When you decide to have a wedding ceremony with a celebrant, enquire among your friends and acquaintances. Find someone who can recommend a celebrant who does the task well or search the internet for your local Authorised Civil Marriage Celebrant and make sure you are comfortable with that person.
The following is my aid to help you prepare a personalised ceremony:
Contact your celebrant to discuss the type of ceremony you want and their availability for the time and place you wish. All being well, you meet each other at a mutually convenient time, usually at the celebrant's home or office.
Make sure you have your documents in order. All marriages are required to show proof of birth (e.g. extracts of birth certificates or passports). Where there has been a previous marriage, you must generally provide evidence of how it ended, usually a Decree in the case of a divorce, or a Death Certificate if a previous partner has died. These documents must be sighted by your celebrant when completing the legal documentation at least 31 days before the Ceremony.
Other details to think about prior to the first meeting include:
It is at this first meeting where you will discuss the order of proceedings (the ceremony), any special inclusions, special wording and thank yous' you wish to add.
This is where you can really get to know your celebrant and vice versa.
At this time you will also get to chat about the journey of how you came to be together and now sitting here ready to officialise your future together. So that if you want, it can be included in the ceremony as well.
This first meeting as you will have noticed above, will probably be around 30 mins to an 1 hour in length. As mentioned this is where you will go through the legal documentation and begin to prepare for everything to be submitted. Starting off by completing the Notice of Intent to Marry (NOIM), which must be submitted no latter than 31 days prior to the Ceremony.
After discussing all the details regarding your special day and now knowing each other at a much greater depth, you can decide if you would like to place a deposit and lock in your special date and time.
After this meeting you will make contact at various times to ensure that the ceremony is to your liking. The celebrant and the wedding party should then meet again at the rehearsal, preferably at the place of the marriage, so that the celebrant can have a look around to make sure all the required equipment can be setup and accessed easily. If this isn't available another suitable venue will suit, but a quick discussion on the actual wedding venue will be required.
On the day, and at the place and time arranged, all parties, including the guests, meet and your individualised marriage ceremony takes place.
The Path towards your Perfect Wedding Day.
Your Wedding Ceremony
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A few extra Tips to Personalise Your Day, Below....
A successful wedding means attention to a great number of details. The basic principle is that the ceremony must be heard, in fact, this is a requirement by law, hence the supplied PA system. One of the best arrangements for most marriages is a circle or semi-circle of the bridal party and guests, with the Bride and Groom facing each other, which means that they have their backs to NO-ONE!
Help Your Celebrant Do Their Best Work
At the First Interview if you have all your documents prepared in advance, you can spend the time with the celebrant discussing the details that concern you, and getting to know your celebrant as a person. It is at this stage that a deposit will need to be paid and is a good time for the legal documentation to be prepared.
The Ceremony Itself
Marriages take place in all sorts of places -
No matter where a marriage ceremony takes place, people take the ceremony very seriously. The celebrant or master-of-ceremonies should ask people to put down their drinks and turn off their mobile phones before the ceremony starts. This will ensure there are no embarrassing interruptions, and everyones eyes and ears will be on the two of you.
The celebrant should take up a suitable position to address the guests and the couple. Giving attention to the assembled company in the introductory remarks, creates interest and involvement. Usually, if there is a person giving away or presenting the bride, I like to place that person between the bride and groom. This seems to me, to preserve the symbolism of the bride being part of her family until the vows that constitute the marriage are completed. Once the question is asked, that person joins the other guests. If both parents of the bride and groom, give their son and daughter away, then I recommend placing them at the edges of the bridal party. Photographs are what capture the days memories and almost as important as the day itself for most people. I like to work in with the photographers, to make sure they have the best chance of capturing the right shots. When considering and suggesting a place for the bridal party to stand on the day, make sure you consider the background carefully.
Finally, but most importantly...
TO THE BRIDE & GROOM
When you take your vows, it is a special moment between you and your partner. In a sense, it is a moment when you should forget everyone else, including the celebrant. When repeating your vows you should look at your partner and savour the moment.
Sometimes people miss one of the best moments of their lives when, through shyness or embarrassment, they do not make the moment of the vows their own.