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.

Twelve Reasons for Choosing Michele as Your Celebrant

Updated November 2015

Please note - this is a Wedding Page. If you'd like to visit my blog, where you'll find masses of information about getting married in the ACT and surrounds, and getting married in Australia in general, click hereMy latest wedding news and photos are on my facebook page.

Your day is my focus
That's my promise
It's my pleasure

I've chosen as my logo ‘Your day is my focus’? What does this mean?
          It means that from the moment I wake up on your wedding day, my thoughts are on your wedding and helping you make it wonderful. Actually, well before the big day I am already working towards your most successful and memorable day.

Experienced... friendly... flexible...efficient

Choosing Michele as your celebrant - 

12 good reasons, plus one other

I'll start here with the 'plus one other' since it's a reason you may decide not to contact me. Here's the reason: I meet with couples who have already decided to book me for their wedding. 
       If you're not familiar with my work, you'll find lots of information in this blog about me and the service I provide as a celebrant. There are several images of me in my celebrant role, where of course I'm looking very happy because my role is such a privilege and it's all to do with love. 
        I welcome you to email me or phone me with any questions you may have. If you wish, we can arrange a Skype video call together to talk about your wedding and the service I can provide for you both.
I've posted two videos on You Tube so you can see what I look like ‘live’, hear how I sound and get a feel for whether I'm the right celebrant for you or not.  
        I understand that your choice of wedding celebrant is a really important one. I believe that it's critical to the success of your wedding. 
        If you plan to consider only the celebrants you have interviewed in person, I'm sorry we won't be getting together to work towards your special day. Thank you for visiting 'Michele the Celebrant' and I hope you've found the general information helpful with your planning. I wish you a wonderful successful wedding.
If however, you're interested in knowing more, please read on :)
        
Why would you choose me as your celebrant? 

Here are twelve excellent reasons

 1      I am enthusiastic. I totally love the work I do. My role and purpose are to serve you. I consider it a great privilege to be with you at this most significant time in the life you share together. I will put my heart into your wedding (but I promise I won’t go OTT!)
 On the left is a photo of me beside a bride who is totally in love with her new husband. Can you see how much I love being around a vibe like this?

 2         I am very experienced. I know what I'm doing – I really know what I'm doing! 
         I’ve been celebrant for over one thousand weddings. This has given me heaps of experience in many different settings,like a balloon, boats large and small, large islands like Springbank in Lake Burley Griffin, and of course Aspen Island with the National Carillon. Plus an island in the Macquarie River that so small, only five of us could fit. We crossed to the island on a narrow plank and the guests sat on the bank across the water!
          I even officiated once at a ceremony inside a local Catholic chapel, with the blessing of the priest in charge. I've taken part in many other different circumstances, like when a couple had their wedding, simply sitting in their family room with a couple of friends. 
          I've taken part in a wedding ceremony within a grand choral concert in a small valley in the Brindabellas. I've been at a wedding in a bush chapel on a hill high above Wells Station and a sunset wedding on Tharwa bridge when it was closed to traffic. There have been many other memorable settings. 
          I once married twin sister brides in a dual ceremony in Glebe Park! And, in answer to a question I often get when couples are signing their Notice of Intended Marriage - yes, I have had a wedding where the bride and groom were related to each other. They were first cousins, and the bride's name was the same before and after, even though she chose to have a married name.
I’ve officiated at Buddhist weddings, a Quaker wedding, themed weddings (including a mediaeval wedding in the Senate Chamber of Old Parliament House) and a wedding for a minor where we needed permission from the court. 
I've shared two most enjoyable weddings, complete with prayers, with ex-priest Paul Collins. 
If you are overseas (one or both of you) and you plan to marry in Australia, you can be confident that I can help you every step along the way. In September 2013, a couple flew from Italy to marry in my Heart Garden, then after a few days' touristing, flew back home again. My garden and I felt very honoured.
(Please note here however that I am no longer available to assist with fiance/e visas.)
Also, if you are interstate and you plan to marry in Canberra, I can make the process as easy for you as possible. We can do so much by email, including the lodgement of your Notice so that your one-month waiting time starts sooner.
Here I am with Cate and Terry
at their home in Burra NSW on 20 April 2013.
This is my one thousandth wedding.

