Elements of a Wedding Ceremony

Most couples aren’t very familiar with the format of a marriage ceremony; what must be included for it to be legally recognised, and optional elements that can be included to make it more personal.  The following is a suggested outline.

The Processional

Traditionally the Groom and any attendants wait at the focal point of the ceremony and the Bride enters with her Father/Mother/other significant person or people. However, the Bride may walk in on her own or Bride and Groom can walk in together. Another option is for everyone to simply gather together, including the couple, and the Celebrant will announce that the ceremony is about to start.

The Welcome

This puts your guests and ease and is an opportunity for the Celebrant to welcome them and make any special acknowledgements.

Introduction and Background

The Celebrant can talk about the couple relating how, when and where you met (not everyone will know everything about both of you), what you love about each other and what marriage means to you. This is a part of your ceremony where your unique relationship can be acknowledged, if you wish to include it.

The Giving Away or Family Blessing

The Bride and Groom can decide if they want to include the traditional giving away. Some brides ask both parents to give them away; some couples ask both sets of parents to welcome their new son/daughter into their families. You can even include your guests and have them asked to publicly bless of the marriage.

Monitum (essential)

The Monitum is comprised of wording that explains what marriage is according to the law and must be spoken by the Celebrant; these words cannot be changed.

The Asking, Legal (ESSENTIAL) & Personal Vows, Readings, Ring Exchange, extra rituals

These can be in any order, although the Celebrant will guide you on the best ‘flow’ for your ceremony. The legal vows are prescribed and you cannot change the wording but you may say whatever you wish to each other in your personal vows. Readings can be poetry or words of a song that have special meaning to you both, or someone might compose something original.

There are a number of rituals that can make the ceremony special. You might like to include children of the bride and groom, family members or friends. Some rituals that can be included are Blending of Sands, Rose Ceremony, Lighting of Candles, Hand Fasting, or Tree or Flower planting ceremonies

Declaration of Marriage

The Celebrant declares you to be husband and wife!

Signing of the Marriage Register (essential) and Announcements

The bride, groom, their two witnesses and the Celebrant sign the legal documents.

When announcing that the documents are to be signed, the Celebrant can advise the guests regarding a bridal toast, the function venue, photographs or any other information that is relevant.

Presentation of Bride and Groom

The Celebrant will close the ceremony, present the marriage certificate and finally introduce the bride and groom as Mr and Mrs Married Couple.

Always remember that it is YOUR ceremony but be mindful that your Celebrant has a lot of experience – so do be open to listening to suggestions he or she might offer.

(c) Jane Gillespie, Civil Marriage Celebrant

http://www.life-celebrations.com.au

Posted in Civil Marriage Celebrants, Civil Marriages, Getting Married, Marriage Celebrants, Marriage in Australia, Planning your wedding, Sydney Marriage Celebrant, Sydney Wedding Celebrant, Uncategorized, Wedding Celebrants, Wedding Ceremonies, Wedding venues, Weddings | Leave a comment

Changing Your Name after Marriage in NSW

(Article courtesy of http://www.easynamechange.com/au/)

 As your wedding day approaches you may be bouncing around a new name in your head. Changing names can often make a bride a little sad at the loss of her former name, so it’s perfectly natural to want to hold onto your old name, or even ask your husband if he wants to change names! Over 80% of Australian brides go onto change names, with the vast majority taking their husband’s name and dropping their own surname.

The name change process is simple and straight-forward. After the wedding your celebrant lodges the marriage record with NSW Births, Deaths and Marriages (BDM). Once this is processed your marriage certificate can be ordered. This usually takes 2-4 weeks to be available and a fee is payable directly to BDM. You can order in person at the BDM office, or download a marriage certificate order form online. This costs just over $50.

On your wedding day you receive a commemorative marriage certificate. While many companies will accept this as proof of your marriage name change, most government departments and banks insist on seeing your original BDM certificate or a certified copy. Your BDM certificate has additional security features that helps safeguard your identity.

Once you have your BDM marriage certificate it’s recommended you update government issued photo ID first, such as your driver’s license. This needs to be done in person at any license issuing office. You can then show your updated driver’s license at many places as proof of your new name.

You can update your passport at this stage if you don’t have any pending international travel. If you have flights booked under your maiden name you should not change the name on your passport until your return. The passports office will reissue your passport in your married name free of charge provided you lodge your application within 1 year of your wedding, and provided your passport has at least 2 years remaining. Otherwise full renewal fees apply.

Next, get your financial records updated. Banks with large branch networks always require you to visit in person. Be sure to take your original BDM marriage certificate, bank ATM or credit cards and photo ID. An appointment is usually not necessary.  ING direct have a name change form for you to complete, have certified at a post office and return by mail. For all other banks contact them directly to learn the process.

