FAQ
Why engage a Celebrant   When do i choose   Music   How do I choose   Function of a Celebrant   Payment       Rehearsal   Children at Wedding   Flowers   Laws about Marriage

Why would I engage a Celebrant for events other than weddings?
To add structure to your event and hold it together with an opening and a closing
To formalize the occasion
To move it at an appropriate pace
To pave the way for food, laughter & song
To set the tone from which the future will flow
To give thanks for what has been and hope for what will be
To facilitate the communication of meaning & intention
To assist with designing the type of ceremony intended
To advise with readings, poems, music choice & other resources
To demonstrate the respect required for persons being celebrated
To listen to values
To edify
To remind people to stop and smell the roses and that their grass is just as green as everyone else's
To provide opportunity to do something special for someone you love
To help you move on and start again
To stimulate & facilitate the hidden energies of support
To make memory with ritual
To give a gift   

What sort of music will I need for my wedding ceremony?
You will need to choose a piece of music to walk down the aisle . This could be a song with or without words that means something to you and your partner you could engage a professional musician who will be able to adapt your choice of song to fit into the time it takes for you to walk down the aisle, or use songs chosen from your favorite CD collection. 
You will require a song to be played while you sign the register. Again,  the person organizing the music can extend or shorten the song if necessary to synchronize with the signing, and fit in with the celebrant's arrangements. The third piece of music will be as you exit. This too ought to be chosen from a favorite selection and perhaps be a bit brighter than the entry music. You may know someone who can take responsibility for the music. If you decide to use CD's then make sure that the songs chosen are in the correct order to be played at the appropriate time.  It may be a good idea to copy each song onto a separate CD and test the quality before the actual wedding day.    

What does the Wedding Celebrant do?
You cannot have a legal wedding without an authorized celebrant, They are familiar with the law and all the legal documentation. Knowing the Marriage Act they will be able to guide you through legal relationship issues that impact on your ability to enter a marriage contract. In addition to this the celebrant can (and usually does) write your ceremony after consultation with you, gives you ideas, makes adjustments, plans thoroughly, arranges a rehearsal, performs the ceremony, takes responsibility for the marriage certificates, communicates with the Dept of Births, Deaths & Marriages and generally makes sure the ceremony runs smoothly and to your expectation. Celebrants are obliged to do ongoing professional development each year and the Attorney General's Department  is extremely concerned that all Celebrants give their clients the quality of service that is expected and there is a particular process for complaint  should this be necessary       ^

What would I expect to pay for a Celebrant?    
Celebrants charge what they believe their service is worth, there is no set fee. For weddings you could expect to pay in the vicinity or $400 - $1000. Other ceremonies are less, maybe $200 - $400. The quote does not relate to quality so you would be advised to  meet your Celebrant before committing yourself because your choice will be based on how you relate rather than what you pay. It is worth mentioning that the wedding is all about what the couple are saying to one another on their wedding day, that is, the ceremony. Given that this is the most important part of the day the cost of the Celebrant usually does not compare to the cost of the food, flowers, musicians, dresses, car hire, etc.

When should I choose my Celebrant?    
Once you have decided on a date and a venue you should find a Celebrant. You will need to know if the one you would like is free to do the wedding that day and there are documents to be completed. The Celebrant will ask for a non refundable deposit to secure the day for you.

How do I choose a Celebrant?
Look for the sort of person who has the qualities that attract you in friendship because this is probably the Celebrant who will give you the ceremony that will leave you with happy memories. The price will not answer this question for you.

My Celebrant said I should go to a counselor, is this right?
No, not really. It is a requirement that every Celebrant encourages couples who want to get married to attend a Pre Marriage Preparation programme. Obviously this is different from counseling´, and what a great thing it is. Let's face it, when one is deeply in love, you don't always see the things that could niggle later. We, as Celebrants, along with the Attorney General, really want our couples to live happily ever after, and we all know this is not the case given the high rate of divorce in our country. It is a very helpful thing to do, to have pre marriage preparation and there are several organizations the Celebrant can, and should,  tell you about.     

