How far in advance should we book our celebrant?
I recommend booking your celebrant as soon as you can. Celebrants have particular months and dates every year where we are always booked out. You can book your celebrant at least 18 months in advance.
The minimum amount of time to book your celebrant is 1 month before your wedding. This is a legal obligation.
As most celebrants, I am booked out a year in advance in certain months. There is a month next year that I cannot offer a single weekend. So if you know a date you want to get married on, book your celebrant.
The earlier you book the better to secure your date and time.
Can you marry us on a week day?
I absolutely can. This month I am only marrying couples in the week days. It is great for me. It is a lot cheaper for the couples with other vendors. I love week day weddings.
I do have a week day job but I am lucky to be able to work my weddings around my job.
How long is a wedding ceremony?
It’s best to keep the ceremony moving with different sections so your guests and friends don’t get bored. I can show you how to have everything in your ceremony you want with out it being boring and sending your loved ones to sleep.
What name do I sign on the marriage documents?
Ladies, on your wedding day you sign your maiden name (or your legal name).
Did you know? The day you get married does not mean you are automatically legally known by your husband’s surname. Changing your name to your husband’s name is custom, not legal. It is a Western custom. In most Asian countries, most women keep their family name.
You are free to choose what you want to do in choosing a name. But on the wedding day, the name on your identification documents is the name you sign.
We are not religious, but my family is. How can we handle this?
I am a civil celebrant, not a religious celebrant. But that does not matter. You can incorporate important traditions, rituals, readings, prayers or customs to your ceremony that you would like.
You could offer one of your parents to read a special reading at the ceremony. I had a couple invite the family church pastor to say a prayer during their ceremony. She wasn’t religious but he was. It was a lovely ceremony that incorporated something that was meaningful and special.
What is an unplugged wedding?
An unplugged wedding means that you don’t allow your friends and guests to take any photos. Particularly through the wedding ceremony.
The reasoning behind this I believe is so that the marrying couple can control what is put on Social Media and to prevent family and friends, who want to take photos and may be in the way of the photographer on the day.
I have a different view on this. And I do encourage my couples not to have unplugged weddings. My reason is because when you wake up in the morning – there is absolutely no photos of you until the photographer has edited them and got them back to you six weeks later.
I think it would be nice to have a few photos to look through after the wedding until your professional ones come back.
I often make an announcement before the wedding on behalf of the couple to take as many photos that you like but please don’t upload to Social Media until they have. It’s really up to you.
We do have a few family issues. Should we tell you about them?
Look, I don’t want to know details. But it is always the best thing to tell me the basics of who does not talk to who. I just do not want to put my foot into it if I speak to your parents and even find them a seat together and they don’t speak.
It is always helpful to tell me if I need to keep someone separate from an Aunt or a new Step Parent.
Oh the joys of family, It is your day and if I can prevent an upset on my watch with you. I certainly will. You have my word.
What documents do we need to get married?
I need to see documents to confirm your identity and to identify that you are free to marry.
Generally I need to see a photo id, prove where you were born and to see a divorce or death certificate if you were previously married. For more in depth information about your documents required please read my post “What Documents Do I Need To Marry.”
Do I have to have someone walk me down the aisle?
No, you do not have to have anyone walk you down the aisle. It is your day. Having your father walk you down the aisle is a custom and tradition. It was because women where given away by their parents to increase family wealth. Women came with a dowry and the father gave the daughter away to the groom’s family.
But keep this in mind, is this something your father would love and has waited his whole life to do? If so, maybe it would be a lovely gift to him to walk his little girl down the aisle. It was my gift to my Dad and when I think of this moment it [excuse me why I wipe away the tears] it fills my heart with love for my Dad.
But if you don’t have a great relationship with your Dad, or he is no longer here, you can have anyone walk you down the aisle. Your day! Your way!
Is it free to get married on a beach?
Most beaches are free to get married on. But, you must book with the local council where the beach is situated in. Each council has their own rules with how they want the public to use their beaches for events. You must follow the guidelines as there are penalties and fines.
There are certain words and themes we don’t want you to mention in our ceremony, is this ok?
Absolutely! This is your ceremony. Apart from the legal words that must be said you are allowed to add what you want in your wedding and if you don’t want something in your wedding that is absolutely ok.
The most asked words and themes couples ask me to omit is the word “soulmates” and avoid adding any religion.
Together we can create a beautiful ceremony that is all about the two of you.