Medicare cards must be updated in person. Take your original marriage certificate and photo ID. You can also have your name appear on the same card as your spouse by completing the Medicare Transfer form. Both husband and wife should sign the form. While the form can be returned by mail, name changes must be done in person, so it’s best to take the form in with you when changing names.

From this point most name changes can be done in writing and brides will all have differing companies to update. Your list should include phone and internet, pay TV, utilities, insurance, super, loyalty and frequent flyer clubs. Download a comprehensive checklist here.

Contact each company directly to ask their name change procedure, what proof is required (some companies may accept a photocopy of your driver’s license instead of your marriage certificate, or not require any proof). Some companies may need you to send a letter or a fax, so make sure you get the address. You may also be required to return a form. Name change kits, like the one from www.easynamechange.com/au, provide all the necessary forms and paperwork and give you the name change procedures for over 400 Australian companies.

However you decide to change names, aim to get all your records updated within 2 months of starting as it can become difficult when proving your identity. It’s also worthwhile hanging onto some back records and expired photo ID under your old name should you ever need to prove your old name.

If you have any questions about changing names, speak to the professionals at www.easynamechange.com/au for obligation free name change advice.

Posted in Getting Married, Marriage in Australia, Uncategorized, Wedding Ceremonies, Weddings | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

GOOD MANNERS

I always answer enquiries about my services as soon as I possibly can and if I’m available on the date a prospective couple have asked about I advise that I will keep this open for them for a certain period of time.  I ask if they want to arrange an obligation-free meeting to discuss their ceremony so they can make a final decision about whether I am the right celebrant for them.

If I don’t hear back within the specified time I send a courtesy follow-up email or make a phone call to see whether they are still making up their minds or if they have already booked someone else.

However, I am often dismayed by the lack of courtesy shown by prospective clients because I rarely hear back from couples who have made a booking with another celebrant.

As a professional I know that I won’t win the booking every time and I have no problem with people going elsewhere.  But surely it is only polite to let me know, rather than leave me hanging.

So Brides and Grooms, please – just send a quick email or even a text message to let me know if you don’t want to go any further with me so I can open your date up for other enquiries.

Good manners cost nothing and I like to be treated the same way that I treat others – with respect.

© Jane Gillespie 2013                                                                                                         www.life-celebrations.com.au

Posted in Civil Marriage Celebrants, Civil Marriages, Getting Married, Marriage Celebrants, Marriage in Australia, Planning your wedding, Sydney Marriage Celebrant, Sydney Wedding Celebrant, Uncategorized, Wedding Celebrants, Wedding Ceremonies, Weddings | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Interesting Media Release from Fair Trading in NSW

23 September 2012

Wedding woes raised with NSW Fair Trading are many and varied, so Fair Trading Minister Anthony Roberts advises all brides, grooms and wedding planners to study up on their consumer rights and get help from Fair Trading to deal with disputes.

Wedding woes remain a constant: Top ten wedding complaints

1.   dresses

2.   videos

3.   photos

4.   venues

5.   flowers

6.   rings

7.   cars

8.   make-up

9.   catering

10. suits

Read the full statement here: http://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/About_us/News_and_events/Media_releases/2012_media_releases/20120923_wedding_woes_remain.html

Do you notice what’s missing from the list above?  Yep, that’s right – marriage celebrants.  I’m not going to pretend that there aren’t a few ‘cowboys(girls)’ out there, but I think it’s relevant that celebrants don’t appear in top ten complaints.

The most important thing anyone getting married should do is to have everything clarified down to the last detail with all service providers for your wedding and get it in writing.

www.life-celebrations.com.au

Posted in Civil Marriage Celebrants, Civil Marriages, Getting Married, Marriage Celebrants, Marriage in Australia, Planning your wedding, Sydney Marriage Celebrant, Sydney Wedding Celebrant, Uncategorized, Wedding Celebrants, Wedding Ceremonies, Wedding venues, Weddings | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Wedding venues

Civil marriage ceremonies in Australia can be performed anywhere, at any time of the day, on any day of the week.  Here are a few options:

  • At a reception centre, either inside or outdoors
  • On a beach
  • In a garden (always check for Council requirements if you are choosing a public garden or park)
  • In your home
  • In your parents’ back yard
  • On a boat
  • On a plane
  • In a chapel

When planning an outdoor venue you should always, always, always have a Plan B.

You might be really invested in being married where your proposal took place but there is nothing romantic about being drowned in the rain or keeling over with sunstroke or having the legal papers blown away in strong winds.

