Choosing a Celebrant
Q. What makes a great marriage celebrant?
A great marriage celebrant will put you at the centre of your celebration. Every step of the way, you should feel comfortable. A great celebrant will make sure they take the time to get to know you. To get a sense of what and who is important to you to help you craft a ceremony that is uniquely you.
Q. How many weddings can a celebrant do in a day?
I choose to only commit myself to one wedding celebration a day. This ensures that my energy is entirely focussed on you, and ensuring that everything for your event runs smoothly. If your car breaks down, if you’re a little late because you can’t get your boutonnière to sit right, if you just need a few minutes to breathe, don’t fear. I’ll still be there, keeping everyone warm and excited for your arrival.
Q. How much does a marriage celebrant cost?
I do bespoke weddings. You are at the heart of this celebration and it’s got to feel like you. This means that no wedding is the same, and it also means that I can adjust my process to fit your needs.
The cost of my services entirely depends on what kind of celebration you have in mind.
I do legals only registry style celebrations. I do gorgeous intimate personal elopements. I do the big weddings where we tell your story and celebrate with all your nearest and dearest. I do a lot of love here and a big party there celebrations where we can get you married this year, and do a commitment ceremony next year on your anniversary, or another special date for you.
So, like all things in life, the cost depends on the service. Contact me to chat to see if we would be a good fit, and to talk about pricing for your celebration
Q. Is there a waiting period for getting married in Australia?
Yes, you have to submit your Notice of Intended Marriage to a celebrant at least 1 month before your intended wedding date.
Q. I need to get married in a hurry, can I get a shortening of time?
There are some circumstances in which you can get married without giving the full month’s notice. These relate to:
– Employment related or other travel commitments
– Wedding or celebration arrangements, or religious considerations
– Medical reasons
– Legal proceedings
– An error in giving notice
In order to apply for a shortening of time, you need to complete your Notice of Intended Marriage with your celebrant, and then take that notice to a Prescribed Authority to get permission to marry within the 1 month notice. A list of prescribed authorities is available on the Attorney General’s Website
Q. What is a NOIM – Notice of Intended Marriage?
The NOIM is the first step to getting you hitched. By completing your Notice of Intended Marriage AND lodging this with a celebrant, you are officially giving notice to the government that you intend to get married.
Q. When should I complete my Notice of Intended Marriage?
You can complete and lodge your Notice of Intended Marriage with a celebrant at least 1 month before your wedding day, but no longer than 18 months before your planned wedding day.
With all the craziness of COVID-19, I would highly recommend that you complete your NOIM as soon as you can. This will ensure that you have the greatest flexibility should you choose to bring forward the date of your wedding for any reason, COVID or otherwise.
To make sure you are who you say you are, I need to see proof of your place of birth and photo identification.
If you have a passport, this normally can be used to fulfil both of these requirements.
If you don’t have a passport, we can use your drivers licence OR proof of age card AND your birth certificate.
Please note that the original ID or a photograph/scanned copy of your ID will be required. A certified copy is not acceptable.
Q. What if I don’t have any of the ID combinations above?
Give me a call and we can talk about your other options.
Q. I’ve been married before, do you need to see any of my divorce paperwork?
Yes. Before your marriage you need to supply an original copy of your divorce certificate. It is okay if this original was supplied to you by e-mail originally.
Your divorce must be finalised prior to the wedding day. It is okay though if it hasn’t been finalised when you lodge the Notice of Intended Marriage.
Q. Who can witness the signing of my Notice of Intended Marriage in Australia?
If you live in Australia, the following professionals can be your witness;
– An authorised celebrant
– A Commissioner of Declarations under the Statutory Declarations Act 1959
– A Justice of the Peace, a barrister or solicitor
– A legally qualified medical practitioner
– A member of the Australian Federal Police or police force of any state or territory in Australia.