My partner and I are really nervous about speaking in public. Do we have to say anything in the ceremony?
I get this question all the time. There is one line that you must repeat after me. This is a legal requirement. But other than that we can design your ceremony to include everything you want but you do not have to say anything.
I know when I got married it was really daunting speaking in front of my family and friends.
Don’t worry about this, I got you! I am here to make your ceremony as comfortable as I can for you. And think of it like this [how I feel about the gym] its 20 minutes out of your day! Painful but necessary, to get what you want!
You will be surprised that you will be in your own little bubble in front of me.
When you get to signing of the documents, the wave of emotion and happiness will be worth it. I see the happiness on couples faces all the time as soon as the vows are made.
I will help make it all ok, I absolutely promise you.
We have children and would love to have them involved in the ceremony, can we do this?
I love it when children are involved in a ceremony. My daughter was 2 when I got married and I had her as my little bridesmaid. I gave her a beautiful shear butterfly on a stick to carry and had a little friend who was a little older have the same. She held my daughter’s hand as she walked down the aisle. It was super cute.
There are so many ideas to involve your children. You can add them in the ceremony script, you can gift them with a peice of jewelery along with the ring ceremony. You can say some vows to them. Or why not have a sand ceremony to symbolise family.
I have so many ideas so ask me at our meeting or send me an email.
Will our wedding be recognised worldwide?
Generally yes, there are a few countries that require specific religious rituals to be carried out for a marriage to be recognised in that country. But Australian weddings are recognised by the law as long as you are married by an Authorised Celebrant.
We are planning a ceremony outdoors, do we have to have a bad weather back up plan?
It would be a really good idea to do this. I have had couples who have refused to have a back up plan. I prayed to the weather Gods all day with my fingers crossed that we did not have rain. I had BOM on my phone and refreshed it constantly.
I have also had to change a wedding ceremony location 3 times on a wedding day [I was the planner as well for this wedding] as it was the hottest day of the year. But the couple and I did it and the wedding was beautiful. You just have to plan for the worst.
You should think of your guests, your vendors and yourselves, [cough, cough – and me]. All this work and money you have put into this wedding and you are drenched in minutes.
I can help you with a Plan B. I have some great ideas. I am a Plan B girl. I hate stressing about bad weather.
Will you travel to marry us?
I sure will! I am a Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and northern NSW based celebrant but I will travel for you.
I charge $100 if the ceremony is over 100km round trip from Cornubia, Qld Australia.
Want a destination wedding overseas? My passport is current – let’s talk.
Can I use the Marriage Certificate that we get on the day to change my name?
Unfortunately the Certificate you get on the day is only decorative. To change your name legally you will need to apply from Birth, Deaths and Marriages in the state that I marry you in about 4 weeks after your wedding day. The cost is around $42.
I am not a permanent resident yet, is this ok?
Yes this is totally fine. I am a celebrant, not the immigration department. [I can help you if you need a letter for the immigration department.]
As long as you fulfill the requirements to get married legally in Australia and I can prove your identity and that your are free to marry, this is fine.
Couple’s sometimes go overseas to marry. It is the same here. You can marry if you are not a permanent resident or an Australian citizen.
How soon can you marry us?
By law in Australia you need to submit to an Authorised Celebrant the form Notice of Intended Marriage at least 1 month before the wedding date.
Sometimes couples will ask for a shortening of time for whatever reason. There are five reasons that you will be granted a shortening of time and it is up to the discretion of the prescribed authorities. A list of prescribed authorities can be found on the Attorney-General’s Department website at https://marriage.ag.gov.au/stateofficers/authorities. You as the couple will need to seek consent for this.
- Employment related or other travel commitments
- Medical reasons
- Wedding or celebration arrangements, or religious considerations
- Legal proceedings or,
- An error in giving notice
If you are looking for a shortening of time please read more information on my post Getting Married In Australia.
Can you marry us now and we will have a large wedding ceremony and reception next year?
Yes I can do this. But you can only have one wedding ceremony, legally. So the wedding ceremony next year will be a commitment ceremony.
I have done this for a few couples and the reasons to do it are all different.
How I charge this is I charge your for a legal wedding – $350. Then when you plan the other wedding you just pay me the difference up to $550 [the normal cost of a celebrant only wedding].
The reason I do this because situations change. You may not have the large wedding in the end, so I charge you as we go.
