Sample Wedding Ceremonies – Part 4

Sample Wedding Ceremonies – Part 4

From the legals to the sublime : sample ceremonies

The following is  series of smales and examples to draw inspiration from.

1. The Legal Essentials

This is the shortest legal ceremony that can be conducted in Australia.

The marriage celebrant must say at least the following words:

“My name is _____ and I am duly authorised to conduct marriages according to law. 

Before you are joined in marriage in my presence and in the presence of these witnesses, I am to remind you of the solemn and binding nature of the relationship into which you are now about to enter. Marriage, according to law in Australia, is the union of two people to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.”

The parties to be wed must say at least:

“I call upon the people/persons here present to witness that I, (Jo Citizen) , take you/thee, (Sam Citizen), to be my lawful wedded wife /husband /partner”

2. A Creative Garden Wedding 

This sample wedding puts together several creative rituals and ideas into the one ceremony.  One could choose just a few of these elements to make a fulfilling ceremony.

The hosts, welcome guests and offer refreshments.  They gather the guests around them in the expansive garden setting

Arrival of couple

Bride and Groom arrive in a wooden canoe across the lake, with their son, and walk up the bank to the awaiting guests.

Planting the trees

Bride and Groom plant two trees in the gardens, to represent the growth their relationship will experience as time flows slowly by.

Engaging the guests in a fun game

Bride and Groom stand in different grassy glades of the garden, and ask families and guests to be the support of one.  The children are requested to relay messages back and forth between the two parties.  Questions, comments, jokes bounce between two communities and families, until both parties agree that it is a great idea to be married.  This ceremony is to be fun and light hearted.  Once they have agreede, they link hands and follow the piper.

The processional

A musician pipes the two groups together and into a stone circle.

Introducing the families

Celebrant: I’d like to introduce myself, Kari, and Bride, _____
…………who introduces her family (her Son, Mum, Dad, brothers & wives & children, and Aunties)

Celebrant:  And I’d like to introduce Groom, _____

…………who introduces his family (Mum, Dad, brothers & wives & children, grandmothers and Aunties)

Their Love Story

Friends, we are here today to celebrate the marriage and the intertwining of the destinies of Groom and Bride.  Through being ruthlessly and wonderfully themselves, they have fallen in love and chosen to get married, to begin the journey and ride the waves of life together.

Two years ago Groom and Bride met in a Park while weeding on the small island there.  They spoke briefly about native plants and art….and then I believe Bride ran away due to the intensity of the attraction!  Groom uncharacteristically called out to her as she left.  ”Are you going already? But what’s your name?”  You may be able to persuade them to fill in the rest of the story later.

From that moment they have been making informal promises and agreements, until this day when they have chosen to acknowledge and celebrate their union in this native garden amongst those they love.   

Asking the parents & the guests

Dad and Mum#1, you stood together in a church many years ago and made a commitment to each other while wondering in your hearts what would become of your life together.  Part of that answer stands here in your son Groom.  We see the pride you take in him and the love and respect you have for him he also feels for you.  Part of the reason Bride chooses him for her life’s partner is because of all that you have given to him out of your lives.

Dad and Mum #1:  “ Bride, on behalf of our family, we welcome you and support your marriage”…they also said, “and as well as gaining a daughter we also gain a grandson.  We welcome you too Their Son”

Celebrant: Dad and Mum #2, you stood together in a church many years ago and made a commitment to each other while wondering in your hearts what would become of your life together.  Part of that answer stands here in your daughter Bride.  We see the pride you take in her and the love and respect you have for her, she also feels for you.  Part of the reason Groom chooses her for his life’s partner is because of all that you have given to her out of your lives.

Dad and Mum #2: “Groom, on behalf of our family, we welcome you and support your marriage”


Friends, you have been invited to share this occasion because of your friendship and special relationship to the bride and groom.  I ask if you support this union and give them your warm wishes?

Guests:  “WE DO!”

Asking the couple


Groom, do you happily choose to embrace the adventure that is your future with Bride.  Will you respect her, be understanding and support her as the partner of your life and undertake the promises of marriage?

Groom: “I certainly do”


Bride, do you happily choose to embrace the adventure that is your future with Groom.  Will you respect him, be understanding and support him as the partner of your life and undertake the promises of marriage?

