Marriage Celebrant Questions
It’s your big day and I am sure that you and your partner have lots of questions regarding how the ceremony will go, the legalities involved and how the proceedings will happen. Below are some of my most frequently asked questions as a Marriage celebrant, However, if your questions cannot be found here, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
How do we choose the right celebrant?
Your wedding ceremony is a personal and unique moment. Ideally, your celebrant will be able to understand your requirements and personalities to design a ceremony which reflects your needs. Your celebrant should:
- Be available to meet up with you
- Make you feel comfortable
- Have a thorough understanding of legal requirements and procedures
- Reply promptly to your correspondence
- Listen to your ideas,
- Offer you suggestions
- Write a ceremony to suit you both
- Speak well
- Dress professionally
- Be punctual
- Deliver a ceremony which engages your guests
- Create an experience which you will remember for the rest of your lives
Do you we have a rehearsal before the wedding?
A rehearsal is optional, but recommended. Ideally, the rehearsal is held at the same place and same time of day that the wedding will be. The rehearsal can be attended by the couple, the parent/s escorting the couple into the ceremony, and the wedding party (if possible). Children taking part in the ceremony are encouraged to attend to enable them to practice their role. During the rehearsal we will work out:
- Where to stand for the ceremony,
- Where to place the signing table,
- Where the sun is situated to avoid looking directly into it
- Where the shade is located for the benefit of your guests,
- How the wedding party will enter and exit the ceremony area.
The kiss doesn’t need to be rehearsed, however, many couples especially enjoy practising this part of the ceremony.
Do you perform same sex marriages?
Yes! Marriages between people of the same sex are now legal in Australia, and I welcome all couples who are wanting to marry the love of their life.
To what extent can family and friends participate?
A celebrant has some legal requirements to perform during the ceremony, but aside from that, your ceremony is able to include any other elements which you like. A family member could be a witness to your ceremony (there legally needs to be two witnesses), read a poem, accompany you down the aisle, tie a handfasting cord, or light a candle.
A lovely way to include your family in the ceremony is for each person to bring a flower to add to your bouquet.
If you have children, separately or together, they can also be included in the ceremony:
- Each child can pour a different coloured sand into a jar to combine the family
- You can create a family Scrabble board spelling out everyone’s name
You can make a gift and/or promise to the child.
Do we need to organise our own PA system?
There’s nothing worse at a wedding than not being able to hear what is going on up the front. Most professional celebrants will provide their own quality PA systems to ensure your guests can hear every moment of your ceremony. Cheryl has a PA system with a microphone which caters for up to 100 guests. Your ceremony music can also be played through this PA system by attaching your iPod, smart phone or tablet. Cheryl’s PA system runs on battery, so it can be used on a beach, in a field, or at any outdoor venue without power.
How far in advance do we need to book?
Legal requirements in Australia dictate a month’s notice before you marry (except in exceptional circumstances). However, it’s best to sort the legal paperwork as early as possible so we can get started on the more enjoyable aspects of your ceremony. Popular dates are booked up to 18 months in advance, and most Saturday afternoons in Spring need to be booked about a year in advance. If you are looking for a morning or weekday wedding, you will have many more short notice options.
What paperwork do we need to lodge?
At least a month before the wedding, couples are required to lodge a Notice of Intended Marriage with their celebrant. Your celebrant can provide this form and assist you to complete it.
Before the wedding, your celebrant will need to sight proof of your date and place of birth. This can be a passport or a birth certificate (original). If this document is not in English, it will need an official translation.
Your celebrant will also need to sight proof of your ID. A driver’s licence or passport will satisfy this requirement.
If you have been married before, your celebrant will need to sight your divorce certificate or your previous spouse’s death certificate.
Are you prepared to travel to our wedding?
As I am based in the Redlands, I give a discount for local weddings. Weddings in the Brisbane area are charged at my usual rate. For weddings on the Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast, on North Stradbroke Island, Toowoomba, or the hinterland areas, I add a travel fee.
How custom can we make our ceremony?
Legally in Australia, the celebrant needs to say three essential sentences in your ceremony. The couple need to both say the legal vow. Everything else in the ceremony is totally up to you. You may like to include some traditional elements, or you may like to incorporate a funny story which encapsulates your life together. The ceremony can be:
- and as long or short as you like.
Do we need to plan a wet weather option?
Weather in Queensland can be unpredictable, and no one wants to sit through a wedding reception in soaked clothing. Having a plan B for outdoor weddings is essential. Many wedding venues have a weather alternative for rainy days. P.s. – photographers are able to capture amazing photos in rainy weather.
What happens if our celebrant gets sick?