Is a Wedding Rehearsal necessary?
It is in your interest to have a rehearsal. Not only is it an opportunity to iron out any queries, it is often an opportunity for the wedding party to relax together in fun before the big event. It need not necessarily be at the venue. From the Celebrant's point of view it is a good time to complete another document that will need to be signed before the wedding  and also to receive full payment rather than on the wedding day when there are other things on our minds.    

I would like to have children at my wedding. What do you think?  ^
Many couples agonize over the question of whether to invite children to their wedding. Regardless of whether you want to invite your younger guests or feel obligated to do so, it is important to remember that even the most cheerful and well behaved child can become bored and disruptive. Take a child out of his or her normal surroundings put them into a special and uncomfortable clothes break their routine, land them in an adult setting - and it won't be long before they are tired and bored. How can you keep kids entertained and having fun, enabling parents to enjoy themselves?
At The Reception
they will not be interested in adult's etiquette, conversation and behaviour - well not for long anyway. Consider having the staff serve the children their meals first, even while the adults are standing enjoying entrees and drinks. Children are not very patient when they are hungry and tired. Break the boredom for children by creating specially designed spaces for them.

Eating

  • Depending on their ages, consider seating the children together and serving lots of child-friendly and nutritious food. See if your venue can cater for more than the usual chicken nuggets and fries. Make sure you know if any children have diet intolerances such as nuts and wheat products. Consider asking a few teenagers at your wedding to supervise these tables.
  • Children from the age of four will love a waiter greeting them, putting a napkin in place and even explaining the menu.
  • If seating children together is not an option, place a special wedding guest bag at their place to keep them entertained until the meals are complete.

Entertainment

  • Set up a large table for the children filled with inexpensive toys and activities. Make sure the table is not near the exit doors. Cover the table with white craft paper and add a centerpiece of a basket with items such as:
  • crayons
  • non-permanent markers
  • paper
  • glitter glue sticks

Get your best man or a guest to collect artwork as it is completed and write each child's name on their work of art. In years to come you will love to show your artwork to the artist. 

Professional Assistance

  • If you are concerned about asking guests to look after younger children for an hour or so, you can hire a professional babysitter or mobile creche service. Look at their experience, insurance and references, as well as their qualifications. With any childcare, professional or voluntary, it is important to check how many children each adult is able to legally look after at one time.

Caring for the Babies and Toddlers

  • Arrange for a mums and bubs room for guests with young children where they can feed, change nappies and settle babies away from other guests. Ensure there is ample and comfortable seating and facilities. If you can get hold of a few portacots, guests who are parents of young children will never forget your thoughtfulness. ^

Why is there such a fuss about wedding flowers?
Since the beginning of time flowers have been used to represent emotions and merits. Early roman brides carried bunches of herbs under their veils symbolising fertility and fidelity as well as to ward off evil spirits. Ivy was used in ancient Greece as a sign of everlasting and unbreakable love. The ancient Saracens chose orange blossoms to represent happiness and fulfillment because the orange tree blooms and bears fruit simultaneously.Bridesmaid's bouquets were originally made up of strong smelling herbs such as rosemary and garlic instead of flowers. This was to ward off evil spirits that may have been eyeing off the bridal party. The following are some examples of how flowers have been used in different customs in the past;

America- In Louisiana, jazz musicians lead a procession to the reception venue from the church, followed by bridesmaids twirling umbrellas decorated in flowers.

Austria - Brides crowned their veils with Myrtle, which is the flower of life.
England - The wedding party and the village bride always walked to the church together. A small girl would lead the procession scattering blossoms along the road so the bride's path through life would always be happy and filled with flowers.

Germany - The bride and groom held candles decorated with flowers & ribbon.

