To personalise your Wedding Ceremony, you will meet with your Celebrant to outline a ceremony that is beautiful and meaningful. This document is designed to give you a starting point for designing your ideal wedding ceremony.
Marriage, according to law in Australia, is the union of two people to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.
In Australia, your wedding ceremony has to include some specific things for you to become legally married.
- A celebrant, of course. To ensure your wedding happens legally and to solemnise your marriage! (A celebrant is the only service provider truly necessary to have a legal wedding.)
- A NOIM (Notice of Intended Marriage) needs to be filed with and by your chosen celebrant at least 30 days prior to and within 18 months of the wedding ceremony.
- You will each need to present your passport or birth certificate plus photo id to your celebrant to identify yourselves legally.
- You must both be over 18 years of age, or have parents’ consent if either of you is under 18. You cannot both be under 18 years of age.
- Fill out the Certificate of No Impediment to Marriage. This is to declare that you are legally able to marry.
- If you are divorced or widowed, you must provide proof of how your previous marriage ended.
- Witnesses; two people over 18 years of age must witness the ceremony and sign the Marriage Register and Certificates.
- The marriage celebrant must identify themselves at the ceremony and say the words: “I am duly authorised by law to solemnise marriages according to law. Before you are joined in marriage in my presence and in the presence of these witnesses, I am to remind you of the solemn and binding nature of the relationship into which you are now about to enter. Marriage, according to law in Australia, is the union two people to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.” (There are some legal options here but they are all words to that effect).
- Each person entering into the marriage must say to the other: “I call upon the people here present to witness that I, Person 1 take you, Person 2, to be my lawful wedded wife/husband.” (Again, there are some minor options here that we can go through when we meet.)
- Then, the celebrant, the couple and two witnesses must complete paperwork and sign the marriage certificates.
- Then, you are married 😎!
Optional Includes for Your Ceremony
(in vaguely traditional / logical order)
It is important to point out that no two wedding ceremonies are alike. There are certain aspects that are found in a “traditional” ceremony but beyond those legally required you are welcome to pick and choose as you wish. Don’t feel like you need to include every step or stick to a certain order or time frame.
Music is useful and important to consider; it brings emotion and meaning to gatherings. It can be used before, during and after your ceremony. It can be played and or sung by talented individuals or broadcast through a PA. The most important part is choosing music that is special to you and sets the mood you wish to enjoy.
Walking down the aisle
Very much a personal choice; and there are so many options beyond the traditional procession down the aisle. For example, less traditional weddings have the couple entering together, but you could just as easily enter alone; with your parents or a sibling; even your best friend! Perhaps you might choose to mingle with your guests prior to the ceremony…
Standing on a particular side
In traditional ceremonies, a groom is to stand on the right, the bride on the left, but in a modern ceremony, where people of the same sex can marry, who is to say what is right and wrong?
This section can lean to the traditional, i.e., “Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today…” or can be more informal like, “Friends and family…”
Words about Marriage
You may wish your Celebrant to take a moment to emphasize the significance of the commitment you’re about to make. This may also include a reminder of your duties and roles in marriage.
As you would have noted above, there are specific, legally required vows that must be included but that doesn’t stop you from voicing your own. Personal vows in particular, are an opportunity for a deeply significant and personal moment. (Specific options included in the “Personalised Sample Scripts”)
To Kiss, or not to Kiss
The big kiss moment in a wedding is almost a cliche’ because for many people it is very romantic and fun, but you DO NOT actually have to kiss. It doesn’t need to be part of your wedding ceremony if you don’t want to. It’s 100% up to you.
Do you want to be given away?
Modern Brides are commonly opting to not be given away as this tradition dates back to times when Women were considered chattel. However on the other side, for example, there is still a lovely, bittersweet moment that Fathers in particular would appreciate in “giving away” their daughter. This is a deeply personal decision, and whatever your preference, it is my pleasure to support and respect it. (Specific options included in the “Personalised Sample Scripts”)
No, you can’t choose not to have them but, people sometimes assume that it has to be your Maid of Honour and Best Man; not true! It can be anyone over the age of 18 that is present and able to hear and understand the ceremony. You can choose to have your siblings, your parents, grandparents, friends, or anyone else be your witnesses.
If you have a favourite story, poems or maybe a bible verse that you’d like read out on your wedding day? Great! If not? No problem, skip them! Many people choose to include readings in the ceremony, but if it doesn’t suit your vision, then it simply means you get to party at your reception sooner!
If you want that point of difference for your wedding, a ritual may be something to consider….
Sand Ceremony – nice for blended families to include the kids; includes beautiful sand urn keepsake
Ribbon Ceremony – binding to each other; a modern take on a rustic, beautiful ritual.
Wine Sharing Ceremony – sharing from the one cup; simple, meaningful and tasteful (pun intended)
Presentation of the Couple
Every Ceremony needs a way to wrap things up. The classic way to do this is to present your newly-wed selves to your adoring crowd of family and friends. Not compulsory as such, but some thought needs to be given to how we end.
I look forward to hearing your ideas and helping to bring your vision for your Wedding Ceremony to reality.