Have you been thinking; ‘what must and must not happen during a wedding ceremony?’
Have you wondered what the legalities are within the ceremony itself?
Are you worried you’ll have to say long vows or ring exchange wording?
Well, there’s actually very little which must happen during your ceremony and equally very little that must not happen. But, before you think this is a nagging, boring post, dictating to you about traditions, read on…
What Must Happen
- Your celebrant must say the legal wording which is ‘I am duly authorised by law to solemnise marriages according to law. Before you are joined in marriage in my presence and in the presence of these witnesses I am to remind you of the solemn and binding nature of the relationship into which you are now about to enter. Marriage, according to law in Australia, is the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.’ I know that some find this paragraph insensitive and, as an advocate of Marriage Equality, I am more than happy to include a precursor to this paragraph which helps guests understand that a marriage between a man and a woman is not necessarily the belief of all.
- Bride and groom must say the mandatory words ‘I call upon the persons here present to witness that I, (name in full), take thee (name in full) to be my lawful wedding (wife/husband). There are some slight changes in the wording which is a permissible (such as ‘you’ instead of ‘thee’).
- The following three documents must be signed by the bride and groom in presence of two witnesses, followed by the celebrant:
- the big red register (which your celebrant keeps)
- the fancy looking certificate of marriage (which you keep)
- the other one (which your celebrant submits to births, deaths and marriages)
That’s it… that’s all the ‘musts’ for a wedding ceremony!
- You must not do something just because it’s tradition. This is your wedding, and you can do it your way. You may want to follow traditions, and that’s completely fine, but if you want to arrive together, do it! If you don’t want to exchange rings, don’t! If you’d prefer to have a shot of tequila rather than ‘kiss the bride’, go ahead!
- You must not sweat the small stuff. The best weddings I’ve conducted are where the bride and groom are present and enjoying the ceremony. I know this is easier said than done, but your guests are there to celebrate with you, and you’re there to marry the love of your life. Enjoy every second of it and it will be the best day of your life. No-one will ever say ‘it was a crap wedding because the flowers were a centimeter out of place’.
- You must not get stressed if something doesn’t go according to plan. I’ve had ceremonies where someone who was going to do a reading couldn’t as they were so emotional. I’ve had the wrong song played on the entrance of the bride. I’ve had children come wandering up and chat to the bride and groom during the ceremony. I’ve had my heel caught in the paving and couldn’t move for a few seconds (pictured right). And do you know what… with every single ceremony I’ve always had people come up to me and say it was the best ceremony they’ve ever seen.
Of course, the most important thing is to enjoy your day – please feel free to contact me to discuss further how to make your day absolutely perfect for you.