In the Presence of Witnesses

fionas weddingSelecting the person to legally bind you in the sacred tradition of marriage is a very personal process.

Perhaps your family priest or clergy member may be the obvious choice. Or if a church wedding is not to plan, you will require a Licensed Civil Celebrant to perform your ceremony. When selecting someone to perform this duty, personal taste is generally the deciding factor.  Male or female?  Older or younger? Traditional vows or modern interpretation?

Celebrants are changing.

Gone are the days that a marriage celebrant was typically over 60, although there are still many experienced and devoted professionals offering couples a fabulous service.

My gorgeous, blonde, vibrant girlfriend Alisa Melhuish decided at the age of 31, that she would become a civil celebrant. She is now booked 35 weekends of the year.

Her couples are very diverse. Young couples dating since high school, long term relationships finally saying I do, and second marriages surrounded by best friends and their adult children in the backyard of the family home.

Wedding themes will vary too, a great celebrant will be prepared to get into your theme. Recently, Alisa was asked by a fellow

Lisa  Mike-02350

celebrant if she would dress up as a ringmaster of a Carnival themed wedding celebration. (Secretly she had been waiting for the invitation!) Wedding guests came dressed as carnival folk, complete with a ‘bearded lady’ (a truck driver with an impressive beard and his mum’s best church frock). The bride and groom laughed and cried together throughout the ceremony and expressed their unquestionable love for each other in a unique and memorable manner.

Alisa’s advice to couples when selecting a celebrant is to find someone who respects your idea of a perfect wedding, even if it differs from theirs.  “Generally couples are all looking for a ceremony that is beautiful and a little traditional but still fun and enjoyable and true to who they are as individuals and as a couple”.

The ‘Monitum’

This must be performed by a licensed Celebrant or Church representative as part of your ceremony, it is a legal requirement and cannot be changed. Your celebrant should advise you on what exactly is required and what areas you can relax or personalise.

Celebrant: “ Now I, (celebrant’s name) a civil celebrant, am duly authorised by the law to solemnise this, your marriage, according to the laws of Australia.

Before you (bride’s name) and (groom’s name), are joined together in marriage in my presence and in the presence of these witnesses, I am bound to remind you publicly of the solemn, serious and binding nature of the relationship into which you are now about to enter.

Marriage, according to law in Australia is the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.

Personally, I had some major celebrant issues (Alisa had not yet chosen this career path) as I seriously struggled with the thought that this person didn’t know me or my fiancé. I took control of our nuptials and put in place my own Grand Plan.

My sister and sister in-law ‘to be’ conducted our marriage ceremony, with a celebrant present to conduct the Monitum and sign the legal documents. These two loved ones truly spoke from their hearts. They told our guests how we felt about each other, made everyone laugh with personal jokes and stories, and shed tears with us when talking about our future together.  It was perfect.  Our ceremony is one of fondest memories I have of our wedding day, and apart from marrying my husband, definitely one of the highlights.

It’s all about you

Your ceremony theme, content and flow are your decision. Don’t let your celebrant pressure you to say or read what they personally think is important, the right celebrant will respect your ideas and simply enhance them to create the perfect ceremony for you. Gather their recommendations and review your information well in advance.

It’s your day, and you have control.

This post was originally published as a guest blogger for – Thank you also to Alisa Melhuish for your assistance.

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