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Twenty Questions – What To Ask Your Marriage Celebrant

by | Bride, Ceremony

1
COMMENT

questions to ask marriage celebrant Twenty Questions – What To Ask Your Marriage Celebrant

When  it comes to the crunch, you’re not legally married without one important wedding vendor – your marriage celebrant! So today I thought I’d dive into twenty questions to ask of your wedding celebrant. (Check out my previous posts in this series – Twenty Questions – What To Ask Your Cake Designer, Twenty Questions: What To Ask Your Dress Designer & Twenty Questions: What To Ask Your Wedding Reception Venue.)

I think it’s important to start off with thinking about how you imagine your ceremony to be – funny and full of laughter? Serious and formal? The style of your wedding will determine the celebrant you choose. Beyond that, getting along with your celebrant and genuinely liking who they are as a person – as with all wedding vendors, is vital to having a wedding that reflects who you are as a couple.

So let’s kick it off!

1. What are their fees?

Celebrant fees vary widely – from $250 right up to $1500. I’ve found the average to be about $600, varying with popularity and experience of the celebrant.

2. What does the fee include?

A typical celebrant fee includes meeting with the celebrant, the writing of the ceremony, the performance of the ceremony and the lodgement of all paperwork. Some celebrants include extras like rehearsals and checklists.

4.  What additional costs are involved?

Beyond the base fee, some celebrants have additional charges – like travel for instance, or extra meetings. So it’s a good idea to get all of these upfront so you’re not in for any surprises.

5. What are their qualifications?

An Australian marriage celebrant must be registered with the  Attorney Generals’ Department and have carried out training (including yearly training) in order to perform their role. Australian celebrants can’t just register online, so check your celebrant has the qualifications to legally perform your ceremony.

melbourne celebrant 3 Twenty Questions – What To Ask Your Marriage Celebrant

Koren Harvey CMC

6. How long have they been performing weddings?

Always good to know! I think great celebrants can be great celebrants regardless, but as with anything great wisdom comes with time and that knowledge of how to handle situations and how to quickly to handle things going wrong, or even crafting a beautiful ceremony, can come with having done it many times before.

7. How many weddings have they performed?

As with the above question, if experience is important to you then this one is a must ask!

8. When is full payment required?

Do they require a deposit? Payment before the ceremony or on the day?

8. What is their cancellation policy?

If you need to cancel your wedding ceremony or postpone it, does the celebrant offer a refund? Do they keep the deposit?

9. How many meetings are included?

A lot of celebrants will allow as many meetings, emails and phone calls as you need to get your ceremony picture perfect. Others may only have two or three included in the package to get it right.

10. What paperwork is required and when?

Some celebrants will ask you to bring your paperwork at the first meeting (birth certificates, ID such as drivers’ licenses etc),  while others may not require it yet. Ask your celebrant what you need to bring with you.

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Robyn Pattison CMC Photo by Welsch Photography from  Jenna and James’ Coral Orange Wedding

10. How much guidance will you be given while writing your ceremony?

Some celebrants give a simple question and answer form and after being filled out write your ceremony, others provide an example format and provide you with popular readings and structures to choose from. And then there’s celebrants who let you write the entire ceremony yourself – providing guidance along the way. Your wedding ceremony is the part of the day you probably want to put the most thought into, so understanding how your celebrant works with writing it is vital.

11. How do they personalise your ceremony?

Does the celebrant tell your story? Do they have a coffee with you and get to know you and inject what they know into your ceremony? Or do they just keep it formal?

12. Will you see a draft of the ceremony?

Most celebrants will provide you with a draft of the ceremony beforehand so you can make any changes.

13. Do they require or include a rehearsal?

Some celebrants will do a basic rehearsal with you before the actual wedding. Others will do a run through at their office. Ask your celebrant what they do in respect to this.

14. What actually happens on the wedding day?

Every celebrant has their own way of doing things. Some will guide everybody involved in the ceremony through what they have to do, others will greet the bride at the car and reassure her, instructing whoever is with her of what they need to do. Others are completely hands off and waiting. Understanding, from their arrival to the handing over of the certificate and the process in between, is important.

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Celebrant Melissa Cornwell

15. How long before the ceremony will they arrive?

Most celebrants arrive half an hour or more before guests to set up their sound system, get orientated with the venue and brief anyone involved in the ceremony on the proceedings. Double check – it would be difficult if your celebrant was set to arrive only five minutes before the ceremony start time!