Bride: “I certainly & surely do”

Their Vows


Hold hands now and make your vows to each other


“My Darling Bride, you have been my friend, my lover, my partner, and today I embrace you as my wife…….. his vows


“From this day on I choose you, darling Groom, to be my life’s partner …. her vows

Exchanging Rings


Who brings the rings?

Their Young Son “ Me”

Groom: “I offer this ring as a symbol of my love”

Bride:  “I offer this ring as a symbol of my love.  Son, thanks for bringing our rings, we love you too

Groom “Son, Thank you for welcoming me into your family”

A Ritual of food and drink


Groom and Bride wished to bring a symbolic meal and drink, as a reminder that as their bodies need nurturing so does their love.  They wanted to bring whatever is bread and water to them, their daily bread. 

Bride asked that Groom make one of his omelettes, as he did for their first breakfast.  This omelette is made with eggs from their own loved chooks, with herbs and greens grown by Groom.  Feed each other now a piece of this omelette.

Bride brings a pot of tea brewed from the rainwater that fell in their garden.  In the teapot made by Groom is a mixture of herbs from their garden, peppermint given by a dear friend, chillies for the warmth of their relationship, cinnamon for the spice and liquorice for the sweetness they experience with each other.  Drink to each other.

Tying the Knot

Celebrant passes a green cord to Groom, and a red one to Bride, and says as they tie a lovers knot:

And finally you can tie the knot. 

The lovers knot is a knot of two lines, that symbolise two lives tied in the middle of their journey’s path; individual and separate yet inextricably linked.

The Pronouncement

Bride and Groom you are now entwined, entangled, en-knotted.  I ask all those here to join in saying…………. “We, your family and friends, now pronounce you married.”

3. The Pagan Ceremony

Celebrant: Blessings and merry meet. We are here today to join (bride) and (groom) together, they have asked you here to share in their joy, and to declare their love for one another before you as a community.

Celebrant To the Bride: What is your desire?

Bride: To be made one with (groom)

Celebrant To Groom: What is your desire?

Groom: To be made one with (bride)

The celebrant at this time would take up a wand and sprinkle it upon the bride

Celebrant To bride: Repeat after me: I (bride), do come here of my own free will, to seek the partnership of (groom) I come with all love, honor and sincerity, wishing only to become one with him, whom I love. Always will I strive for (grooms) happiness and welfare.

The celebrant at this time would take up a wand and sprinkle it upon the groom

Celebrant To Groom: Repeat after me, I (groom) do come here of my own free will, to seek the partnership of (bride). I come with all love, honor and sincerity, wishing only to become one with her, whom I love. Always will I strive for (brides) happiness and welfare.

At this time the celebrant would sprinkle the rings with the wand and take them up, handing the brides ring to the groom and the grooms ring to the bride

Celebrant: As the grass of the fields and the trees of the woods bend together under the pressures of the storm, so too must you both bend when the wind blows strong. But know that as quickly as the storm comes, so equally quickly may it leave. Yet will you both stand strong in each others strength. As you give love, so you will receive it. As you give strength, so will you receive strength. Together you are one, apart you are as nothing. Know that no two people can be exactly alike. No more can any two people fit together, perfect in every way. There will be times when it will seem hard to give and to love. But see then your reflection as in a woodland pool, when the image you see looks sad and angered, then know it is the time for you to smile and to love. It is not fire that puts out fire. In return will the image in the pool smile and love. So change your anger for love, and your tears for joy. It is no weakness to admit a wrong: more is it a strength, and a sign of eternal growth. Forever love, help, and respect each other. The constant circle of love you share is symbolized in these rings. Let them be a token of your friendship and the partnership you have come to celebrate on this day. When the waters are rough, let these rings remind you of the ebb and flow of life. Let them remind you of the happiness you feel at this moment, and let your memory soothe your spirit.

The bride and groom would exchange rings at this time

Wedding vows….

Celebrant: It is with great happiness that I present you to the community as husband and wife. May you always remember the love that brought you here on this day, and may the God and Goddess bless this union. So Mote It Be. You may now kiss….