India - The groom's brother sprinkles flower petals on the bride and groom at the end of the ceremony to ward off evil spirits.

Samoa - The bride wears a fresh flower leis and a mother-of-pearl crown.

Sweden - Bridesmaids carried bouquets of pungent herbs to frighten away trolls and the groom stitched thyme into his clothes.

Switzerland - After the vows have been takes, the bride's floral wreath, which symbolises her maidenhood, is removed and set on fire by the mistress of ceremonies. If it burns quickly it is considered to be lucky.

You may have a tradition that has been used in your family that you would like to incorporate into your wedding ceremony and celebrations. Some modern floral traditions include; The bride presents a single flower from her bouquet to her mother on her way down the aisle, and one to her new mother in law on her way back up the aisle after she has been married. Do you have a well-behaved pet pooch? Some couples are now decorating their pet dogs in flowers and placing a small ring pillow around their neck. They take the place of a ring bearer or pageboy.
Have your bridal bouquet preserved and framed so you will have it always as a memento from your special day.
     ^

Do you need to be an Australian Citizen to marry in Australia?
No. Anyone may marry in Australia providing you are both over the age of 18 and not legally married. If one or both of you is between 16 and 18,you are required to obtain parents consent on the required form and a court order under Section 12 of the Marriage Act.

How much 'Notice' must be given to be married in Australia?
At least 1 month and 1 day. (In exceptional circumstances the Registrar may approve a shortening of time for the 'Notice')

Do we need to be in Australia a certain time before we can marry?
No. You can marry the day that you arrive from overseas if you wish. However, by law Celebrants must receive the Notice of Intended Marriage form from you at least 1 month and 1 day before the wedding. To be on the safe side, send it early.

Will the marriage be recognised in my own country?
Yes. You should confirm this with your own government agency which records marriages in your country.

Can I marry anywhere in Australia?   ^
Yes. An Authorised Civil Marriage Celebrant is permitted to perform a wedding ceremony anywhere in Australia that includes some of our beautiful remote islands, rainforests, aeroplanes, boats, hot air balloons etc. Please be aware that if the Celebrant has to travel interstate etc., the intended bride and groom must pay for the travel costs and in some instances the accommodation.

Where is an Australian Embassy?
For Australian Embassies, Consulates and Missions around the world click here

Can we re-marry in Australia after being married in another country?
No. The only type of ceremony you would be able to have would be either a Renewal Ceremony or a Commitment Ceremony

Can two people of the same sex marry?
No. Same sex marriages are not performed in Australia. However, you can have a Commitment Ceremony to express your feelings for one another.

How many witnesses do we need and can they be related to us?
You need two witnesses present at your Marriage Ceremony who are over the age of 18. Any person can act as a witness, even your parents. The Celebrant, however, cannot act as a witness.

Can I use photo copies and certified copies of my legal documents?
No. All documents must be originals

Can we use legal paperwork that is in another language?
No. Before you can submit it, your paperwork will need to be translated into the English language by a recognised/registered translator.

How do I find a translator in Australia?
If you require a translator or interpreter within Australia, please visit NAATI website

Are Overseas Marriages recognized in Australia?  ^
The Attorney-General's Department has responsibility for developing policy about issues relating to family law and marriage, including who can get married, who can perform marriage ceremonies and the validity of overseas marriages. The rules governing whether or not a marriage is valid under Australian law are to be found in the Commonwealth Marriage Act 1961.

There are currently no Australian diplomatic or consular officers appointed to solemnise marriages overseas under Australian law.

Marriages entered into overseas are generally recognised as valid in Australia

  • if the marriage was recognised as valid under the law of the country in which it was entered into, at the time when it was entered into, and
  • providing the marriage would have been recognised as being legal under Australian law if the marriage had taken place in Australia.

There is no requirement to register a marriage in Australia which takes place overseas.  The foreign marriage certificate is prima facie evidence in Australia of the occurrence and validity of the marriage.