Can we have our dog involved with our wedding?
You sure can. But let me give you a few things to think about. Not negativity, just a few things to organise.
Who is going to bring Woofer to the wedding? Who is going to look after Woofer during the ceremony? Are there any guests that are scared of dog?
Is your dog a jumper? Who is going to look after Woofer when you are having your reception?
How is Woofer going to get home?
Dogs can be overwhelmed with lots of people.
These are just a few things you need to think of when having a dog at a wedding. I am a dog person, but I just want to give your some food for thought when it comes to your fur-baby.
How can we include in the ceremony a loved one that has passed away?
This is a common request. I can incorporate anything in the ceremony. You just need to let me know a few details and I can write something fitting and beautiful. What ever you want to incorporate I can accommodate this memory for you.
Can we involve family and friends in the wedding ceremony?
Yes, apart from being in the bridal party, you can have family and friends involved in reciting a reading, singing a song, being a witness, part of a sand ritual, rose ceremony or playing the music. There are lots of ways to incorporate your loved ones in the ceremony. Ask me for some other ideas.
I was born overseas. What documents do I need to show you?
I will need to see a birth certificate and photo identification. Just the same as if you were born in Australia.
All documents need to be translated into English by an accredited translator.
Original documents only. Certified and photocopies are not acceptable.
My partner is overseas. We want to start planning the wedding and book a celebrant. What can we do?
This is fine. To book a celebrant you will need to submit to a celebrant the Notice of Intended Marriage form at least 1 month before the wedding day.
I can meet with you personally and meet your partner via Skype or Facebook. You can submit your side of the documents to me and I will sign for them. Then you can registered post the NOIM form to your partner.
They will need to have their part of the form signed by:
An Australian Diplomatic Officer
An Australian Consular Officer
a notary public
an employee of the Commonwealth authorised under paragraph 3(c) of the Consular Fees Act 1955, or
an employee of the Australian Trade Commision authorised under paragraph 3(d) of the Consular Fees Act 1955.
The witnessing party must provide their credentials.
I am still married, but we would like to plan our wedding. Can we do this?
Yes you can. I just need to see evidence of your divorce by the wedding day.
We are planning a themed wedding, will you dress up?
How fabulous! I sure will. I do charge an extra fee of $100 if I have to source my own costume.
Otherwise you can supply me with one to wear.
Do you have a PA system?
Yes, I have a PA system that is included in the price. It also runs on battery so it can be used anywhere.
How much input can we put into our ceremony?
As much or as little as you like. I am here to guide you on what you can and cannot have in your ceremony.
For an outline of a ceremony have a look at my blog post The Structure of a Wedding Ceremony.
My partner is in prison, would you still marry us?
Yes, I can marry you both. I don’t discriminate against anyone who wants to get married.
You will need to seek permission from the prison for a ceremony to be performed in the prison. Not all prisons will allow you to marry your partner in prison. It will be a security decision.
You will need find out what paperwork and documents I will need to fill in to be a visitor on your partner’s list. I will also need their identification documents. You will also need to wait the month after we have filled in the Notice of Intended Marriage form has been filled in.
And lastly you will need 2 witnesses over the age of 18, who understand English.
Would you marry us at sunrise?
I sure will! Sunrise is a special time of the day. If you find a beautiful location and want to get married as the sun rises, I will be there.
My hot air balloon weddings are at sunrise. Have a look at my Hot Air Balloon Weddings. Enjoy a champagne breakfast after landing for your reception.
Is there an extra charge for a rehearsal?
No, not at all. The fee includes a rehearsal. I always hold them as close to the wedding as possible. Usually in the last week before the wedding.
I go through everything with you and your bridal party. It goes for about 30 minutes and it is usually full of laughs.
Who can we have as witness’?
You can ask any 2 people over 18. It is easier if they understand English. But if they don’t you will need to use an interpreter.
You do not have to have 1 male and 1 female. You can have anyone that you would like.
Your witnesses will co-sign your official documents on the wedding day.
When do we pay the deposit and then the balance of the service fee?
The deposit is due within 7 days of meeting. This is a non-refundable deposit that will lock in your date and time for your wedding ceremony. If the deposit is not paid after the 7 days, the date and time is up for grabs for another couple.
I had 3 requests for the 1 day in April this year. So your date may go fast.
The balance is due 7 days before the wedding date.
I hope I have answered some questions for you both. If you have a question I can answer, please contact me.