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Short and sweet weddings

By Published On: April 1, 2021Categories: All About Weddings

I hear it all the time:

  • “We just want something short and sweet.”
  • Weddings are pretty boring, so we just want the quickest thing possible.”
  • “We want something pretty brief so we can get to the drinking.”
  • “We’ve both been married before so we don’t need all the bells and whistles.”
  • “We’re just having a casual backyard wedding so we just want something easy and no fuss.”

I’m more than happy to provide you with a Short and Sweet ceremony, but first we need to make sure your definition of short and sweet is the same as mine!

My definition of short and sweet

I had someone call me a few weeks ago, saying she wanted a short and sweet ceremony. When I asked what that meant to her, she said “no more than 45 minutes!” She’d only ever been to Catholic weddings featuring a full Mass and taking up to two hours. Let me tell you, my full service Premium ceremonies generally don’t last 45 minutes!

My Short and Sweet Ceremony is similar to what you would get at the Registry Office. It’s a pre-written, standard ceremony that you can personalise with vows, music, and readings. Depending on which inclusions you choose, it generally lasts 10-15 minutes. You can include all the trappings of a traditional wedding if you want to, such as walking down the aisle and being given away.

How is my Short and Sweet Ceremony different from my other ceremonies?

It’s less than a Premium wedding but more than a Legals Only wedding. Here’s an overview of what’s included in each of my offerings:

marriage ceremony comparison

So how does it work?

The process for booking, planning, and performing my Short and Sweet Ceremony is set out below.

Meeting to make sure I’m the right celebrant for you

It’s important that we meet before you book me to make sure I’m the right celebrant for you. This meeting can take place on Zoom or in person, it’s up to you! I’ll talk you through the legalities of getting married and show you the Short and Sweet Ceremony script. I’ll also show you the contents of the Ceremony Builder Booklet I’ll email you if you decide to book me. It contains important information, most of which I’m legally required to give you, such as:

After seeing the ceremony script, if you think you might actually want a more comprehensive ceremony, I’ll also have my Premium Ceremony Builder Booklet on hand to show you. Then you get to go away and discuss whether I’m the celebrant you want to book.

Confirming the booking

Once you’ve confirmed with me that you want to book my Short and Sweet Ceremony, I’ll email you a link to my booking system. It will ask you to confirm the details of your booking, complete your contact information, sign my celebrancy service agreement, and pay your booking fee. (I take 30% of the fee at the time of booking, 30% three months before the wedding, and 40% a month before the wedding.)

Meeting to complete the Notice of Intended Marriage and plan the ceremony

There are plenty of people who don’t know you have to give one month’s notice to get married in Australia. That’s to be expected if you’ve never been married before. I certainly didn’t know before I became a celebrant. So three months before your Short and Sweet wedding, we’ll meet to complete and lodge a Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM).

We’ll also decide what you want to include in your ceremony. I’ll remind you to read the Ceremony Builder Booklet before the meeting so you can make those decisions.

What you’ll need to bring to the meeting

Because I’m a control freak, my preference is to fill out the NOIM for the couples I work with. So I’ll ask you both to come and meet with me. You’ll need to bring:

  • evidence of your date and place of birth (either a passport or a birth certificate)
  • evidence of your identity (any kind of government-issued photo ID – passports are fine)
  • evidence of the termination of any previous marriages if relevant (divorce or death certificates).

What we discuss at the meeting

First I’ll ask you for the documents I’ve asked you to bring, and I’ll fill out your NOIM for you based on the information. I’ll also need to ask you some questions to complete items that aren’t contained in your identity documents. After the NOIM is filled in I’ll ask you to read it carefully and let me know if there are any errors. Finally, you’ll need to sign the NOIM – I’ll point where. Then I witness your signatures, fill in the date, and you’re good to go. You can get married!

