Frequently Asked Questions and Legal Matters
It’s normal to have a mountain of questions when preparing for any type of ceremony. It can often be a daunting task to try and locate the answers to these queries and it’s hard to know where to start. Below I have compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions in one convenient place. From things like, what is legally required in your chosen ceremony, how long should it go for or as simple as “where do I start?” I’m here to help. Lot’s of your questions will be answered below but please do not hesitate to contact me on 0433 847 853 or by submitting the contact form via the contact tab
How much notice do I need to provide to legally marry in Australia?
It is a legal requirement to complete a Notice of Intention to Marry (NOIM) and the marriage must take place no earlier than one month and one day after the authorized celebrant receives the NOIM. This form is valid for 18 months.
At least one signature must be signed in the presence of a Civil Marriage Celebrant (either the Bride or the Groom). It is at this time that I require a non-refundable deposit.
What does a Celebrant do?
As your Celebrant, I attend to all your legal paper work, assist you in composing wedding vows that are unique to both of you, to create a personalized wedding ceremony of your special day that reflects your lifestyle and relationship.
How soon should we meet with our Celebrant?
I would advise that you meet your Celebrant as soon as you have set the date of your wedding, keeping in mind that not only wedding suppliers, but also Celebrants become busy during peak season, which is from September to April so booking in advance is advised.
What should I bring to my first appointment?
- If born in Australia – Your Birth Certificate
- If born Overseas – Your Birth Certificate or Passport showing the date and place of your birth
- If previously married – You must provide evidence of how your previous marriage ended such as a Divorce Certificate or a Death Certificate of your previous spouse
- Photo ID – Just to prove that you are who you say you are
Who can be my witnesses?
You can have anyone to be your witness as long as they are over the age of 18
How much does a celebrant charge?
You will find that you will be provided with varying quotes, some celebrants may charge $300, others may quote figures up to $2000. You will find my fees are fair and somewhere in the middle.
It’s not all about $$$ Your Celebrant will probably be the least expensive element of your wedding expenses, so be sure when choosing your Celebrant to consider the personality you are looking for, and not just the fee, and that you are happy with what you are offered to ensure your ceremony is all you hoped it would be.
Sometimes, cheapest isn’t always the best, and this is most certainly the case when selecting your celebrant. Long after the last champagne cork has been popped in celebration, the bitter disappointment experienced due to a poorly conducted ceremony will surely linger longer than the initial euphoria felt for securing the cheapest price for your special day. So do you really want to cut corners on the most important part of your wedding day?
A truly professional celebrant is worth the investment.
For a comparison of what you are investing in your ceremony, if you were to decide to marry at the Registry Office, providing no more than a legal ceremony of approximately 10 mins and no input by you – you would expect to pay close to $500.00.
How often should we meet with our Celebrant?
It is important that we get to know one another, therefore I can arrange up to 2 face-to-face consultations as well as remaining in contact via email and phone. We will also meet again within 2 weeks prior to your special day for rehearsals, and you are most certainly welcome to contact me as often as you require in the lead up to your special day.
What do I receive from my Celebrant?
Once you have confirmed the date, time and place of your wedding and signed the NOIM, I will provide you with a brochure called “Happily Ever, Before and After”. Don’t be alarmed, this is given to all couples as part of the regulations of the Marriage Act 1961. This brochure outlines your commitment and obligations in marriage and is for your personal reference, if you want to discuss relationship education further we can do so, but this is entirely up to you.
I will also provide you with a copy of the wedding booking form, a receipt will be issued for payment of a non refundable deposit to secure your booking, and balance of payment is required no later than 2 weeks prior to your special day.
Should you be searching for inspiration, I will also give you a presentation folder with many ceremony, poems, readings and song options, Once you have given thought to your ceremony ideas, you can email me your selections and I will provide a draft that is significant to both of you, then I take the time to assist you in amending and creating the perfect ceremony reflecting your thoughts with meaning and love. The personally created ceremony that you are happy with will be the one that will be read on your special day.
Can I write my own vows?
Many couples wish to include their own vows, should you require help I can give you guidance.
Do we have to write our own vows?
Not at all. You will be provided with many the options I have for you to read through, just note down the readings and poems that have most meaning to you and they will be included in your ceremony.
Do we have to memorise our vows?
No you don’t have to worry about this as I will ask you to repeat your vows after me, I will guide both of you every step of the way, so don’t worry and enjoy the ceremony.
What is a Monitum?
In Australia under the Marriage Act – Section 42 (A) there is a requirement by law that you say a legal vow to one another.
Do we need a rehearsal?
I recommend that you have a rehearsal 1 or 2 weeks prior to your big day, preferably at the place and same time of your wedding so that you are familiar with the vows and choreography to make your day special.
