Getting Married in Australia during the COVID-19 Crisis

Getting married in Australia during the COVID-19 crisis has created great challenges for couples. As of 25 March, 2020 the solemnisation of a marriage is to occur with a maximum attendance of no more than five people, being the two parties, the authorised marriage celebrant, and the two witnesses. Social distancing of 1 person per 4 square metres is to be enforced. This applies to marriages both indoors and outdoors.

This change along with limitations on gathering of groups of people has meant that traditional wedding venues have had to cease operating. Consequently, you can’t get married at the professional venue you’ve booked while the current restrictions are in place . No one knows when these restrictions will be lifted or if there will be increased restrictions.

Many couples getting Married in Australia during COVID-19 crisis have been faced with the dilemma of what to.  Firstly, its important to take time to consider what is best for you as a couple. We in the wedding industry want to support you and reduce the anxiety you may be feeling. There is no doubt the restrictions are rightly in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Australia and to keep you and your family and friends safe. It is very wise to contact your key wedding vendors to look at available options.

There are a number of likely choices:

Postpone your wedding

This option is a realistic one. Your vendors, in particular your venue, celebrant and photographer will be keen to support you in finding a realistic date. It’s important to understand that with many couples postponing until 2021, Saturdays and Sundays will fill quickly. It may be worth considering week-day options.

Proceed with your wedding date at your home or in a park/beach

It is very likely you can still proceed with your wedding on your planned date or another one with your celebrant and 2 witnesses.  The venue could be in places such as your home or in a park or the beach. You could have a big celebration down the track when the restrictions are lifted. Your celebrant could conduct a renewal of vows that everyone could celebrate with you.

If you proceed with this option, you could arrange for the livestreaming of your intimate ceremony. One of your witnesses could stream via Facebook or Skype to your family and friends in their own home anywhere in the world. Alternatively, if you wanted a more professional record, your Videographer or Photographer could act as a witness as well as stream your wedding.

Cancel your wedding

Cancelling your wedding is an option. However, after months or years of planning this choice has both potential financial and emotional costs. Cancellation would almost certainly mean losing your deposit. It also would be devastating for your vendors, most of who are small businesses who are suffering enormously from the COVID-19 restrictions.

I personally look forward to continuing to help couples getting married in Australia during COVID-19 crisis realise their wedding dreams in the current restrictive environment. Please don’t hesitate to contact me for any help or advice.

What Goes Into Planning a Kid-Friendly Wedding?

Whether you are planning a large or a small wedding, there is almost surely going to be some children among the attendees. While in the past, children may have been relegated to staying with a babysitter or were entertained by one of the adults while the event took place, more and more couples are tailoring their weddings to be more inclusive and enjoyable for all ages.

Kid friendly wedding

Preparing a kid-friendly wedding does not have to be difficult but it does take a bit of extra planning to ensure that everything goes smoothly. Fortunately, since kid-friendly weddings are becoming more common, there is ample advice out there to help you with the preparations. Following some of these strategies will help you create a wedding plan that is memorable both for you and attendees of all ages.

Let’s look at some of the essential things that need to be considered when planning a kid-friendly wedding.

Get The Details ASAP

To plan for a kid-friendly wedding, it is important to know exactly how many children will be coming, and how old these children are. This is instrumental in deciding how much your wedding plans will need to be tweaked to accommodate the younger people. If there are many children on the guest list, for example, you will need to devote more time and budget for planning kids meals and activities.

Consider The Location

With a group of kids in the audience, it is important to pick a location that has some separate space for them to play. Even the most well-behaved kids will have difficulty in sitting through a long ceremony or bloviated speeches, indeed, this may be difficult for most adults. Be sure to have a separate room or separate outdoor area where kids can run around for a bit when they start to get restless.

Food For All

While wedding budgets are usually spent on providing top-tier food options for guests, catering to younger palates simply takes a bit of forethought. Including some finger foods, juice boxes, and non-messy desserts in your menu will allow everyone to be satisfied with the fare.

Activities For All

If planned well, your wedding can incorporate activities that will be fun for people of all ages. Outdoor weddings are great for this, as you can plan physical games or activities, for example, including larger things like an inflatable bouncy castle,  without worrying about space limitations.

