Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs: Frequently asked questions and answers to what you need to know about getting married in Australia.

If you are planning your wedding in Australia, check out the 7 steps you will need to take.  Click here to find out more.

The best way is for you and you partner to meet a prospective celebrant. I offer a no obligation meeting to enable us to get to know each other and understand your needs so you can make sure I am the right one for you. I am pleased to travel to you. Here are some considerations for you:

There are many things to consider in choosing your celebrant.

Some people go on first impressions or “gut feelings”. Others choose on price – the least or most expensive.

It’s important to remember your celebration can never 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.

There are other factors, than price or your first impressions, to help you decide the best celebrant for you.

Consider 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? Is this a risk for you?

Attitude: Does the celebrant indicate they want to 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 and that you understand what is required of you?

Reputation: Does the celebrant have a good reputation? Take the time to read their reviews/testimonials on the their website and sites that you can be confident of the validity of  eg that has a rigorous checking process.

Personality: Does the celebrant have the sort of personality that you find attractive?

Professionalism: Does the celebrant have a professional website? Do they respond in a timely manner? Does the celebrant have  appropriate professional equipment such as a PA system, computer and internet facilities, appropriate clothing, a reliable car, signing table etc?

Association membership and development: Does the celebrant belong to a celebrant association or network? Has the celebrant done recent training programs in celebrancy or workshops held by celebrant associations?

Experience: How much experience does the celebrant have in conducting ceremonies?

Location: Is the celebrant within reasonable travelling distance to the venue?

Fees: Is the celebrant charging a fee commensurate with the amount of work they will be doing? Do they offer a flat fee or add on extras for reasonable travel and extra meetings?

At our first meeting I provide a comprehensive “Wedding Kit” that includes a set of Ceremony options. I also try to match you with three actual ceremonies I have conducted to help guide you in what will work for you.

Once you are married there is no need to apply to change your name— this is covered by your marriage certificate. You will find many agencies now days want more than the evidence provided in the wedding certificate the Celebrant provides on your wedding day. It is necessary to apply for a standard Marriage Certificate from Births, Deaths and Marriages in your State. I provide assistance for couples in Qld. to apply and submit all the paperwork after the wedding by Express Post.

After you have your Marriage Certificate, there is a great service provided by They provide a simple way of contacting all the necessary companies and agencies to effect the name change.

Readings are are great way to help tell a story about you as a couple or to illustrate things you value. It’s also a great way to enable family members or friends to be engaged.

Maybe – Author Unknown

Maybe…We are supposed to meet the wrong people before meeting the right one so that, when we finally meet the right person, we will know how to be grateful for that gift Maybe…it is true that we don’t know what we have got until we lose it, but it is also true that we don’t know what we have been missing until it arrives Maybe…the happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way Maybe…the best kind of love is the kind you can sit on a sofa together and never say a word, and then walk away feeling like it was the best conversation you’ve ever had Maybe…you shouldn’t go for looks; they can deceive. Don’t go for wealth; even that fades away. Go for someone who makes you smile, because it takes only a smile to make a dark day seem bright. Maybe…you should hope for enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human, and enough hope to make you happy Maybe… Love is not about finding the perfect person, it’s about learning to see an imperfect person perfectly.’

We each have our love stories – Author Unknown

We each have our own love stories. Some are short, others long. Some are yet unwritten while others are just getting to the good part. There are chapters in all of our stories and it is Mabel and Fred’s own love story that brings us all here today. It is a time to pause and smile at all the moments that brought them here – and a time to look ahead at all the moments that are still to come. Love is the experience of writing your story – it’s not one moment, not even this moment. It’s every moment. Big ones like saying ‘I love you’, moving in together and getting engaged, but mostly a million little ones that come in between the big – making each other a cup of tea after dinner, riding their bikes to sushi on Tuesdays, spending time with their families and friends, Thursday morning coffees at Velo, getting a big hug from Mabel as Fred walks through the door from work. These everyday moments fuse together into one big experience. Mabel and Fred fell in love by chance, but are here today by choice – they choose each other to be there through all of their adventures in life together.

Union- Robert Fulghum

You have known each other from the first glance of acquaintance to this point of commitment. At some point, you decided to marry. From that moment of yes, to this moment of yes, indeed, you have been making commitments in an informal way. All of those conversations that were held in a car, or over a meal, or during long walks – all those conversations that began with, “When we’re married”, and continued with “I will” and “you will” and “we will” – all those late night talks that included “someday” and “somehow” and “maybe” – and all those promises that are unspoken matters of the heart. All these common things, and more, are the real process of a wedding. The symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, “You know all those things that we’ve promised, and hoped, and dreamed – well, I meant it all, every word.” Look at one another and remember this moment in time. Before this moment you have been many things to one another – acquaintance, friend, companion, lover, dancing partner, even teacher, for you have learned much from one another these past few years. Shortly you shall say a few words that will take you across a threshold of life, and things between you will never quite be the same. For after today you shall say to the world – This is my husband. This is my wife.

