Marriage Celebrant
  Karen Dearing J.P

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Wedding FAQ

Is it okay for a family member or friend to deliver the wedding ceremony?

Any persons not authorised as a marriage celebrant may play a role in aspects of the marriage ceremony as long as an authorised celebrant is present and conducts the ceremony and fulfils all the legal requirements in solemnising the marriage.

1)   In effect an authorised marriage celebrant must:

2)   consent to be present as the responsible authorised marriage celebrant

3)   Take a public role in the ceremony

4)   identify themselves to the guests, witnesses as the celebrant authorised to solemnise the marriage

5)   be responsible for ensuring the validity of the marriage according to law

6)   say the legal words required under section 46 of the marriage act 1961 in the presence of the parties, the witnesses and the guests before 

      whom the marriage is being solemnise

7)  be in close proximity (i.e. nearby) when the vows required by subsection 45(2) are exchanged. It is the exchange of the vows that will   

     constitute the marriage and as an authorised celebrant ensure that they see and hear the exchange of the vows

8)  as an authorised celebrant I must be available to intervene (and exercise responsibility) if events demonstrate the need for intervention 

     elsewhere in the ceremony

9)  be part of the ceremonial group or be in close proximity to it; and

10) ensure all legal documents are signed in accordance with the Act

Can children be included in the ceremony?

Of course, it is very easy to include children into the ceremony. They could be a flower girl, a ring bearer or if it to be a ceremony where one or both of the parties uniting in marriage the child or children of those parties can be brought into the ceremony. If you require this type of ceremony, please speak to me.

How soon can we marry? Could we marry next weekend?

In Australia as long as you have lodged your Notice of Intended Marriage form with an authorised marriage celebrant within the required time - one month and a day before your wedding day, and all the required legal requirements have been met, then yes you can. If you haven't lodged the Notice of Intended Marriage form within this time frame then the answer is  cannot. The notice of Intended Marriage form must be lodged with an authorised marriage celebrant be it religious or civil. this notice is valid for 18 months from the date of lodgement.

There are however, certain circumstances that a shortening of time may be obtained, this shortening of time must be approved by a prescribed authority and not always guaranteed as it will be under their discretion. If you require more information please to ask your celebrant.

Changing your name on your passport

Did you know that in Australia if a change of name on a passport - due to marriage is applied for within 12 months of the marriage taking place, the Passport Office will issue a new passport free of charge provided there is at least two years left on the passport. It is issued to the same expiry date. If you apply after the 12 month window, you will have to pay the full fee! For more information please go to the website below.

Do we have to exchange wedding rings?

Although it is not a legal requirement to exchange wedding rings, it is a time honoured tradition since the early times to honour the wedding commitment with an exchange of rings. The wedding ring is a symbol of "no beginning no end" and symbolises the never ending nature of love.

These days some grooms are choosing not to wear a wedding ring due the nature of their job and occupational health and safety concerns. Couples may decide to exchange rings with the groom only wearing his on social occasions. If only one ring is being exchanged on the day, this can be acknowledge that this ring is a symbol of both their shared love and commitment for each other.

How long does the ceremony last?

Normally a ceremony can be anything from 15-20 minutes depending on the ceremony structure and number of readings and other activities included but can last up to 30 minutes. Some couples like to incorporate a ritual such as a hand fasting or unity candle ceremony which can lengthen the ceremony.

How much does a celebrant charge?

In Australia Marriage Celebrants authorised by the Australian Government are entitled to charge for any service that they provide. Each celebrant sets their own fee so this needs to be discussed with your celebrant. 

Most celebrants will require a deposit to hold your wedding date and time. A professional celebrant will have a formal schedule of fees and will have listed their services and a booking agreement. You may also find that the deposit is non-refundable in the event that the ceremony is cancelled.

I do hope the above has answered most of your questions, if not please do not hesitate to contact me.

Karen Dearing

Authorised Marriage Celebrant