For younger children, you can be sure to have some age-appropriate activities on hand as well. Providing them with an activity pack with colouring materials or even craft supplies can work well. Blowing bubbles and board games are also an affordable way to keep younger attendees occupied.

Hire Babysitters

If there are a lot of children on the guest list and you want all adults in attendance to be able to enjoy the ceremony and reception, then hire a few babysitters, either from your social network or from a professional service, to look after the kids. While this will take a chunk out of your wedding budget, it will provide you with peace of mind and allow you to focus on yourself on the big day.

Make It Fun For All Ages

If you want children to be at your wedding, make sure that the ceremony and reception are enjoyable for them. A group of bored or unsatisfied children is a ticking time bomb at your wedding, so be sure to use the tips outlined here to start crafting a plan to keep them happy. With a bit of effort and planning, you will be able to create a wedding plan that is enjoyable for all ages.

Written By Marquee Monkeys

How to write your own wedding vows

From a legal perspective each person getting marriage in Australia must say a mandatory vow like: ” I call upon the persons here present to witness that I, Full Name to be stated here take you Full Name to be stated here to be my lawful wedded husband/wife/spouse.”
A ceremony can also include vows that are more personal. Writing your own vows is a special touch to your Wedding Ceremony. Here are some ideas to make it easier. It’s a good idea to discuss this with your Marriage Celebrant too.
You could:
• Share the same vows where you write them together and repeat them to each other during the ceremony or
• Have different vows but work on them together. Write individual vows for each other but then share your vows with each other in advance so you both know that they are similar in length and tone or
• Write different vows and keep them a surprise for the day

Regardless of which you choose, remember there’s no right or wrong in what you say. Importantly, write your own wedding vows from the heart.

Amanda and Sam wrote their own wedding vows

The format
Deciding how to structure your vows will give you a good jumping-off point. You don’t have to both have to write your own wedding vows in the same format but it does tend to help keep them consistent so that one person isn’t reciting something pages long while the other is done and dusted in two sentences.

[Vow-starter] The first time I saw you, I…

[Promise] I promise to be…

[Promise] I promise we’ll…

[Promise] I promise to love you…

[Vow-starter] You give me…

[Vow-starter] Together, we’ll spend our lives…
Consider giving yourself a word count, say 200 words max. That way, you know you’ll both have vows similar in length.
Whatever the format, if you both do the same, then you’ll be fine.

Thought-starting questions
When writing your wedding vows, these thought starters will help with filling the gaps. You’ll find yourself coming up with some pretty good stuff that you can include or reference in the vows.
What did you think when you first saw them? Was it love at first sight?
At what moment did you know this person was the one you wanted to marry? Why?
When did you realise you were in love?
What are the little things they do for you that you appreciate?
What are the little things you do for them that they appreciate?
What do you want to work on in your relationship to make it even stronger? Tip: this can be serious – or not.
What do you have now that you didn’t before? Tip: think head and heart, not material things. For example, ‘an appreciation for homemade pasta’ or ‘a newfound open-mindedness and acceptance of people, thanks to our time exploring the world’.
What have they taught you? Tip: be serious and lighthearted too. For example, ‘You’ve taught me to stand up for the things I believe in. And you’ve taught me the many virtues of watching cricket. Actually, no, we’re still working on that’.
Have you gone through adversity together? What did it mean to you to have them by your side?
What inspires you about them?
What do you respect most about them?
What does marriage mean to you?
What are you most looking forward to for your shared future?
What goals and values do you both share? Tip: again, feel free to get playful. For example, you might share a mutual appreciation for a crisp craft beer to kick off a Saturday, or a Wednesday night Netflix-and-chill – but with actual Netflix.
What do you miss most about them when they’re away?
What’s your favourite thing about them?
What’s the most annoying thing that they do?
Where was your first date? How did it go?
What’s the most embarrassing moment you’ve had together?
How about the most romantic moment?
What special quirk do you love about them that no one else would realise?
Have you traveled together? What did that teach you about them?
Did you guys have a rocky start? Why, and what made you guys overcome it?
Do they have a sporting team, band, clothing item or event they’re obsessed with?
What have you experienced together that you never would have on your own?

That’s seriously the hard part done. Now that you’ve fleshed out some of your relationship history, highlight the answers that stand out to you as the most poignant, insightful, heartfelt and fun. You don’t need to do this immediately – return to it in a few days’ time and then review. Your favourite answers will stand out. These are the answers you want to take elements from to weave into your vows.
Next step: agree on a format. The earlier one is a great start. Then, pick some promise starters and vow starters from below, or make up your own and write your own wedding vows.

Promise starters:
I promise to give you…
I promise to treat you…
I promise to tell you…
I promise to love you…
I promise to respect you…
I promise to laugh at…
I promise to be…
I promise to always encourage…
I promise that we’ll…

Vow starters:
I vow to…
I’ll always…
Together, we’ll…
When you’re up, I’ll…
When you’re down, I’ll…
Our future will bring us…
I will never let…
You make me…
You give me…
Because of you, I see the world…
We share…
Life is better infinitely better with you in it because…
I’m proud of…
Your smile makes me…
I admire…
You’ve taught me…
I look forward to…
I’m crazy about…
I value your…
I can’t believe that…
The first time I saw you, I…
I realised I loved you when…

The decision whether you write your own vows is entirely your choice. Your Marriage Celebrant can help with the range of choices you have.

Wedding planning made easy

Planning your wedding? Looking for a great Venue, Celebrant, Photographer and other Wedding Vendors?

Boulevard Gardens FREE Wedding Venue Showcase is back for Summer 2020, and better than ever!

Join us on a very special day at Boulevard Gardens, where you will meet and see everything for your perfect day… and make your wedding planning easy …

-Themed wedding displays to inspire
-Free advice from the experts
-Meet your dream suppliers
-Sample our delicious food, wines and cocktails
-Enjoy our beautiful wines
-Give aways and prizes to be won!
-Exclusive showcase specials

Say ‘I do’ at Boulevard Gardens – The romantic garden venue with timeless reception spaces and a breathtaking ceremony garden, nestled a stones throw away from Brisbane CBD

Date: Sunday the 9th of February 2020
Time: 11am – 2pm
Where: Boulevard Gardens, 284 Witton Road, Indooroopilly QLD 4068
Price: FREE!

Book via Eventbrite or email

Meet a great array of Wedding suppliers to make your wedding planning easy including:

Renee’s Weddings
Celebrated Moments – Krista Webb – Marriage Celebrant Brisbane
Michael Janz Celebrant
Brendan Anning Weddings

Murray Redpath Photography
Cakes + desserts:
Bayside Brownie Company
Deliberately Delicious
Dolci & Co
Decorations + Styling + Stationery:
St. Aisle
Angie’s Angels
WOW Weddings , Wedding and Event Hire
Invitation Designs by Eliza | Special Occasion & Wedding Stationery
Brisbane Sunshine Coast DJ and Photo Booth Hire
Josh Lincoln Music
Janice Preece – Brisbane Harpist
Dresses + Jewellery:
Bessette Australia
Bejewelled Bridal
Tic Tac Tours & Premier Limousines

Wedding Planning made easy at Boulevard Gardens Showcase
Rainforest Retreat Wedding Venue with Brisbane Celebrant Michael Janz

Why should couples pay more attention to a perfect wedding venue?

One’s wedding is most preferably the most important day in one’s life. And why wouldn’t it be, it’s the day when you promise to be together with someone you love. The day is witnessed by friends and family and is followed by a lot of celebrations.
As soon as the couple is engaged, they start making a thousand plans for their big day. Be it in terms of the clothes, the flowers, the cake or the significant venue. It’s extremely important that each of these details is looked upon at with equal clarity. These combine to make or break the stance of the whole ceremony. You wouldn’t want your big day to be remembered as the day when all hell broke loose. It could be because of the bad food or because of the unplanned execution at the event. Every couple tries to put in all the efforts before their wedding and dreams to have a stress free wedding day.
This is where the wedding venue comes into the picture. Unlike what most couples do, one should prioritize the venue for their wedding. The reason, you ask? Well, because it takes up the most significant chunk up money and it covers a lot of small and big aspects of the wedding. Things like the atmosphere and the service you get are all indirectly related to the venue you have selected. No guest would be able to enjoy the lovely food and excellently planned playlist when mosquitoes and bugs bite them at your outdoor wedding.