Candle lighting rituals add a lovely symbolic feature to a wedding ceremony. Below are some examples of Unity Candle and Memorial Candle Ceremonies.

Important Tips:

Make sure the candle/s is/are within a jar of some sort as there’s nothing worse than a memorial flame going out during the ceremony.

Use tapers for the candle lighting.

Memorial Candle Lighting

A Memorial table could be set up with photos of the deceased person/s and the candles lit there. Alternatively, the Candles could be lit on the signing table or the Altar.

Example Wording A:

Before we begin our celebration today, Mabel and Fred would like us all to take a moment to remember those family members who are with them today only in spirit, especially __.

Mabel and Fred appreciate all of the love and support __ have given them throughout the years and would like to take a moment to remember them now with the lighting of these candles.

The light of their memory can never be extinguished in the hearts of those who loved themm.

Example Wording B:

Although death has separated us physically, faith and love have bound us eternally.

Though we cannot see you, we know you are here.

Though we cannot touch you, we feel the warmth of your smile, as we begin a new chapter in our lives.

Today we pause to reflect upon those who have shaped our character, molded our spirits and touched our hearts.

May the lighting of this candle be a reminder of the memories we have shared, a representation of the everlasting impact you have made upon our lives.

Example Wording C Verse:

Although we cannot see you
We know that you are here
Smiling down, watching over us
As we say “I DO”
Forever in our hearts
Forever in our lives
And so we say our vows in
In loving memory of you
This light shines
as a symbol of life
and love remembered.

Unity Candle

Usually the Candles are light on the signing table or the Altar area if one is available.

Example Wording A:

The lighting of these family candles symbolises and separate lives and pasts before today (bride and grooms mums light the candles). Through the love, support, wisdom and guidance they have both received from their families, they are here today to join their lives as one.

and , with the light from your family candles, unite the two flames into one (bride and groom light centre candles). The unity of this flame symbolises the union of your families and your separate lives, into a commitment made in love and kept in faith. The two of you now have a fire that represents love, understanding and the future. It will give you warmth and happiness through even the darkest times. This new fire represents a new beginning, a new life and a new family.

Example Wording B:

Love is like an eternal flame, once it is lit, it will continue to burn for all time.
(by Frans Candles)

Example Wording C:

Soft mists embrace two golden flames,
Alone they search the night.
Two souls adrift in dreams of love,
They seek to claim the light.
The path is long from which they came,
But sure they are it’s right.
Two flames embrace in dreams of love,
Two Souls – Two Hearts Unite.

(By Harold Douglas)

There are so things to consider when planning a wedding! As a Celebrant, I find most couples like to have music at the beginning, when the signing is taking place and at the end (recessional). I provide recorded music and a separate sound system with copyright protection as part of my service.

  • All of Me by John Legend
  • Amazed by Lonestar
  • Annie’s Song by John Denver
  • At Last by Etta James
  • A Thousand Years by Christina Perri
  • Best Part of Me by Busby Marou
  • Better Together by Jack Johnson
  • Can’t Help Falling In Love by Elvis Presley
  • Come Away with Me by Norah Jones
  • Dog Days are Over by Florence and the Machine
  • Everything by Michael Buble
  • Everything is Awesome by Tegan and Sarah
  • First Day of My Life by Bright Eyes
  • From This Moment On by Bryan White
  • Happy Tother by The Turtles
  • I Found Love (Cindy’s Song) by BeBe and CeCe Winane
  • I Won’t Give Up by Jason Mraz
  • I Swear by All For One
  • Like I’m Gonna Lose You by Meghan Trainor
  • Let’s Stay Together by Al Green
  • Let’s Stick Together by Bryan Ferry
  • Make You Feel My Love by Adele
  • Marry Me by Train
  • Marry You by Bruno Mars
  • Pachelbel Canon in D by Pachelbel String Quartet
  • Run the Red Light by British India
  • Sea of Love by Cat Power
  • Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran
  • Tiny Dancer by Elton John
  • Today by Brad Paisley
  • Tonight, Tonight by Smashing Pumpkins
  • Truly, Madly Deeply by Savage Garden
  • When God Made You by NewSong
  • Why I Love You by Major
  • You’ve Got the Love by Florence and The Machine
  • llegro Maestoso —George F. Handel
  • Brandenburg Concerto No. 1 — Johann S. Bach
  • Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 — Johann S. Bach
  • Coronation March — Sir William Walton
  • Fugue in E Flat Major – Johann S. Bach
  • Hallelujah Chorus — George F. Handel
  • Ode to Joy — Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Spring — Antonio Vivaldi
  • The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba — George F. Handel
  • Toccata — Charles Marie Widor
  • Tuba Tune in D — Craig Sellar Lang
  • Wedding March — Felix Mendelssohn
  • You’re All I Need to Get By, Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell
  • Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours), Stevie Wonder
  • Do You Believe in Magic, The Lovin’ Spoonful
  • Dancing in the Moonlight, King Harvest
  • Gimme Some Lovin’, The Spencer Davis Group
  • You Are the Best Thing Ray LaMontagne
  • Just the Two of Us, Bill Withers
  • The Best is Yet to Come, Frank Sinatra
  • At Last, by Etta James
  • Can’t Take My Eyes Off You Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons
  • The Way You Look Tonight, Frank Sinatra
  • Let’s Stay Together, Al Green
  • Hallelujah I Love Her So, Ray Charles
  • Baby I Need Your Loving, Four Tops
  • This Magic Moment, The Drifters
  • Love Never Felt So Good, Michael Jackson and Justin Timberlake
  • Best Day of My Life, American Authors
  • Home, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
  • Dog Days Are Over, Florence + The Machine
  • Strawberry Swing, Coldplay
  • The Way I Am, Ingrid Michaelson
  • Accidentally In Love, Counting Crows
  • Us, Regina Spektor
  • First Day of My Life, Bright Eyes
  • Good Life One Republic
  • Beautiful Day, U2
  • Crazy in Love, Beyoncé and Jay Z
  • I Do, Colbie Caillat
  • Happy, Pharrell Williams
  • Halo, Beyoncé
  • This Kiss, Faith Hill
  • I Want Crazy, Hunter Hayes
  • Bless the Broken Road, Rascal Flatts
  • Deeper than the Holler, Randy Travis
  • Cowboy Take Me Away, The Dixie Chicks
  • Somebody Like You, Keith Urban
  • Just to See You Smile, Tim McGraw
  • Amazed, Lonestar
  • Ain’t Nothin’ Bout You, Brooks & Dunn
  • Sunday Kind of Love, Reba McEntire
  • I Need You, LeAnn Rimes
  • Forever and Ever, Amen, Randy Travis
  • We Danced Anyway, Deana Carter
  • Stuck Like Glue, Sugarland
  • Suds in the Bucket, Sara Evanz