After conducting your ritual or consecration, you or the celebrant must take down the circle. Return to the middle of the circle, stand in the Goddess position and say while gradually lowering your arms to your side:

The web of life is an endless circle never to die only to change form. What was begun is now complete. Welcome home these energies borne. The circle is open, never broken. So Mote It Be!

When your arms reach your waist quickly drop them to put the energy back into Earth Mother. The circle is released. You may extinguish the candles and move to your reception area.

4. A Handfasting Ceremony 

Celebrant: Greetings friends and family and welcome to this day of celebration. We are united to witness the marriage of ____ and ____. We’ve been invited to share in the commitment they make to each other today. They ask your blessing on this joyful occasion.

If life has any meaning to us at all, it possesses it because of love. Love enriches our human experience. It is the reason for the peace in the family and the peace of the peoples of the Earth. A meeting between two beings who are made for each other is a beautiful miracle.

___ and ____’s understanding of the true meaning of marriage has resulted from many influences; their families, their friends, and each of their own personal beliefs. We are here not only strengthen the binds of ___ and ___’s love for each other but also to bring family and friends together to celebrate these same said bonds that hold us all together.

What defines ___ and ___’s love today will change and grow to new depth in the future. It takes three seconds to say I love you, but it can take a lifetime to show it. This ceremony is the celebration of a single stage in a much larger process that is the love between husband and wife. The promises made today and the ties that are bound here greatly strengthen your union. They will cross the years and lives of each soul’s growth.

Do you seek to begin this ceremony?

Couple: Yes we do.

Celebrant: The human soul shares characteristics with all things divine. It is this belief which assigns virtues to the cardinal directions; North, South, East and West. Let us offer a traditional blessing in support of this hand-fasting ceremony.

Blessed be this union with the gifts of the East: communication of the heart, mind, and body, fresh beginnings with the rising of each sun, and the knowledge of growth found in the sharing of silence.

Blessed be this union with the gifts of the South: warmth of hearth and home, the heat of the heart’s passion and the light created by both to lighten the darkest of times.

Blessed be this union with the gifts of the West: the deep commitments of the lake, the swift excitement of the river, the refreshing cleansing of the rain and the all encompassing passion of the sea.

Blessed be this union with the gifts of the North: firm foundation on which to build, fertility of the fields to enrich your lives, and a stable home to which you may always return.

Now I ask the couple to look into each others’ eyes.

Celebrant to groom: Will you cause her pain?
Groom: I May

Celebrant to groom: Is that your intention?
Groom: No

Celebrant to bride: Will you cause him pain?
Bride: I may

Celebrant to bride: Is that your intention?
Bride: No

Celebrant to both: Will you share each other’s pain and seek to ease it?
Both: Yes

Celebrant to both: And so the binding is made. Join your hands.

The first cord is draped across the bride and grooms hands.

Celebrant to bride: Will you share his laughter?
Bride: Yes

Celebrant to groom: Will you share her laughter?
Groom: Yes

Celebrant to both: Will both of you look for the brightness in life and the positive in each other?
Both: Yes

Celebrant: And so the binding is made.

The second chord is draped across the couple’s hands.

Celebrant to bride: Will you burden him?
Bride: I may.

Celebrant to bride: Is that your intention?
Bride: No

Celebrant to groom: Will you burden her?
Groom: I may

Celebrant to groom: Is that your intention?
Groom: No.

Celebrant to both: Will you share the burdens of each so that your spirits may grow in this union?
Both: Yes

Celebrant: And so the binding is made.

Drape third chord across the couple’s hands.

Celebrant to bride: Will you share his dreams?
Bride: Yes

Celebrant to groom: Will you share her dreams?
Groom: Yes

Celebrant to both: Will you dream together to create new shared realities?
Both: Yes

Celebrant: And so the binding is made.

Drape fourth chord across the couple’s hands.

Celebrant to groom: Will you cause her anger?
Groom: I may

Celebrant to groom: Is that your intention?
Groom: No.

Celebrant to bride: Will you cause him anger?
Bride: I may.

Celebrant to bride: Is that your intention?
Bride: No.

Celebrant to both: Will you take the heat of anger and use it to temper the strength of this union?
Both: We will.

Celebrant: And so the binding is made.

Drape fifth chord across the couple’s hands.