Q. Who can witness the signing of my Notice of Intended Marriage outside of Australia?
If you live outside of Australia, the following professionals can be your witness;
– An Australian Consular Officer
– An Australian Diplomatic Officer
– A notary public
– An employee of the Commonwealth authorised under paragraph 3c of the Consular Fees Act 1955
– An employee of the Australian Trade Commission authorised under paragraph 3d of the Consular Fees Act 1955
Q. Can the witness me signing my Notice of Intended Marriage by Zoom or Skype?
Unfortunately no. Your witness has to see you sign your paperwork in person.
Q. Can I get married in Australia if I don’t live there?
Q. I care about climate change, does my celebrant offset their car travel?
Why thankyou for asking – yes I do!
I am proud to hold a subscription to Green Fleet. Green Fleet is an amazing not for profit that plants forests throughout Australia to sequester carbon.
With the massive fires affecting so much of Victoria in 2019-2020, I felt that this was a little something I could do to reduce my footprint, contribute to the community and make Australia a little more beautiful.
Q. Can we do an Acknowledgement of Country in our wedding ceremony?
Yes, I strongly recommend including an Acknowledgement of Country at the start of your wedding celebration. We are so blessed to live in a country that has the longest continuous culture in the world. Including an Acknowledgement of Country is an important way to pay respects to the Indigenous people of Australia and to acknowledge that throughout Australia, wherever you stand is Indigenous land.
Q. I want to Acknowledge Country but I don’t know whose country our celebration is taking place on?
That’s okay. I will do the research to find out what mob’s land you are celebrating your wedding on to make sure we Acknowledge the respectfully acknowledge the right Indigenous group’s ownership and custodianship.
Q. Can I have a Welcome to Country at my wedding?
Absolutely! A Welcome to Country can only be given by a Traditional Custodian of the land that you are on. A Welcome to Country is typically undertaken by an Elder or Leader of the traditional owners of the land on which you are having your celebration. A Welcome to Country welcomes you to the land, and grants you safe passage. A Welcome to Country may be accompanied by a smoking ceremony to cleanse the energy of those being welcomed.
Q. How many meetings do you have with a celebrant before the wedding?
We will normally meet at least twice before your wedding celebration. Once to plan your ceremony and once to conduct a rehearsal if you would like one.
Q. Is there a travel fee for my celebrant?
For wedding ceremonies and elopements, I include 40KM travel each way from Eltham in my fee.
For legals only celebrations I include 20KM travel each way from Eltham in my fee.
Additional travel is charged at $1 per KM.
This fee is attributable for travel on the wedding day, travel required for a rehearsal or other meetings associated with the wedding, should they be further than 40KM from Eltham.
Q. Can my celebrant travel interstate to marry me?
I would absolutely love to marry you if you are planning a celebration somewhere other than Victoria. I am authorised to conduct marriages throughout Australia, in Australian waters, and in Australian airspace. In order to secure me for your chosen date I’ll just need you to cover travel expenses. Get in touch and we can talk about your plans.
Q. Will my celebrant help me write my vows?
Absolutely. I have an worksheet on how to write vows that will wow. Whatever is in your heart is the right thing to say to your partner on your wedding day.
Q. Do you include a rehearsal?
For bespoke weddings a rehearsal is included.
Q. What do we do at a rehearsal?
Don’t worry, a rehearsal isn’t about reading out your whole ceremony out with no one there.
At a rehearsal we practice the logistics and choreography of your wedding. It’s a great way to know what to expect on the day and can go a way to settling your nerves.
We play your music, we practice walking in, where to stand, role play how to exchange rings, who is going to hold your flowers, how we will finesse a spectacular exit.
We also use it as an opportunity to sign your Declaration of No Legal Impediment before your wedding day.
Q. How do you make sure our ceremony is personal and unique to us?
I want your ceremony to be so meaningful and beautiful for you. That’s why I write almost everything in my ceremonies from scratch.
I spend the time to get to know you. We can do this by zoom, by e-mail and sometimes I’ll even stalk you a bit on Insta or FB.
In writing your story, I’ll send each of you through a relationship questionnaire. I ask that you complete this separately to your partner. It helps me to get a real sense of what you love about each other, what getting married means to you, and what makes you an awesome team.