This way you experience a resemblance of what it will be like on the day or your wedding, where the sun is if your ceremony is outdoors. At this time we focus on choreography and I only speak certain parts of your ceremony as we don’t want to give away the highlights of your beautiful vows, this we will rehearse privately.
The balance of the fee is paid at this time.
Does our ceremony have to be traditional?
The choice is completely up to you, if you’re not traditional, you don’t have to have a formal or traditional ceremony. It can be casual, spiritual, funny, simple, elaborate, elegant, symbolic. As long as the legal content is read and spoken, you can do anything you want to show your guests the real you.
How long does the ceremony take?
Your ceremony will take approximately 20 to 30 minutes, from the moment the bridal party walk down the aisle, depending on the length of your vows, readings, poetry and music, through to the signing of the register and our new Mr and Mrs walk down the aisle together.
All brides arrive late, how late should I be before arrival?
Its common courtesy to arrive on time or close to time, if you are worried about your guests arriving late, have your invitations printed with a slightly earlier expected arrival time so they miss none of your beautiful ceremony. Although it is your day, you still have to treat your guests, and most importantly, your husband to be, with respect, he would be sweating in his socks anxiously waiting for you.
Being too late will also mess with your entire schedule for the day. Your photo session will be rushed, canapés will spoil, champagne and beer will get warm and loose their bubbles, arrival at your reception will be delayed and they may also be on a tight schedule with further functions planned on the same day.
What if the bride doesn’t want to be “Given Away”?
No problem, it is not a legal requirement for the bride to be ‘given away’. You can choose to walk down the aisle any way you wish, some brides like to walk in alone, or with their children, some with their mother or both parents, some walk with a grandparent or with both grandparents, the groom can even walk his bride to be down the aisle. You can give yourselves freely to one another or you can ask for parents or guests support in your marriage. You can run, skip, dance down the aisle, there are no rules as to how this is conducted so you can be creative if you wish.
Do you provide the music?
I provide music throughout key moments in your ceremony which is played through my PA system, and there is no need for you to designate a guest to play the music for you, as I control your music selection from my iPhone throughout your gorgeous ceremony.
I suggest that you will require at least two “Aisle Songs” (the Processional), One for your bridesmaids and one for you, and two “Signing Songs” when we sign the marriage register and marriage certificates, and one happy, upbeat song for your recessional once you are pronounced ‘Husband and Wife’.
Paper or Ipad?
The choice is yours to make as to whether you would prefer your ceremony to be read from either a book or an Ipad, and of course you still will receive a beautifully bound keepsake of your vows should you choose your reading from an Ipad
What happens if it rains and is freezing cold?
We live in Melbourne, so it goes without saying that you will need to have a backup plan as Melbourne is famous for “four seasons in one day” So it’s important to make alternative arrangements when considering an outdoor venue, just in case it does rain. It would be terrible if your guests got a freezing cold soaking and ruined their expensive outfits, hairdo’s and had that sinking feeling as their stilettos poke holes in the grass.
Cozy blankets folded neatly on each of the chairs will keep your guests toasty and warm during your ceremony and they will thank you for your thoughtfulness in keeping the sniffles away.
What happens if it’s ultra hot?
Again think about your guest’s comfort, arrange a drink station with water dispensers filled with water, slices of lemon and ice, or provide bottled water in a tub full of ice.
Set up a gazebo for the bridal party and umbrellas for your guests, sunscreen will keep your guests from getting sunburnt. Your guests may also be blinded by the sun so sunglasses are a novel idea and a great keepsake for those attending.
If you are having a beach wedding, perhaps a basket full of assorted sized thongs for your guests to walk in the sand so they don’t ruin their shoes or burn their bare feet on the hot sand.
Do we have to supply our own signing table & chair?
I can provide you with my decorative signing table and chairs, which you may decorate to compliment your themes and colours (but I think its too nice to cover) or you may have a wedding planner who may include this in your package.
What about the Marriage Certificates?
On the day of your wedding, immediately after your marriage has been solemnised, you will be required to sign three certificates. The Bride must sign in her maiden name, and you are required to have two witnesses aged over 18 years old.
You will be presented with your marriage certificate prepared in a lovely font. This certificate is a keepsake only and cannot be used to legally change your name to your new married name, to do this you will need to apply for the official marriage certificate and I am able to provide you with the necessary form.
This document is recognised as legal proof of marriage which is produced when officially changing your drivers license, passport and banking details etc., to your married name. Once you complete the details you then send this to the Victorian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages. They will then send you a certified copy of this marriage certificate.
PS: DON’T book your honeymoon tickets in your married surname. They won’t let you on the plane if the name on your passport is different to the name on your tickets!