Once we have had our initial chats either on the phone or via email or smoke signals, I’ll suggest that we meet. This is to make sure that I am who you want to perform your ceremony, for you to ask anything and everything you want, and for me to get to know both of you. I also have the right to say no if I feel like I can’t provide what you want. For example if I feel like either of you is being coerced or there’s no time for me to learn to scuba dive.
If you are fairly sure you want to engage me as your celebrant, you can bring with you the required forms of Identification to this meeting and we can complete the Notice of Intended Marriage, the first in a series of legal documents you will need to sign with me. It needs to be filled out and signed at least 1 month before the ceremony. I’ll email you this information before our first meeting.
This NOM, as it’s called, is not a binding document however. It does not tie you to have to be married by me, or to get married at all. If a NOM hasn’t proceeded to a wedding ceremony within 18 months though, you’ll need to do another one-at least 30 days prior to the ceremony. If you want to get married in Australia though, you need a NOM. No heading to the casino on a whim and getting married that day here, no sirree.
If we all get on like a house on fire, or something not quite so horrific, you’ll say yes you’ll have me, and pay a deposit in the next couple of weeks. This is because the rest of the process is quite intensive from my side and because you need me to NOT ACCEPT ANY OTHER WEDDINGS ON YOUR WEDDING DAY, which I promise to not do even if they are 10 hours apart.
Then we really begin the fun stuff.
I will give you a large amount of examples of ceremony inclusions, types and readings and together we’ll decide what you want and definitely don’t want in your ceremony. Jugglers yes. Soppy love poetry no. And we’ll keep working on it via email and messaging and meetings until you are happy. The ceremony really has only 3 “have to say” sections as outlined in The Australian Marriage Act so the rest is us to you.
Seriously. We can do anything. Go crazy.
We can have a rehearsal if you want with the whole ceremony and party, or the basics of who stands where and says what. Or we can wing it on the day if that’s how you roll. I am fairly over-organised so I’ll have my own plan to impart if you wish.
On the day I will arrive more than a half hour before the ceremony and set up my PA system etc. I will assist to calm nerves and organise the herds, and co-ordinate with any music players, orchestras or jugglers.
During the ceremony I will have a full written version of what we are saying and doing. You can choose to memorise your parts, or read them, or repeat after me- one word at a time if you want.
The ceremony will end with you both, myself and 2 witnesses signing more paperwork and your friends and family tearing up or woohooing as I introduce you as married.
The certificate you sign on your wedding day is commemorative so if you are wanting to change your name officially or require an Official Marriage Certificate, you need to apply to the State Department of Births Deaths and Marriages for one. I can guide you through this process.
The Attorney-General’s website has said all this much more eloquently than I have. Read on if you wish:
A Civil Marriage Celebrant has certain obligations under the Marriage Act 1961 and these will be explained to you at your first meeting. Other than that the content of the marriage ceremony is totally your choice.
You will be supplied with sample ceremonies and verses that can be used, however you are not obliged to use any of them. Additionally, you could mix and match parts of ceremonies to arrive at the most suitable ceremony for your particular requirements. It may well be that you are able to compose your complete ceremony and this is acceptable providing it complies with the obligations of the Marriage Celebrant under the Marriage Act.
Family and friends can also be involved. Perhaps you have certain readings or verses that you would like them to present for you. Many couples arrange for music to be played at the ceremony: this could be taped, maybe be a string trio of musicians or even a harpist or piper. Whatever it takes to complete your special day, can be easily incorporated.
At the completion of the ceremony you will be required to sign the Marriage Register and Marriage Certificates, together with two witnesses over the age of eighteen and the Marriage Celebrant. You will be presented with your Marriage Certificate and a complimentary copy of your marriage ceremony.