  I’ve learned to greet guests in Mandarin, Thai, Japanese, Finnish, Serbian, Spanish, Portuguese, Korean, French, and Bahasa Indonesia. I’ve even read a poem in Latin during a beautiful private ceremony. I just had to hope that the pronunciations I came up with from three years of high school Latin were OK. I love the variety in this amazing job!

 3         I won’t overbook and I'll never say 'the bride is late'
          Your wedding day needs to be as stress-free as possible. You want to know that your celebrant won’t be delayed at someone else’s wedding and turn up late for yours. If I have another wedding on a particular day, the bookings will be spaced with a very generous time cushion in between. I’ll always have my mobile with me to answer calls or messages.
          To my way of thinking, brides are never late. I personally believe that on her own day, the bride arrives in her own perfect 'bride time'. I also believe that that 'bride time' is not of man's world.

 4        I’ll be thereIn over twenty years, I have never been ill or had to change a wedding arrangement. 
           If my perfect record had to change for any reason, I could easily recommend an excellent replacement. As well as knowing celebrants who have been authorised for as long as I have, I've met many of my new celebrant colleagues at our annual Ongoing Professional Development sessions. 
           Rest assured that if the need arises, changing your celebrant is a very simple process, even at the last minute.

 5      I’ll make your marriage totally legal
          You can be confident that I'll carry out the requirements of the Australian Marriage Act to the letter. I think I may be one of the few civil celebrants who has actually read the entire Marriage Act, cover to cover.
If there’s anything about the current nature of legal marriage in Australia you’re not comfortable with – and this is not uncommon – then we’ll find a way to work together, yet stay strictly within the Act.
With me as your celebrant, you can be sure your marriage will be legalised (or solemnised) correctly.

 6     I'm flexible with the content of your ceremony and the way that it's conducted
       Over the years, there were many variations in the weddings I conducted, from the traditional Sri Lankan Poruwa to the shattering of the glass by a Jewish groom. As I now specialise in simple weddings because I'm building up my writing career, these options are - sadly - no longer available.
        I'm still happy with simple weddings to totally step aside and let the couple and their special people run the wedding themselves, calling on me to do the legalising. Even in a simple ceremony, I always welcome couples to add their own personal vows. 
        I'm also very happy to conduct a ceremony with a trainee celebrant and provide feedback.
        Being a celebrant is my main role. I can be available for a wedding at any time, day or evening, weekday or weekend. If the time to start needs to be auspicious according to your culture, I will fit in with your choice.
        I had a wedding a while ago where the prospective bride and groom were in a remote part of South America. They needed to find a notary to sign their Notice of Intended Marriage and get it to me one month and one day before their wedding date. (That was the law at the time.)
       By the time they’d got to a capital city and found a notary, and emailed the Notice to me, the month and a day took them to the day after they'd planned. It was the day the groom’s parents were leaving Australia to fly back to England. 
      Our solution? Hold the wedding at one minute past midnight. And it was so lovely! We had candles, and fairy lights in the trees. There was even a full moon to add to the glow, and since it was just after Christmas, the evening air was warm and pleasant. The groom's parents flew to England later that morning.    
     I’ve also had weddings at dawn, like one on Mount Ainslie at sunrise, one on Mount Taylor at the same time, and one by the lake that was rather chilly for the feet.
     Sometimes the party’s already started when the wedding takes place and I'm easy with that too. I’ve officiated at quite a few weddings like this. These 'party' weddings have a different feel to traditional weddings which begin with the entrance of the bridal party to the chosen venue. There are often lots of laughs. Sometimes the guests join in with cheeky comments!