Always bear in mind the people on your guest list.  If elderly people are attending it might be very difficult or even impossible for them to walk along a stretch of sand to get to the exact location you have chosen for your beach wedding.

Remember that while this is your day, if you are inviting those nearest and dearest to you to share in your celebration, you should consider whether your venue is suitable for everyone.

If you decide to change the location for your ceremony during the process in the lead up to your wedding day, you should notify your celebrant as soon as you make this decision.  He or she will need to decide if they can accommodate the change, bearing in mind other commitments they may have on that date.  There may also be additional charges to pay to cover extra travel time.

As far as changing your venue on the actual day because of the weather, most celebrants have a cut-off time to be notified.  Depending on how far I have to travel, I need at least two hours’ notice of a change so I have time to make sure all the paperwork reflects the correct information.

© Jane Gillespie 2012

www.life-celebrations.com.au

Posted in Civil Marriage Celebrants, Civil Marriages, Getting Married, Marriage Celebrants, Marriage in Australia, Planning your wedding, Sydney Marriage Celebrant, Sydney Wedding Celebrant, Uncategorized, Wedding Celebrants, Wedding Ceremonies, Wedding venues, Weddings | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Surprise weddings

Ever thought how romantic it would be to plan your wedding as a surprise for your beloved?

I’m sorry to have to tell you that this romantic gesture is a big No No.  In Australia you must lodge a Notice of Intended Marriage a minimum of one month before you can be legally married.  This must be signed by both of you when lodging it with your celebrant.  In some circumstances the Notice may be lodged with one signature but only if the other person is overseas or interstate, not simply because they are not aware of what’s happening.

How about if you have already agreed to marry and maybe even lodged your Notice of Intended Marriage with both signatures but haven’t settled on the date yet?  Even if you had, sometimes circumstances necessitate a change of plan.  Perhaps a baby comes along or a close family member is diagnosed with a serious illness and you want to wait until that person is well enough to be part of your celebrations.

One of you might decide that you just don’t want to wait any longer and would love to surprise your partner with a ceremony that you spring on them.  Even with the required notice being given and signed by both of you, it is still not acceptable because there must never be a hint that anyone is being coerced into marriage.

No matter how much your partner loves you, they might not appreciate being expected to take that step if it’s sprung on them out of the blue but feel too embarrassed to say so.  In legal terms this can be construed as the surprised person being put under undue pressure to agree to the arrangement, i.e. the surprise marriage.  This would put the validity of the marriage into question and that’s the last thing you would want.

The Marriage Act is quite clear on surprise weddings: “Authorised celebrants must not participate in such ceremonies. This is because there is no guarantee that the marriage will be valid.”

If an authorised celebrant is approached with a request for a surprise wedding, the authorised celebrant must not only advise the person making the request of the requirement to give at least one month’s notice.  They must also advise the Attorney-General’s Department of the request, giving full details and finally they must let the Registry Office in the relevant State know in case marriage documents are submitted by another celebrant who has agreed to perform the surprise ceremony.

Of course you can still surprise your family and friends with an unexpected wedding but you cannot be married in Australia if either the bride or groom is surprised.

www.life-celebrations.com.au

Posted in Civil Marriage Celebrants, Civil Marriages, Getting Married, Marriage Celebrants, Marriage in Australia, Planning your wedding, Sydney Marriage Celebrant, Sydney Wedding Celebrant, Uncategorized, Wedding Celebrants, Wedding Ceremonies, Weddings | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Australian couples marrying overseas

Many couples book the most romantic option they can think of – a full wedding package in Fiji, Thailand, Bali, Tahiti, etc.  If this is your dream, good on you!  But please check whether your marriage will be recognised in Australia and if so, what steps you need to take.

Some places require you to reside in the country for a period of time; other authorities may have you jumping through hoops to provide the right documentation both before and after the ceremony.  Sometimes it’s too difficult for many couples to comply with the local laws and in this case you will need to arrange a legal marriage ceremony in Australia.

You can either do this before or after your big celebration overseas but do make sure that your dream exotic ceremony will definitely not be recognised by Australian authorities.

I’m more than happy to supply a short, simple yet personal ceremony to legalise your union and love to write something that will fulfill the basic legal requirements yet still reflect you as a couple.

http://www.life-celebrations.com.au

Posted in Civil Marriage Celebrants, Civil Marriages, Getting Married, Marriage Celebrants, Marriage in Australia, Planning your wedding, Sydney Marriage Celebrant, Sydney Wedding Celebrant, Uncategorized, Wedding Celebrants, Wedding Ceremonies, Weddings | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment