Ad-free news, views and advice on the local wedding scene for Canberra ACT and nearby NSW, and on getting married in Australia in general. With Michele Bolitho, registered civil marriage celebrant for well over one thousand wonderful weddings. ... Your day is my focus. That's my promise. It's my pleasure.

31 December 2014

Your 2015 wedding - short simple registry style, or longer with more options?

Hello, and welcome.
     I am writing this on the eve of 2015. So many wonderful weddings during 2014, and for so many reasons. The main reasons of course are the open declaring of the love that a couple shares, and their desire to spend their lives together in a formally committed relationship.

     Looking back on this year, brings to mind many wonderful weddings, and I've amassed hundreds of photos to remind me. 
     I enjoy all weddings I attend as celebrant, and I certainly don't plan to have any favourites. Sometimes it just happens however. 
     Here are photos from the wedding of Jordan and Karlo on May 15. It was so much fun! As video-makers, they've captured the joy of their day on Vimeo.


Your wedding is my focus.
That’s my promise.
It's my pleasure.



Jordan is married, boots and all!
We want to get married as soon and as simply as possible.

     Perhaps you want the quickest wedding possible, but there’s much more to it than just signing papers. Compared to getting married in many other countries though, getting married in Australia is quite straight-forward. You don't need Australian residency, for instance.
     First off, you must lodge your Notice of Intended Marriage with your celebrant at least a month before your intended wedding date. There are several other legal requirements which you can’t leave out, such as being informed by your celebrant about local marriage education programs. You’ll be given government leaflets, including an invitation to take part in the new Stronger Relationships program.        
     You’ll receive a free video called ‘Taking the First Step’. You’ll probably need a meeting for all this. From many years of experience, I’ve streamlined the meeting for simple weddings to one hour. The next time we meet, it’s the wedding!
Signing after their simple ceremony in the National
Rose Gardens at Old Parliament House, newlyweds
Markus and Annie  1 November 2014
     In Australia, even for the simplest wedding, you can’t just sign certificates. You must have a ceremony in which you make legally required vows in the presence of at least two adult witnesses. (Must be 18, may or may not be related to you, need not be known to you personally.)
     The simplest wedding ceremony will easily fit on one A4 page. Even when read slowly to let the words carry their full importance, it will only take a few minutes. Signing the certificates may actually take longer!

Why we want everything simple.

     Sometimes couples are just wanting the basics so that their legal marriage can be registered. They may have planned a big beautiful wedding in another place like Fiji or Bali, or another place that’s special to them where getting legally married is more complicated. 
     Sometimes the couple is heading overseas to new employment, say in the United States. They know that it will be helpful in the culture they are going to, to have their longterm relationship recognised in legal marriage. 
     Sometimes couples want to marry in their faith. If the form of wedding ceremony they plan is not recognised by the Australian government as legal then a civil celebrant can legalise their marriage in a short separate ceremony. (Or here's another option: You can bring your pastor to your wedding as Jordan and Karlo did, then include a blessing prayer in your ceremony.)
Gailie and Chan had a quiet,
simple autumn wedding in the
Heart Garden with just two
witnesses. 8 May 2014
     Sometimes a short and simple wedding is all a couple has ever wanted.
     The simple (but still special) wedding I’ve written has a few variations but it basically collects together, all the legal requirements of the Australian Marriage Act. I’ve added a welcome, the option to add personal vows to the legally required ones, and a choice of friendly endings.
     Over the years, I’ve learned to say Welcome in a variety of languages. The bride or groom may have just arrived in Australia, or special guests may have come from overseas just for the wedding, with little knowledge of English. Because their interpreter speaks the language of the newly arrived bride or groom, this helps them feel at home. It can give this significant life event much more meaning.
     (FYI if the bride or groom speaks little English, they must provide an interpreter for their wedding. The interpreter need not be a professional. He or she signs a legal certificate which is then sent to the Registrar with the other wedding papers.)

We want short and simple but still want to add our own vows.

