Wedding celebrants Annual Professional Development Melbourne

Marriage celebrants are required to do five hours annual professional development annually.  I chose to do mine earlier this week as part of the Australian Federation of Civil Celebrant annual conference which was held in Melbourne this year.

It was a great opportunity for networking with other celebrants as well as keeping up with the latest changes to the Marriage Act which came into effect in December 2017.  The marriage equality bill has brought about a few changes to the legal paperwork and the wording in the ceremony.  The description of the parties to the marriage is now Party One and Party Two, and they can call themselves Groom, Bride or Partner.  When saying their vows they have to use the words husband, wife or partner in marriage

The biggest change is to “The Monitum” (a passage from the marriage act) which the celebrant is required to say during the ceremony.  The words “Marriage according to law in Australia is the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others”  can no longer be said.  Instead the words, “Marriage according to law in Australia is the union of two people to the exclusion of all others” must be said.

There are other minor changes.  I was surprised to learn that we can no longer call ourselves “civil celebrant” but must add the word civil marriage celebrant or just use marriage celebrant.

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Photo by Jasmine Wallace Carter on



Personalised marriage ceremonies Gabriele and Gerrit A procession and two wedding dresses!

Gabriele and I have been friends for many years, we met at choir and enjoyed being choir buddies for many years.  We were also both nurses so had another common interest.  We shared a room when our choir travelled to Perth many years ago and got to know each other very well.

I had heard a lot about Gerrit her new man and I was very excited when Gabriele told me they were engaged and thrilled when she asked me to officiate at the ceremony.  She and Gerrit had firm ideas of the run of the events for the day and it was all organized very quickly.

They wanted a prewinter date so they were married on 27th May this year.  We all met at their house beforehand for drinks and nibbles.  We then “processed” the short walk to the hotel where the ceremony and reception were held. The neighbours all came out to cheer us on and it was a lot of fun!





Ceremony excerpts:

……When planning the ceremony with Gabriele and Gerrit it became quite apparent that they did not want anything too formal or too traditional and they wanted as much involvement from their friends and family as possible, which I think is testament to the way they live their lives in general, with many of us being privy to their hospitality, warmth and generosity over the years.

Personal story

I asked Gerrit and Gabriele to tell me a little about their relationship and what making a commitment means to them.  In fact, I gave them a whole list of questions:  Gabriele promptly answered them in her quick decisive manner.  I must say Gerrit did agree with her answers!

…..One thing came through loud and clear: three values are very important to them and they are: honesty, respect and trust…..the qualities they most treasure about each other are their love, openness and directness.

Their goals for a happy marriage include the ability to maintain their own identity, also trust, honesty, communication and fun and laughter.  And for their children they believe their marriage will provide a safe and secure space from which they will venture forth and fulfil their dreams.

In Gabriele’s words:

Gerrit is passionate and enthusiastic in his endeavours. he is sensitive, always cries at movies and is very loving. He is happy to try new things and is adventurous. He likes my cooking. He is open to saying yes.  Life will never be boring with him.

Memorable times.

Our first date was on a rainy night at the Radisson, when I was late for choir rehearsal afterwards. I noticed his good table manners and passion for skiing.  Gerrit was very nervous, and continued to be nervous for our next few dates. We went 5 Rhythms dancing on a few choir free Tuesday nights (child free evenings), which were a fun physical release and a way of getting to know each other.

At our first date, Gerrit reignited my skiing passion. A few practice sessions at Ski City set me up for a few weekends in Mt Buller where Gerrit worked winters.  I remember how excited Gerrit was that I could ski!  The kids tried and enjoyed skiing too……….

Appreciation of music is a strong bond. Both of us love our Tuesday nights. I’m at choir (RMP) and Gerrit rehearses with his band. We try to get out and hear some live music, whenever we can.

Gerrit is dedicated and devoted to Gabriele.  He dutifully sent me the answers to my list of questions about Gabriele and their relationship.  On their first date he also remembered it was raining and the big hug he got……………He loved their lunchtime dates and meeting and spending time with Gabriele’s children.  He also enjoys their times skiing and dancing….

Their three children all participated in the ceremony:  Gerrit’s son Grant was the ring bearer and Gabriele’s two daughters, Erica and Sophia did readings.  They all took part in the unity candle ceremony.