A few minutes isn’t an issue. However, many venues have a number of weddings on the day and running late is likely to cause pressure to complete the ceremony by its scheduled completion.

It’s advisable for the groom and his party to arrive thirty minutes prior to the ceremony start and have one of his party as an appointed contact to the bridal party so any unforeseen challenges can be easily communicated.

There is no “correct” side for the bride and groom to stand. It is generally the case that the bride stands to the left of the groom. Interestingly this tradition stems from the days of “marriage by capture”, when the groom needed to leave his right hand, which he used to hold his sword, free in the event that he should need to defend his bride from other suitors who may try to whisk her off at the last minute.

Regardless of the side the couple stand, it a great idea for your parents to sit on the opposite side you you so they can see your face and enjoy the occasion fully.

Under the Marriage Act 1961 there are certain obligations that you, as a couple intending to get married, must meet prior to a marriage ceremony being solemnised.

A Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM) must be lodged with your chosen Marriage Celebrant no less than one month and no more than eighteen months prior to the marriage being solemnised.

Under normal circumstances the Notice of Intended Marriage form would be completed at your first meeting with your Marriage Celebrant and the required documentation must be produced to him/her at that time, or certainly before the marriage can take place. Both parties are required to give a minimum one month notice by signing and lodging the NOIM. There are some exceptions; for instance if a partner is overseas or interstate and only one can sign a month before the wedding day that is acceptable. However, if these circumstances do not exist then both parties are required to sign one month before.

Parties to a marriage must produce evidence of date and place of birth and this can be done by producing a birth certificate, or an extract of a birth certificate, or an Australian or Overseas passport. Persons born overseas, who cannot produce such original documents under some circumstances can make a statutory declaration as to details of date and place of birth. IMPORTANT: A statutory declaration can only be used in extreme cases, i.e. circumstances where social upheaval due to political situations such as civil war, or in instances of natural disaster have led to the destruction and/or unavailability of civil records. The declaration must show cause why you can’t obtain the documents.

In the case of persons previously married, an original copy of your Divorce Certificate or, if applicable a Court Annulment Certificate; the case of widowhood, an original copy of the Death Certificate must be produced. These documents MUST be produced before the marriage can take place. It is essential that you allow yourself adequate time to acquire them if you have misplaced them.

Prior to your wedding, both parties will be required to sign a declaration, under the Marriage Act 1961, stating that you believe there is no legal impediment to the marriage between yourself and your partner. This is a legal document and calls for honesty at all times. Penalties may apply for false or misleading information. Can I get married with less than one month’s notice?

A prescribed authority may authorise a marriage to be solemnised despite the authorised celebrant receiving the NOIM within one month of the date of the marriage. A list of prescribed authorities is published on the Attorney-General’s Department website.

The five circumstances in which an application for shortening of time may be considered by a prescribed authority are set out in Schedule 1B to the Marriage Regulations 1963 (Cth). These are limited to: • employment related or other travel commitments • wedding or celebration arrangements, or religious considerations • medical reasons • legal proceedings, or • an error in giving notice. If the parties to an intended marriage have not provided the NOIM to the authorised celebrant with the minimum one month’s notice, they will need to apply to a prescribed authority for authorisation before the celebrant can make or confirm any arrangements to marry them.

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