Congratulations! You have found each other and are ready to make the commitment of a lifetime, to declare your love before family and friends. Your wedding marks the beginning of a whole new phase of your relationship. It’s your day, your ceremony, and can be designed to reflect who you are and what you believe and all that you hope for your future together. Happily, this is now available for same-sex couples.
There are many different options for having a personalised wedding. It can be conducted anywhere in Australia providing there is space for the two people getting married, the celebrant, and two adult witnesses. You can include whatever poetry, readings, prayers, music and symbols you like. The most important part of the ceremony is the exchange of vows, where you tell each other how you feel and make your promises. The vows must fulfil the requirements of Australian law, and your celebrant will explain this further, but within those guidelines you can incorporate whatever words best express what you want to say.
Some people prefer a ceremony that is very simple while others like to include many layers of symbolism. It’s a very personal choice. Whatever is right for you. Consider:
Where would you like the wedding to be held?
Options include a private home, the backyard, public parks and gardens, national parks and wildlife reserves, churches and private chapels, wineries, in hot air balloons or on a boat out to sea. Your wedding can be held anywhere in Australia providing it has the space for the two people getting married, the celebrant, and two adult witnesses.
What readings would you like?
Poetry can say things that we find hard to express.
- Do you have any favorite poems or readings that speak to you, or which you have heard and liked?
- Could someone write a poem for you? Any prayers you would like included?
- Or the celebrant can help you choose from her own collection of readings.
Are there symbolic ceremonies you would like included?
These are likely to include the exchange of rings but might also include smudging, candle lighting, flower petals, wishing stones, tree planting, handfasting, giving of gifts, breaking of the glass, or any of a range of cultural customs. Or you might like a theme wedding.
What music would you like to be played?
Music is usually played as people gather at the start, as the bride walks up the aisle, during the signing of certificates, and at the end. But it can be played at any time you choose.
- Do you have favorite music?
- Are there songs with special meaning for you?
- Would you like somebody singing rather than recorded music?
- Is there somebody in your family or among your friends who can contribute their own music?
Who would you like to be involved?
There are many different roles people can take in a wedding. These include, of course, bridesmaids and groomsmen, or bridesmen and groomswomen, flowergirls and page-boys, and there are special roles for the parents of the couple, and for any children, but there is also room for others to decorate the venue, drive cars, welcome guests, act as ushers, hand out booklets, read poems, write poems, manage the music, bring gifts, bring forward symbols, collect items, light candles, or keep a track of the rings as they are passed around for blessing. A hundred jobs for a hundred guests!
The Exchange of Vows
This is the most important part of the ceremony, where you tell each other how you feel and make your promises.
- The vows must fulfil the requirements of Australian law, and your celebrant will explain this further, but within those guidelines you can incorporate whatever words best express what you want to say.
- You can write the vows yourselves, use other words for inspiration, or draw from the celebrant’s resource file.
- You might like to use the same words as each other, or different ones. You might choose a poem and take the verses in turn.
- You can read the vows from cards that you hold, or memorise them (and provide the celebrant with a copy so she can prompt you when needed), or follow the celebrant’s lead.
It’s entirely up to you!
Roxanne has a background in nursing, welfare work and professional writing, as well as a life-long interest in different cultures and religions. She has completed formal studies in all of the above and has gained a post-grad Certificate of Civil Ceremonies through Monash University. She was appointed as a registered marriage celebrant in September 2008. All of this has equipped her with the skills, knowledge and experience to help you develop a wedding ceremony that is everything you want it to be for your special day.
Schedule of Fees
The basic fee of $650 includes:
- Signing of all required documents and certificates, and lodging of relevant documents with registry office
- Four meetings
- Explanation of legalities
- Provision of up-to-date relationship support information
- Resources for readings and music
- Cumulative travel to 300km
- Design of a personalised ceremony in ongoing consultation with the couple
- Delivery of personalised ceremony
- Use of PA equipment
- Presentation Certificate of Marriage
There are additional costs for travel over 300km and travel expenses such as air fares, accommodation, meals and taxi fares. Also for costume hire, additional ceremonies such as a name-giving, and unusual activities such as rock climbing or ballooning.