Most people don’t know exactly what civil marriage celebrants do
“Civil marriage celebrants have overseen the majority of marriages since 1999 and the proportion of marriage ceremonies overseen by a civil celebrant increased again to 74.1 per cent of all marriages in 2014.” (Most recent statistics from the Australian Bureau of Statistics).
A civil marriage ceremony is far more than exchanging vows and rings and being declared husband and wife. There are some words that must be used to fulfil legal requirements but it is the extras that a dedicated marriage celebrant will help you with that will make your ceremony uniquely yours.
As well as working with couples to help them create their perfect ceremony, an Australian marriage celebrant must accept a Notice of Intended Marriage from them at least one calendar month before the date of the wedding, sight their original birth certificates or passports and, if either has been married before, divorce or death certificates of a previous spouse.
Every couple that comes to meet me is given a comprehensive information kit to keep. If you decide you want me to marry you I then get to know something about you and your relationship so I can start work on your ceremony.
Depending on which of my packages you choose I consult with you on the content, then offer you an onsite rehearsal, officiate at the marriage, register your marriage online when I get home and send all relevant paperwork to the Registry of Births Death & Marriage (BDM) so that you can apply for your official marriage certificate. Although you are given a presentation certificate to take with you after the ceremony, if the bride wants to change her name the certificate from BDM is the only document that is accepted by the Passports Office, the Roads and Traffic authority in your State, and at banks, etc.
Sometimes people genuinely think that a celebrant just turns up for 30 minutes on their wedding day, whereas the truth is that most of us will spend anything from six to 30 hours on every ceremony that we help to create. Of course couples need to be able to factor everything into the total they’re prepared to spend on their wedding, however I find it surprising that quite a few people don’t realise that an experienced civil marriage celebrant will spend as many hours as it takes to present them with the ceremony of their dreams. It’s important to realise that your wedding is a wonderful party, but without a celebrant there is no marriage.
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