Marriage to an Australian citizen does not automatically guarantee entry of a citizen of another country to Australia.  The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) can advise on immigration to Australia.

You should consult a legal practitioner if you need advice on whether a marriage which has taken place overseas is recognised as being legal in Australia.   ^

The basic rule of recognising foreign marriages is subject to a number of exceptions including:

  • where one of the parties was already married to someone else;
  • where one of the parties was under marriageable age (i.e. under 18 years of age) and either of the parties was domiciled in Australia at the time of the wedding  under Australian law, exceptions to the requirement that both parties be 18 or older can only be authorised by a judge of magistrate, and then only in respect of a marriage between a person aged 16 or 17 and a particular person aged 18 or over.  An Australian court order only has effect in Australia for the purposes of the recognition of the marriage in Australia;
  • where the parties are too closely related under Australian law (including relationships traced through adoption) i.e. either as ancestor and descendant, or as brother and sister (including half-brother and half-sister);
  • where parties to the marriage are both of the same sex;
  • where the consent of one of the parties was not a real consent due to duress or fraud, mistake, or mental incapacity;
  • where a persons overseas divorce is not recognised in Australia.
    (Parties should consult a solicitor if unsure as to whether their marriage will be recognised in Australia, including if there is doubt about an overseas divorce being recognised by Australian authorities.)

What are the General Requirements for Overseas Marriages?
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade cannot advise on the specific requirements which may need to be met in order for a marriage to be legal in a particular country.  However, as a general guide only, the following information may be of assistance. 

We are getting married overseas, can you help?
An Australian celebrant cannot marry you in an overseas country. We recommend that, before you leave, you have your legal wedding in Australia, conducted by one of our authorised celebrants. Then you are free to enjoy your destination wedding celebration without the complications of organising a legal wedding in a foreign jurisdiction.

Your Australian celebrant can also help you with your destination wedding celebration. He or she will help you create a high quality and memorable commitment ceremony for you to use overseas.

If you are sure you want a legal wedding overseas, you will need to contact the embassy, consulate or local representative of the country where you plan to marry, for information about that country’s legal requirements for marriage. 

In some countries, you can book the entire wedding package through a tourist resort, but the ceremony itself is likely to be “off the shelf” and not designed around your individual needs. 

Certificates of an Impediment to Marriage   ^
Certificates of No Impediment to Marriage are issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade through overseas missions and state and territory offices to Australian citizens seeking to marry overseas.  Certificates of No Impediment to Marriage are not a requirement of Australian law.  They are issued purely at the request of overseas countries seeking to ensure that a marriage involving one or two Australian citizens, celebrated in that overseas country, will also be recognised as a valid marriage by Australian authorities.  

The forms are also available from any state or territory office of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Some countries will only accept Certificates of No Impediment issued by the local Australian Embassy or Consulate in the country in which the marriage is to take place.  However, if authorities of the country in which the marriage is to take place have advised that they will accept a Certificate of No Impediment issued in Australia, you should complete the applicable application form for a Certificate of No Impediment to Marriage and return it to your state or territory office of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.   The Consular Fee for a Certificate of No Impediment to Marriage is $90.

In addition to the Certificate of No Impediment to Marriage, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade can provide general advice on the requirements which may need to be met in order for a marriage to be legal in a particular country.  For exact details of what requirements will need to be met, persons wishing to marry overseas should contact the embassy or consulate of the country in which they would like to marry.  The following general information may be of assistance.

Overseas marriage authorities often require evidence that the party is free to marry.  Such evidence may be a statement from the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages that there is no record of the person having been previously married.  Authorities may also require divorce papers/death certificate of a former spouse in the case of being divorced or widowed.  Overseas marriage authorities generally will also want to sight an original birth certificate and the person's passport.  Foreign marriage authorities may have further additional requirements e.g. a requirement to reside for a length of time in a country prior to a marriage taking place in that country.  ^