Are you thinking of marrying in a park, but are a little unsure as to whether you need a permit? Do you need to book a park if it’s only a small wedding? Are you able to play music? Read this guide to help you navigate this potential ceremony option in Brisbane and the surrounds.
Is a park wedding right for you?
How do you feel about on-lookers stopping to watch your wedding? Do you mind background noise such as children playing? When doing your research, you may want to consider visiting any potential locations on the same day of the week and at the time you’re getting married to see how busy it will be.
If you are thinking of a park ceremony, it’s worth considering what your wet weather option may be, or choose a park which has an covered area you can hire, such as New Farm Park Rotunda or Dreverson Park, Manly. If you’re going for something more open-air, check to see whether your reception venue can be your ‘Plan B’, or look for local community halls or see if any local hotels have a space you can book for peace of mind.
How many guests are you having? Similar to indoor venues, some parks designated areas only work comfortably for a maximum number of people.
Do you need a permit?
Do you need a permit to get married in a park? The short answer; sometimes. The long answer is:
Some parks have designated ceremony areas. With these, you will need to apply for a permit to be assured that your space will be specifically for you at your chosen time, and have the ability to have your area styled. Some areas come with other facilities, such as access to power.
You can marry in parks without a permit, but this will depend on whether you’re looking to hold your ceremony in a designated area, whether you need access to power, whether you are planning on having any structures set up, and, with some Councils, the number of guests.
If you were having a small wedding in a park, and were not using a designated area, then mostly you will not require a permit. However, it’s always worth checking with the Council of that park if you’re unsure.
Permits vary in cost from Council to Council, eg: Brisbane City Council fees start at $325.15, and Gold Coast Council start at $100.
Where do I find the Guidelines?
Below are some of the guidelines of Parks in South East Queensland can be found below:
Don’t let a hot weather day ruin your plans of an outdoor wedding. With the below tips, you can keep your guests happy, even when the temperature is rising:
Provide water for your guests upon arrival to the ceremony. Some will begin arriving anywhere from an hour prior to the ceremony start time (especially if they have a distance to travel), and if your ceremony is located in a remote area without access to a shop, it can be hard for them to wait around without any refreshments.
When sending out the invitations, it’s worth highlighting to your guests anything they may need to bring for the ceremony to help them deal with the heat. For example, if the wedding is being held in an open, sunny area, you may want to suggest guests wear sun-cream, sun-hats or bring a parasol.
For those really hot days, you might want to consider providing your guests with an Order of Service in the shape of a fan to help them cool down. You can do these yourself, and a tutorial is here
Provide some sun-cream and anything else to help them, such as bug-spray. You can even personalise them and have them as wedding favours for your guests which you can purchase here.
And always remember, don’t stress if an unexpected heat-wave happens. Enjoy your ceremony and with some of the above, your guests will too.
If you’ve read any of my other blog posts, or seen my Instagram or Facebook pages you’ll see that I have had an amazing, incredible, wonderful 2017. I conducted over 80 weddings in Australia, Bali and London, chucked in my day job to be a full-time celebrant, attended sessions on social media to learn what the hell I’m meant to be doing, and basically had the best year of my life.
And I know 2018 is going to be even better…
The reason I’m so confident of this is down to the simple fact that marriage equality is now a thing. In 2017 I conducted a couple of same-sex commitment ceremonies and, well, as beautiful as they were, it saddened my soul that I couldn’t marry them legally. Now, I can. I don’t have to say those hateful words ‘Marriage, according to law in Australia, is the union of a man and woman…’ anymore. Hoo-bloody-rah!
Secondly, in 2018 I want to do more creative learning. I spent time in 2017 learning how to use social media, tailoring my website, and learning all the ins and outs of celebrancy in Australia. So now is the time for me to start doing some really fun stuff; attending courses and sessions which will hopefully include paints and pencils and textiles and design and writing and all the fun stuff.
I can’t wait for this year. I’d love to hear your ambitions for 2018, whether wedding related or not. Don’t be shy – come and say hi!
How to sign the register? Are you confused as to whether it should be your married name?
The answer is ‘no’ – you sign your name in your current signature. Getting married doesn’t automatically change your last name; after all, some couples choose not to do so.
Your name change can happen once you start to get identification in this name. The process is:
1) After your married your celebrant will send your paperwork to Births, Deaths and Marriages in the State where you were married
2) Once this has been registered by the Births, Deaths and Marriage in that State, you can then apply for your marriage certificate which can be used as evidence that you are now legally married
3) You can then begin applying for documents which you can use as ID, such as your passport and drivers licence with your new name
In the past I’ve won awards for my work in the UK as a Celebrant, but this is the first time since moving to Australia and setting myself up as a Celebrant in late 2016 that I’ve been officially recognised within the industry.
And, although awards and recognition are lovely, I also have a real sense of pride in my work. I aim so hard to deliver personalised, solid, open-minded, thoughtful and sensitive celebrant services to couples I work with.
I believe that one of the reasons I was chosen because of the positive feedback of many of the couples I have worked with. You can read reviews either here (Google reviews) or here (Facebook Reviews) or read some of my testimonials here.
So, if you’d like to have a no-obligation chat with me, please don’t hesitate to contact me at email@example.com or on 0478 041227
Booking your celebrant – how far in advance should you do this?
You’ve got engaged (whoo-hoo congratulations!) and you’ve told your friends and family. Now for the planning… venue, photographer, caterer, florist, transport, invitations… oh, and don’t forget your celebrant!