Celebrant to bride: Will you honour him?
Bride: I will

Celebrant to groom: Will you honour her?
Groom: I will

Celebrant to both: Will you seek to never give cause to break that honour?
Both: We shall never do so.

Celebrant: And so the binding is made.

Drape sixth chord across the couple’s hands, and tie all chords together while saying.

Celebrant: The knots of this binding are not formed by these chords but instead by your vows. Either of you may drop the chords, for always you will hold in your own hands the making or breaking of this union.

Once the chords are tied together they are removed.

Celebrant: Spirit of Love, may ___ and ___ know great love together, and may they live in the desire to always support each other in positive and uplifting ways. May they strengthen one another in sorrow, share with one another in gladness, and be companions to each other in times of silence. May their home be a haven, and wherever they are plagued by changing fortune, may they be united not in word and outward form alone, but by the presence in the hearts of each, of the deepening love they share.
You are husband and wife.
Celebrate with a kiss.

Rituals, Traditions & Special Moments in Your Wedding Ceremony – Part 3

Rituals, Traditions & Special Moments in Your Wedding Ceremony – Part 3

Adding Magical Moments:

Rituals in a marriage ceremony can be the most memorable moments for you and your guests.  They say with actions rather than words.  The following ideas just about cover the elements of fire air, earth and water; some are my ideas, some are borrowed goodies.  My speciality is creating new rituals specially for you.

Incense sticks displayed in an orange for a wedding ritual

Breaking Bread and Raising a Glass: Food & Drink Rituals

Indulge in a symbolic meal that nourishes not just your bodies, but your love for each other. What is your symbolic “daily bread”?  What do you need each day to sustain you, and nurture each other? What would you drink to toast the important occasions in your life? It is a symbol that we do not live by bread alone.  We want to nurture living and love.

Whether it’s cinnamon toast, Mum’s homemade bread, or Dad’s special beer, bring your daily bread and toast to life’s celebrations.  Let’s feast, toast, and savor the sweetness of love together!

Special plates or vessels can be mementos of this ritual, or a part of your daily bread.

Bottles of champagne and glasses ready for a wedding toast

Flowing Waters: The Water Ceremony

Immerse yourselves in the symbolism of water, the sustainer of life.  Water collected from a favourite place, place of memory or desire, or joining waters from different places is a delightful ritual.  Children and other family members can be included.  Special ceramic or glass vessels can be used to pour and receive.

Pour waters from meaningful places into joined vessels, symbolizing the blending of your lives and the support of your loved ones. Let the waters flow, uniting your past, present, and future in a beautiful moment of unity.

Igniting Passion: The Candle Ceremony

Set the stage on fire with the warm glow of candles, symbolizing the spark of love and passion between you. Light candles together, pass the flame from one to another, and watch as your love shines bright. Let the flame of your love burn eternal in this enchanting ritual.

Lighting candles together, lighting one from another, passing flame from one to another, creating fire sticks are examples of fire ritual. 

a glass vase of lit candles in a wedding ceremony

Tying the Knot: Love’s Eternal Bond

It’s  literally getting hitched with a heart shaped knot!  Embrace the symbolism of the lovers’ knot, two lives intertwined on their journey together. As you tie the knot, celebrate the bond that binds you, both as individuals and as a couple. Let this knot be a symbol of your enduring love and commitment to each other.

Or perhaps it is a handfasting ceremony with a long set of ribbons to wrap about your joined hands.  Each a wrap of the hands a vow, each binding a promise .

Love Jar: Sealing Your Commitment

Create a jar filled with symbols of your relationship’s strength and beauty. From rocks symbolizing love and respect to flowers representing inner beauty, each element is a testament to your commitment to each other. Let this jar serve as a visual reminder of the love and support that surrounds you.

Rocks – Love and respect, the bedrocks of your relationship

Sand – From a location of poignance.

Seeds – The start of something new

Spices – A reminder of the colour and excitement you both bring to your relationship and its continued importance

Glass -Relationships are not all smooth sailing, everyone has faults and sharp edges but just as the rocks and sand of the beach have weathered the sharp edges of this piece of glass so too will the strong foundations of your relationship.