Here are 4 reasons why couples should pay more attention to a perfect wedding venue:

1. A venue goes a long way in setting up the ambience you have in mind:

You probably have a particular ambience or atmosphere that you have in mind for your wedding. This could possibly also be related to the theme you have selected for your wedding. This tells a lot about the story you share with your partner and also about your preferences and personality. This complete built up would be dependent on the venue you select for yourself. Imagine you have a vintage theme in mind. You have planned your flowering, the cake and your dresses accordingly. Do you think it could go well if the only venue available to you is an uptown retro bar? It may not be the right place unless you are willing to spend a lot of time and money into redoing the whole setup.
Instead, you can decide on booking a location in advance or probably decide on a backyard wedding within an old museum or something. This certainly allows you flexibility and gives a lot of space for creativity.

2. The right venue will allow you to have better food and entertainment arrangements:

You need to understand that not all locations can inculcate all of your top ideas. However, when planned well in advance, a venue can make sure that it incorporates the best elements of your plan. Some venues will only allow you to have their own caterers while others are flexible. You wouldn’t want to know at the last moment that the caterer comes with a lot of restrictions. It’s wise to ask the venue what their policies regarding food and drinks are. Some couples have plans for fireworks or pets in their wedding day celebrations. Check in advance if your venue allows these requests.

3. Planning a venue well in advance allows you to stay within your budget:

There must be many other couples who would have planned their wedding on the same day as yours. This makes it just obvious that there will be a lot of demand for the most popular venues around your city. It could be that Church your parents got married at or that resort with tropical vibes. Venues can hold a lot of emotional value to some couples. And why wouldn’t they, after all, your wedding happens once and it deserves to be the best. You don’t want to wait till the last moment and pay more for the same venue. This might put you off track from your budget too. This is why it’s wise to book your venue as soon as you have decided on a date.

4. Having the right venue keeps you at peace amidst all that wedding planning chaos:

Weddings, though beautiful, come with their fair amount of stress. There’s a guest list, a wedding dress, catering arrangements, the meeting with an experienced celebrant and so much more. All these tasks need equal attention and all at the very same time. It’s wise to have a wedding checklist and schedule your tasks according to the number of months left for the wedding. This might seem like a small task but goes a long way in keeping things organized. The sooner you tick off things off your list, the sooner you will be able to relax. Booking a venue in advance will save you a lot of stress and will cover a lot of other tasks on the list. A good venue would ensure that the ambience is set and your guests get the service they deserve.

Author Bio

Bronte Price is Australia’s First Certified civil celebrant in Melbourne. He stands strongly for marriage equality and takes immense pleasure in marrying any couples in love. He has also co-founded The Equality Network to help wedding suppliers create a better wedding experience for LGBTI couples. He is a regular volunteer newsreader at Joy 94.9, and a member of GLOBE (Gay and Lesbian Organization for Business and Enterprise). Beyond this you will find him either in his organic backyard vegetable garden or taking walks with his fiancée Clint and their four legged fur baby – Bingo.

Brisbane CBD Wedding Venues

with Michael Janz Brisbane Celebrant

As a Celebrant in Brisbane, I’ve had the honour of conducting many weddings in a range of Brisbane CBD Wedding venues. In many cases the meandering Brisbane River offers a wonderful backdrop. Here are some of my favourites. There are options to cater for a broad range of budgets. After you’ve selected your venue, it important to lock your Celebrant and Photographer.

Brisbane Botanic Gardens Wedding with Celebrant Brisbane

City Botanic Gardens : Brisbane CBD Wedding Venue

The gorgeous sub-tropical Gardens offers 10 beautiful outdoor sites that can be booked for wedding ceremonies. This can be an ideal location for a DYI wedding. Sites are booked through the Brisbane City Council. If you want someone look after it all for you, check out The Gardens Club.

Lightspace Wedding with Celebrant Brisbane

Lightspace : Brisbane CBD Wedding Venue

This is great venue for those seeking something a little different. Its combination of raw industrial and purpose-built design features has created an incredible space with limitless possibilities. Every wedding has exclusive use of the venue.
Your wedding ceremony can be conducted in an indoor setting followed by your cocktail
or sit-down reception.

