Yes! Marriage is now marriage! It’s not ‘same sex marriage’ or ‘marriage equality’… it’s just marriage.
Words do not express the happiness I feel. Having to say during a ceremony the words ‘Marriage, accordingly to law in Australia, is the union of a man and a woman…’ has always grated on me and many of the couples whom I married.
I remember a guest – an Uncle of the groom – coming up to me after the ceremony, thanking me for stating prior to the wording above that this was not the belief of his nephew, niece-in-law, or myself. When I stated this at the ceremony, there was a huge roar of applause from the guests. This had the Uncle in tears, and he explained that in all his years, he had never been to a wedding where he felt included, apart from this one.
Now I no longer will have to say a precursor in order to make guests feel comfortable. Nor will I have to be discriminatory towards anyone based on their sexuality. I can marry anyone! Love is love when it’s between two consenting people and those who want to make the commitment of marriage will now be allowed to do so.
I’ve always been proud to be a celebrant and I love my job with a true, absolute, deep and real passion. But today I love it even more.
I can now start receiving Notice of Intended Marriage from same-sex clients from the 9th December, which means I can start marrying same-sex couples from the 9th January. And I’m pretty sure that the first one I conduct where I say ‘Marriage, accordingly to law in Australia, is the union of two people voluntarily entered into for life’ will be momentous.
I’m signing off this blog with The Biggest Smile Ever, and a little bit of wet around my eyes.
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 two people to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.’
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/partner). 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 fancy looking certificate of marriage (which you keep)
two less fancy looking ones (one which your celebrant submits to births, deaths and marriages and one which they keep)
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.
Today I wrote to my MP, Wayne Swan, to ask him to help in the campaign for Marriage Equality in Australia. If you believe that consenting adults have the right to marry, then please check out the Equality Campaign website http://www.equalitycampaign.org.au/ and consider writing to your MP.
Dear Mr Swan MP,
As a local resident within your electorate, I wish to show my support for marriage equality in Australia.
I have many reasons why I believe in marriage equality
It’s simply unfair not to be able to offer marriage as an option to consenting adults, including the benefits both legally and personally that come from being married
I have many gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender friends and acquaintances who feel discriminated in our society enough without omitting their access to a basic human right
Finally (and this is the most important reason) I am a human being who believes that discrimination based on sexuality and/or gender identification is wrong in a civilized society.
It is time for change. The Marriage Act stipulates that marriage is between a man and a woman; this is outdated. We have numerous examples around the world where marriage equality has been introduced and, to my knowledge, not one single person has been struck by lightening as a result. In fact, I can’t even think of a good reason why anyone would be against it – I mean, surely this is just plain, simple, basic common sense?
I, as one voter, have little influence on the Government. But you, as a man of political connections, have the potential to help stop what is fundamentally discrimination. Please use this influence wisely.