Frequently Asked Questions
1How do I choose the right celebrant?
Choosing the right celebrant is very much a personal choice. You will want a celebrant who will “click” with you and your partner, one is genuinely interested in you both as a couple. Look for someone who makes you feel at ease and who has the qualities that attract you in friendship. Price is not the answer here – a face to face meeting will give you a good idea of the personality of the celebrant and their knowledge, confidence and professionalism.
2How much notice do I need to give the celebrant?
The Marriage Act requires no less than one calendar month for couples to complete and lodge the Notice of Intended Marriage (NIM). Celebrants usually lodge this at the time of booking and ask for a non-refundable deposit to cover this. It is advisable to book the celebrant once you have decided on your date to ensure you get the celebrant of your choice.
3What happens if we need to postpone our wedding?
The Notice of Intended Marriage (NIM) is valid for 18 months. Most celebrants will be able to reschedule the wedding depending on their availability.
4Who can I have as witnesses?
You can have anyone over 18 years of age as your witnesses. Two people are required and they can be friends or family (or complete strangers!). They do not need to be Australian citizens. Usually they are the members of the bridal party, family members or guests attending the wedding. The celebrant cannot be one of the witnesses, however they witness the signing of all documentation.
5What name does the bride sign on the day of the Wedding?
The bride should sign her maiden name on all documentation.
6What name should the bride us when booking travel/ honeymoon reservations?
Her maiden name as this is her legal name until after the wedding day, once the marriage has been registered with Births Deaths and Marriages.
7Do I have to change my name?
You are not legally required to change your surname once you are married. If you wish to take your spouse’s surname, you must obtain a certificate of marriage issued by your state or territory of Births, Deaths and Marriages. This is usually sufficient evidence to change personal details for your Driver’s Licence into your married surname. It is also needed for passport applications, opening joint bank accounts, and for other government agencies.
8Do we need to have a poem or reading at the ceremony?
It is totally optional to have a poem or reading, however it adds another dimension to the ceremony ensuring it is personalised and unique to you and your partner. The celebrant should be able to provide you with a range of poems and readings. It could also be a verse that a family member has written specially for you.
9How many poems/readings do I need to choose?
Usually 1-2 is appropriate and ensures the ceremony is not too long. They can be recited at the beginning, during or the end of the ceremony – there is no rule as to where they are introduced.
10Do I need to have music at the ceremony?
No, it is not compulsory to have music at the ceremony. You may prefer the sounds of nature – the waves at a beach or the birds singing in a park. But music can “set the scene” - providing ambience whilst the guests arrive, grandeur for the bride’s entrance, and celebration for the closing. Generally you need 3 songs for the ceremony and half a dozen for background music before and after the ceremony.
11How long will the ceremony take?
A short ceremony or elopement would be 10-15mins. Traditional ceremonies depending on how many readings/poems are included, generally take 20-25mins. This can be longer if symbolic rituals are included.
12Do I have to be given away?
This is a personal preference and is not a requirement.
13Who usually gives the bride away?
This is personal decision – it can be anyone you choose – a parent, family member, children, or a close friend.
14Can the bride and groom arrive together?
Absolutely – it is totally up to you. You could even have the groom arrive and then the bride. Anything goes.
15Is it fashionable for the bride to be late?
This is tradition which may have been OK years ago but now with outdoor weddings it can be very uncomfortable for guests who are sitting/standing in the sun getting hot, tired and thirsty. The celebrant and other wedding suppliers such as caterers, photographers and musicians all are running to a schedule. If the celebrant has a wedding booked after yours, they may have to cut short your ceremony if you are late. A general rule is the bride should be no more than 10mins late, if at all.
16What would happen if the celebrant took sick on the day of the wedding?
Most celebrants have a network of celebrants to call on to perform your ceremony in the case of an emergency.
17What questions should I ask a celebrant before choosing?
Your special day begins with the ceremony – so it’s important to have a celebrant who is going to deliver