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.

05 November 2015

Welcoming the world to marry in Canberra

Hello, and welcome.
Jimena (born in Colombia, South America) and Luke (born in ACT Australia)
married on the second day of Spring  under the pine trees in Nara Peace Park,
then celebrated with a gourmet picnic.

It's a particularly glorious spring this year in our nation's beautiful capital. 
     Living in Canberra is like living in an enormous park. Even in the newest suburbs - and Canberra is expanding rapidly - advanced trees are planted in new streets by our nature-conscious local government, usually before the houses are built.
      You may be a local reading this and you may be wondering why I'm spelling out that Canberra is our nation's capital. It's a cause of surprise and delight for me when I see Google's analytics and notice how many people in how many different countries are reading this blog.
Gabby and Dan
mid-October 2012
     Mars and Jenny live in Shanghai in China. Their friends Dan and Gabby, who are living here in Canberra, were married in the Heart Garden in the spring of 2012. 
     Mars saw their wedding photos but also visited the garden's blog cometomyheartgarden.com. There's a menu there for twelve slideshows. They show how the garden looks in each month of the year. 
     Jenny and Mars loved the garden images and chose early October. October is mid-spring in our hemisphere.
     I've imported these links for monthly slideshows into my Pinterest account to make access to them easier. There's a Visit Site button top left on the cover photo for each month. Also, I've rekindled my interest in Instagram. It's been fun collecting beautiful images lately as I walk around the garden with my phone and quickly upload them to share.    
     Early last month, Jenny and Mars flew to Canberra to marry in the Heart Garden. The day before their wedding, we had a meeting together. The day after their wedding, they flew back to Shanghai. 
Jenny walks along the garden path to join her groom, Mars.
They have flown from China to marry in the Heart Garden.
How extraordinarily special is this?!
4 October 2015
Getting married in Australia
     There are no residency requirements for getting married in Australia. The Australian Marriage Act of 1961 applies in all states and in both the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).
     Your celebrant (or church) does all the preparation for your marriage, not the government registry. (The exception here is for marriages that actually take place at a government registry office.) 
     In ACT we have no registry office weddings. Couples must choose a private civil celebrant for a simple registry-style wedding, or marry in church.
      Like all couples in Australia, couples coming from overseas must lodge their Notice of Intended Marriage with their chosen celebrant at least one month before the wedding date.
This can be done by scan and email. (Or by airmail.)
Mars and Jenny, married, 
and displaying with 
pleasure, their
marriage certificate.
     Documents proving date and place of birth must be sighted by the celebrant before the marriage can take place. As well, official evidence must be sighted of how previous marriage/s ended, if this applies. If a scan from overseas has been used for the lodging of the Notice, then the original must be given to the celebrant before the wedding.
     After the wedding, as with all marriages in Australia, the celebrant sends the paperwork to the local registry for registration of the marriage. No copies of private papers (such as passport scans) are kept by the celebrant, nor the Registrar. 
     A marriage in Australia becomes completely legal during the marriage ceremony and not with the signing of the certificates. This means that if anything happens to the paperwork, the legality of the marriage is not effected.
     There are three certificates of marriage altogether. Every couple takes home with them, a personal marriage certificate, which documents the details of the marriage that's just taken place. I always fill out this attractive certificate in a font that's been chosen by the couple during our meeting.
Just married.  Late October 2015
Extremely happy couple Jayne and Cameron with their
personal marriage certificate. It's been printed
in the font of their choice.
     The celebrant keeps one certificate and one certificate is sent to the Registrar in the local territory or state for registration. Even though the one to the Registrar is commonly called the 'official' certificate, all three certificates are of course, legitimate legal documents. 
     After their marriage, couples overseas, just like local couples, can apply online to the Registry Office for what's called a 'full marriage certificate'. This will record the information from the official certificate sent in by the celebrant. It will also have a registration number on it. (You will pay the Registry Office for this certificate.)
My first attempt at
an infographic has
been lots of fun. But way
too time-consuming!
(I used Canva. It's a free
design site.)
     When I refer to paperwork sent to the registrar by the celebrant after the wedding, I'm referring to the Official Certificate of Marriage and the Notice of Intended Marriage. If the couple needed an interpreter during the ceremony, as Jenny and Mars did, then the Interpreter's Certificate is also sent to the Registrar.
     Mars's good friend Dan was interpreter for him and Jenny. The interpreter does not need to be professional, however they must declare competency in both languages. In this case it was Mandarin (Shanghai-ese) and English (Aussie-style).
     Of the sixteen weddings already where I've been celebrant this spring, ten were hosted in my garden. The brides and grooms had many different origins - Australia, Malaysia, Ghana, China, South Korea, Scotland, the Philippines, India and France. My magical garden is truly a place for uniting nations!
Aussie husband Justin shares
another kiss with his lovely
French wife, Lolita.
16 October 2015
     In a recent facebook post, I uploaded photos of the wedding of Susana and Edmund, both born in Ghana. After a long pre-marriage visa process, they married as soon as Edmund arrived in Oz. On Friday October 16, Lolita from France married Justin who was born in Australia. A very simple ceremony was exactly what they wanted. (A simple service is printed on just one A4 page!)

     Simply beautiful 
     and beautifully simple . . . . . 
     
     This is my description of a wedding in my Heart Garden. If this style of wedding feels just right for you, you’ll be so welcome to marry in my garden. (There is no extra fee for marrying in the Heart Garden.)
     If you’d like a beautifully simple wedding in another lovely location, I’d be delighted to join you there.
     If you’d like a longer ceremony, perhaps with added vows and readings, then you may choose my full service. There’s a detailed PDF here. (If you have trouble opening this, please email or phone me and I'll send you a copy.)
     I’d love to help you craft a unique wedding ceremony that expresses your individual personalities, along with what you both want as a couple. As well as being a civil marriage celebrant, I'm a published writer. My degree is in English and psychology. I used to have a weekly column called 'Good Thinking' in a local newspaper and I’ve had several articles published online. (At ezine articles I’ve been granted ‘Expert Writer’ status in two wellbeing categories.)
Dolly (born in the Philippines) enters the Heart Garden with her son for her marriage to Alan.
Such a joyful wedding, in peaceful and private surroundings.
8 October 2015
Dolly enjoys the scent of  √álematis Montant √Čliza'beth
     Heart Garden weddings are for couples with eight guests or so, and are only held on weekdays. I'm available however for long and short weddings, at any location at any time, on any day, for any number of guests. I've been to weddings at sunrise and also at suppertime. And I'm happy to travel.

     If you’re planning to marry, my congratulations to you both!

     My fees are in my Wedding Pages, along with lots of other information about getting married. There's a collection of reviews as well. If you're reading this blog on your mobile, there's a tiny MENU button (or icon) above this post. It will take you to all my Wedding Pages.
     If you enjoy looking at wedding photos - as I do - there's an extensive slideshow in my sidebar, along with other features. You may need to look for this on a tablet, laptop or desktop as I can't see it anywhere on my android phone.
     If you’d like me to be your celebrant, I’d love to be there for you. With a booking, or simply an enquiry, please phone or text me on 0406 376 375 any day between 9am and 9pm. If I miss your call, it’s probably because I’m totally absorbed in working in the garden! I’ll call you back as soon as I get your message.
     Or you can fill in the email contact form here and I’ll soon respond by phone or email. Perhaps you'd like us to have a video chat on Skype before you make your decision? That's fine with me too. 
     I hope your final choice of marriage celebrant is me :)
     
Sincerely,
Michele



The Heart Garden in mid-Spring 2015