     Even in the simple ceremony, I invite couples to make personal vows to each other. These need not be in English. I remember back in May 2012, the sense of pure romance as Francesca and Aldo read pledges of their love for one another, in Italian. They read from beautiful gold-printed scrolls which Francesca had made.
     Of course, words written on small cards, or as letters to each other, serve the same intimate purpose. 

Karlo reads vows he has written for his
marriage to Jordan, before she reads
vows she has written from her smartphone.
     Occasionally couples will ad-lib their vows. Rather than writing from the heart and then reading, they speak directly from the heart during their ceremony. Sometimes, the emotion of the moment is rather overwhelming however and the mind goes blank! That’s when it’s helpful to have your vows pre-written.
    Simple weddings have sort of become my specialty or niche. Couples who google a registry office wedding in the ACT – where we have none – will often be directed to my blog by my friends, the googlebots. 
     With the Simple (but still) Special Service I provide a registry-style wedding. And when people who plan a short, simple wedding see photos of my Heart Garden, they are really glad they tell me, to be able to marry in such a beautiful place. And at no extra cost. (And bring champagne for a celebration toast with crystal glasses for everyone to drink from!) 
    I am also available to conduct simple ceremonies in any other location, on any day of the week, with any number of guests. Heart Garden weddings are small weddings, always held on weekdays.

We want a longer ceremony, unique to us as a couple.

     I still offer my full service as a celebrant. (But not in the Heart Garden.) 
     Personally, I am really happy when couples make this choice. I'm a writer and I love to help couples with the creation of a ceremony that speaks so clearly, just for them.
Clare and John chose my full service for their wedding at the
Pavilion on Northbourne on July 26 this year. I just loved
the opportunity to help them create their own ceremony.
    With the full service, there are two meetings and several other extras.
     The bride and groom prepare their ceremony, with lots of wording ideas and help available from me. Plus they may refer to other sources. They may like vows they heard in a TV show and found inspiring, or they’ll look for wedding wording ideas on the net. Once they’ve put their ceremony together, I give the wording a final polish. 
     I keep in mind how the ceremony will come across when presented live. I never change the wording of personal vows and I make sure that all legal requirements have been met. (I give the couple an explanatory handout on this at our first meeting.)
     I always wait for the email that OKs the final draft before I print the ceremony on thick parchment. I use the couple’s choice of font. Finally I tie the ceremony together into a booklet, with ribbon of their choice, ready for the big day.

     Whatever sized wedding you choose, I am deeply committed to making every wedding I take part in a wonderful, enjoyable and memorable event. 

     I realise that I play an essential part. As the celebrant. I can make the marriage legal. I have the authority to pronounce a couple ‘husband and wife’ (if that’s what they choose) but I like to keep my role to the side. 
     My preference during the wedding is always to stand to the side, rather than in between the bride and her groom. The groom and his bride are then centre-stage, not their celebrant. (And their photos won’t feature their celebrant as they gaze lovingly at each other while making their vows, or when they are exchanging their wedding rings.)
     I have many weddings booked for 2015 already. This means that 2015 is going to be a very special year in the lives of many couples, young and older. 
     Here’s to the New Year, and all the happiness it will bring!

Bringing in 2015
At the final Heart Garden wedding for this year, on December 29,
newlyweds Anjana and Shakil toast the year just ending, along with 2015,
the first year of their marriage. Here's to the happiest future, Shakil and Anjana!
    And farewell to 2014
Farewelling Vanessa and Mark as they leave the
Heart Garden, married.
3 October 2014
      If you’d like to book me as your celebrant, or have a chat about your wedding plans by phone, email, text or Skype video, I’d love to talk with you. My phone number is 0406 376 375 (9am to 9pm any day).

     Please email me directly or use this Email Contact Form. It’s on one of several Wedding Pages on this blog. (You’ll see these pages to the right on a large screen but on a small screen, you’ll find a menu for them at the top of the blog.)
     My congratulations and very best wishes to you both on your exciting wedding plans. 