Flowers – A symbol of beauty and a reminder to see the inner beauty in each other and the importance of stopping in the busy times ahead and taking the time to ‘smell the flowers’

Growing Together: Planting Trees

Plant the seeds of your love and watch them grow into a flourishing tree of life. As you plant two trees whose leaves will entwine, symbolize your ongoing growth and unity as a couple. Let this tree be a living testament to the love that continues to blossom between you.

Sands of Time: The Sand Ceremony

Embrace the ancient tradition of the Sand Ceremony, as you blend your individual sands into one. Pouring sand from separate vessels into a shared container symbolizes your unity while honoring your individuality. Let the sands of time remind you that although you are one, you remain unique individuals.

Opening the Door: A Playful Exchange

In a light-hearted twist on tradition, playfully negotiate your entry into married life with the opening of the door ceremony. Relay messages, gifts, or songs between your families until both parties agree it’s time to say “I do.” Let laughter and love pave the way to your happily ever after.

Introducing the Families: Bridging Bonds

Bring your families together with a heartfelt introduction, as you share stories and special moments with your loved ones. Let this be a time of connection and celebration, as you build bridges between your past and future.

In many cultures either the bride or grooms family arrives in procession bringing gifts and must request entry to the other’s home or their is a negotiation between families.  In a light hearted reflection of these traditions, the opening of the door ceremony is more like a game.

How about this engaging ritual: Before the ceremony begins, the couple stand in different places of the venue, and ask families and guests to be the support of one or the other.  Special guests or most effectively the children are requested to relay messages back and forth between the two parties.  Questions, comments, jokes go between two communities and families, until both parties agree that it is a great idea to be married.  This ceremony is fun and light hearted. 

Alternatively gifts or songs can be sent back and forth; representative dowries or family symbols.

From Hobbies to Happily Ever After: Personalizing Your Ceremony

Infuse your passions and interests into your ceremony, making it uniquely yours. Whether it’s music, sports, or art, let’s find creative ways to incorporate what makes you, you, into your special day.

Introducing the families

A wedding frequently brings together many people who may not have met before.  And of course everyone wants to know who is responsible!  A touching gesture is for the celebrant to introduce the bride or groom, who in turn introduces their family and special friends or community.  And then it’s the other one’s turn.

Your Wedding Ceremony Structure Demystified – Part 2

Your Wedding Ceremony Structure Demystified – Part 2

Your Wedding Ceremony Structure Demystified

Everyone is an individual, and every couple has individual needs. The type of wedding or commitment ceremony you choose will be a reflection of your wishes, beliefs and values as a couple.  But here we can look at a basic structure of a wedding ceremony. Let’s unveil the magic.

Setting the Stage: The Opening Act

Everyone is gathered, be it an extended family of 100’s or just your two witnesses.

Your wedding ceremony kicks off with a flourish as you make your grand entrance into the ceremony space. With the warm embrace of your family and friends surrounding you, your celebrant sets the tone for this joyous occasion. Some acknowledgements of family, parents or wedding party. Perhaps an acknwowledgement of country.

Cue the music, cue the smiles, and let the magic begin!

Love Stories and Laughter: About You and Marriage

As the spotlight turns to marriage, you and your beloved, your celebrant weaves tales of love, commitment, and happily ever afters. From heartfelt sentiments to lighthearted anecdotes, your unique love story takes center stage. Get ready to laugh, cry, and fall in love all over again as your journey together unfolds.

From Vows to Rings: The Heart of the Ceremony

Now it’s time for the main event! With the legal formalities out of the way (hello, Monitum!), your celebrant pops the question: “Do you take this person to be your lawfully wedded spouse?” Cue the affirmative response.  Follow up with your personal, heartfelt vows.  And seal the deal with an exchange of rings symbolising your promises. It’s a moment you’ll cherish forever.

Cheers to Happily Ever After: The Wrap Up

With the hard part done, it’s time to celebrate! Whether you opt for a traditional blessing or a quirky ritual, your celebrant wraps up the ceremony with style. And don’t forget the best part: sealing the deal with a kiss and signing those all-important register certificates. Let the festivities begin!

