Choosing a celebrant for your wedding day is one of the most important decisions you’ll need to make when planning your big day. Anna is a wedding celebrant and spent some time talking us through the elements of making this important decision. She also answers some questions that often arise when planning your ceremony.
1. Why should we talk to a Celebrant?
Unless you are marrying in a Church or having a religious ceremony you will need a Civil Celebrant.
2. What is the difference between a Civil Ceremony and a Religious Ceremony?
Flexibility! You can be married in any fabulous location and have the ceremony fully tailored to suit you as a couple.
Personal! Your Celebrant will get to know you as a couple and you will then have a familiar face that you feel comfortable with on your special day.
3. What constitutes a Legal Marriage?
There are a number of elements to consider;
Your Notice of Intended Marriage must be signed and witnessed at least one month prior to your Wedding.
Your Celebrant needs to sight your birth certificates or passports and some photo ID plus any divorce documents if applicable.
You will need two witnesses over the age of 18 on your Wedding day to witness the marriage certificates.
The legal wording must be said in front of your witnesses and guest during the Ceremony.
Your Celebrant must register your documents with the Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages within two weeks after your Ceremony.
4. How do I change my name?
You must apply to the Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages for your Marriage Certificate. The certificate that you receive on your wedding day is not a legal copy.
It will take approximately 50 days for them to process it and then you can use that certificate to change your name on everything else. i.e. Passport, Drivers Licence etc.
5. When should we book our Celebrant?
Once you have booked your venue your next step should be to book your Celebrant as the good ones are booked early.
6. What should we look for in a Celebrant?
Connection. It is so important that you feel comfortable with your Celebrant and that you feel that they get you as a couple.
Professional. You will want someone who is experienced and knows what they are doing, so they can guide you through the process.
If you are not quite sure, you can ask to see them in action at their next wedding if the Bride and Groom are comfortable with this.
7. How much does a Celebrant charge?
Celebrants can charge from $450 to $1,500 or more. The more experienced and professional Celebrants are likely to charge more.
8. Do we need to have personal vows?
No, not really but they are your personal promise to each other.
Your Celebrant can help you with writing these and you can either repeat them after your Celebrant on the day or read them to each other.
I do advise not trying to memorise them as this usually ends in disaster.
9. Can anyone walk me down the aisle?
Yes, many Brides are choosing to walk down with their Mum and Dad or Dad and Stepdad. You can choose anyone who is important to you.
10. Who stands where during the ceremony?
The Groom usually stands on the Celebrant’s left and the Bride on the right facing each other and a little in front of the Celebrant.
This is flexible and some Celebrants choose to stand a little away from the couple. This is really up to you.
11. Where do the family sit during the Ceremony?
Sitting on the opposite side to their Son or Daughter is preferable as they can then see their faces during the Ceremony. This usually results in tears in the day, but, let’s face it, Weddings are all about the emotion.
12. What is the legal wording required during our Wedding Ceremony?
As your Wedding Celebrant, I, Anna Bryers am duly authorised by law to solemnise marriages according to the law.
Before you Groom and you Bride, are joined in marriage in my presence and I the presence of your witnesses, I am here to remind you of the solemn, serious andd binding nature of the relationship you are about to enter.
Marriage according to law in Australia is the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others voluntarily entered into for life.
Then, you’ll also have your legal vows;
I call upon the persons here present to witness that I, fullname of Groom/Bride, take thee, full name of Bride/Groom to be my lawfully wedded Wife/Husband.
If any of these words are not said during your Marriage Ceremony, you are not legally married.
13. What side does my Father stand on when walking down the aisle for our Wedding Ceremony?
Usually on your right but there are no hard and fast rules for this.
14. Can both my Mother and Father walk down with me?
Of course, you can have anyone you wish walk down with you.
15. Who stands where during the Marriage Ceremony?
As your Wedding Celebrant, I usually stand in the middle of you with the Groom on my left and Bride on my right. This way you can look at each other if you are nervous!
16. What side do friends and family usually sit on during the Wedding Ceremony?
I like to have them on opposite sides to the Bride and Groom so they can see their faces during the ceremony.
17. What music do we need for our wedding ceremony?
You will need three to four pieces. One for your processional (entrance), one or two for the signing and another for your recessional (exit).
18. Can we have recorded music for our ceremony?
Of course, you can have either live or recorded.
19. How do we play recorded music?
You can use my PA system with either an ipod or anything that has a hole for a jack. You will need a friend to manage the music as I will be focussing on you two. Some venues manage the music for you through their own systems.
21. Is it essential to have personalised vows in our wedding ceremony?
In a word, no. However, they are a lovely expression of your personal promises to each other.
22. Do we have to memorise our vows?
No, you may be too nervous on the day and you can repeat them after me or read them to each other from my folder.
24. Do we write our marriage vows ourselves?
Essentially yes, however I will provide lots of samples for you to take inspiration from. It is always much easier to edit others’ work.
25. Do I need to be given away in my marriage ceremony?
No, as a matter of fact there are many ways you can make your entrance (the processional). You could have both parents walk you down and they can give their blessing for you to marry your fiance instead of giving away. You could both walk down together or your future husband can meet you half way.
26. When is my veil lifted through the ceremony?
Either your parent can move it when they give you a kiss or when you kiss your HUSBAND. The only thing to consider here is that then you have the veil over your face for most of the ceremony.