My Time…. Your Wedding

How I spend my time for your marriage ceremony… step by step.

There are a lot of processes involved in providing a LEGAL marriage ceremony.  My Celebrant work starts before meeting the couple and progresses through these processes to after the marriage ceremony and concludes with submitting their marriage papers.

Preparation of materials, forms and information in anticipation of meeting with new couples.

I receive an enquiry

I respond to that enquiry – answering questions, providing information. (20 – 30 mins)

We set a time to meet.

I prepare for that meeting by gathering my information to present to the couple.

We meet – in my home office or I drive to their chosen meeting destination (30 – 60 mins),

At our meet & greet – I provide my information and listen to the couple’s wedding plans.

The couple go away to make their decision.

When they have invited me to be their Celebrant we arrange our next meeting.

We meet to (60+ mins);

begin filling in legal forms,

I check ID’s and other personal information,

I have other legal information I am required to provide to every couple,

We begin discussing ceremony ideas and plans.

I add all details of my new clients to my Wedding Ceremony database, including generating and sending a receipt for their booking payment.  (60+ mins)

Some couples like to meet several more times, to discuss their Order of Ceremony and other ideas. It’s up to each couple to determine how much time they wish to spend working their ceremony with me.

I craft the first draft of their ceremony. Time taken depends on how much each couple want in their ceremony – some want minimal and others have a lot they want included.

Communications back and forth between us, to edit and refine their ceremony.

Writing may include preparation of a wedding ritual, if requested by the couple (e.g gift giving etc).

There is final agreement when we are all satisfied with the completed ceremony (av. several wks).

The weeks before the wedding date, I follow up several times to check final arrangements and final fee payment.

I prepare the final 4 legal documents ready for signing (40 mins) – print their presentation certificate

Rehearsal day; (30 – 60+ mins)

I drive to the wedding venue.

Rehearsal may include walking in practice with the chosen music.

They check the legal documents for correct spelling/information

The couple sign one final legal document, before their wedding ceremony.

Finalising the ceremony; (60+ mins)

  • I print my copy of their ceremony – for my use during the ceremony
  • generate and print the couple’s decorative presentation copy of their ceremony
  • recheck all the documentation
  • prepare the PA system – recharging, sound check and packing.
  • pack the signing table and accessories
  • pack my car with the wedding items.


  • Personal preparation,
  • Drive to the venue, arriving at least 20mins before start time,
  • Set up PA and signing table,
  • Check who has the wedding rings,
  • Chat with Groom, groomsmen and guests
  • Present the WEDDING CEREMONY (30- 60 mins),
  • Check all signings on the wedding documentation,
  • Pack down all my equipment
  • Say good bye to my couple – with perhaps a photo together.
  • Leave the venue, drive home.

Finalising post-wedding;

Record all final details on my Wedding Ceremony database (30 mins),

Scan and email the couple’s legal documents to ACT Births Deaths & Marriages office (for NSW marriages, register mail all copied documents to Sydney BDM and a trip to the post office) (40+ mins)

Electronic file all documents, holding onto hard copies until confirmation of receipt of documents and/or of registration of the marriage has been received.

Contact the couple when I receive official confirmation of registration of their marriage.

Many hours and days are involved in my preparation, presentation and finalisation of every wedding ceremony I conduct. The only differences in time spent will only be with those couples who choose one of my quick and quiet, Legals-Only or Intimate style wedding ceremonies.

Legal Requirements for Marrying – simplified

***First, you will need to book your Marriage Celebrant

Sign a Notification of Intention to Marry (NOIM) form with you Marriage Celebrant at least one month before your wedding date.

Provide the required ID documents to your Celebrant, to be recorded on the NOIM. Your Celebrant is also required to provide you with other specific information relating to marriage.

A short time before your marriage ceremony sign another form – Declaration of No Legal Impediment – declaring that you can legally marry each other.

Have two adults present at your ceremony to act as your witnesses to the marriage and to the signing of the legal documents.

Your Celebrant recites a declaration statement to all present at the ceremony and then you each recite a personal declaration to all present (known as the Monitum).

At the end of your ceremony you sign all three legal papers;

a. Two copies of the marriage certificate, and

b. The presentation, decorative marriage certificate,

witnessed by your Celebrant and your two witnesses.

Your Celebrant is then responsible for submitting your three marriage papers within 14 days of your marriage ceremony.

Legal wording required in ALL marriage ceremonies within Australia

If you have attended wedding ceremonies in Australia in recent years you will no doubt have heard the same couple of paragraphs recited by the Celebrant at all of those ceremonies. No, it’s not the Celebrant “copying” someone else’s ceremony or simply writing the same words for all of their couple’s ceremonies! It’s actually the wording required in the Marriage Act 1961 that stamps the marriage as being valid and legal. A ceremony without this exact wording will not be a legally valid marriage!

What is that exact wording from the Marriage Act 1961?

The Celebrant recites;

“I am duly authorised by law to solemnise marriages according to law.

Before you are joined in marriage in my presence and in the presence of these witnesses, I am to remind you of the solemn and binding nature of the relationship into which you are now about to enter.