Olde Government House Wedding with Celebrant Brisbane

Old Government House :Brisbane CBD Wedding Venue

Old Government House provides an element of elegance and distinction for a truly special day. The romantic grandeur and vintage charm of Old Government House pairs is generally the location for the ceremony. The modern top-floor reception space Room Three Sixty, is modern and stylish. These venues can be booked together or separately.

Riverlife : Brisbane CBD Wedding Venue

Riverlife can be a BYO wedding venue or all inclusive. It offers the perfect opportunity to combine your ceremony, reception and photos all in one stunning waterfront location. Generally, the ceremony is conducted in the surroundings of the Kangaroo Point Parklands. It is embraced by the sensational panoramic views of the city skyline and Brisbane River. Riverlife’s open plan outdoor marquees allow you to add personal touches to transform them into the wedding of your dreams.

Roma Street Parklands Wedding with Celebrant Brisbane

Roma Street Parklands : Brisbane CBD Wedding Venue

Roma Street Parkland is a romantic subtropical paradise hugging the northern side of Brisbane’s CBD. The parkland is a truly spectacular venue to hold your wedding or civil ceremony. It’s also extremely convenient – it’s located just a short walk from the bustling restaurants and reception venues in Brisbane’s CBD.

There are five unique wedding venues to choose from.

Stamford Plaza Wedding with Celebrant Brisbane

Stamford Plaza Hotel : Brisbane CBD Wedding Venue

Stamford Plaza Brisbane hotel provides romantic elegance as a Brisbane riverside wedding location.
Outdoor garden, riverside ceremonies coupled with top class reception options with accommodation make this an ideal all in one venue. The classic grand staircase and historical building nearby offer some great settings for photographs.
It’s also adjacent to the City Botanic Gardens.

The Gardens Club Wedding with Celebrant Brisbane

The Gardens Club : Brisbane CBD Wedding Venue

Nestled amongst the natural beauty and sunshine of the City Botanic Gardens and only a short walk from the CBD, The Gardens Club is a truly unique event space. Your ceremony can be conducted in space within the Gardens adjacent to The Main House, Inner Deck and Terrace. It can host 80 guests seated and 150 cocktail style.

Let’s Elope: without expense & stress

Springfield Elopements: without expense & stress

Wedding Suppliers … when should I book them?

When to book wedding suppliers is an important question for engaged couples. As a Brisbane based Marriage Celebrant, I speak to many couples who disappointed their preferred wedding venue is booked out years in advance. 63 percent of weddings are held on Saturdays. Consequently, Saturdays book out quickly.

My best advice is once you are engaged, book your key wedding suppliers. Decide your preferred date/s. Then book your wedding venue, Marriage Celebrant and wedding photographer.

When should the rest of your wedding suppliers be booked? To help, my Ultimate Wedding Planning Checklist can be downloaded free. This Wedding Checklist gives you a great idea of what suppliers you may need so you can book them in a timely manner. I am a full-time Brisbane based Marriage Celebrant and have developed this checklist based on feedback from couples I have married.

If you are looking for an electronic To Do List or App Easy Weddings offers some great free tools. A broad range of wedding professionals’ profiles can be found on their site.

When looking for your wedding suppliers it is wise to seek suppliers who focus on weddings. Be aware that many wedding suppliers are casual or part-time. This is certainly the case with Marriage Celebrants. A small proportion of the thousands of Celebrants are full time. Here are so useful tip when choosing a Marriage Celebrant.

Over the coming months, I’ll be adding my thoughts on wedding venues I’ve conducted weddings at in Brisbane, Mount Tamborine, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Ipswich, Logan and Toowoomba. Look out for future Blog posts. Here’s my first on Mount Tamborine wedding venues.

Most professional wedding photographers work can be readily viewed on their websites, Facebook and Instagram pages. Here are a few great wedding photographers that I enjoy working with. These wedding suppliers are true professionals … check out their work.

Evoke Studios,

Richard Grainger,

Heart and Colour,

Rod Noendeng Photography,

Twig and Fawn Photography.

Kat Cherry Photography

How to Choose a Celebrant

Michael Janz, Brisbane Celebrant, shares 10 tips how to choose a Celebrant.