16. What happens if the celebrant is ill?

Does the celebrant have a stand-in available in case they fall ill on the day? What happens if they are unable to perform the ceremony?

17. How many weddings do they book in one day? How many will they be performing on your wedding day?

Some celebrants book in multiple ceremonies a day, which is completely fine – but a professional celebrant will make sure there is enough time to get between venues without rushing and missing things. So make sure this has been allowed for.

elegant quat quatta wedding20 Twenty Questions – What To Ask Your Marriage Celebrant

Melissa Fahey of Mine Forever Photo by Harvard Wang from Claire and Tim’s Elegant Quat Quatta Wedding

 18. What attire will they wear?

You’d hate for your celebrant to turn up in a polo shirt and shorts to a black tie event, so check with your celebrant as to their usual attire and advise them of your dress code.

19. What equipment are they able to bring?

Most celebrants have a PA system (though it pays to check if it’s a good quality one). Others will be able to provide a signing table with chair. Some celebrants will even be able to play music from their PAs to assist you with your ceremony music choices.

20. What happens with the paperwork?

A celebrant has to lodge certain paperwork, including your intention to marry form within a certain time frame before your wedding day. They also have to lodge the marriage certificate after the wedding. Check with them that everything is in good order and they have everything they need to lodge your marriage legally.
What did you wish you’d asked of your celebrant or wish you’d known?

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Melita and Richard’s Beautiful Art Deco Wedding

by | Australia - Western Australia, Bride, Inspired Weddings,

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beautiful art deco wedding050 Melita and Richards Beautiful Art Deco Wedding

Melita & Richard

When you have a love of theatre, glamour and style then a wedding with a twist, like today’s beautiful art deco wedding might just take your breath away. The bride and groom had a very clear vision going into their planning, describing their wedding as “Echoes of the La Belle Époque and Art Deco ages meeting our love affair with champagne, good food, dapper clothing, great folk and roaring parties — classic yet theatrically quirky.” They chose photographers Bayly & Moore to capture their day.

“For the two of us, it was pure and utter love at first sight. Richard and I both found ourselves at the theatre one evening; he was suited up, looking dapper, with camera in tow as the official photographer for opening night and I was there in my fancy frock as an invited guest. After watching him for what seemed like forever, I approached tentatively, told him I liked what he was wearing and then disappeared before he could catch my name (or my blushing face) or before I could hear him reply “I… I love you!” (yes, he really did!). Perth is a small city, so we happened to bump into each other again and for the next six months became fast friends. Then in a moment of happenstance, we met up for a beachside swim at twilight before the Australia Day skyshow. Never had fireworks looked so magical in the night sky, nor had either of us felt so comfortable ‘ooh-ing’ and ‘ahh-ing’ in public like children. It was at that moment we knew that we couldn’t deny the love and remain just friends. We were absolutely head over heels for each other. Being the romantic he is, Richard proposed a little over twelve months later at the ruins of an old church atop a mountain in Scotland with an amazing antique ring (and of course captured the whole thing on camera!).”

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Melita wore a beaded gown she found on eBay by designer Sue Wong. She remembers it as being a highlight of her wedding plans “I loved finding the dress of my dreams. Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted a wedding dress with ostrich feathers and old-world jazz era details. My maternal grandmother was an opera singer and just oozed that kind of sparkle and style. I wanted to make her proud, in spirit. And in a completely unexpected find, I discovered my dress on eBay while looking for a cocktail dress for a party. It couldn’t have been more perfect (or wonderfully priced!!).”

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Fox & Rabbit  created the floral arrangements for the day, Melita remarking, “I had a really strong concept in mind for my bouquets (there had to be feathers!) and Rebecca created the most divine arrangements. My bouquet trailed down my dress, just lovely. She is a very clever lady.”

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Finishing the bride’s art deco styling was a feather headpiece by Reny Kestel Millinery. Melita noting, “I rocked up at her door only a few weeks out from the wedding and she absolutely nailed the look I was going for. Feathers all the way!”

