremony. We take care of all the legal requirements, so that all our couple’s have to do is turn up and have the best day of their lives.
Of course, every celebrant will be different in their process, so I can only speak about mine, which involves working very closely with my couple’s, guiding them every step of the way. To start, we meet up and sign a few legal documents necessary to get married. I write all of my ceremonies tailored to my couple and their love story, so I then send them a questionnaire to fill out, and the answers they provide me with will form the basis of the ceremony. I then write the ceremony (with as much or as little input from them as they’d like), and then it's go-time.. wedding day!!! I bring my own equipment also, which is just one less thing for the couple to worry about. Following the ceremony, I lodge all certificates with Births, Deaths and Marriages and can even apply for the official Marriage Certificate to be sent to the home address of my couple at this time. If I do my job correctly, it is a very seamless and easy process!
12 | What advice would you give to couples looking for their wedding celebrant?
The ceremony is such an important part of your wedding - it sets the tone for the entire day, so my advice is to do your research. Find a celebrant that you connect with and feel comfortable with. A celebrant who has a similar vibe/ aesthetic to that of your own or the style of wedding you are planning. A good celebrant is worth every cent, so do not choose your celebrant based on price- you get what you pay for. It is honestly worth spending those extra dollars to secure your dream celebrant, to ensure your ceremony is personal and a true representation of you and your story. You can generally get a good idea of a celebrant’s style and personality through their Instagram and their website, so I definitely recommend jumping on there and having a good scroll and read too before you reach out. And don’t be afraid to ask questions, or share your ideas.. after all, the ceremony is all about you!
Image of Aniella's couples courtesy of Matt Godkin Photography
13 | What are some of your favourite moments in the course of booking clients and & marrying couples?
I love getting to know my couples. How they met, how they got together, how they got engaged.. I always love hearing their stories, and the expression on their faces when they are telling me. It’s so lovely connecting with them through the planning process, and then seeing it all come together on the day. One of my favourite parts of the ceremony is when the music starts, and the bride or groom is walking down the aisle. Getting to see the look on both of their faces- faces of pride and joy and so much love is truly the best, and so very heartwarming. Another favourite is the moment I announce the couple as married- there truly is no feeling quite like it!
Image of Aniella's couples courtesy of The Salty Shutter
14 | Between the many facets of your work, do you pursue or engage in anything creatively for yourself? What practices or processes do you indulge in that feed your soul, and are just for you?
I don’t get a lot of “me” time, but thankfully I really enjoy writing- it feeds my soul, so I use my ceremony writing time to unwind, and immerse myself in a world of love and creativity. I also love the part of my job where I get to dress up- I use this time for myself too..listening to good music whilst doing my hair and makeup, and putting my love of fashion to good use whilst choosing my outfit for the day.
15 | What are you working on now and what can we expect to see from you in the future?
Sam and I are currently working towards the launch of our wine bar at Effie’s. Open Thursday through Sunday, we will have a carefully curated list of natural wines and a seasonal menu offering. It is very exciting, and we are only weeks away from launching, so it will be great to see all of our planning come to life.