Congratulations on your betrothal! Let's see if I'm the right celebrant for you:

If you like the look of this website, you might ring me or you might send a text or an email enquiry. If I am available for the wedding date that you have chosen, we can have a chat on Zoom, or you can meet me in a park in Castlemaine to suss me out in person, obligation-free. Then I leave you to mull it over between yourselves, and if you think I am indeed the Right Person For The Job, you can let me know.

Okay, we've engaged you as our celebrant. Then what do we do?

There is a legal side and a creative side to a wedding ceremony. We start with the paperwork and then get on with the fun bit. Bear with me, here:

When you have chosen me, I send you a secure individual link to my database for you to enter some basic ID details. I will use that information to generate your marriage documents.

The first document we complete is the Notice of Intended Marriage. If you can meet me in Castlemaine, we will get together at a park again and complete that NOIM in person. Alternatively I email you your NOIM form with simple instructions about having it witnessed at a police station anywhere in Australia. I provide full instructions for that and it's easy.

For this NOIM stage of the process you will need to show me a passport (from any country) to prove your place and date of birth OR a birth certificate or birth extract, and a drivers licence or similar as photo ID. If we are going with the police station option, they will need to see those ID docs, and you'll need to email me clear images of them too. (Which I promptly delete when I have examined them - I don't keep copies of your ID.)

If one of you is going to be overseas until just before the wedding, we can 'activate' the NOIM with just one of you and catch up on the other person when they arrive. If you are both going to be overseas until just before the wedding, I still generate your NOIM for you, and it will need to be witnessed by an Australian consular official where you are, not by me over Zoom, and then scanned to me so I can check it. We can talk about that.

If either of you have been married before you will need to show me evidence of the end of the previous marriage (with a divorce order or death certificate of previous spouse).  If either of you have used a different legal name than the one you use now, you'll need to show me a paper trail for that name change.

If your documents are not in English they will need to be accompanied by a translation - ask me for advice about how to get a certified translation.

At the NOIM stage we will also sign my service agreement (which details what I do and when) and I will be pleased to accept the first-stage payment of my fee.

Ah, your fee. Tell us about fees.

Your wedding is an initiation into a new state, and a great gift that you give each other. Most weddings, therefore, are the result of hours of scripting work by the celebrant. That is why you have chosen a civil celebrant - so that you can have the exact wedding that you want. As your legal guide, personal scriptwriter, ceremony stage manager and officiant, my first-stage payment is $350 at paperwork commencement; second stage payment is $350 when I email you my first draft of your ceremony; and my final stage payment of $450 is due the week before the wedding. I will also tack on a tiny bit for travel if your wedding is more than 40km from my home. There are no hidden extras and a surprising number of inclusions - such as a letter to the authorities if you need one to accompany a visa application; my PA system for our voices; walk-through/rehearsal onsite in the days before; keepsake wedding certificate on the day; marriage certificate from the Victorian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages....the list goes on....

Anyway, I write my ceremony scripts from scratch. Your wedding will be your wedding - whatever you want. And I really do go all out for my couples.

On the other hand, you might just want your celebrant to glide in with a smile and get you hitched as quickly as possible, with no particular creative input from me. In that case may I suggest my Cameo Appearance model, where I glide at the time set for the ceremony, gently shoo you into place wherever you want to stand, and deliver the Legal Bits Only: magic words from me; magic words from you; marriage docs signed with your witnesses. Then I discreetly slip away, and you carry on with whatever shindig you have going on. This prompt and cheerful Legals-Only version does not need a rehearsal and will set you back $600.00 total. That is all legal requirements before, during and after the actual ceremony, and my appearance bang on time.

Whatever model of ceremony you go for, you can get married anytime, anywhere, on land or sea or in the air. I can marry you at a winery, on top of a mountain, at your house, at Tullamarine Terminal 2....

Unlike most other celebrants, I take only one wedding on any given day, so that I can stick with you through thick and thin to get you hitched (rather than having to dash off to the next wedding if you have a hold-up for any reason).

Incidentally, you can move your wedding date as many times as you need to, and I won't charge extra for that!
(If you finally land on a date on which I am already booked, I will do my darnedest to make it work. As a last resort we might need to get in one of my esteemed colleagues to deliver your script on the day. We celebrants all keep some likeminded colleagues nearby whom we trust to fill in for us. Hopefully it won't come to that...)

Can we do the fun bit now?!

Yes! If you are going for the original-personal-script model, I will send you a set of cunning questions about your tastes and what you value in life and in each other, which give me the material to start drafting for you. You might produce an essay on each question or you might send me three words total (I have produced an entire wedding ceremony from three words and they loved it, but more material will help me a lot!) I don't want to be intrusive and you only need to share what you're comfortable with. You can work on my questions together or email me some answers each - it's up to you. Then I will be able to suggest ritual elements, symbols, poetry, song lyrics, and other ideas that you might find inspiring. Please remember that we can be as creative as you like - from a traditional structure through to gorilla suits, and with any combination of elements from your heritage. It's up to you. If you don't know what you want yet, I will provide the guidance that will help you find out.

When I email you the first draft of your script, you two do some ruthless editing and feedback, and that guides me for the second draft, and so on. I find that two to four exchanges narrows it down to just the right thing for you. You can also run with the draft and take over entirely if you want to.

Closer to the time:

We will tee up a day and time for a walk-through to check the flow and choreography onsite.  If your outdoor wedding is on for 3pm Saturday, for example, I recommend we meet onsite around 3pm on the Thursday or Friday to check sun angles and such (to make sur eyou won't be squinting on the day). We save the words for the actual ceremony but it is very helpful for you two and I (and any wedding party that you invite) to practice walking in to music and taking hands for rings and such.

At our walk-through I will also bring you the Declaration of No Impediment to Marriage form, which is a specialised Statutory Declaration that you are of age; not married to anyone else; not too closely related. I provide and witness that form. You don't need any ID docs for that.

And then we are all set...

On the Day:

I will arrive 20 minutes before Go Time and set up my documents for signing and my PA system if required; hold your space and have the guests ready for you; liaise with the rest of your wedding team (venue managers; photographers; musicians or Spotify monitors; anyone doing a reading; baton-twirlers). From the moment that the music starts and your loved ones turn to see you, I will waft you gently through the ceremony so that all your attention can be for Each Other.

Finally, you will sign with two adult witnesses my Big Red Book, your marriage certificate for the Victorian registry of Births Deaths and Marriages and your keepsake certificate. Then I give you back to your guests in triumph, you are launched on your way and into the embrace of your loved ones, and I quietly double-check the docs, discreetly pack up my gear, and evaporate.  Later I have your marriage registered with Vic BDM.

So there you go!

You will find more specific details in my FAQ section.

If that all sounds about right to you - Let's talk!

© Tamsin Whaley, 2016 - 2024. All rights reserved.