Second we’ll plan your ceremony. I’ll ask you questions about the following:

  • your preferred names for the ceremony (there are a couple of places we need to use the names on your marriage documents, but everywhere else you can use whatever name you like!)
  • the ceremony start time, and whether you’ve put a different start time on your invitations
  • what time you’ll both be arriving at the venue
  • whether your ceremony will be indoors or outdoors; if it’s outdoors, what’s your backup plan for extreme weather
  • how many guests you’re expecting
  • whether you’re having a theme, colour or otherwise
  • what dress code (if any) you’ve put on the invitations
  • whether I need to bring my PA system
  • whether you’re having live music at the ceremony, and if so, by whom
  • who is supplying the signing table and chairs – you, the venue, or a hire company
  • names of your wedding party and your official witnesses
  • who (if anyone) is escorting either or both of you down the aisle
  • details of your families and who will be in attendance
  • whether you want:
    • a processional; if so, what order are people walking in, and what music do you want played
    • an acknowledgement of country
    • a family or guest blessing/acknowledgement
    • any readings, who is going to give it/them, and if you’d like me to send you my readings pack
    • just the legal vows, the legal vows plus a nice sentence I have in my standard script, or the legal vows plus your own personalised vows
    • to put the rings on straight after the vows or include the ring ceremony wording in my standard script (also who will have the rings and what will they be in)
    • to be introduced to your guests as Mr and Mrs / Mr and Mr / Mrs and Mrs / First Names / Something Else Entirely 🙂
    • a song to be played while we sign the marriage documents; if so, what song.

Drafting the ceremony script

A month before the ceremony I’ll send you a draft script to review, taking into account all the decisions you made at our planning meeting. Highlighted in yellow will be any areas I need input from you. Anything legal will be in red font so you know it can’t be changed.

Music and readings choices and personal vows are due to me one week before the ceremony.

Checking the paperwork

A week before the wedding I’ll send you electronic copies of the documents we’re going to sign on the day:

  • the Declaration of No Legal Impediment to Marriage (DONLIM)
  • the Official Certificate of Marriage
  • the Form 15 Certificate of Marriage.

This is so you can make sure I haven’t made any mistakes typing them up from my handwritten NOIM. I’ll also ask you to provide me with the full legal names of your two official witnesses. This is so I can print them on the marriage certificates – I don’t like other people’s handwriting 🙂

On the wedding day

On the day of the wedding I’ll arrive at your wedding venue half an hour before the ceremony is due to start. Once I’ve set up the ceremony space I’ll come and see you if you’re already on site, or be waiting for you to arrive. I will always want to see you both before we start the ceremony, both to sign paperwork and to make sure you’re not freaking out! I also like to make sure I’ve seen the rings – sometimes they’ve been forgotten in someone’s room.

Signing the Declaration

I’ll ask you to sign the Declaration of No Legal Impediment to Marriage. Basically I’ll ask you to confirm you’re not married to someone else, you’re not siblings, and you’re over 18, then I’ll point where to sign. We can do this separately so you don’t see each other before the bride walks the aisle!

The ceremony

Once you’re ready to go, we’ll have the Short and Sweet Ceremony, including signing the three marriage certificates:

  • the Official Certificate of Marriage – one for me to send to Births, Deaths and Marriages to register your marriage
  • the Official Certificate of Marriage – one for me to keep
  • the Form 15 Certificate of Marriage – this is the one you get to take home with you.

The end!

We’ll take a celebrant selfie for my socials, and then I’ll say goodbye while you’re being congratulated by your guests!

I’ll package up your marriage certificate with a keepsake copy of the full ceremony script and your vow and reading cards. I’ll leave this little pack for you either in your wishing well or on your present table.

That’s it! I’ll make a swift getaway while you’re enjoying time with your guests – you won’t see me again after our selfie 🙂

If you think this sounds like a good option and want to get married in a Short and Sweet Ceremony, contact me today!

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awesome wedding vowsMy partner in life wedding vows
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