Sincerely
Michele

PS My thanks to all the brides and grooms who have given me their permission to use photos from their wedding online. Many other couples choose to keep their weddings private and I always respect their wishes. 
    

19 October 2014

Brides are never late

Hello, and welcome.
     Brides are never late. This is my belief. Their timing is always perfect. They arrive in ‘bride time’ and bride time is not of man’s world. (You may quote me on that J).
Michelle had such a gentle radiance
about her when she married Jason
in the Sunken Garden of
Queanbeyan Park 
on Saturday 11 October 2104
     I know from my own wedding, way back last millennium, that preparing to be a bride and then actually appearing as the bride, can take a lot of time and care. It’s a truly unforgettable experience, even in a very low-key wedding.
     I will be glad when brides believe that it’s not rude to be late for their wedding. I will always give them reassurance and wait until they feel more relaxed and are fully present to the moment before I begin the ceremony.      I will also wait until the groom lets me know that he's ready to get married.
     I missed the start of my own wedding because I was so overwhelmed. I think I’d been waiting to hear: ‘Dearly beloved, we are gathered here ...’ since I was a little girl. But I missed it. And I know I’ll never hear those words for me again.
     I will take care to ensure that you don’t miss any of your wedding ceremony. I’ll wait until I get the OK from each of you individually before I start to read your ceremony. 
 Beautiful bride Bec married Brendan
in the Heart Garden on Friday 26 September.
Bec chose her favourite colours and the
garden responded with the same.
(It's WA wildflower, eremophila nivea
at the Heart Garden gate.) 
* see below

     I always ask the musicians or the guest looking after the entrance music to wait until I give them a sign before they stop or fade the music. This gives the groom and bride some ‘settling in’ time together before their ceremony starts.
     Once the ceremony begins, even though I speak quite slowly, the whole wedding can feel to the couple like it’s over in mere minutes! (By the way, I’ve had two years of voice training and attended several workshops for voice and public speaking. I used to run my own seminar centre and had a regular segment on 2CC. Have also talked on 2XX and local ABC radio. Have recorded a relaxation audio with ambient musician Dr Alan Hinde that always works because my voice is easy on the ear and Alan’s music was played from the heart.)

This is my advice to all beautiful brides 
(and all brides are beautiful because they radiate their joy):
     It’s fine to arrive at your wedding when you get there. Anyone who accuses you of being late and being rude is out of touch with your intention. You have not been planning to arrive after the time you were expected, according to the invitations you prepared.      
     Your intention is to get ready and arrive when you feel right, and when you feel truly ready to make such a significant commitment in your life. And on your day, your timing is perfect.
     So, arrive when you arrive and know that all is well.
Looking magnificent together in Tongan traditional
costume, Losi and JP married in the Heart Garden
on October 2014. Losi has written my a wonderful
review. It's on my Testimonial Wedding Page
  - Thank you so much, Losi.
     Take deep breaths and enjoy the thrill of seeing your beloved groom waiting for you. It’s his day too. Enjoy your most special day together.

If you’d like me to be your celebrant
     If you’d like me to be celebrant at your wedding, please contact me by email – click here – or by filling in the contact form in Wedding Pages. If you’re viewing this on your smartphone, you’ll probably see a tiny icon in the top left corner that will take you into Pages. (There’s also other information on this blog that only comes up on a larger screen.)
     My friends the googlebots may have directed you to this site because you were looking for a Canberra registry office wedding and you found out that they don’t exist. If you’d like a short and simple ceremony, this link will take you to that Wedding Page.
Robbie and Erica
married in the Heart Garden
on Wednesday 24 September.
Such a happy family day!
    You are most welcome to marry in my beautiful romantic garden on a weekday and you have up to eight guests or so. Many couples say to me: ‘This is so much better that getting married in a registry office.’ They are delighted by the ‘value adding’ of having their wedding in a large tranquil private garden. (There is no extra fee for this.)
     If you’d like my Simple Service on any day of the week, at any time of day or night, with any number of guests, then choose your own location and I’ll be there. (And I’ve recently found out that my fee is less than the NSW registry weekend fee, which has been set at $507.)
     If you’d like more opportunity to prepare your own ceremony, along with other extras, then you can read about my full service here.
     My other occupation is writer. I’ll give you all the help you wish to prepare a ceremony that speaks for both of you in such a way that your guests will be saying things like: ‘I can’t believe how perfect your ceremony sounded. It was so right for you two!’
     If you are doing a celebrant search before you make your decision, I’ll be very happy to talk with you on Skype. Just send a quick email and we'll arrange a time. Or phone me for a chat on 0406 376 375, anytime between 9 and 9 on anyday. Or email.
It was so easy for me to share the happiness
of Vicki and Donald

