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.

SIMPLE SERVICE - Registry Office ACT wedding substitute

Please note - this is a Wedding Page. If you'd like to visit my blog, where you'll find lots of information about getting married in the ACT and surrounds, and getting married in Australia in general, click here. You may also like to visit my Celebrant Fee page to learn more about the service I'd love to provide for you both. My latest wedding news and photos are on my facebook page. There are more photos on Pinterest.
A gorgeous spring bride walks the garden path
Bronwyn walks along the garden path
to her waiting groom, Alistair

Simply beautiful and beautifully simple .....

My Simple (but still special) Service 
is very popular, especially with couples who would marry at the ACT Registry Office if they could. 

There are no Registry Office weddings 
in the ACT. 

Even if you wish to marry as soon as possible, you will need to wait one month from lodgement of your Notice of Intended Marriage. Although it's not widely known, this waiting time has been law in Australia since 1961. (The Registrar may approve a shorter time in some very limited circumstances, but you must apply for a shortening through your celebrant.) 

I can help you marry one month from the minute you first contact me.

The Simple Service I provide can be held at any venue, at any time, on any day or evening, with any number of guests. 

I've been celebrant at well over one thousand weddings. Since the wedding room closed at the ACT Registrar's Office many years ago, simple weddings have become my specialty. 

Simply beautiful and beautifully simple .....

Getting married in my Heart Garden or other special venue, is a truly lovely alternative to a basic registry office wedding. Several hundred weddings have been held in my peaceful romantic garden. In 2014, much to my surprise, my Heart Garden appeared in The Canberra Times as No 5 in Canberra's Top Ten Wedding venues.

Heart Garden ceremonies can be held on any day and begin at any time, from 10.30 am to 4.30pm.
Crystal flutes, ready for the celebration of the marriage

Allow up to an hour and a half for arriving, getting married, signing certificates, having a celebratory drink perhaps. (You put out the crystal flutes. You bring the bubbly. But please - no food.) 

Feel free to linger and take as many photos as you wish - perhaps by a photographer you bring with you, or simply by your guests. 

Of course, if you plan to keep your wedding event as short and simple as possible, it will take a lot less than an hour. 

Maximum number of guests at a Heart Garden wedding is around 10, maybe a couple more (not counting children). Children are always welcome. 

You'll need one witness each. They can be anyone 18 or over - relatives included - with a good understanding of English.

A winter wedding in the warm sunny green room
Dehai and Wen had a winter wedding
in the green room
If the weather's not so human-friendly on your wedding day, the ceremony, and quite possibly the signing as well, will take place in my Green Room. This room has windows on three sides, all overlooking the garden. Sunshine from the west pours in on autumn and winter afternoons, from about 2.30 onwards. You and your guests will be warm and cosy, with the central heating on. 

Or, if your wedding day is extra hot, we can hold the ceremony inside. You and your guests will be cool and fresh, with the central evaporative-cooling on. You may like to linger in the garden for a celebration drink and photos.

My fee of $600 covers everything you need. 

If your wedding plan changes, a refund of $350 may apply.

There is no extra fee to marry in my Heart Garden.

Heart autumn leaf in the Heart GardenThis fee includes lodging your Notice of Intended Marriage with me as your lodging authority, at least one month before your wedding. This is usually done at a one-hour meeting in Weston, but can be done earlier by email, SMS or mail if necessary. Because there's quite a lot more to be done than just lodging your Notice of Intended Marriage, we'll still need to have a one-hour meeting before you can marry. (We can do this by Skype if necessary.)

Note here that you lodge your Notice with your registered celebrant. Like all other celebrants, both civil and religious, I only send your wedding papers to the Registrar after you've been married. Your marriage actually comes into effect during your wedding ceremony. Your wedding papers are then sent to the Registrar's Office in the territory or state in which you married, for the registration of your marriage. 

This also means that if you plan to change your name with marriage, this change comes into legal effect during your ceremony, not when your marriage is registered. You may however, need documentation from the Registrar's Office that your marriage has taken place, e.g. when applying for a new driver's licence. (The certificate you receive at your wedding is a legal document, but will not have the necessary registration number on it.) 

At your wedding, you'll receive an attractive, personal Certificate of Marriage. I'll fill it out in the font of your choice. Once you're married, you can apply (and pay) for an Official Certificate of Marriage from the Registrar's Office in the territory or state where your marriage took place. 

You'll probably have your certificate from the Registrar in 3-4 weeks. In the ACT, you can collect your official certificate from Access Canberra when it's ready, or have it sent to you by registered mail. (Applying for an official certificate is optional - your marriage is already official from the making of your marriage vows.)
Olive and Ric, just married
Ric and Olive married
at Pialligo Estate in midApril 07



My fee also covers 
- The sighting of documents and preparation of your three certificates of marriage. (One for the couple, one to be sent to the Registrar and one for the celebrant to keep for at least 6 years.)
- Providing you with all prescribed pre-marriage information, handouts and advice. 
- A simple ceremony with all approved legal options in the wording, as well as the option to add your own personal vows. 
- The ceremony itself at the location of your choice (anywhere in Australia). 
- The use of my top quality portable amplifier. If you bring special entrance music, any phone with an earphone jack can be plugged in. (I have a cable for this.)
- The use of crystal flutes for your celebration drink if you choose to marry in my garden.

You'll choose the wording for your ceremony at our meeting, with several wording options to personalise the set legal ceremony and make it more your own. Your wording will be printed on cream parchment paper. It's usually one A4 page. 

You may also like to make personal vows during your ceremony. 

