What follows is a list of the usual components that make up a wedding ceremony. One of the wonderful things about having a Professional Australian Wedding Celebrant work with you to write and then conduct your ceremony is that you have far more choice in what is said, where it is conducted and the look and feel of your ceremony.
It’s that choice that allows you to have the type of ceremony you want, be it a humble gathering at your home or a grand affair at a resort or reception centre. The choice is yours. There are various ways that celebrants work and those have been discussed on other posts, but your celebrant should be able to offer you examples of ceremonies, and selections of the various components that make up the ceremony so you can work in consultation with your officiant and be able to craft a ceremony uniquely yours.
The entrance of the bride or partner or the couple. There are many variations of the processional. The English, The American (which had gained popularity in Australia), The Scottish and many others. This is the opportunity to think outside the regime of conventionality and start the ceremony in a way that many of your guests may not be familiar with.
Introduction / Welcome (optional)
A general welcoming of the guests which lets everybody settle down from the initial entrance and often conveys the couples thoughts on marriage, gets the proceedings off to a good start and sets the tone for what is to follow.
A Reading or Readings (optional)
Your celebrant should be able to offer a range of readings from comic to profound, and sacred to secular as options to choose from. Choosing a reading is a personal choice, but try and be consistent with choice of, not only the reading but also the reader. Make sure the reader has a copy of the words well ahead of time so they can practice and be familiar with it on the day. Longer readings may be shared by two or more presenters, if rehearsed.
Personalised section (Your Story)
Information about your relationship that is relevant. It can be light and breezy, romantic or serious. That is where the creative celebrant comes into their own, because this section requires the abilities of, not only a talented writer, but also one who can capture the essence of the couple and do their relationship justice in a manner that reflects their love for one another in a style that is consistent with the couples personalities and do so in just a few paragraphs.
The Presentation of the Bride (The Giving away – optional)
Traditionally the father “Gives the Bride away”. This can be structured to reflect more modern thoughts – and worded to be about family support for both the Bride and Groom or both Partners in the case of a same sex ceremony. You can have both parents, all parents or all the guests involved. Your celebrant can talk about options, ideas and conventional way of working.
The Monitum (legally required in Australia)
The “Monitum” is what Australian celebrants call the legally required statement that outlines by what authority they are performing the ceremony and what marriage is according to Australian law (Its legal definition). There are very few minor changes / adjustments that can be made to this statement. It is a legally required statement and your celebrant must state it and therefore it is a non-negotiable element. Having said that there are additional words that can be added to soften some of the legal rhetoric.
The Asking (The “I Dos” – optional)
This takes the form of a question of your individual intentions. Your celebrant will have a selection of options and suggestions that you may wish to mix and match and add to, to personalise your wording. Nor do they have to be the same for bride and groom. In Australia your marriage vows cannot be phrased as a question with a simply yes or no answer and so the asking serves as a means of outlining the promises to be made and allows the couple the opportunity of actually saying “I Do” in the ceremony.
The Vows (The commitment creates the marriage – legally required)
The vows are the words that legally bind you. You may choose from your celebrants selection or you can write your own vows. Your celebrant can advise on this. In Australia there is one legally required statement that MUST be said. It can proceed, be a part of, or follow-on from your chosen selection. You can choose to repeat after the celebrant or read your vows. There are advantages and disadvantages with both so discuss these choices with your celebrant. Once again the legal requirement is non-negotiable and must be said for the marriage to be valid.
Declaration of Marriage (Declaring the couple married)
There are a few different ways this can take place but generally it is the part that finishes with a kiss !
Signing of Register (The legally required and commemorative certificate)
There will be a number of papers to be signed including the commemorative copy of your certificate and the copies that your celebrant is required to forward to the office of Births, Deaths and Marriages in the state or territory the ceremony is taking place. It is a requirement that two adults witness the ceremony and sign the certificates.
Introduction of Married Couple
The couple, in consultation with their celebrant, can choose how they wish to be introduced for the first time as a married couple. E.G. Mr and Mrs……., The Newly Weds, Australia’s latest married couple etc.
As always, if you have any questions regarding the above please feel free to contact me. www.yourcelebrant.com.au is my website and I’d be delighted to hear from you. Want to know more, check out my other posts about all things wedding related.