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Melita and Richard chose Trinity Uniting Church for their ceremony. Explaining, “Trinity Uniting Church on St Georges Terrace is a beautiful, quaint and intricately-detailed church in the centre of Perth CBD. It is also the very same place my grandparents were married at 72 years earlier. Since they are no longer with us, it was an absolute joy to be standing where they did all those years back and make the same kind of lifelong commitment. Getting married in the same church as my paternal Grandparents. Their names, and now ours, are in that wedding registry book at the church. We think that’s awesome.”

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Melita loved, “Seeing all the details of our vision come together. It was just so much fun to not only spend time creating a fun and joyous event, but to also be part of it on the day.”

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beautiful art deco wedding035 Melita and Richards Beautiful Art Deco Wedding

Of her walk down the aisle, Melita tells, “I chose A movement called ‘Thaxted’ from Holst’s ‘Op.32: Jupiter, Bringer of Jollity’ which was reworked by Richard’s cousin (who is a composer). It held a lot of meaning for the two of us, and it sure was fun to walk down the aisle to! My Dad wasn’t able to walk me down the aisle due to having Parkinson’s disease and a recent spate of surgeries, so he met me at the end and presented me to Richard. It made me swell with pride to see him at the end of the aisle on one side, and my beloved on the other. He also knocked our socks off when it came time to dancing — he made his way into the centre of the crowd, zimmer frame and all, and whooped and hollered and partied with the rest of us!”

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beautiful art deco wedding038 Melita and Richards Beautiful Art Deco Wedding

beautiful art deco wedding039 Melita and Richards Beautiful Art Deco Wedding

Melita loved, “The undeniable feelings of love and support by all on the day. Family and friends travelled far to be with us and shared in our excitement. Both sets of parents were so overjoyed as they sat together in the front row. As my Dad said “we’re all coming along because we love you two and want to celebrate with you!” and it really stuck with me all throughout the day.”

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“We had a dear elderly lady who entertained our guests while we were signing the registry and our friends were playing an item, ‘Strangers’ by The Kinks. She walked in through a side door off the street and proceeded to dance for all to see. As soon as the song finished, she grabbed her bags and left again. Those kind of unexpected moments made the day so memorable!”

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After the ceremony, guests gathered for a jazz hour, Melita explaining, “We held a jazz hour in the church’s lunch room, which was perfect for putting on a spread of champagne and chocolates for our guests against the backdrop of a friend’s jazz trio.”

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The bridal party hired a tram from Perth Tram Company for their transport on the day.

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Melita’s bridesmaids wore dresses from Frock and Frill, Charlie Brown, Unique Vintage, Jigsaw, ASOS and Tutu du Monde. She remarks “I had a vision for myself and my bridesmaids to be dressed in fun, sparkly, party dresses of various colours and style, but in the same tonal family. It meant hunting online, looking in shops and even chasing down a girl in a bar to see where she had bought her dress. The crazy thing was that it wasn’t until the day of the wedding that I finally saw all the dresses at once, along with my own — thank goodness they all came together. I loved choosing the outfit for my three-year-old niece — I thought she looked adorable in her dress and sparkly skull cap.”

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“One of our favourite locations for the photos was the State Theatre Centre of Western Australia where we first met, and a little restaurant just up the road, where we had our first date. We just rocked up unannounced and sat at ‘our table’. The girls working that day were so excited for us (we’re frequenters!) that they poured a couple of glasses of champagne and we had a toast.”

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beautiful art deco wedding061 Melita and Richards Beautiful Art Deco Wedding

Of their photographers, the bride remarks, “Bayly and Moore were friends first, photographers second. There was no question but to ask them to shoot our wedding. These intrepid travelers have such a great eye and style and attitude combined with the kind of personality traits you want present on your day – fantastic with people and insanely cool, with the ability to blend in the background and possessing an eagle eye for those special moments.”

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Dinner was held at The Trustee Bar & Bistro  on St Georges Terrace, Melita noting, “An art deco building that has been exquisitely restored and one that serves sensational food.”

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Jean Pierre Sancho created a colourful macaron tower in place of a traditional wedding cake.

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With Melita being a graphic designer, she designed the accompanying stationery for the wedding day, including the favors! Telling “Our favourite pieces were the favours — we created a rather tongue-in-cheek booklet called “The Jeffersons’ Concise Guide to Suaveness and Style: In which we discuss the rather dandy but always necessary practicalities of mastering the art of good breeding and other graces” in keeping with our Belle Époque look.

