The Marriage Celebrant’s Role: Step One – The Meeting
Step One: The meeting
Once you have decided on your marriage celebrant, the first step is to arrange a meeting.
When will we meet? With many couples working Monday to Friday, I mostly meet couples on a Saturday morning. Other times are also available around work shifts. I sometimes meet people on a Sunday morning, Monday evening, or whenever we are all available.
Where will we meet? I have a home office and for most couples, this is a convenient place to meet. If you have youngsters, it can be easier if I come to you. And if you’re not located in Brisbane or are working at unusual hours, we can also meet over WhatsApp, Facetime, Zoom or Skype (slippers optional).
How long will this meeting take? At the minimum, a half hour. And if you have a restless bub, we’ll get it done in this time. I always allow 90 minutes though, and once we get talking about weddings, the time just flies by.
What will we accomplish in the meeting? The most important process to cover in that first meeting is to prepare the Notice of Intended Marriage. Legally, this needs to be lodged at least a month before your wedding, so I like to have this sorted ASAP so we can relax and keep our spreadsheets full of ticks. The Notice of Intended Marriage is a Government document which is required to be filled in with your personal information, such as names, date of births, occupations, addresses, parent information etc. Somebody needs to witness you sign that document, and, as a marriage celebrant, I can do that. Other options are for your signatures to be witnessed by a JP, solicitor or doctor.
As I need to sight some identity documentation, the meeting is also a great time to accomplish that. To prove your date and place of birth, you can show your celebrant either an original birth certificate or a passport. To prove your identity, you can show your celebrant either a drivers licence or a passport. So you can see that the passport can cover both requirements. Also, if you have been married before, you will need to show either your divorce certificate, annulment certificate, or the death certificate of your previous spouse.
Once we have those legals out of the way, it’s time to talk about your wedding ideas. This is where I listen to your vision for your wedding ceremony. Traditional or modern? Formal or casual? Extravaganza or intimate? Who will be there, who will be in the wedding party, what music you would like, and how you are picturing the day panning out.
Of course, you might be still forming some ideas about your day. And this is where I can give you some inspiration. After almost twenty years in the wedding business, I have loads of ideas and suggestions for you. Legally, there are three sentences which I must say in the ceremony, and there is one sentence that you each must say. The rest is totally up to our own imagination, so there’s plenty of scope to tailor your day.
To take home, I’ll gift you a 30 plus page resources folder, with lots of wedding inspo, including suggestions for songs, readings, including special people, and sample vows. This is yours to keep, highlight, circle, and asterix. Also, I’ll give you some information as required by the Government, incuding a brochure which outlines the obligations and consequences of marriage in Australia, the celebrant Code of Practice, and information about marriage education locally.
This is the only time we need to get together to plan the ceremony, the remainder of our planning can be done by phone or email.
Any questions about the meeting? Send an email and I’ll be happy to answer.