Yes! Marriage is now Marriage!

RoxMarrEqu

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.

Yours happily,

Roxy Hotten Celebrant

 

How To Sign The Register

Register Sign

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

Simples! For a comprehensive list of people to contact regarding name change, please see link here: Super-Handy Name-Change Check-List

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about this or anything else.

Handy links:
Drivers Licence Name Change in QLD

Passport Application for Name Change

Photo: This is Life Photography

Brisbane’s Top Five Celebrants

I’m one of Brisbane’s Top Five Celebrants!  I was super-honoured to have recently been placed in the Easy Weddings Editors Choice of Top Five Celebrant List.

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 roxy@roxyrocks.com or on 0478 041227

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Ceremony at Spicers Peak Lodge

Roxy Hotten Celebrant

Booking Your Celebrant – How Far in Advance?

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:

  1. 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
  2. I suggest booking your celebrant as soon as you can after your venue is booked
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. When you contact celebrants via email, it is worth being specific about the date, time and location 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 roxy@roxyrocks.com or ring me on 0478 041227.  Alternatively you can fill in this contact form.

Roxy Hotten Celebrant

How to Show Marriage Equality Support in your Ceremony

Marriage Equality… sigh…

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.

Marriage Equality. It’s only fair.

Roxy signature

‘Princess Consuela Banana Hammock.’ A handy name-change check-list.

Name Change After Marrying

Are you considering changing your name once you get married? It’s a personal choice as to whether you want to – obviously you don’t have to, and you don’t not have to.  Me, well when I got married the second time I kept my first husband’s last name (weird, huh, but it’s my kids last name, you see).  My current husband and I unofficially call each other ‘Mr and Mrs Hotten-Brown’ or ‘Mr and Mrs HB’ for short.  It’s almost like I’m going through life collecting husbands’ names…  And yes, Mr HB is an amazing man without one iota of jealousy in his body and, call us freaks, but my first husband came to my second wedding with his partner.  But that’s a whole other story that I won’t bore you with…

So, getting back onto topic, if you do want to change your name, you will first need to get your standard marriage certificate from the Births, Deaths and Marriages (BDM) in the State where your marriage took place.  I always email couples I work with details on how to do this after their wedding, and your celebrant can give you guidance on this, but below is a list of where to apply for your marriage certificate via Births, Deaths and Marriages in Australia:

ACT

Northern Territory

NSW

Queensland

South Australia

Tasmania

Victoria

Western Australia

The super-handy name change check-list has proven to be a real help for those considering changing their name.  I have a printed version of this that I give to all couples just after their marry.

Once you’ve got your hands on your certificate, it’s time to start contacting people to let them know.  It’s a laborious process, and there are undoubtedly some on the list below which are not relevant to you, and some not on the list which are. Below is a starter for ten, but if you’d like to provide me with any suggested inclusions, please feel free to email me at roxy@roxyrocks.com

NameChangeCheck
Name Change Check List

 

Hope this helps, and if you’d like a PDF version of this emailed to you, please don’t hesitate to contact me at roxy@roxyrocks.com or on 0478041227.

Happy name-changing!

Roxy signature

How to make your vows rock!

nicleelaughWHow to make your vows rocks? Well, the most heart-felt and beautiful part of any wedding ceremony is, in my opinion, the moment the couple share their vows.

However, this is one area which couples seem to get most concerned about.  What to say?  How to say it?  What happens if one is full of lengthy heartfelt sincerity and the other is a quick witty ditty?

Argh!  Panic not though – read my handy tips on how to write your vows which will help you through this part of your ceremony.

Where to start

You’ve got the blank piece of paper.  You’ve got the pen.  You’ve got total mind-blank.  So, take a deep breath, pour yourself a beverage (alcoholic or otherwise depending on your preference) and ask yourself the following questions and write down your answers:

Why do you love your partner?  How would you describe him/her to a stranger?  What do they do that makes them different to anyone else you’ve ever been with?

What do you want to promise them you’ll always do throughout your relationship?  Do you have some flaws that you will try to improve?  Do they have some flaws you’ll promise to overlook? If in the future you have hard times, what do you promise to always do during this period?

Where do you see your future together?  What support will  you give them to reach these goals?