 7       I present myself well, and my voice is clear and strong.               Sometimes I hear horror stories about celebrants who wore inappropriate clothing to a wedding, like loud clashing colours. Or people say the celebrant looked fine but her/his voice wasn't pleasant to listen to, or it wasn't clear and strong. When a celebrant stands out for all the wrong reasons in the memory of couples or their guests, it seems that these bad memories can be long lasting!
I take great care with my appearance. I wear high quality suits and my jewellery is discreet. If you're planning a definite colour scheme, I'll ask you for details so I can blend in unobtrusively with my clothing choice.                                  Sometimes when I know the couple well, I'm invited as a guest. This gives me the chance to wear something that’s less businesslike. (By the way, you are never expected to invite your celebrant to your reception.)
You may have been to a wedding where you couldn’t hear what the celebrant was saying. With me as your celebrant, there is no risk of this. I have a small portable, battery-driven state-of-the-art, top-of-the-line PA system with cordless microphone. The sound quality is excellent, and I'll do a sound-check before we start the ceremony. If you wish, one of your guests can plug a phone into my amplifier to play music for the bride's entrance. I also have an extra microphone to use if we need an interpreter. 
 Sometimes the bride and groom like to hold the microphone for their personal vows. At other times, I will say to guests something like:‘Simon and Tasha will now share vows they have chosen just for each other’. In this instance, guests understand they may not hear all that's being said at that intimate part of the ceremony.
My diction is clear and my voice is well-modulated. I’ve had two years of voice training - we used to call it Elocution - and I've done several voice training workshops. 
I used to have a short segment every week on Radio 2CC to commentate on current events from a psychologist's perspective. Occasionally I ran long sessions on community radio 2XX and sometimes I was interviewed on the ABC. I’ve sold a couple of thousand relaxation tapes, featuring my gentle and relaxing Australian voice. The audio is now free on my new website michelebolitho.com

 8    I am upfront about my fee.  It's $500
The fee I quote you covers everything.* There are no hidden costs.
For the Simple (but still) Special Service, either in my Heart Garden or in another location you've chosen, you pay the full fee of $500* at the one meeting we have together. This meeting takes about an hour. It's a comprehensive meeting that will completely prepare you both for getting married. If there's a cancellation of the wedding, up to two weeks before the wedding date, a refund of $200 will be given.
The meeting to lodge your Notice of Intended Marriage must be held at least one month before your wedding (unless you have already emailed your signed and witnessed Notice to me earlier).
There's more information about my fees here.
At our meeting, you choose your ceremony wording and have a virtual rehearsal. It covers every little thing so that when it comes to the wedding, you’ll be totally confident about exactly what's going to happen, and when. 
At your wedding, along with your two witnesses and myself, you'll sign three certificates. I'll send one to the Registrar for the registration of your marriage and I'll keep one in my register. Your witnesses must be 18 or over. If they're related to you, that's no problem.
You'll receive a Personal Certificate printed in your choice of font, along with your ceremony on high quality parchment, printed in the same font. I place both these documents in a clear wallet for safe-keeping. All of this is included in my fee.
After your wedding, I send your papers to the Registrar for registration. These are your Notice of Intended Marriage and one marriage certificate. You will then need to buy an Official Certificate from the Registrar. I'll give you more information about this at our meeting.
When you book with me, I will tell you exactly what costs are involved and at our meeting, I’ll provide you with a signed agreement. 

*  I will only quote extra for travel when I need to go beyond ‘city limits’ – past Watson, Lanyon, Hall or Queanbeyan. I calculate the extra for my return journey beyond these limits at $1 per kilometre (or less per km for long distances) and you'll see this extra amount in our agreement.

 9        I’m readily available, any day of the week, with plenty of advice and expertise to share. 
         Because I'm self-employed, I'm available for weddings during weekends or week days. I'm available day or night. If you choose to marry in my Heart Garden – and there’s no extra fee for this - it will be a small weekday wedding. Of course I will travel to any other location for your weekday wedding, whatever size. It's usually in the ACT or nearby NSW but I'm willing to travel further.
My timing is flexible. Please feel free to phone me any day between 9am and 9pm to chat about your wedding, or ask me any general questions about getting married. 
I'm also a writer on personal wellbeing. I'm usually at my computer during the day (if I haven’t been lured into the garden because the sun is shining and the garden is calling me). I'm often at my computer after dinner as well, so if you email me, expect a swift reply.
At our meeting, I’ll provide you with a simple set ceremony and we'll adapt it with your details. You can make choices from options within the ceremony, like do you prefer ‘ask those here present’ to ‘call on those here present’ in the compulsory legal part? 
Choose your own ending, like the traditional ‘I now declare you husband and wife’ or the less formal ‘Congratulations. You are married!’ During the Simple ceremony, there's an option to read vows to each other that you've brought with you to your wedding - perhaps on small cards, perhaps on special scrolls.