when they married at Lanyon Homestead in Tharwa
on Saturday September 20  2014
     My congratulations to you both on your happy plans. I’d love to be there for you as your celebrant when your wedding day at last arrives!

Sincerely,
Michele

* Brendan and Bec's photographer was Tate Needham, a real pleasure to work with. 
Tate sent me a link to the great photos he took on the day 

11 August 2014

'Going to the chapel of love .....'

Hello, and welcome
     As a young bride, I loved making a grand entrance down a long aisle in a gorgeous stone church. My lovely Mum and soon-to-be Mother-in-Law had worked together to fill the church with flowers, mostly from
Clare has arrived for her
marriage to John
26 July 2014
my Grandmother’s garden. The organist played ‘Here Comes the Bride’ as I walked with my smiling Dad. And there was my beloved, watching and waiting at the end of the aisle. (It still gives me thrills, just bringing it all back to mind.)

     Like me, many brides want a venue with a memorable aisle. At weddings in my Heart Garden, the bride can make a romantic entrance along the garden path. It winds from the rustic gate, past the fountain and out to the lawn. Here her groom awaits. (Or some couples simply choose to arrive together, often with their guests, as a happy group.)
   
Kyrsty walks along the
garden path to marry
Jesse. 1 Feb 2013

     Many couples would like to marry in a chapel. Non-religious chapels are rare in Canberra, and The Chapel at Gold Creek is a popular choice. I have it on good authority that there’s a plan for a chapel in the romantic, spacious gardens of Ginninderry Homestead. If we had a non-sectarian chapel on Canberra’s southside, I believe it would soon have lots of bookings.

     For a Saturday wedding at Gold Creek Chapel at the height of the wedding season, couples may need to book a very long time ahead. Stan at Gold Creek told me recently that he would encourage couples to consider a winter wedding. The Chapel is warm and sunlit and bookings are freely available. An off-season rate could apply.
Helen and Cheng married at
The Chapel at Gold Creek
on 12 March 2012
     Now we have the glorious new pavilion at the National Arboretum. What a place to bring your guests from interstate and overseas! To my mind, the Arboretum is already a national treasure. The Margaret Whitlam Pavilion  makes a superb wedding chapel. I haven’t had a booking there yet, but I'm looking forward to it. For such a memorable location, I think that the booking fee is very reasonable.
     At the National Library, there’s another opportunity for a chapel-style wedding. Over the years, I’ve been to a few weddings in Bookplate, after the cafe closed for the day. The wedding party stood with the magnificent Leonard French coloured glass windows behind them. This gave a cathedral-like effect. The chairs were arranged to give the bridal party an aisle through the guests.
Looking into the Margaret Whitlam Pavilion at the Arboretum
      And there's another garden I love, with a glorious aisle for the bride to make her entrance. It's at Crisp Galleries and Gardens, on the Hume Highway, just past Bowning. It's magical!
In the extensive gardens at Crisp Galleries,
there's an avenue of stately poplars for the bride to walk along.
       The photo of Clare, with love in her eyes, at the top of this blogpost, was taken before her marriage to John in the Pavilion on Northbourne in Braddon. The Atrium there is a magnificent indoor garden, very well maintained. This was the perfect venue for a garden wedding on a chilly winter’s afternoon. There’s no traditional aisle but Clare’s entrance was elegant and memorable as she came down the central spiral staircase with her Dad.

