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Looking for Marriage Celebrants is an important part of your marriage ceremony. There are so many choices available these days, and each wedding usually opts for something a little different.
Since the choice of a celebrant is something which must be done as early as the venue and other arrangements (due to a busy wedding season) and can have a big impact on the tone of your wedding, it's something to think about early in the process of planning your wedding. Begin by contacting several celebrants around your area learning about them. That will allow you to choose the one who's most compatible with you as a couple.
Most couples know about what they don't want in their wedding - they're aware of traditional vows they don't want to include, an atmosphere that doesn't work with what they feel their wedding should be, and other aspects that aren't right. However, when it comes to specifics that couples do want, they may have more trouble figuring things out.
That's where a good marriage celebrant can help. He or she can talk to you about common options, legal requirements, and church rules if it's a religious ceremony. It's important to feel like you're on the same wavelength with the celebrant you choose.
In the past, there wasn't a lot of choice between celebrants. Church officials were common, and you usually chose someone to officiate who was from your immediate area. Now, you can explore a much wider area and there are many more celebrants available throughout each State of Australia.
One of the first things you will need to decide when choosing a marriage celebrant is whether you want a civil or religious one. While the "traditional" church priest is still what many view as the only "right" choice for a celebrant, not every couple follows a religious faith strongly enough to go down this path. Hence, civil celebrants are definitely much more popular now than in the past.
Another reason many couples are choosing to go with a civil marriage celebrant is because one or both of them are divorced and looking to remarry, and some religious denominations do not allow divorcees to remarry under their faith. If you fall into this category and still want a proper church wedding, you'll need to discuss this matter with your priest. While there are no guarantees of success, this is still the best place to start.
If you are planning on opting for the religious marriage, then it's usually a much simpler process than finding a marriage celebrant. It's usually your regular family priest. Of course, if you are not a regular church goer, but were baptised and are still considered 'one of the faithful', then you might need to visit some churches and meet the priests to find one you like AND one that has an opening for the wedding date you both want.
The following comments on Marriage celebrants come from the Attorney-General's Website:-
Marriage celebrants are encouraged to offer a choice of ceremonies, or assist the couple in writing their own. You should feel comfortable with your celebrant and feel confident that he/she suits your needs and will complement your special day. Ring and make an appointment to meet the celebrant if you are uncertain. It is also advisable to confirm your wedding arrangements in writing in plenty of time before the day.
You should ensure that your proposed celebrant is authorised as a marriage celebrant under the Marriage Act 1961.
You must give a completed Notice of Intended Marriage form to an authorised marriage celebrant within 18 months of your proposed marriage and no later than one month and one day prior. All marriage celebrants should have all the necessary paper work to perform your marriage.
When meeting with your celebrant, ensure that you have all your required documentation with you eg. birth certificates (original) and evidence that any prior marriage has been dissolved.
Marriage celebrants authorised by the Australian Government are entitled to charge for any services that they provide. Fees for weddings are not fixed and may vary from celebrant to celebrant. Ensure you reach an agreement on the fees before asking the celebrant to hold the date. You should also ensure that you understand what charges are non-refundable.