Does your partner have children, or do you already have children together – of the fur or non-fur variety – if so, what kind of parent/step-parent do you promise to be?

Forget your audience

Try to forget your audience. Write your vows for your partner and not for your guests.  This may sound obvious, but I think it’s easy get hung up on ‘will people laugh’ or ‘will my friends and family think these romantic enough’.  Imagine it’s just you and your partner, and you’re getting one chance to really explain to them exactly what you promise to do throughout your married life together.

It is also worth writing your vows as close to the ceremony date as possible. This might sound a bit ‘what the ….?!’ but writing your vows too far in advance can lead to over-editing and ending up with something which sounds insincere or over-written.

I also provide the option to couples of sharing their vows with me prior to the ceremony.  Getting a second opinion can really help and can give you the assurance you need that you’ve written the right words.

If you’re completely freaking out…

You don’t have to have personalised vows.  If you find that the thought of sharing your feelings about your partner in front of your friends and family excruciating and it’s going to outweigh any enjoyment of your ceremony, then don’t feel pressured to do it.  If you want to omit this part of the ceremony, you may wish to consider other alternatives, which could be 1) share your personalised vows with your partner after the ceremony when it’s just the two of you, 2) opt for something more standard and less personal (there’s a plethora of options on the internet or I can help you) or 3) write something yourself but ask your celebrant to read them out for you.

Although the sharing of personalised vows can be one of the highlights of the ceremony, don’t let this part of your day overly stress you.  A good celebrant will make this aspect of your ceremony a truly magic aspect of your day and will support you through the process.  Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you’d like to discuss further by contacting me at roxy@roxyrocks.com or on 0478041227.

Roxy signature

Parentzillas – when good parents turn bad

Parents; you love them, yes, but their vision on what your wedding should look and feel like does not necessarily complement yours. A wedding can be a hugely exciting, emotional time for parents and sometimes their best intentions can come off as interfering.  I know when – or should that read ‘if’ – my daughters get married I’ll have to have very strong words with myself to stop myself over-stepping the mark from helpful to interfering.

So, here are some handy tips on how to deal with mums, dads, steppies, or any other significant elder to prevent conflict during the planning and wedding itself.

If they offer to contribute to the wedding budget, ensure expectations are discussed before accepting

Try to do this as a couple if you can, and say something along the lines of ‘We are so grateful for your generous offer.  We just want to check whether you have anything in particular that you want to see included in our wedding.’   If you find they have a shopping list of inclusions, you may decide to politely forgo their offer by emphasising that you’d prefer a more modest wedding that fits your vision.  It’s much better to know about this up-front, than start planning and find out that they want to invite 50 of their closest friends.

If they are critical of your choices, reinforce how their criticisms make you feel

I hear this a lot; a parent who is verbal in their disappointment that their son or daughter isn’t getting married in a church or that they think your colour scheme is all wrong.  Be explicit with them as to how their criticisms make you feel – be honest, yet calm, and use wording such as ‘when you say [this], it makes me feel like [this]’.  You may also want to think about an advocate who can be a bit of a go-between, such as an relative or godparent who has a good relationship with the parent.

Give them a job to do

Being involved can really make a parent feel useful and will help them buy into your vision.  Choose something which plays to their strengths.  Do they have a skill?  Is your mother creative and therefore able to make confetti cones?  Is your father-in-law great at DIY and able to make an arbor? Even jobs like making the wedding favours will give them a sense of purpose and help them feel engaged in the process.  Alternatively, why not ask them to curate a photo display for you – there’s some fantastic ideas here.

Include them in the ceremony

Traditionally, it was only really the father of the bride who had a formal role in the ceremony.  There’s many further ways you can involves your parents or significant elders in the ceremony.

  • Ask them to do a reading – it could be the two mothers or fathers together as a way of helping them to get to know each other a bit better
  • Get the groom to walk both mothers up the aisle, or alternatively, ask the grooms’ parents to walk the groom and the brides’ parents to walk the bride up the aisle
  • If your parents have a long and happy marriage, ask your celebrant to recognise this within the ceremony
  • Provide your parents with corsages, flower bracelets, lapel flowers, or similar with flowers with meaning that is relevant to your relationship with them, and ask your celebrant to mention this during the ceremony
  • Choose your parents to be witnesses and/or ring bearers
  • How about your mums or grandmothers as flower-girls, like these adorable two http://www.today.com/style/these-grandmothers-are-world-s-most-adorable-flower-girls-t100785
  • If there is a particular family tradition or culture, consider including this within the ceremony.  For example, I’ve conducted a non-Jewish wedding, where we including the breaking of the glass in acknowledgement of the bride’s ancestry or a wedding for a Greek bride where they exchanged crowns.