Cue the Confetti: The Grand Finale

As the cheers echo through the air, it’s time to make your grand exit. With beaming smiles and hearts full of love, you take your first steps as newlyweds. As your celebrant introduces you to the world, a triumphant song sets the perfect soundtrack for this unforgettable moment. Congratulations, you did it!

Petals down the aisle towards a wedding ceremony
Crafting Your Perfect Wedding Ceremony – Part 1

Crafting Your Perfect Wedding Ceremony – Part 1

Welcome to Your Wedding Journey

This post is the introduction to a series of posts designed as a compendium to help us plan out your wedding or elopement ceremony.  I believe the process is a collaboration.  We walk side by side in planning and preparing your ceremony.  My aim is to do the hard work, and listen to your plans, dreams and notions… teasing out your ideas into a reality.

Embracing Tradition and Individuality

Your wedding ceremony is a reflection of your unique love story. Whether you’re drawn to timeless traditions or seeking a more contemporary approach, the choice is yours. Let’s explore the myriad of possibilities and create a ceremony that honours your values, beliefs, and personalities as a couple.

I am committed to not only the idea of marriage but the qualities that legalising such a union in a public manner can contribute to a couples’ commitment to each other.  I believe in the determination to maintain the marriage as a quality relationship for both of you, for families and for your wider community.  I recognise the value of marriage on a societal level, in maintaining stability within a community and extending family connections beyond a nuclear family to extended families.  Marriage brings two extended families together, and encourages connections beyond the individual. 

For some people an elegantly simple ceremony is the only type that will do.  For others something much more laid back and casual, a little more modern.

You may like to include a myriad of other traditions or rituals from family heritage, culture or even invent their own. Or you may like to hark back to bygone times with a Pagan Ceremony, a Hand Fasting Ritual or a Medieval Ceremony. 

Crafting Your Love Story

Every love story is special, and yours deserves to be celebrated in a way that’s meaningful to you. As your wedding celebrant, I specialise in crafting individual ceremonies that capture the essence of your relationship. Together, we’ll weave together the moments, memories, and milestones that have brought you to this joyous occasion.  I offer to retell your love story as a light hearted addition to your ceremony.

Embracing the Beauty of the Sunshine Coast

On the stunning Sunshine Coast, your wedding ceremony is set against a backdrop of natural beauty and coastal charm. Whether you’re exchanging vows on a secluded beach, in a lush rainforest, or at a picturesque vineyard, the possibilities are endless. Let’s explore the unique venues and settings that make your wedding day truly unforgettable.

Your Stress-Free Wedding Experience

Planning a wedding can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. As your dedicated wedding celebrant, I’m here to alleviate the stress and ensure a seamless experience from start to finish. With my local expertise and network of trusted suppliers, you can relax and enjoy every moment of your special day.

It may help to think of a marriage ceremony as a transition, from your life as a single person to that of a partnership, as part of a married couple.  The Marriage ceremony assists you with this transition; it essentially ritualises your transition.

Get in Touch

Ready to start planning your perfect wedding ceremony on the Sunshine Coast? I specialise in writing individual ceremonies.  I begin with a fresh canvas, to tell your very own love story.  I walk beside you, as together we plan your own ceremony. 

Let’s connect and begin this exciting journey together. Whether you have questions, ideas, or simply want to say hello, I’m here to help make your wedding dreams a reality. 

Crafting Your Perfect Wedding Ceremony – Index

Welcome to Your Wedding Journey

Are you ready to embark on the journey of a lifetime? Your wedding day is a celebration of love, commitment, and the continuation of a beautiful partnership. As a wedding celebrant on the Sunshine Coast, I’m here to guide you through every step of the way, from envisioning your dream ceremony to bringing it to life.  I consider it a collaboration.  I do the hard part, and you, the easy part.

This series of posts is designed as a folio of ideas; a compendium to help us plan out your wedding or elopement ceremony.  I am here to assist you in writing and preparing all aspects of your ceremony.  You can read all of it, or dip inot the chapters when necessary. Or read none of it. It’s here as a reference guide.
Together let’s make your ceremony perfect for you.