After your ceremony, I'll place your marriage certificate (in the font of your choice) and your ceremony wording (in the font of your choice) in a clear plastic wallet for you to take with you, as a newly, totally legally, married couple.

-  A one-hour meeting in Weston. I've streamlined everything that must be done in preparation for your legal marriage, to an hour. Meetings are held on Monday and Wednesday evenings at my home in the Heart Garden, with a 5.30, 6 or 6.30 start. Some flexibility with day and time is possible. In winter, we may meet at 5.


Tilly and Aaron sign after their simple wedding
Aaron and Tilly married at
The Rock Lawn of the
National Botanic Gardens
27 February 2015.
Short and simple,
but still very special.

The fee of $600 is payable at our meeting when the Notice of Intended Marriage is lodged and all other preparation for the wedding is done. This fee includes my travel on your wedding day in the local area, and also the use of my excellent portable PA system with cordless microphone and cable for playing music from your phone. 

You may like to pay by transfer before you come to our meeting. 

In response to a wedding enquiry, I always send a Notice of Intended Marriage to be filled in and printed, or printed and filled in. (This must be lodged at least one month before the wedding.) I also send three files of information. One has my bank details. If you make your payment before we meet, I'll have a receipt ready for you at our meeting.

Since everything we need to do together is covered in one meeting, the next time we meet, it's your wedding day. Of course, we'll stay in touch before then, for any questions you may have. 
Eve and M married in April 16
with a short simple ceremony
at the National Rose Gardens

On your wedding day, if there are any personal documents still be be sighted, this can be done just before your ceremony. There'll also be a little paperwork for you to do, just before you wed. You'll learn about this at our meeting.

Please note that after many years of helping couples with their Visa applications, while one of them is living overseas, I no longer provide this service. However, if you're both in Australia at the time of your wedding I'd be very happy to be your celebrant and help you with your Visa application.

I'm available to marry couples who come from other countries to marry in Australia. We can do the lodgement of the Notice of Intended Marriage by scan and email (or airmail) and most of our communicating by email, Skype, text or phone. We'll also have a one-hour meeting before your wedding day (if that's possible for you).
Before you make your celebrant decision, iyou'd like to talk with me on Skype (with or without video) please email or phone me to set up a time. 

If you'd like to see how I look, hear how I sound, and see some Heart Garden images click here. You'll see a 3.33 minute video from July 2010. You may also like to view the video I made in Spring of the same year. It runs for 2.22 minutes. There's also an audio introduction in the My Profile part of this blog. (The page you are reading now is a Wedding Page. My home page is here.)
View of the garden, through to the green room
The magnificent,rustic steps up to the Green Room are 
Hawkesbury River sandstone from my family's property. 
They were quarried by my uncles when I was a young girl, 
living in the bush at Berowra (near the Hawkesbury River).

When these two videos were made, I'd been celebrant for three civil celebrants on their own wedding days. Now six civil marriage celebrants have chosen me as their celebrant at their own weddings. (And yes, in case you were wondering, they paid my normal fee.) I think this is a wonderful endorsement by my peers, of the high quality of the service I provide. To me, it's recognition of my heartfelt commitment to making every single wedding, special and memorable.

I've recently set up a YouTube channel for my marriage celebrant service. 


I hold weddings in my garden for two main reasons: 
Jenny and Mars flew from China to marry in the Heart Garden
Mars and Jenny flew from Shanghai, China
to marry in the Heart Garden in early Spring 2015.
They flew back to China the next day.



- To provide a 'simply beautiful, beautifully simple' registry-style wedding in Canberra with efficient and friendly pre-marriage preparation, and 

- To share the beauty, privacy and tranquility of my large, generous garden. (There is no extra fee for this.)

The Heart Garden was selected for the Australian Open Garden Scheme in October 2007. Hundreds of people came to visit over the long weekend, but the garden's usually very private. Except for the songs of birds, it's quiet. It's peaceful and relaxing.

I am the Heart Gardener as well as celebrant. When a wedding is scheduled, I spend many hours, sometimes days, preparing the garden to look its best. Much of my celebrant income goes into new plantings and plant food. (This won't surprise you when you actually see the garden!) 

In autumn, there are colourful trees and shrubs and quite a lot of flowers. In spring and summer, there are flowers all around. Even in the winter, I make sure that there are flowers and greenery around the wedding area. In summer, the temperature in the cool shady garden can be up to 10 degrees lower than in most other parts of Canberra.

On boards on my Pinterest page, you can see how the garden looks in the month you plan to marry, either as single images or slideshows. I've recently added another board, just for recent Heart Garden weddings. Please feel free to repin. I also invite you to visit my blog Come to My Heart Garden
Vicki and Quentin married in mid-spring 2016
I've always loved taking photos. I like to put random garden images on my Instagram page, just for the pleasure of taking and sharing them. I post 'Just Married' photos there too (but only when it's OK with the newlyweds). I keep my facebook page up-to-date with my latest photos, comments and short videos.

A short, simple, registry-style wedding, can be held, with me as your celebrant, on any day, in the Heart Garden (with a small number of guests) or elsewhere (with an unlimited number of guests)

If you'd like to contact me now about your own simple wedding, please fill out this email contact formI will respond very soon. Or phone my mobile 0406 376 375 any day between 9am and 9pm. Text at any time that suits you. Thank you. 

And my congratulations and very best wishes to you both!

Sincerely
Michele 
2 July 2017 

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




2 comments:

Christian Gornall said...

Nice share. Thanks for the helpful information.
Celebrant Canberra

Michele Bolitho said...

Thanks Christian