Poem for a Mother’s wedding Robyn O’Connell  read by Erica

Who would have thought, that there would come a time

When I would be standing at your wedding, rather than you being at mine?

That day will come, as sure as can be

But for now, it’s my turn and look what I see

A mum that has been there, through thick and through thin

And now here you stand, your face in a grin

The wish that I bring for my mother right now

Is health and happiness, as you take your wedding vow

So, to you dear Mum, what more can I say?

Than to love the dear friend you have beside you today

I hope you both are as happy, as you can ever can be

Knowing much love comes from your daughter – that’s me!

Once upon a time you two met You’ve shared much love and laughter May your marriage be a fairy tale Happy ever after

I’m glad I’m in the fairy tale And you are too I guess Congratulations, King and Queen From your fairy tale Princess.


Reading: What is a family Author unknown read by Sophia

A family is…

The sweetest feelings  the warmest hugs,  trust and togetherness

Unconditional love,the stories of our lives written on the same page

The nicest memories anyone has ever made, treasured photos

Thankful tears, hearts overflowing with all the years

Being there for one another, supporting and caring

Understanding, helping, sharing,

Walking life’s path together and making the journey more beautiful because…

We are a family, and a family is love.


Candle ceremony

Our family

(Gerrit)  Beginning our new life together does not mean that we will forget the lives we leave behind

It was that past that brought us here, without it we would not have our children

And all the happy memories of their growing into the young people that we are so very proud of…

(Gabriele)  As we light these candles we extend the love w”e share for each other to encompass Grant, Sophia and Erica

And ask them to light a candle and place it in this circle as a symbol of the joining of our families.

We all had a fun night with lots of dancing and good food.  I wish you a wonderful future together!

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Wedding Readings

I love these readings!

Tartan Rose Weddings

Readings are a beautiful addition to your wedding ceremony, they can personalise your wedding and celebrate the feelings you feel for each other. You may wish to have your officiant, maid of honour, parent, or best man give a reading or you may even want to give a reading yourself. Here are some beautiful readings that you can encompass into your day.


The Bridge Across Forever By Richard Bach

A soul mate is someone who has locks that fit our keys, and keys to fit our locks. When we feel safe enough to open the locks, our truest selves step out and we can be completely and honestly who we are; we can be loved for who we are and not for who we’re pretending to be. Each unveils the best part of the other. No matter what else goes wrong around us, with that one person we’re safe in our own…

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Bride’s Name Change through Marriage

  should-i-change-my-name Current polls suggest that there is a decline in bride’s changing their name to that of their husband once marriage takes place.

A number of brides now either retain their surname after marriage, or use the hyphenated name which includes her own, and the groom’s name.

To continue to use her own name, the bride doesn’t need to do anything.

If she wants to change her name to that of the groom she needs to contact the various organisations or services concerned. Some of the changes she will be making could include:

  1. drivers licence
  2. car registration
  3. passport
  4. bank accounts
  5. Medicare
  6. private health fund
  7. insurance policies
  8. superannuation
  9. electoral enrolment
  10. memberships
  11. store accounts

While in some cases, the wedding certificate the bride receives from the celebrant on the wedding day will be sufficient proof of her married status, there are a number of authorities which require the official wedding certificate.

This can only be acquired from the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriage after the marriage is registered by the celebrant.  I will the registration process for you online and let you know when your certificate is ready this can take up to six weeks in busy periods such as March and October.

To apply for an official marriage certificate (current cost $31.00) you can do it in person at:

The Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages 595 Collins Street Melbourne

Phone 1300 369 367

Office hours 8 am to 4 pm Monday to Friday

Download the application form from the Victoria BDM website.  You can also apply online and have it sent to you.

If the bride wants to hyphenate her name with that of the groom, the process becomes a legal change of name.

Apply to the Registry of Births, Deaths or Marriages in the state of your birth, or find out more by seeing your solicitor.