Celebrants should have a backup celebrant available in the event of illness or accident. Being a celebrant for over 15 years, and a trainer of celebrants, I have a large base of colleagues to call on in an emergency, although, touch wood, I have not had to miss a wedding yet.
What time do you arrive on the day?
The celebrant should be there in plenty of time before the wedding. I like to allow enough time for road delays when travelling to a wedding. Arriving at the ceremony area early allows time to liaise with the function co-ordinator, photographer, and musician, and ensure all the wedding professionals work together to ensure a seamless production. I like to arrive first, set up my gear, triple check all the last minute details, then greet your guests.
Will you match our wedding theme colours?
I have a large wedding wardrobe and love the excuse to frock up for a wedding. Whether your wedding is pastel coloured, or features deep, rich hues, I will endeavour to harmonize with the colour scheme.
Can we get married at sea?
Australian Marriage Celebrants can only solemnise marriages in Australia – so that means only in Australian waters. Most cruise ships conduct wedding ceremonies at port before departing on the voyage. Of course, you may be married aboard a boat on the Brisbane River, or in the bay just off the coast.
How long after a divorce can I be married again?
If you wanted to, you can be married the very next day after divorcing. The best advice for a person who is waiting to be divorced is that the courts can sometimes take quite a while. You don’t want to cut this too fine when planning your wedding. Once your divorce case has been granted by the court, it usually takes a month and a day to finalise. You can complete your month’s Notice of Intended Marriage during this time, but the wedding cannot be held until your divorce is actually finalised.
How long does a ceremony go for?
The legal requirements can be completed in about 5 minutes. However, most couples look forward to a ceremony which is memorable and special. Usually, 20 minutes is long enough to create an unforgettable experience, and short enough to keep your guests entertained.
Will you dress up for our themed wedding?
Sure! I love an excuse to dress in costume, and will create the ceremony around your ideas. I have dressed in a purple, velvet cloak, and written a sword ceremony for a couple with a medieval themed wedding. I’m always happy to drop in a reference to Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, or any pop culture interests.
Baby Naming Questions
Your little baby is the newest member of your family and it’s time to celebrate their birth with a baby naming ceremony for the whole family. This is such a precious time in a family’s life and your celebrant will happily guide you through the process and offer suggestions of options and inclusions to create an enjoyable celebration.
What does the celebrant do?
In a baby naming ceremony, the celebrant writes and delivers a ceremony to welcome the baby into the family. They will also provide certificates for the baby and the appointed Guardians.
Are there legal requirements for Baby naming ceremonies?
There are no legal requirements in a baby naming ceremony. Below are some common questions I get asked around legal requirements.
- Do we need to register the baby naming? No. (The parents of the baby need to register the birth with the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, and this is organised with the hospital where the baby is born.)
- Do the parents need to be married? No.
- Do the parents need to be together? No.
- Do we have to have Godparents? No. But you can if you want to.
- What do we call the Godparents? Whatever you like. Godparents, Guardians, Guideparents, Mentors, Aunts/Uncles.
- How many Godparents can we have? As many as you like.
- Do we need to have any religion in a naming ceremony? No.
What happens if our baby is sick on the day?
Your baby does not need to take part in the ceremony, and can sleep through the whole thing if they are a little unwell. If they are very unwell, however, they would probably prefer to rest quietly without having guests fussing over them, and we can re-schedule the baby naming ceremony until they are better.
Can you help us plan something special for our baby?
We can include little extras in your baby naming ceremony, including:
- Sprinkling rose petals on baby’s forehead
- Lighting a candle
- Creating a time capsule
- Planting a tree
- Preparing certificates
- Playing a song
- Reading a poem
Can our other children be involved in the ceremony?
Small children can feel left out when baby is the guest of honour at a party and receiving all the presents. Being an older sibling is a very important and life-long role, and a baby naming ceremony is the ideal time to demonstrate that. The children might like to blow bubbles at the end of the ceremony to symbolise their good wishes for the baby (or just because they’ll love blowing bubbles!)
How long is the ceremony?
With the guest of honour, and perhaps many of the attendees, being very young, it’s best to keep the ceremony short. Generally, twenty minutes is sufficient, and sometimes, if baby is becoming impatient, we may need to cut down the ceremony to finish more quickly.
Do we need to buy a Christening gown for a baby naming ceremony?
This will be a day when the whole family is together, and will be a great opportunity to capture some multi-generational photos. It’s a lovely idea to have baby dressed up, but they will want to be comfortable too. You may have an heirloom gown to dress baby in, or buy something new for the occasion. But at the end of the day, they’ll probably end up in a nappy and singlet before too long.