We wanted it to be theatrical and quirky and ridiculous! It featured our favourite ‘tips’ for living life in style, such as recipes for our favourite cocktails, how to tie a bow-tie, a hilarious excerpt from the 1930s on how to kiss properly, and what makes a winning poker hand. We gave these to guests along with playing cards that featured our monogram and invitation design, and a playlist of jazz era songs that we had playing at our reception.”

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Food was a high priorty for Melita and Richard, who served a feasting style menu. “We really wanted to have long table feasting which was executed exceptionally well by The Trustee. Our dinner included some favourite dishes including duck confit, wagyu beef and cheese boards with bacon jam, all paired with Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Ruinart champagne. After dinner, the middle tables were cleared for dancing which gave it a cosy, albeit raucous, vibe.”

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beautiful art deco wedding075 Melita and Richards Beautiful Art Deco Wedding

Dancing was the highlight and perfect ending to the evening, Melita remembering, “Instead of a first dance, we just partied the night away with our guests. The first song to kick off the dancing was Curtis Mayfield’s ‘Move On Up’, which led into a menagerie of disco tunes and 80s rock ballads.”

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beautiful art deco wedding077 Melita and Richards Beautiful Art Deco Wedding

Congratulations Melita and Richard on your spectacular wedding day! Thank you for sharing your story with us! Thank you to Sophie of Bayly & Moore for sharing today’s celebration!

Photographer: Bayly & Moore / Bride’s Dress: Sue Wong (Found On Ebay) / Bride’s Veil/Hair Accessories: Reny Kestel Millinery / Bride’s Shoes: Irregular Choice / Bride’s Jewelry: Heirloom pieces and gifts from friends / Groom’s Attire: InStitchu / Groomsmen Attire: InStitchu / Bridesmaid Dresses: Frock and Frill, Charlie Brown, Unique Vintage, Jigsaw, ASOS and Tutu du Monde / Hairstylist: Head Studio, team headed by Marie Cain / Makeup Artist: Grace Buckley / Flowers & Decor: Fox & Rabbit / Invitations: Maegan Brown / Stationery: Handmade by the bride / Ceremony Venue: Trinity Uniting Church / Ceremony Officiant: Pastor John Harris / Reception Venue: The Trustee Bar & Bistro / Macaron Tower: Jean Pierre Sancho / Wedding Rings: Rohan Jewellery / Wedding Rings: Look Feel Be / Transport: Perth Tram Company / Wedding Registry: Travel Registry

Bright Winter Wedding Inspiration

by | Bride, Inspiration Shoot, Styling, Wedding Inspiration

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bright winter wedding107 Bright Winter Wedding Inspiration

I love bright and bold wedding inspiration and when it comes to Winter, bright and bold colours are the easiest way to warm up your wedding colour palette. Today’s shoot in the Adelaide Hills takes bright jewel tones, and plenty of candle light and transforms it into warm Winter wedding inspiration!

Lucinda May Photography teamed up with her floral stylist sister-in-law Bella In Bloom to create this gorgeous rustic Winter inspired shoot! She explains, “I had always wanted to do a shoot in a forest scene and found the perfect location in the Adelaide Hills. I was speaking to my sister-in-law from Bella In Bloom about it and she wanted to do something bright and rustic so we came up with the idea for a winter rustic styled shoot in the forest. We loved the idea of a ‘naked’ cake so we asked  Sweet Bea’s to be a part of the shoot. I knew I wanted to involve my favourite dress store in Adelaide The Vintage Bride Boutique, Rene’s dresses were a perfect match for the idea of this shoot. We ended up going with a beautiful 1950′s original vintage dress which even had a couple of pieces of the confetti from the original wedding. We had Sail and Swan make a beautiful invitation set that tied in really well with the colours Amy chose for the flowers.”

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Photographer: Lucinda May Photography / Flowers & Styling: Bella In Bloom / Bride’s Dress: The Vintage Bride Boutique / Cake Baker: Sweet Bea's / Invitations & Stationery: Sail and Swan / Makeup Artist: Make Up To Shake Up / Hairstylist: Hair To Envy Body and Beauty

Victoria and Edin’s Elegant Werribee Mansion Wedding

by | Australia - Victoria, Bride, Inspired Weddings,

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COMMENT

Elegant Werribee Mansion Wedding 046 Victoria and Edins Elegant Werribee Mansion Wedding

Victoria and Edin

There is a quiet elegance about today’s wedding held at Victoria’s Werribee Mansion. Victoria and Edin not only chose beautiful elements to represent themselves and their relationship throughout their day, but they also wanted to create a wedding without wastage – so they found a stylist who was able to bring that commitment to life. Lucy Spartalis was on hand to capture every moment, every detail as she so beautifully does.