Crafting Your Perfect Ceremony – Part 1

Wedding Ceremony Structure Demystified- Part 2

Rituals, Traditions & Special Moments – Part  3

Sample Marriage Ceremonies – Part 4

Wedding Vows – Traditional – Part 5a

Wedding Vows – Samples – Part 5b

Exchanging Wedding Rings – Part 6

Changing to Your Married Name – Part 7

Poetry and Prose – Part 8

Marriage Certificates – Part 9

Feedback – Part 10

How to Choose a Celebrant

How to Choose a Celebrant

How do you choose a marriage celebrant?  With so many around, how do you decide how to choose?

What qualities would you look for in a five star celebrant?

Here is a guide to help you choose your marriage celebrant.

On a scale of 1 to 5 Diamonds, how will your Celebrant rate?

There are no published standards of performance criteria for Celebrants.

However, Dally Messenger, one of Australia’s first celebrants and author of several valuable celebrant texts, wrote the following as a guideline when considering your choice of celebrant:

The No diamond celebrant.

They only have a legal view of marriage. The ceremony is not very important. Ceremonies are very short (2-3 minutes). Talks about the law and the forms they have to fill in. — very cheap. Not worth anything really. You’d have to be desperate to book one of these, but, unfortunately, there are plenty of these around.

The One diamond celebrant.

A little bit more humane. Has been known to smile. Does not give clients a real choice (pretends to). Dismisses rehearsals as unnecessary – “waste of your time and mine”. May have one small verse of poetry in a ceremony. Really loves people who say they want something “short and informal” or who start off by saying – “How much do you charge for a wedding?” Many of these are good salesmen and have enough personality to convince you that being one of six weddings in a weekend is fine. When they arrive late and dash out in a mad hurry once the ceremony is over, you become sorry that you hired a cheapie, but then it is too late. There is only one bite at this cherry.

The Two Diamond Celebrant.

Some of my best friends are two diamond celebrants and in certain suburbs they are very popular. They give people a choice (limited). They give a rehearsal of sorts in their lounge room in a quick sort of way. Often they are full of jokes and reassuring banter. They are reasonably interested in the job, but think in terms of numbers i.e how many marriages can they get through in a weekend. If you are not very interested in your wedding ceremony, they are probably good value.

The Three Diamond Celebrant.

They basically have the same mentality as the Two Diamond but provide a better service because they have a PA System. This means that guests hear all the words of the ceremony – a big plus even if the readers are too fast. Music is given some attention but these celebrants do not consider the music to be their responsibility. But you are given a fair choice of ceremony, and a reasonable amount of attention. This celebrant does two or three each weekend.

The Four Diamond Celebrant.

You are now among the professionals. This person has gained qualifications. They take responsibility for all aspects of the ceremony. You have a full choice of ceremony. You get resources and suggestions. There is a productive dialogue about all aspects of your ceremony. They have the attitude that they don’t know it all, and learn something new every ceremony. The onsite rehearsal (unhurried) is a must. Attention is given to readers and slowing them down and making sure they practise. Liaises with musicians and photographers. Musicians are organised close to the wedding party. If CD music is the go, they make sure that a decent CD player with good sound quality is organised. The personal story and the introductions to the readings are well written and personal. You get the full eleven point standard wedding done well. The celebrant is well equipped with good quality PA system. They are impeccably and appropriately dressed. Would never dream of doing more than two weddings in a weekend – but usually one. They make you feel (and can make you feel) that yours is the most important wedding ever.

The Five Diamond Celebrant.

This is getting hard now. This is about being everything the 4 Diamond status requires. But it is also about being an incurable romantic and loving the job. It is about extra attention to that level of detail, which makes all the difference. It is about the X factor, natural flair, ceremonial skills, sense of humour, sense of dramatic pause. It is about personality AND skill. It’s about beauty in creative writing for speaking, and yes, it is about education – a deep and wide knowledge of what to suggest to you about poetry, music, choreography, ritual and symbolism. Fee? This celebrant is priceless.

A Final note

PS. Some celebrants are good at friendly personality, some are good at marketing, the one you are after may have these qualities – but the one you want should be good at ceremony. A bit like choosing a doctor – the good bedside manner or the one who is expert at diagnosis and operating. It is good if you can find both.

Dally Messenger

International College of Celebrancy

Contact Kari for a 5 diamond celebrant service with care and attention to details, but more importantly for nurturing you towards the best possible ceremony for you.