Q. Do you have a ceremony resource pack?
Planning a ceremony from scratch can feel a bit full on, but don’t worry, I’m here to hold your hand. When you book with me I’ll send you through your ceremony planner which gives you all the questions for us to plan the nuts and bolts of your ceremony.
I also send you through a personalised wedding resource pack. This has a whole lot of suggested wording and little options to make your wedding ceremony yours alone.
Q. What needs to be in a ceremony to make it legal?
In order for a wedding ceremony to make you legally hitched, we need four things;
1. Me to introduce myself by name and let everyone know that I am a Commonwealth Authorised Marriage Celebrant
2. I need to read ‘the Monitum’;
‘I am duly authorised my law to solemnise marriage according to the law. Before you are joined together in my presence, and in the presence of these witnesses, I am to remind you of the solemn and binding nature of the relationship you are now about to enter. Marriage, according to the law in Australia, is the union of two people, to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.’
3. You to exchange the minimal required legal vow;
‘I [insert full name], take thee [insert partner’s full name], to be my lawful wedded [wife/husband/spouse].’
4. We sign your marriage certificates in the presence of 2 witnesses who are over the age of 18 years old. The witnesses also sign the marriage certificates.
Q. Who can be my witness at my wedding?
Absolutely anyone! Assuming they are over 18 years old and understand the nature of what you are doing at the wedding.
You need two witnesses at your wedding.
Traditionally you would ask your best man and maid of honour to be your witnesses, but times they are a changing. It’s an incredible honour to be asked to be a witness. It can also be a job that you allocate to a family member or someone who is very special to you who you couldn’t include elsewhere in your wedding celebrations.
Q. Do you have a PA?
There is absolutely nothing worse than not being able to hear a thing at a wedding. Especially after you as a couple has put so much energy into creating a really meaningful celebration. Because I feel so passionate about this, I invested in the best little PA on the market – the Bose Pro 1. I bring that along with a wireless handheld microphone and a Madonna microphone. The whole kit is battery operated so there won’t be any unsightly cords or tripping hazards.
Q. Can we play music through your PA?
Absolutely. My PA is blue tooth enabled, so you can create a wedding playlist with your ceremony music and music for before and after, tap your cousin on the shoulder and they can play it all from the comfort of their seat with their smart phone.
But please remember that my PA comes home with me when I head off after your ceremony, so if you need hours of music after, maybe invest in hiring a speaker or better yet, get a fabulous live musician to set the atmosphere for your evening.
The Wedding Day
Q. Do I really need a wet weather option?
Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. And while we’re there, let’s call it an ‘extreme weather option’.
In Australia we are blessed to live in the land of drought and flooding rains. You need a little back up spot in case of any inclement weather that is going to just kill the vibe of your day.
It doesn’t need to be flash. It can be a shelter shed over a couple of BBQs at the park, the café across the road or your mate’s friend’s back room. If you are getting married on the grounds of your reception venue, talk to them about whether it is an option to move the ceremony inside should it be raining cats and dogs.
So if it’s raining, hailing, blowing a gale or baking with the heat of a 1000 suns, you know that all your guests will be comfortable, no matter what.
Q. What does my celebrant wear at the wedding?
I am a fan of a set of statement earrings and a gorgeous bold prints. I’ll often ask you what your styling is, what vibe you are hoping to achieve, and whether you have a colour scheme. I’ll do my very best to wear something that will compliment your styling.
Q. What happens if my celebrant is sick on the day of the wedding?
It would absolutely break my heart if I wasn’t able to do your wedding for you. But, we know life happens and very occasionally there may be a situation where I am too sick to celebrate a wedding, or have unforeseen circumstances that get in my way. But luckily I have an awesome insurance policy – The Celebrant’s Society. My tribe at The Celebrant’s Society are an awesome group of celebrants who hail from all over Australia and New Zealand. Should the unthinkable happen and I am unable to do your wedding, I will have a celebrant at the ready to get you married!
Q. How early before the ceremony will my celebrant get to the venue?
I always aim to be at your wedding ceremony 45mins-1 hour before your ceremony starts.
