Frequently Asked Questions
Having been a celebrant for over 40 weddings, I am intimately familiar with the questions and concerns that many couples have in the lead up to their wedding day. Scroll down to see if there are any questions that I can answer for you! Also, feel free to contact me at any time to discuss anything in further detail.
How do we choose the right Celebrant?
Your wedding day is a once in a lifetime moment - you want it to be perfect, and finding the right celebrant that fits your vision for the ceremony is absolutely critical. The only way to find the perfect celebrant is to contact them and meet with them in person, starting with celebrants that have websites, media and recommendations that resonate with you.
Don’t settle for a celebrant that you’re not comfortable with. A good celebrant will:
- Inform you of the legalities of a civil marriage
- Explain all the paperwork required
- Give you plenty of ideas and tips for planning before your big day
- Listen to your ideas and seek to integrate them into your wedding ceremony
- Make sure your wedding day is memorable and stress free.
In terms of my experience as a wedding celebrant, I can offer couples a fresh, youthful and personable approach to wedding celebrations. My speciality is being able to customise and tailor ceremonies that will reflect the unique personalities of the couple.
How far in advance can we / should we book a Celebrant?
I recommend booking your celebrant as early as 18 months before your intended wedding date. Two months prior to your wedding date is the recommended minimum time to book your celebrant. By law, the latest you lodge your intention to marry is one calendar month before your wedding.
What paperwork do we need to lodge for our wedding?
In terms of legal documentation for your marriage, you will need to fill out a Notice of Intended Marriage Form. This can only be officially lodged with me no earlier than 18 months and no later than one month before the date of the marriage. You also need to provide proof of identification, address and eligibility to marry during this time. Please visit my Wedding Process page for more information.
I don’t have one month, can I apply for a ‘Shortening of Time’?
Shortening of the statutory period (1 month) of notice under the Marriage Act can only be granted in extraordinary circumstances as per below:
- Employment-related or other travel commitments
- Wedding or celebration arrangements, or religious considerations
- Medical reasons
- Legal proceedings
- Error in giving notice
What if my identification documents are not in English?
If any of your documents are not in English, you will be required to have them translated by a NAATI (National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters) accredited translator. In the event that a translator needs to be present at any meetings and even the wedding ceremony, again, only a NAATI accredited translator can be used.
Can I be married if I am under 18 years of age?
In most cases, no. The minimum marriageable age in Australia is 18 years. However, if one party is 18 or over and the other is still a minor, AND if the following two requirements can be met, a celebrant may be able to solemnise the marriage:
- A judge or magistrate has made an order authorising the person to marry a particular person of marriageable age (over 18 years); and
- The required consents (usually parental) have been given to the marriage.
Do we need to attend any pre-marital courses?
No, however all celebrants must ensure that information about marriage education and counselling is made available to the couple.
When and where we can a couple marry?
A marriage occurring in Australia may be solemnised on any day, at any time, and at any place. The marriage must be registered in the State or Territory where the marriage was solemnised.
Are you prepared to travel for our wedding?
Yes! I predominately service the Sydney metropolitan area, however I am more than happy to travel to your preferred location in Australia. A travel fee will apply dependent on the distance I will need to travel the availability of transport to the location of your wedding .
Can we elope?
Yes, elopements are very popular. This can happen as long as you lodge the Notice of Intended Marriage Form within the legal timeframes. There will also need to be two witnesses over 18 years old present during the ceremony.
How much input can we have for our ceremony?
I encourage as much input from all my couples for their ceremony - after all it is your wedding! The Australian Marriage Act 1961 has a few legal requirements that must be said in the ceremony, but other than this, I am more than happy to incorporate your ideas, and involve whomever you want in your ceremony.
What if we don’t know what we want in our ceremony?
If you are unsure of what to include in your ceremony, I am here to provide plenty of ideas, suggestions and resources! I will guide you through the process and discuss what works and what doesn’t so that we create a memorable ceremony that is unique and tailored to reflect both your personalities as a couple. Please visit my Special Ceremonies & Rituals page for some inspiration.
Should we have a Plan B Wet Weather Option?
Yes, if your ceremony is going to be outdoors. I highly recommend a Plan B option in the event of poor weather to take away the stress and last minute panic. Ensure that your alternative venue is indoors.
Do we need a park permit?
Most likely yes, if your ceremony is at an outdoor venue that is within a public park or recreation area. You will need to check with the respective local council, state government or the National Parks and Wildlife Service to see if your venue falls within public boundaries. There are usually some fees involved and this varies depending on the authority in charge. You will also be allocated a timeframe within which to use the space, and you will be provided with guidelines for ensuring that the venue is left the way it was when you arrived. This may mean no confetti or rice throwing, or pets during the ceremony.