I’m often asked how far in advance I’m booked out? And at what point in the process should couples start considering who they want as their celebrant? Below are some tips to consider:
It’s worthwhile having a date confirmed when you contact celebrants, unless you’re completely flexible and want to work around a celebrant’s availability
I suggest booking your celebrant as soon as you can after your venue is booked
Saturdays are the most popular days for celebrants, and are often booked out 18 months (or more) in advance. The next most popular days that I conduct weddings are Fridays, followed closely by Sundays.
Certain months in Brisbane, SEQ, Northern NSW tend to be more popular than others. For example, I find December and January tend to be quieter than April, August, September and October, so therefore I will have more availability for these months.
When you contact celebrants via email, it is worth being specific about the date, timeandlocation of your wedding. Whenever I’m contacted with these three pieces of specific information I can inform them straight as to my availability.
Please do not hesitate to contact me regarding my availability for your special day. You can either email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or ring me on 0478 041227. Alternatively you can fill in this contact form.
Thinking of eloping? Whether you want to do so to save money, to negate the ‘inviting the masses’ issue, or you just want a really intimate commitment with only you and your witnesses then I’m able to help you with your elopement ceremony, ensuring it meets all your needs.
As a starter, I’ve produced some guidance on how to organise the perfect elopement:
Submit your completed notice-of-intended-marriage at least one calendar month prior to your elopement date with your celebrant. Unless there is a reason which falls under the exceptional circumstances (please ask me for more advice on these), you will need to lodge this at least one calendar month before your chosen date to get married.
Think about what kind of elopement you want.
Do you want super-intimate with only two witnesses or something with a small, intimate group of family and/or friends?
If you do want to invite guests, do you want them to be aware that you are eloping, or do you want to invite them under a different guise?
Do you want to include personalised vows in the ceremony?
Do you want any readings included? Would you like any of your guests to say something during the ceremony?
Do you want your elopement to be captured by a professional photographer and/or videographer to then share with others at a later date?
Decide where you would like to hold your elopement ceremony. I have conducted elopements:
at parks (depending on your type of elopement, it’s worth checking first to see if you need any kind of permit for that particular park)
on beaches, including those on both the Gold and Sunshine Coasts
in a coffee shop (with the bride and groom in shorts and thongs)
at the home of a couple, just before they were to fly off for a trip of a lifetime
at a small family 30th birthday party which turned into a surprise elopement
How are you going to share the news with your family and friends after the elopement? It must seem an odd question to ask, but quite often couples elope, and then spend days, weeks, even months, before they share the news because, well… basically they’re not sure how to do so! It’s worth having a think about this beforehand; are there those whom you want to tell first face to face, or are you happy to make an announcement on social media?
Please do not hesitate to contact me about elopements – I have a real sense of adventure and love surprises, so am more than happy to get fully on board to make your elopement totally right for you.
“Thank you for your wonderful assistance on our surprise evening… even your commitment to your backstory so my family wouldn’t guess you were a celebrant. Thanks for fitting in with our very simple, kinda last minute decision and making it super chilled with was just perfect for us.” Kellee and Ben (left)
It truly is something which I’m very passionate about and it beggars belief to me as to why we don’t have it. Please read my post on my thoughts about Marriage Equality, which can be found here.
As you may be aware, by law, all celebrants must include some monitum wording which includes:
‘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 really don’t like saying the bit in bold. I truly don’t. And often couples I work with don’t like me saying it either, and they ask if I can exclude it. Unfortunately I can’t, but what I can do is include a precursor sentence before the monitum wording paragraph which explains that this is not the views of all of us, and we hope one day to have marriage equality.
I recently conducted a wedding where when I said this, everyone cheered. It gave me goose bumps; I was so proud that so many like-minded people are out there. After the ceremony a guest came up to me and shook my hand. He was in his late 50s and told me that in all his life, he’d never been to a wedding where he and his (male) partner actually felt included.
This in itself is one of many reasons why I will keep supporting change for the introduction of marriage equality.
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.
Filling in a Notice of Intended Marriage looks straight forward – and it is. But there are some common mistakes often made.
To marry in Australia you need to fill in and lodge with your celebrant a Notice of Intended Marriage between one and 18 months before your wedding date. You can find this document here New-notice-of-intended-marriage
Here are the most common mistakes which are often made on this document:
Write really really neatly and use capital letters. Alternatively, you can type the information
If you make a mistake, don’t use white-out. Cross the mistake out once with a line, initial it, and write the correct information next to it
Do not sign until you are in front of your witness, and, if you’re not using your celebrant as your witness, make sure the person you choose is eligible to witness the document. The only eligible witnesses in Australia are:
A Commissioner for Declarations
A Justice of the Peace
A barrister or solicitor
A legally qualified medical practitioner
A member of the Australian Federal Police or police force of State/Territory
Mistakes Made on Specific Questions
Question 3: Usual Occupation
Sometimes people will write ‘administration’ or ‘army’. Think of the following: if someone asked you what you do for a living, you wouldn’t answer ‘I am an administration’ or ‘I am an army’. Therefore you need to write ‘administration assistant’ or ‘soldier’.
Question 5: Conjugal Status
If you’ve never been married then you need to write the words ‘never validly married’ (not ‘never married’)
Question 10: Mother’s Maiden Name
This question is often misunderstood; it requires your mother’s first, middle and her last name at birth.
If you have any specific questions about any of the other elements of this form, please don’t hesitate to ask me at email@example.com or on 0478 041 227. Always happy to help.