Writing your own vows

If there is only one thing you as couple DIY make it your wedding vows. Writing your own wedding vows can be the most beautiful way for your guests to have a view into your story and your relationship. If you do write your own vows make sure you have the waterproof mascara on and the tissues at the ready.:)


Once Wed Guide to Vows

Vows often have a number of main topics; the moment you met, stories and anecdotes from your relationships, details you love about your partner and concluding your vows with the promises to each other for the future. Here are some questions to consider about your own vows:

  • Consider what sort of tone you want to deliver your vows in, they should be sincere and it is always good to have a bit of humour sprinkled through your vows. But consider whether you want your vows to be lighthearted, traditional, passionate or romantic?
  • Do you want to write your vows together or keep them secret until the big day?
  • Look for examples of vows, with the ones that you like work out what it is about them that you like, are they funny? Sweet? Or deeply personal?

Think about how long you have been together, and your favourite moments you have shared together. The main aspect to remember in your wedding is that it is a public show of your commitment and love for each other, so leave out the embarrassing details and private jokes.
What did you think the first time you met your partner?

What do you love most about your partner?

Has the way your viewed the world changed since you met your partner?

What is it that you miss about them when you are not together?

What inspires you about your partner?

Do you have dreams together?

Where do you see yourselves in the future?

You will probably do a lot of writing, scribbling out, refining and reorganising, so spend your time on it and refine your vows, definitely don’t leave them till the last minute.Try to keep your vows to one or two minutes, you would be surprised how much you can fit into two minutes. Keep it concise, the words should stay true to your relationship and be heartfelt.

The main thing to remember is your vows are yours and they should be a resounding declaration of love to your partner.

reblogged from Tartan Rose Weddings

Official marriage certificate

How long does it take for my marriage to be registered by Births Deaths and Marriages so I can get the official marriage certificate?

In Victoria your celebrant can track the progress of your certificate online. Depending on what time of year you got married the certificate can take up to 8 weeks ( eg March and October).
You need to download an application form and can apply online or pick it up in person once you know your certificate is ready. The cost is $31.00.

You will need the official certificate for identification purposes if you wish to change your name.
For more information go to

Writing Your Vows

Definitely worth the time to write your own vows beautiful part of the ceremony.

Tartan Rose Weddings

If there is only one thing you as couple DIY make it your wedding vows. Writing your own wedding vows can be the most beautiful way for your guests to have a view into your story and your relationship. If you do write your own vows make sure you have the waterproof mascara on and the tissues at the ready. 🙂


Once Wed Guide to Vows

Vows often have a number of main topics; the moment you met, stories and anecdotes from your relationships, details you love about your partner and concluding your vows with the promises to each other for the future. Here are some questions to consider about your own vows:

  • Consider what sort of tone you want to deliver your vows in, they should be sincere and it is always good to have a bit of humour sprinkled through your vows. But consider whether you want your…

View original post 268 more words

The show must go on, broken foot and all

I suspected that my foot was broken when I rolled it on Saturday evening but I had a marriage to perform on Sunday morning so the xrays would have to wait!  I iced my foot and then bandaged it with a pressure bandage to keep the swelling down, took some pain killersIMG_1591 and prepared for the small intimate ceremony in my backyard.  I wore black pantihose to hide the bandage and performed the ceremony with only one shoe on!  Gus and Peggy took it in their stride and it didn’t spoil their day.  The sun shone and they were very happy!

Two very different weddings

IMG_1461IMG_1465This weekend’s weddings were very different.  Yesterdays was in a beautiful rustic bush setting at Mt Evelyn in front of a little waterfall.  The bride had flowers in her hair and held a large bouquet to match.  They had the ritual of the unity vase where they united the families by combining items of significance.  The bride poured American dirt and then the groom poured Australian dirt.  The bride’s mother placed stones from the park where her father’s ashes were scattered. The bride’s father placed dried impatiens, his mother’s favourite flower.  The groom’s mother placed seashells from The Gold Coast where she grew up and the groom’s father placed a prayer book he was given by his father, which symbolized the role music and the church played in his education.  The bride wore green and white spotted shoes and had a green ribbon to finish the back of her dress. The bridesmaids wore varying shades of green.  All in all it all blended in beautifully with the natural setting.  A lot of thought and planning went into the day. Congratulations Jackson and Sarah!  Stay tuned tomorrow for the story of today’s wedding

A sea of faces a moment to think about family

A sea of faces, old and young

Remember how proud we were to share our stories

of children growing

and growing children sharing our stories

our confidence growing as our children’s faces shine

and our children’s faces shine with growing confidence

shining proud family faces confidently sharing stories

of growing children in a sea of faces