Marriage, according to law in Australia, is the union of two people to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.”

These paragraphs are followed by the bride and groom each reciting aloud their own personal declaration or vow to all of those witnessing their marriage ceremony;

“I call upon the persons present here to witness that I [groom’s full name] take you, [bride’s full name} to be my lawful, wedded wife”, (repeated by the other partner).

These words are intended to reflect that the marrying couple fully understand the nature of the ceremony and that they are marrying each other.

The couple’s individual declarations/vows can be added to personal vows that the couple may have chosen themselves, for example;

I call upon the persons present here to witness that I Groovy Groom take you, Beautiful Bride to be my lawful, wedded wife. Beautiful, I promise to love, honour and cherish you for the rest of our lives.”

Changes to the Marriage Act in 2017 meant that same sex couples are now legally able to marry anywhere within Australia.

Legally there is only a limited capacity for anyone – brides, grooms or celebrants – to change the wording of these vows so it’s best to stay with that legal wording and thus be assured that the marriage is legally valid!

So next wedding you attend, listen intently for the reciting of these declarations or vows!


1.The Celebrant will be AVAILABLE for your celebration date and time. Your Celebrant wont have any other bookings for your date that will impact on them conducting you ceremony at the time and place you have chosen.

2. The Celebrant will be “on the same page as you’, when it comes to what YOU are planning for your ceremony. Your Celebrant can be one of your most helpful wedding suppliers, giving you great advice and hints on different things to consider (I have years of experience at conducting wedding ceremonies!) They will be open to your requests and offer you plenty of information.

3. You – the couple – will FEEL EASY with your Celebrant, being free to chat about your plans and have some laughs along the way! You’ll feel confident that you can speak with them at any time, ask them any questions or discuss any issues.

4. They will be RESPONSIVE to you right from your initial contact with them. The Celebrant will respond in a timely manner and offer you alternative times to meet to fit in with your timetable. They wont leave you waiting for answers to your questions and will provide your draft ceremony in plenty of time for you to review.

5. They will “know their stuff”! The Celebrant will put you at easy knowing that they have a thorough knowledge of what has to be done to have you legally married! They’ll take care of all the legal stuff so you wont need to worry about any of that… a comforting thought when you have so much else to arrange and organise for your special day! If you’d like to chat with me about your upcoming ceremony feel free to contact me at any time.;

What is a ‘Legals Only’ Marriage Ceremony?

There are many reasons why couples might choose to have what I call a ‘legals only’ style marriage ceremony.

To be legally married (anywhere in Australia) I, as your chosen Marriage Celebrant, will ensure that the minimum legal requirements are undertaken, as set out in the Marriage Act, 1961 legislation.

Let me explain briefly what is involved when I conduct this style of marriage ceremony…

Step 1. We will meet and together we’ll complete and sign the first legal paper – the Notification of Intention to Marry, form. This MUST be completed and lodged with me, your Marriage Celebrant, at least one month prior to your wedding date. I hold onto this form until your marriage is conducted.           

At this meeting I’ll also give to you other information that I am legally required to provide.

Step 2. You must have 2 adult witnesses to bring to your wedding. They can be anyone you like. If you’re not able to or you simply don’t want to invite your own witnesses, no problem, I can organise 2 witnesses to attend on your wedding day!

            The witnesses are there to witness you and me reciting the legal vows (as per the Marriage Act) and then to witness that it is you signing the legal marriage documents.

Step 3. We then set the date, time and place for your wedding day – at least one month away.

Step 4. You, your 2 witnesses and I attend at the agreed place, date and time for the wedding.

Step 5. Before holding the little ‘ceremony’ I will request that you both read and sign the next legal paper which is your final declaration before you are married that you are legally free to marry each other.

Step 6. I’ll recite the legal declaration before you and your witnesses, (this is called the Monitum) which is a minimum requirement for a marriage to be LEGAL.

Step 7. I will request you both to individually recite the legal declaration/vows before me and your witnesses – also a minimum requirement under the Marriage Act.

You are not required to say any personal vows or to exchange wedding rings in this style ceremony.

Step 8. You, the 2 witnesses and I will finish the procedure by all signing the 3 legal documents.

Step 9. I then have 14 days (by law) in which to lodge all the legal paperwork with the Office of Births Deaths and Marriages in the State in which your wedding was conducted. This includes the first paper, the Notification of Intention to Marry. But of course I will lodge your papers immediately after your ceremony – not waiting up to 14 days!

Some of those reasons you might want to consider a ‘legals only’ style ceremony…..

No fuss; minimal preparation; simplicity; no one besides your witnesses need to know about it; quick and quiet; no ‘ceremony’ as such; everyone is happy; less stress for you; you’re having a ‘non-legal’ wedding celebration overseas OR have already held that ceremony; minimal cost to you; you want to be married as quickly as possible; you don’t want anyone else involved in your wedding day…. and this list could go on!

Contact me at any time to discuss this style of marriage ceremony and decide if it’s what YOU want for your wedding!

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