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.

A bit of random Q and A



Q:   We want to call each other by our nicknames when we get married? Is this possible?
 A: Yes, but there are conditions.
     The Australian Marriage Act requires that your legal names must be announced in your wedding ceremony. Middle names are optional (but they must appear on all 3 certificates). If you want to use short simple names during your vows, your legal names must be mentioned somewhere earlier in your ceremony.

Q:   We'd like to run our own ceremony, and get our guests involved. Can we do this?
A:  Yes.
     You must have an authorised civil celebrant attending to do all the legal parts for you, but if you wish, you can get friends or family to conduct your ceremony. You may even like to present yourselves as the newly married couple. It's a very friendly and fun way to get married because you can get all your guests involved. The wedding can be at the beginning of your festivities, or you can have the ceremony when the party's already well underway.

Q: We don't live in Australia, and we're not Australian but we'd like to get married on our holiday in Australia. Can we?
A:  Yes.

     Any couple from anywhere in the world can get married in Australia, as long as they can meet the following conditions: 

They must not be married already. 

They must be of marriageable age (one or both to be 18 or over). 

They must not be closely related (First cousins can marry) 

They must lodge their Intention to Marry form with a registered Australian celebrant at least one month before the wedding. This can be done by email, MMS or mail.
     One party to the marriage can lodge the form to start the process, but both must sign the form and all other wedding documents (being a Declaration and 3 Certificates of marriage). 
     The couple must provide the celebrant with the required proof of ID before the wedding can take place. The wedding can take place on any day at any time anywhere in Australia. I think the definition of ‘Australia’ includes up to 9 kilometres off the coast (perhaps on a ship) but I haven’t been able to verify this yet. 

Q: Are you available for gay weddings?
A: Not at this time. I've been celebrant three times at specially-created ceremonies and would enjoy being celebrant again. I'm not authorised however to officiate at legal civil unions. When the Marriage Act of 1961 is amended, I'll be available for legal weddings of all couples in love.

Q: What does the bride do with her engagement ring when she gets married?
A:  Usually this: On the way to the wedding, she moves her engagement ring from her third finger left hand, to her third finger right hand. During the ceremony, her new husband places the wedding ring on her left hand, then during the signing, the bride moves her engagement ring across to her left hand. Quite often, the couple has chosen rings for the bride which fit together to make a beautiful new 'team'.

Q; Are our guests allowed to throw confetti?
A: Not in an ACT public place, but in my Heart Garden, yes, definitely. In a public place you may get away with rose petals, and bubbles are surely OK. In my garden your guests can shower you with anything that's OK with you.


Q: Who pays for the drinks at a wedding reception?
A: In the old tradition, as little as one generation ago, the groom’s family paid for the drinks. In those days, the father of the bride usually financed the wedding feast. This meant that the bride’s parents were the hosts and they had quite a lot of say about who had to be on the guest list. All this has changed. These days, many couples--if not most--finance their own wedding and reception. They choose the guest list and it’s not uncommon for wedding guests to be mostly friends and closest family only.
     So, who pays for the drinks nowadays?  Usually the marrying couple. The bar is ‘open’ for a specified amount of time and usually there’s a limit preset on the total drinks bill. The couple pays for beer, wines, still and bubbly, as well as soft drinks, mocktails and juices. Guests who wish to drink spirits usually pay for their own.