Q. Does my celebrant bring the signing chairs and table to the wedding?
I bring a whole of love, warmth and charisma to your wedding. I do not however, bring chairs or a signing table.
Q. Do I need to bring my vows?
Send me your vows a week before your wedding and I will have them printed on gorgeous vow cards and ready to go at the moment of truth.
Q. Can I have a drink on the morning of my wedding?
Sure. Just don’t go nuts. Getting married is kind of a big deal.
Part of my job is to make sure that both parties to the marriage are capable of consenting to getting married. If you’re drunk, or substance affected, you can’t consent. If that’s the case we would have to re-schedule your wedding ceremony and you’ll be liable to pay your ceremony fee again for me to marry you on another day.
Let’s save the celebratory drinking till the party after hey?
Q. When am I ‘technically’ married?
After you exchange your vows, you are officially hitched! Woohoo!
Q. Do I get a copy of my marriage certificate to take home?
I give you a very snasy looking cursive marriage certificate called a form 15 to take home with you on your wedding day. This a ceremonial wedding certificate and can’t be used to demonstrate that you are married to entities such as the bank, passport office or Vic Roads. For this you need an Official Certificate of Marriage from Births Deaths and Marriages.
Q. Can my celebrant order a copy of the Official Certificate of Marriage for me?
If your wedding takes place in Victoria or New South Wales, I can order you a copy of your Official Certificate of Marriage when I register your marriage online. There is a small additional fee for this service. If I marry you in another state, and you would like help to get your Official Certificate of Marriage, I can look into it for you.
Q. How quickly is my marriage registered?
I aim to submit your marriage to the relevant Births, Deaths and Marriages for registration within 2 days of your wedding. After that it is in the hands of the fabulous people at BDM. Up to date wait times are normally available on the relevant BDM website.
Q. Can I still get married in a pandemic?
Never fear! You can absolutely still get married, even though there is a pandemic rocking our socks off.
I know that dependent on where you are in Australia, that the restrictions are changing regularly. The best thing to do is to look up the Department of Health and Human Services in your own state or territory to determine what the restrictions on gathering and weddings are.
Q. Do you have a COVID safe plan?
As the situation in Melbourne and Australia is constantly evolving, so too is how we conduct ceremonies and celebrate together. I am working to keep my COVID safe plan up to date with the latest gathering restrictions. I would be happy to provide you with a copy.
Q. Can I get married now and have my party later?
A lot of couples are still reeling from one hell of a year. Big life changes, postponed plans and feeling like the ground is shifting beneath you. For many people it has felt strange emerging from lockdown. Some people aren’t quite ready to go back to the way things were right away. If you just want to make it legal with a handful of your nearest and dearest, I would absolutely love to help you. It will be intimate, personal, meaningful and an incredibly special way to reclaim your decision to get married. And maybe next year on your anniversary, you can throw a big party with all your favourite people, have me back and we can renew your vows with your crowd.
Q. How many guests can I have at my wedding?
With this moving feast of a pandemic, the best thing you can do to get the most accurate information for your celebration is to check the Department of Health and Human Services website in your State.
Q. Do you take the details of my guests for contact tracing?
I ask you to provide me with a list of your guests and on site vendors, and their phone numbers, in the week prior to the wedding celebration. I keep this information for a fortnight after the wedding just in case it is required for contact tracing.
Q. Can I still have a great wedding ceremony even though people are socially distanced?
We will work to give people the space to feel comfortable and be safe at your wedding, without compromising on the feeling of connection and celebration. The love that you have for one another and the reason why we are there, THAT is what makes a great wedding ceremony. Working within the restrictions, we will create a celebration that will be heartfelt, memorable and the highlight of your wedding day.
This FAQ page has been provided for general information regarding inclusions and limits of my services as a Commonwealth Registered Marriage Celebrant. With regards to information pertaining to Marriage Law and government policy, you should assess whether the information is accurate, authentic and complete, and where appropriate seek further information and clarification from government sources such as The Attorney General’s Department and The Department of Health and Human Services.