Should we have a rehearsal?
Yes, I highly recommend a rehearsal preferably 1-2 weeks from the big day. A rehearsal will help to ensure your actual wedding day is as stress free and enjoyable as possible. I attend the rehearsal as part of my standard fee.
A rehearsal allows everyone involved in the wedding ceremony to run through the placement and roles of people; to get an idea of how the music and microphone system will sound; and to go through the ceremony to get a feel for how long it will take. Also, the rehearsal would be an ideal time for the couple to sign a Statutory Declaration confirming that there is no legal impediment to your marriage. Please note that if it is not possible to do the rehearsal at your intended venue, an ideal alternative would be a place that resembles the characteristics and size of the actual venue.
What time will you arrive on the day?
I generally arrive at least 30 minutes before the bride is due to arrive at the venue. This gives me a chance to set up and test my PA system and organise all the documents and witnesses for signing.
What happens in the event that we have to postpone or change the date of our wedding?
The Notice of Intended Marriage document is valid for 18 months from the date it is lodged. I am more than happy to postpone or reschedule your wedding with you as long as the one month minimum time requirement has been fulfilled and I am not booked out on your alternate date.
What would happen if you were to get sick?
Rest assured, unless I am severely ill I will attend to your ceremony! I have never missed a ceremony in my entire career. In the event that I cannot physically be there, I have a group of certified celebrants who I can call to perform your ceremony. I would certainly give you due notice if this circumstance arises.
Are you able help us find other wedding service providers for our wedding?
Yes, I have a wealth of knowledge of the bridal industry, and I am more than happy to provide contacts and recommendations! This includes:
- Ceremony and reception venues
- Musicians and entertainers
- Car hirers
How long does the ceremony take?
The majority of ceremonies are 15-20 minutes long. However, it can be as short or as long as you like depending on what you would like to include, as long as the minimum legal requirements are covered. Longer wedding ceremonies usually have special rituals involved, such as those described in my Special Ceremonies and Rituals page.
If there are people around where we intend to get married, can we ask them to move?
Provided that you have obtained written approval from your private, council, state or national authority to hold your wedding at that particular site, you have the right to ask them to move on. As I am at the venue a little earlier than the bridal party’s arrival, I can attend to the people who are not your guests.
How many witnesses do we need?
You will need to have two witnesses who are 18 years or over and understand English. You may want to ask someone to be your witness that you could not include in the bridal party. This way they still play a role in your wedding. They will be required to sign the marriage certificate on the day.
Do you have a PA System?
Yes. I use a PA system for most of my wedding ceremonies, and this is included in the standard fee.
Can you play our choice of music?
Yes, my PA system has the ability to play music from iPods, phones and CD players via a 3.5mm audio jack. Please note that I encourage my couples to appoint a responsible friend or relative to attend to the music on the day so I can concentrate on my role as the Celebrant. I also request the assigned person to attend rehearsals so they know their cues on the day.
What will you wear during the ceremony?
I will wear appropriate attire to suit the formality or informality of your wedding.
If we have the ceremony and reception on a boat, would you stay onboard afterwards?
No, you will need to arrange with the captain take me back to the pickup point or provide me with access to water taxi. An additional fee is required for the water taxi - please visit my Pricing page for details.
What paperwork do we need to handle after the ceremony?
There are no mandatory documents that need to be handled after the ceremony, however you may wish to apply for a NSW Official Marriage Certificate. This gives you the option to change your legal name. I can apply for this on your behalf for an additional fee, or you can complete the application yourself directly.
Please note that on your wedding day, I will supply you with an official Certificate of Marriage from the Australian Commonwealth Government. This certificate confirms that you legal status has changed, and that you are now married. After your wedding day, I also register your marriage online with the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages in NSW.
Will my name be automatically changed after I get married?
No. On your wedding day, I supply you with a Commonwealth Certificate of Marriage, however this is not a document that many institutions recognise for legal changes of names. You will need to apply for a NSW Official Marriage Certificate from the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages.
Will our wedding in Australia be recognised worldwide?
Yes! All my marriages are recognised by law in Australia, and in most circumstances recognised by law around the world. However, there are some countries that require specific religious rituals and authorities to be observed during weddings, which I may not be authorised to deliver.
Please feel free to contact me if I haven’t answered your questions above, or to discuss your wedding in more detail.