There are many things to consider in choosing a celebrant. Some people go on first impressions or “gut feelings”. Others choose on price – the least or most expensive.

You only want to get married once… ensure it’s what you want! Remember your celebration can’t be repeated! Apart from 5 sentences that must be stated to cover legal obligations, the rest is what you want. Remember it’s your ceremony not your celebrant’s.

Here are 10 tips to help you decide the best celebrant for you.

Talk to/meet the Celebrant before choosing

The best way to choose a Celebrant is to meet them.

I offer a no obligation meeting to enable us to get to know each other. It’s important I understand your needs. You can make sure I am the right one for you. I am pleased to travel to you. This is all at no obligation/cost for you. Also, I supply a comprehensive wedding kit when we meet.

Check the Celebrant’s availability

Is the celebrant available on the date and time you have in mind? Does the celebrant conduct multiple ceremony a day? Do you want to the Celebrant being delayed at their previous ceremony?

I only conduct 1 wedding per day. I prefer to focus on making your day the best it can possibly be.

Choose the Celebrant’s with the right attitude

Does the celebrant show they’ll deliver a ceremony that meets you needs? How are they going to help to determine what you need? Does the celebrant listen to your needs, ideas and concerns? Is the celebrant keen to ensure they understand what you expect from them? It’s also important to understand what is required of you when you choose a Celebrant.

I believe you are the “stars of the show”. I’m facilitating your show.

Choose the Celebrant with a proven reputation

Does the celebrant have a proven reputation? Take the time to read their reviews/testimonials. Check their website and sites that you can be confident of the validity of. Sometimes social media may not be truly reflective of quality. See if you can observe them performing a ceremony in a video.

Easy Weddings has a rigorous checking process that ensures validity of reviews.

Bride and Groom enjoying the Brisbane Celebrant conducting the wedding
Elise and Olly’s Mount Coot-tha Wedding Ceremony

Choose the Celebrant with the right personality

Does the celebrant have a personality that you find attractive? Above all only you will know when you meet. Alternatively a  phone discussion is a pretty good start in helping to choose a Celebrant.

Choose the Celebrant who demonstrates professionalism

Choose a Celebrant that demonstrates professionalism. Does the celebrant have a professional website? Do they respond in a timely manner? Does the celebrant have appropriate professional equipment. Things such as a PA system, computer and internet facilities, appropriate clothing, a reliable car, signing table etc?

I am a full-time Brisbane Celebrant who takes pride in my professional attributes. Responding to phone calls, texts and emails in a timely manner is very important to me.

Choose a Celebrant who continually develops themselves

Is the celebrant a member of celebrant associations/networks? Has the celebrant done recent training  in celebrancy or workshops held by celebrant associations? Choose a celebrant who is always developing.

I believe in continually improving my approaches with working with couples. I never stop learning.

Choose a Celebrant with the right experience

How much experience does the celebrant have?  Above all try to gauge whether they have spent years using the same old formula. In contrast are they focused on continually learning through experience.

Choosing a Celebrant with 10 years experience doesn’t ensure quality.

Check out the Celebrant’s location

Is the celebrant within reasonable travelling distance to the venue? Do they charge for travel? Choosing a Celebrant who lives around the corner isn’t the best indicator.

I’m a Celebrant living in Brisbane. I enjoy travelling to the Gold Coast, Tamborine, Ipswich, Lockyer Valley and Toowoomba. It’s my job.  I’m happy to travel. unless I need to jump on a plane, I don’t charge extra for travel.  I’m happy to fly.

Understand the Celebrant’s fees…

Is the celebrant charging a commensurate fee.  Choose a Celebrant where the fee matches the work/service provide. Do they offer a flat fee or add on extras for  travel and extra meetings?

I offer a flat, all-inclusive fee with no surprises. I’m also happy to provide if required at no extra cost:

  • A portable, professional standard Bose PA and sound system. This ensures all of your guests clearly hear your wedding ceremony ;
  • Recorded music for playing throughout the Ceremony as required;
  • A well-presented table and chair for signing your marriage documentation if required.
Sophie and Giampoalo's Wedding Day at the Bpuevard Gardens Indooroopilly
Sophie and Giampaolo’s Wedding Day