Frequently Asked Questions
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What do you (as our wedding celebrant) actually do?
I assist you in creating the most special, personalised wedding ceremony you want. I write your personalised ceremony, with as much or as little input from you as you like. I edit it a lot … until it’s perfect. I also do all the legal paperwork. And of course, I formally and legally solemnise your marriage.
How far in advance do I need to contact you?
Contact me as soon as possible. Ideally, contact me once you have decided on a date so that I can check if I’m available for the date you want. At the very latest, you need to complete and give to me the NOIM (Notice of Intended Marriage) one day and one month prior to your wedding day.
How long should our ceremony last?
It’s up to you, but generally somewhere between 13 and 25 minutes long, including the bridal procession, the ceremony itself and the signing of certificates at the end. For most wedding ceremonies that’s more than enough time.
Can we write our own vows?
Yes, of course you can, and it’s just lovely if you do. If you need help writing them, just ask. I’m an internationally published writer and I love writing! In addition to your own personally written vows, there are also legal vows which you have to say. I’ll tell you more about those when we meet.
Do we have to memorise our vows?
No. You can, but very few couples do. You can just relax and not worry about getting them right because I’ll be there with you and you can just repeat them after me. (Don’t worry, I’ll say them just loud enough so that only you can hear me)
What will you wear?
I’ll wear something which goes well with your bridal colours and theme and that’s why I’ll find out what colour your wedding theme is.
I can also play dress-up, so if you want me to wear something which fits in with the theme of your wedding just let me know. At a recent wedding I wore a sari because the theme was Bollywood.
Where can we get married?
You have so many choices – the city, in your own home, in public gardens, on the beach or even in a lovely park. You just have to check with the local council regarding fees and availability.
Can you suggest any good places in Sydney?
Where to begin? As a Sydney celebrant I have married couples in so many gorgeous parts of Sydney. There are so many lovely spots to choose from. Please see my ‘Weddings in Sydney‘ page.
What if it rains on our wedding day?
Well yes, that’s definitely something to think about. If you’re having an outdoor wedding you really need an alternative indoor venue in case of bad weather. No one will thank you for having to stand in the pouring rain to listen to vows which they may not be able to hear. However, if you’re desperate to get married in nature and have a small group of guests you can always hire umbrellas for the ceremony and then have your reception indoors.
What if it’s really hot on our wedding day?
Hire umbrellas or choose a shady spot. Hot sunny days are great, but not if they’re so hot you and your guests are suffering. Also, for really hot days it’s a great idea to have water available for your guests. They’ll thank you for it.
We want to have a ceremony to celebrate our relationship, but we don’t want to get legally married. Can we do that?
Yes! You can have what’s called a Commitment Ceremony instead.
If my partner cannot speak or understand english, what should we do?
You need to tell me when you book me in. You will need an interpreter to translate from English to the mother tongue of your partner and in reverse. Your interpreter will need to sign two Statutory declarations – one before the wedding to say that they’re able to translate as required and one to say they’ve completed the duty. Your interpreter may also need to explain the Declarations which the non-English speaker needs to sign before the wedding can take place.
Can we change our wedding date after booking?
Yes, but speak to me about my availability first. If I’m available on that day then I’ll happily move your date without any charge. However, if I’m not available you won’t get a refund of your deposit. Depending on how far in advance the change is made and how much work I’ve done for you by then, there may be an additional charge for the time I’ve spent on helping you prepare for your ceremony.
Can we have a surprise wedding?
You can surprise your guests, but you cannot surprise your intended spouse. Both of you have to agree to marry before the wedding and sign the relevant documentation.
We really want you go be our celebrant, but we’re on a really, really tight budget. What can we do?
Talk to me. Tell me what you can afford. At the very least I’ll consider it.
Will you send us a reminder when our payment is due?
Yes, I will send you an email reminder the week your fee is due. I will follow this up by text or phone if it’s late.
Will I receive a receipt?
If you want a receipt, please ask for one.
Can I pay in cash?
Yes, you are welcome to pay your deposit to me in cash if you bring it along to our first meeting. Otherwise, you can make an online bank transfer for the deposit as well as for the remaining fee. I don’t yet have the facilities to receive payment by credit card.
Do we have to have a wedding rehearsal?
No, but if you feel that you want one and that it will make you more at ease and confident then we can. However, if it’s not possible or if you don’t have time, you don’t have to have one.
When should we have our rehearsal?
It’s up to you. Ideally, sometime during the week of your wedding, so that everything’s fresh in your mind. If you want a wedding rehearsal it’s a good idea for us to schedule it in well in advance so I can make sure I’m available. I can do any time during the day, up until 8pm, preferably on weekends or Fridays.
Who needs to come to our wedding rehearsal?
The most important people are you, your partner and me. Ideally, also invite the person who’s going to be pressing play on the ipod. If they can’t be there, ask them to arrive 20 minutes before your wedding ceremony so that I can show them what to do. Your bridal party is welcome to attend the wedding rehearsal, but it’s not essential. Get them to come along if you want them to practice walking down the aisle at a certain speed or practice this with them at home.
What should we bring to the wedding rehearsal?
Bring yourself and your partner, your music on an ipod and the person who’s going to press play.
Also, if I haven’t yet seen your original documents then bring them along too. I can’t legally marry you unless I’ve seen your original divorce papers, birth certificates and/ valid foreign passports, etc.
Can we use your PA system for our ceremony music and at our rehearsal?
Yes, of course you can. You just need to choose someone to stand by and press play and stop. Ideally they should be at your rehearsal (if you have one). If they can’t be at your rehearsal, or if you don’t have a rehearsal, I can show them how to use my system 20 minutes before we’re due to start your ceremony.
How do you play our ceremony music through your PA system?
Through an ipod. I have the lead. All you have to do is bring your music along on an ipod and I’ll connect it to my PA system.
Does your PA system require a power outlet?
No. My PA is battery operated. I charge it the night before your wedding ceremony and it lasts for 8 hours.
Does your PA have a wireless microphone?
Yes. It has a hand held, wireless microphone, which can be used by anyone who needs to speak during your ceremony.
How many songs do we need for the wedding ceremony?
It’s up to you. You may want one to walk down the aisle to, and then a song or two for the signing of the certificates near the end, and one for if you’d like to walk back down the aisle again at the end or just hang out with your friends and family to a great, uplifting celebratory song.
Do you do more than one wedding in a day?
Yes … and not just weddings. I may have a funeral or a baby naming ceremony before or after your wedding ceremony.
What should we do once our wedding is over?
After your ceremony I apply on your behalf for your formal wedding certificate from Births, Deaths and Marriages so that you can sit back and relax (or go on honeymoon) without having to worry about boring paperwork. I don’t charge anything extra for this service. It’s my gift to you – my way of saying thank you for choosing me to be your wedding celebrant.
I will email you to let you know that I’ve completed your application and I’ll ask you to write a review for me on my Sydney Celebrant Services Facebook page. With your consent I may Facebook a few pictures of your wedding ceremony and write a few lines about it. If you like what I’ve posted, click ‘like’ and ‘share’ it so that all your friends and family can have a see it too!