Photo taken from the third floor of the Atrium at The Pavilion on Northbourne

A DIY Chapel?
      Now, after years of searching, I believe I’ve found the perfect place for a DIY chapel. It’s the new community hall at Griffith. With a willing team of assistants, a couple could make a wonderful ‘chapel’ here. The end wall is all glass, north facing, with trees and open park in the background. The bridal aisle could be made short or long, depending on the arrangement of the chairs.

     This new public building is simple and elegant. It’s easily accessible and of course, has power available and toilet facilities. To the side of the hall, there’s a courtyard with flowering pear trees. They must have been quite advanced when they were planted as they already provide shade and ambiance. To the back of the hall is a generous kitchen.
Looking out into the
sunny protected
courtyard

     I imagine that a couple could have their wedding with the backdrop of the floor-to-ceiling windows, then perhaps a cocktail party in the back of the hall and spilling out into the courtyard. There’s plenty of room for dancing.
     
The north wall of the Griffith Community Hall
     I know the wooden floor is great for dancing because I’ve been going to Nia dancing there on Tuesday mornings. That’s how I discovered this unique place which could quickly and easily be fashioned into a wedding chapel for low cost and high impact. Bookings can be made through Southside Community Services on 6126 4700.

To contact me about your wedding
      If you would like me to be celebrant at your wedding, I’d love to be there for you. On this blog, there are several Wedding Pages with extra information to help you with your wedding plans.         
     There’s one Page of good reasons for choosing Michele as your celebrant. Such as, I will stand to the side where I can easily speak to you, as well as to your guests.
Karlo makes his special vows to Jordan
The Heart Garden
15 May 2014
(No celebrant in sight!)
This means that when you see your wedding photos, you won’t see your celebrant standing in the middle, centre-stage between you both. You’ll just see the two of you, sharing very precious moments to remember all your life. 

     There’s also a Page with an email contact form. Or email me directly by clicking or tapping here.

     
Jordan, the modern bride,
reads her vows to Karlo
from her smartphone.
Or if you prefer, phone me on 0406 376 375 on any day between 9am and 9pm. Please note that I no longer have a landline. Perhaps you’d like the three of us to chat on Skype before you make your celebrant decision? That’s easy to arrange.

     Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have about getting married. No obligation to book my service is implied. If you’ve decided to marry, my congratulations to you both, and thank you for visiting my blog.

Till next time
Sincerely,
Michele



And thank you Sarah for the testimonial you posted on Google Maps and TrueLocal. It is much appreciated. 

Michele was our celebrant for our wedding in July 2014 and our service was perfect. Michele is an AMAZING celebrant and made our wedding truly special. From the first time we met with her, we could tell that our wedding ceremony would be the personal, professional and upbeat ceremony that we wanted. Her kindness and enthusiasm won us over. She was as genuinely as excited as we were for our big day. Our guests came up to us afterwards and praised the beautiful ceremony and how wonderful Michele was.

I will be recommending her to all my friends and family with upcoming weddings. Thank you Michele
Jake and Sarah married at cosy 'Sweet Copper' in Gold Creek Village
on 15 July 2014

10 March 2014

Happy wedding days, and some helpful information about getting married in Australia


Hello, and welcome   
Just married!
Carla and Kyle share their joy.
The Heart Garden Friday 31 January 2014
     I am delighted when I meet again, couples for whom I have been celebrant, sometimes several years before. Since I’ve been celebrant at well over one thousand weddings, sometimes I need prompting to remember. It’s the visuals that give me the best clues, like what the bride was wearing and what her flowers were.
Cheryl arrives with her father to marry Charles

Gabby and Dan married in October 2012
     Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of officiating at the wedding of Cheryl and Charles in my Heart Garden. Amongst the small close group of friends who attended this happy event were Amy and Haibo, and Dan and Gabby. 
Amy and Haibo married in November 2012












   

Here’s the photo of all of us together. Tomorrow I’ll be celebrant for Anyao and Nan, also in the same group of friends.

Some helpful information about getting married in Australia:

     Until your papers are sent to the Registrar for registration after your marriage has taken place, your celebrant does everything.

     Every so often I get a call or question about lodging the Notice of Intended Marriage with the Registrar’s Office. One groom was concerned lately that there was an error in one of the names on the Notice that he and his fiancĂ©e had lodged with me. 
     Had the Notice gone to the Registrar already? 
     Would they have to resubmit their Notice and pay another fee? 
     I quickly reassured him that as their registered civil celebrant, I am the lodging authority. The Notice and the payment stay with me.
     The change in the name was easy for me to make, and to initial. I put a note with their Notice that the groom would also need to initial the change. There was, of course, no extra cost involved.
     In Australia, your celebrant is the authority who has to sight all your documents and make sure that all requirements of the Marriage Act have been met before your wedding takes place. At meetings with couples, I explain these requirements thoroughly.
Charles and Cheryl with their framed
Certificate of Marriage
     After your wedding, your celebrant sends your Notice of Intended Marriage, along with one of the certificates you sign at your wedding – there are three - to the Registrar in the state or territory in which you married. 
     When all the paperwork submitted has been fully checked, the Registrar assigns a registration number to your marriage. You may then buy a certificate with your registration number on it from the Registrar’s office, to use for all official purposes, such as changing your name on your driver’s licence.
     Your celebrant has two weeks to send your papers to the Registrar and a member of the ACT Registrar’s staff has told me that their processing can take up to three weeks. Your registration then, can take five weeks after your wedding, if you fill in your application immediately, either online or at the Registrar's Office in Fyshwick. If I'm your celebrant, I'll give you an application form at our meeting. 
     Many couples are in no great hurry to get what’s called ‘the full certificate’ from the Registrar’s Office, but if time is of the essence (such as for a visa application) the registration of your marriage can take much less than five weeks.
     What about the other two certificates? 
     You receive an attractive certificate at your wedding, which I always fill in with your choice of font. 
     This certificate used to be enough for points for a bank loan and so on, but these days you’ll need a full certificate with your registration number on it. The one you receive at your wedding is now your personal certificate. Some couples like to frame it.
     Your celebrant keeps the third certificate for a minimum of six years. Because I have a beautiful, leather-bound, gold-imprinted wedding register, I plan to keep mine forever. 

     I was informed again earlier this year, by the sole supplier of celebrant stationery to every celebrant in Australia, that I am still the only civil celebrant who has purchased one of these grand books. 
     I think it looks great in wedding photos. There are 400 certificates in the register altogether and I don’t mind that it’s heavy when I carry it to weddings. 
     Many celebrants now keep a single sheet of paper as their certificate from your wedding.
Wen signs my register after her marriage to Dehai
26 June 2012
     If you’d like me to be celebrant at your wedding, either with the full service I provide, in which I'll give you lots of help in creating a wedding ceremony, unique to you both as a couple, or with the simple service, please email me, using this contact form. The simple service can be held in my garden on a weekday, or at any other venue, on any day, at any time.
     Or phone me for a chat on 0406 376 375. If you're still researching celebrants, we can arrange a meeting by Skype if you’d like it. 
     Meetings with couples who book me as their celebrant for their very special day, are held at my home, in my green room, mostly on Monday and Wednesday evenings
     I've had a lot of fun uploading lots of photos from recent weddings for this blog. If you enjoy looking at wedding photos as much as I do, there's a slideshow of my blog album beside this post (if you're looking at a large screen). It's easy to enlarge the show by clicking or tapping. Or here's a direct link.
Please feel free to share, and to add comments.
ShienEe arrives for her marriage to Kurt
Cedar Forest
National Arboretum Canberra ACT
18 December 2013




Kurt and ShienEe are married!

Till next time

Sincerely,
Michele

13 February 2014

Valentine's Day is good for the heart

Hello, and welcome
     It’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow and many minds turn to thoughts of love. Cynics may say this day is just an excuse to sell cards but you can’t send a card, a text or an email to someone you love without thinking about them first. And your thoughts will evoke warm, loving emotions.
A new year of Heart Garden weddings begins.
I share the happiness of Megs and Josh in the shady garden
on a hot summer's day.
     In the Heart Garden, tomorrow's unusual. There'll be a wedding in the afternoon as well as one in the morning. The two happy couples will have a wedding anniversary that will always be easy to remember!
     Last year there were 35 weddings in the Heart Garden, all lovely and all special. 
Alicia and her flower-girls in early October
    
It's a legal requirement of the Marriage Act that all civil celebrants request an review of their performance from every couple they are celebrant for. (Note here though, that couples are not required by law to do a review.)






Eliza was a June bride
     Often couples will go to my Review Page after their wedding and then use the form to send me a review about how wonderful their wedding was. I always appreciate their kind words. Lisa and Simon (on the right) wrote after their December '13 wedding, with a 10/10 rating:
     Thank you so much Michelle for being our celebrant. Your garden was amazing and we felt so happy walking in to your Heart Garden.

     After much spontaneous feedback about how unique and memorable a Heart Garden wedding is, and several suggestions that my fee should be higher, I'm announcing that the fee from now for a Heart Garden wedding, held on any weekday - not weekends - with up to about 8 guests, is now $450. 
Leanne and Matthew married in the
green room, overlooking the garden,
on a cool day in late May.
     This brings the fee into line with my fee for a Simple (but still) Special Service at any other venue, on any day, with any number of guests. The fee for my full service remains at $600 (payable in two parts - at a half-hour lodgment meeting, and a one-hour meeting in the week of the wedding).

Bronwyn walks in to wed Alistair
     As before, if my Simple Service in the Heart Garden is your choice, the fee will be payable at our one-hour meeting, as this is when nearly all the admin for the wedding is completed. 

     When we get together for your ceremony, except for signing declarations that you are legally eligible to marry each other, all the preparation has been done. Your wedding can begin as soon as the bride makes her entrance through the rustic gate, past the fountain and along the garden path to her groom. (Unless you choose to come into the garden together, of course.) 

     After the ceremony, if you wish, we can all have a small celebration with sparkling wine (or non-alcoholic drink). I'll supply the crystal glasses. We can sign the certificates at our leisure, while your guests enjoy the garden and take lots of photos of you both. I suggest you allow at least 'a good hour' for your Heart Garden wedding. It can take less time, it can take more - the choice is yours.
Rikki and Ben celebrate
their winter wedding

     I've also decided to add a fee of $30 if I need to prepare a letter for a Visa application. I do this at the meeting, so the meeting takes about an hour and a quarter altogether. When the overseas partner arrives in Canberra, we have an extra meeting to 'meet and greet' and finalise the paperwork.

     If you would like me to be your celebrant, please email me by clicking or tapping here, or by filling in the email contact form in the Wedding Pages on the right of this blogpost. There are several pages of information there but they they may not appear on the screen of your phone or small tablet. If not, you'll see a 'Pages' menu at the top.

Newlyweds Georgina and Kirk,
leaving the Heart Garden
27 September 2013
     Or phone, or text, me any day from 9am to 9pm on my mobile 0406 376 375. (I no longer have a landline.) 

     I'm happy to answer any questions you may have. We can have a chat on Skype if you'd like, but please note here that I have meetings only with couples who have booked me for their wedding.

     Being Valentine's Day, maybe there'll be a proposal tomorrow! Please keep me in mind as a very experienced, friendly, efficient celebrant who loves her work and would be delighted to be part of your wedding, either in the Heart Garden or at another special venue you have chosen together.

     Till next time
     Sincerely
     Michele