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

2. The Celebrant will be “on the same page as you, the couple” when it comes to what YOU are planning for your wedding day. 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 like you can contact them at any time to ask questions or to announce changes to your plans.

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 complete and thorough knowledge of what has to be done to have you legally married! They’ll take care of all the legal stuff and you wont have 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. judy@civilcelebrantcanberra.com.au; w


As an experienced Marriage Celebrant I have conducted all styles of wedding ceremonies over the years. Every wedding is different because every couple is different!

Would you like your wedding ceremony to be beautiful and memorable but not have to spend a fortune on getting just what you want? Then it’s time to sit with your partner and think and brainstorm together what you MUST, CAN and MAYBE have for your wedding.

First suggestion is that you make a distinction between your MARRIAGE CEREMONY and your WEDDING RECEPTION/PARTY. If you’re working to a budget (and who isn’t these days!!!) divide your budget between these 2 ‘events’. Do this by determining which one you are prepared to spend more of your budget – Ceremony or Reception.

When you have a ball park budget figure for each event, LIST what you MUST HAVE in each. For example in your CEREMONY you MUST HAVE a MARRIAGE CELEBRANT to legally marry you. In your RECEPTION you MUST HAVE a VENUE. The MUST HAVES – whatever you decide these are – should be the first items into your 2 budget spreadsheets. From the MUST HAVES you then fill in your spreadsheets with items you would LIKE TO or CAN have but that can then cut out if your budget doesn’t stretch that far.

Next suggestion, do your RESEARCH or HUNTING. Look online, in magazines, ask others who have done this before for information on items they had that you might also like to have. Remember when HUNTING not to go outside your LIST that you and your partner put together right at the beginning. Generally it’s good to pick up to 3 people/businesses / items/ places in each of your list categories to either visit or get further information or quotes. When you go OUTSIDE your agreed list that’s when you start to include more and more extras. Remember that you haven’t included these extras in your original budget. If you find something you believe you really should have on your LISTS then as you add it to the list take something off the list – those CAN or MAYBE ITEMS.

When you’ve made your decisions for each of the items on your 2 lists STICK TO those decisions. Best not to go back and forth constantly reviewing and finding new suppliers as this will confuse you and add stress that you don’t need! When you have made your decisions put the quotes into your budget and add it up as you progress. That way you’ll know when you’ve reached your BUDGET SPEND.

At that stage it’s time to stop looking. If you’re over budget on the CEREMONY or the RECEPTION you should work out together if you can add a little extra to the budget or TAKE OFF items from the bottom of your 2 priority lists – those CAN or MAYBE items.

Every wedding needs a PLAN whether it’s just you and your 2 witnesses or it’s a huge celebration with all your family and friends. Whichever you choose, having a budget can be a great strategy to help you organise your wedding without huge stress and huge bills that you have to continue to pay well after your wedding day. GOOD LUCK!

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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