The newlyweds tell the story of how they met. “We first met at a music festival in the summer of 2008…. and they were worlds apart! If Edin hadn’t spotted Victoria from afar; and insisted that she take the seat next to him for the best view of the band, we probably would never have even met. Our first date was to the National Gallery of Victoria for an Art Deco exhibition and we have since traveled together extensively. We decided to personalise our wedding with this period and travel theme.”

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Victoria chose the Aspen by Jenny Packham wedding gown accessorised with jewels from Mikimoto. Her bridesmaids wore beaded gowns from Aidan Mattox and Adrianna Papell .

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Victoria and Edin chose Werribee Mansion Lakeside for their ceremony. They set out to have a vintage style garden ceremony.

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Victoria walked down the aisle to Sergio Ercole playing “Granada”.

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The couple made sure to pay homage to both of their cultural backgrounds – starting with a traditional Chinese tea ceremony.

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While the bridal party had photos taken, the newlyweds set up their guests for having a blast, they tell, “We love the outdoors and have gone on numerous picnics when we were dating. We decided to have picnics and vintage games for our guests to enjoy the summer sun while we disappeared to have our photos taken.”

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Of their photographer, Victoria and Edin tell, “When we first met Lucy Spartalis we knew we had to have you as our wedding photographer. She is fun, charismatic and relaxed. For a camera shy couple like us, we wanted our photos to be as candid and natural as possible. She captured our story and all the moments with such honesty.”

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The reception celebrations kicked off in the Werribee Mansion Theatre Room. The couple note, “Having a wedding that reflected us was really important so we attended to the details ourselves. As believers of sustainable design, we didn’t want to create any waste from our wedding so we rented unique items from Something Vintage to create a vintage style garden wedding with our travel theme. We used maps, vintage suitcases and cameras for decorations. Something Vintage are an amazing vintage rental business that allow party planners an opportunity to create sustainable events. The were so helpful and made it easy for DIY event planners.”

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Even the favors were sustainable, Victoria noting, “We also made our own potted plants as wedding favours so that our guests could keep and grow our gifts.”

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Elegant Werribee Mansion Wedding 051 Victoria and Edins Elegant Werribee Mansion Wedding

There was no traditional wedding cake, in fact Victoria and Edin went for a celebration of the bubbly kind! Noting, “We had a champagne fountain instead of a wedding cake. Not only was it a feature piece, it was fun to pop the champagne and toast with all our friends.”

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The dance floor was bustling, kicking off after the first dance of which the newlyweds remember, “We chose ‘More’ by Bobby Darin – We wanted a song that was timeless but a bit of fun. We wanted our first dance to be fun so we decided to do a swing dance. With Edin’s two left feet and Victoria’s complete lack of coordination, we have no idea how we managed to pull it off. ” As a nod to Edin’s Bosnian heritage, there was plenty of Bosnian dancing!

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Congratulations Victoria and Edin! Thank you for sharing your glorious day with us! Thank you also to Lucy Spartalis for sharing today’s wedding with us!

Photographer: Lucy Spartalis / Styling/Hire: Something Vintage / Bride’s Dress: Aspen by Jenny Packham / Bride’s Shoes: Rachel Simpson / Bride’s Jewelry: Mikimoto / Groom’s Attire: Rhodes and Beckett / Groomsmen Attire: Rhodes and Beckett / Bridesmaid Dresses: Aidan Mattox / Bridesmaid Dresses: Adrianna Papell / Hairstylist: Julie Dammery / Makeup Artist: Julie Dammery / Flowers: Easy Peasy Posy by Caroline / Invitations & Stationery: Friend (Van Pham) / Ceremony Venue: Werribee Mansion Lakeside / Ceremony Officiant: Tracey Patterson / Ceremony Musicians: Sergio Ercole / Reception Venue: Werribee Mansion Theatre Room / Band: Connotations
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