And, finally…

I have many examples where families have been vocal in their disappointment in the bride and grooms choices prior to the wedding day.  In all these cases, I have watched the parents view the dressed ceremony space for the first time and fall in love with it, then watched them laugh, relax and enjoy the ceremony.

I’d like to share with you an extract from a letter written to me by a mother of the bride after the wedding ceremony. ‘I feel so bad that I was so upset that my daughter and son-in-law were not marrying in our church.  Now I can see that their wedding was 100% right for them and  I had many of my friends say it was the very best wedding they’d ever been to.  I cannot thank you enough for the perfect ceremony you conducted‘.

Be confident in your choices – trust your instinct, and enjoy your day.

Roxy signature

How I Met My Husband

I recently published a blog about my wedding to Mr HB, and was asked if I could publish a story about how we met.

I suggest you pour yourself a whiskey, plonk yourself on your comfiest seat, and gather round for a little love story: How I Met My Husband, by Roxy Hotten.

Once Upon a Time

Once upon a time I was married to a man who wasn’t Mr HB.  Let’s call him H1. One evening, back in 1996, H1 and I were at a gig local to where we lived in the UK, and a mutual friend of ours introduced us to the guitarist of one of the bands.  This guitarist was Mr HB, or just ‘Mr B’ as he was then.  When I met him he had dreadlocks and was flanked by a couple of adoring ladies*.  I remember thinking he was a bit of a, um, a bit of a… well, just a bit arrogant I guess, and didn’t really pay too much attention to him.

(* Mr HB disputes this fact to this day – not the dreadlocked bit, but the adoring ladies bit)

One Upon a Time + 2 Years

Fast forward two years later, and H1 and I were planning on moving to Australia.  The same mutual friend invited us to his house for dinner before we left, and the other dinner guests were Mr B and his new girlfriend.  I quickly realised that my initial impression of him was wrong, all wrong, and that he was a really nice guy.  I also thought he was cute, but, you know, I was married, about to move to Australia, he had a girlfriend, blah blah – so definitely nothing weird happened.

One Upon a Time + 5 Years

Fast forward to 2001.  H1 and I had split up in Australia, and were back in the UK.  Our mutual friend invited us to his house for dinner again, and although H1 and I were no longer a couple, we were (and are) still friendly and so off we went.  Upon arrival, I saw Mr B who launched in to a story about how he had  been dumped by text message, which in 2001, was still a fairly new way of being dumped.  I, being incredibly uncool quickly told him that although I was with H1 at our mutual friends house, I wasn’t with H1 anymore.

Throughout the dinner party we laughed, flirted, discovered lots of mutual interests, and when everyone had gone to bed, I decided it was very necessary to teach Mr B how to play ‘Heart of Gold’ by Neil Young on the guitar.  Now, let me just paint a picture for you here if I may.

  1. Mr B had been a professional guitarist for about 20 years.
  2. I can only play four chords on the guitar
  3. We had both been drinking straight for about six hours

Sitting on opposite chairs, I started to strum and bark out orders like a bossy music teacher…

‘Keep me searchin’ – D! – for a – E MINOR! – heart of gold.  You keep me searchin’ – D!- for a – E MINOR! – heart of gold…’ etc.

Mr B was obviously blown away with my epic guitar playing, and after I felt that he had sufficiently learnt this master-piece from the, er, master, I decided it was time to make my move.

‘Howzaboutcha come overz here and gizzus a liddle kiss’.

I am pure class.

Fortunately Mr B found this a tempting offer, and there you have it. Hollywood-worthy it may not be, but it is our story and therefore very special to us.  If you’d like to share your love story with me, and incorporate it into your ceremony, please feel free to email me at roxy@roxyrocks.com or ring me on 0478041227.

Roxy signature

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The day Mr B became Mr HB

I support Marriage Equality – and you can too…

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.

Regards

Roxy Hotten