           
 10       You’ll know exactly what to expect on the day
              With the Simple service, in the one hour we spend together, I'll give you details about exactly what will happen at your wedding, from the arrival of the bride (or both of you together) to the signing of the three certificates and a presentation of the newlyweds. If you marry in my garden, you may choose to have a celebration drink with crystal glasses. Please BYO bubbly.
          I’ll make sure that you are both very well-informed about proceedings. I can’t however, prepare you for the unique emotional atmosphere of your wedding ceremony. What I can do though, when we are standing together about to start your ceremony, is wait for each of you to feel that you are totally present. Many years ago, I missed the beautiful much-anticipated ‘Dearly beloved, we are gathered here’ at the beginning of my own wedding, because I was so overwhelmed. I don't want this to happen to you. 
          I don't want you to miss a moment of your wedding. I want to make sure that you are each centred and grounded before the ceremony begins. I’ll start when you each give me the nod. I will speak clearly and slowly during your ceremony so everyone can take in the wording, including both of you. It's likely however, that you’ll think it all goes way too fast! You may remember your wedding as a magnificent blur!
          
 11         I won’t appear in the middle of your wedding photos. I will not stand in the traditional place between the bride and groom (unless you ask me to, of course.)
I prefer to stand slightly off to the side. From here I can have face-to-face contact with all the guests, as well as the marrying couple. It also means that the bride and groom are at the centre of everything, not the celebrant. 
 This will also give you a ‘sacred space’ of your own. Sometimes I even feel a need to step aside a little further when vows are being shared, as the emotions are so powerful and personal.
When you see your wedding photos, you won’t see me in shot at those very special moments, like when you’re making your vows, when you're exchanging rings or when you're enjoying your first kiss as husband and wife. I think you’ll be glad of that.

 12       I can help you with other choices for your wedding. I am familiar with many wedding venues in ACT and nearby NSW, from little quiet places in a bush setting, to grand amphitheatres - even grand amphitheatres in a bush setting.
To give you a great setting for your ceremony, I know what’s flowering and when. I know places that will impress your guests, especially those from interstate and overseas. I know of unusual places, like a magical place in a wild wood near the lake, with large spotted toadstools like in fairytales. I know a place with cathedralesque gum trees, and a forest with mighty redwoods, especially perfect for mediaeval nuptials.
I can recommend reception places for their specific atmosphere and style of food. I know some excellent photographers. I’ve seen a few extraordinary wedding cakes and found out who made them. I know very good florists. I can recommend musicians. I'm happy to help you with ideas about other wedding services and please note that, while I certainly have my personal favourites, I have no commercial arrangements with any wedding service providers.

In conclusion

Six celebrants have chosen me to be their celebrant at their own weddings. I think this is a great testimonial. When you think about the number of celebrants getting married, it's statistically a very small population. Six in such a small population is surely a very significant number.
I've become ‘our celebrant’ to several families and groups of friends and that’s just lovely. Sometimes I get to meet the babies and see them grow.
        
That’s about all I can think of at the moment. I’ll keep this list dynamic so I can add to it or change it anytime.
Please let me know if there are any questions you have about the services I provide as celebrant. Email me, or phone or text 0406 376 375 any day between 9am and 9pm. 
My role is to make you feel confident about your choice of wedding celebrant, and to help you stay relaxed and full of joyful anticipation. Your wedding is a unique and wonderful event. It must be just the way you both want it.
To me you are always valued clients and I am your service provider. I am here to meet your needs. I will give you advice and suggestions but make no demands. I will conduct your wedding with a quiet air of authority. You will feature, centre-stage. It's your day.
I will provide you with efficient, flexible, professional, yet friendly service. I am totally committed to making your wedding fully legal, a great pleasure to take part in, and a most memorable success. It will be a great lead-in to your celebrations, as well as an unforgettable beginning to your married life together.


Thank you for visiting this page. I hope we'll make more contact. My very best wishes to you both.

Your day is my focus
That's my promise
It's my pleasure



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