At the heart and soul of every wedding is the celebrant. They cleverly keep the guests engaged with their words of wisdom, whilst soothing the nerves of the anxious bride and groom. They pacify the concerned mother in law and problem solve like a boss. Most importantly they are fully qualified to make your big day official!
This week we have been chatting to our wonderful local Port Douglas celebrants Stephanie Milne, Sarah Woods and Anna Soltwedel .
How soon before my wedding do I need to book my celebrant?
Sarah – As soon as you decide on a date you should start contacting celebrants with a view to booking one. Personally I am booked up to two years in advance so the earlier you get in the more likely you are to exactly who you want to help you celebrate your special day. If you are flexible with dates and times then you don’t need to book as early.
How much notice do I need to give in Australia to get married?
Stephanie – Marriage in Australia requires 1 months Notice (that is 1 month from the date the Notice of Intention To Marry is received by the Celebrant)
Civil Unions require 10 days Notice (that is 10 days from the Date that the Notice is received by the CPN and lodged with Births Deaths Marriages)
What happens if you were to get sick on my wedding day?
Anna – In the most unlikely scenario that I was too unwell to conduct your ceremony I would organise for a hand-over between myself and another local celebrant to ensure your wedding could take place.
I’m not so sure about writing my own vows, is this something you can help with?
Stephanie –I am happy to assist in any way I can with your vows. I have lots of pre written vows you can choose from, I can write them for you based on information you give me or I can talk you through some ideas for your very own personal vows.
Do we need to be in Australia for any length of time before the wedding to get married?
Stephanie –No, as long as you have lodged all your paperwork correctly, you do not have to have been in Australia for any particular length of time before the wedding.
What happens if it’s looking like rain?
Sarah – Rain rain go away – come again another day! Sadly it doesn’t always work like this and rain is something that could happen, so if you are having an outdoor ceremony I always suggest to my couples that they have considered this possibility and have a backup in place – such as your reception venue or a private house. Who wants to put all that effort into looking and feeling amazing only to have the weather change it – hence the backup plan. On the day if it rains we go into wet weather backup plan and a nominated person ( not the bride or groom) is responsible for contacting the guests and notifying them of the change of venue.
Can I arrive to Port Douglas, fall in love and then get hitched Vegas style?
Anna – Yes and no. You can arrive in Port Douglas fall madly in love, lodge a Notice of Intended Marriage, spend a month enjoying being in love under the palm trees…then marry one month and one day after your Notice has been lodged.
Can same sex couples marry in Port Douglas?
Stephanie – Unfortunately same sex marriage is not yet legal in Australia. The Marriage Act is a Federal Law as as such must go through Parliament to be approved.
At this time Same Sex Civil Unions are now legal in Queensland and can be registered with BDM Queensland; however one of the parties must be a resident of Queensland and must provide documentation to prove this
We’ve decided to Elope, do we need witnesses?
Sarah –Yes, you need two witnesses over 18 years of age, they need to speak English and appear to be sober. If it’s just the two of you then you can use your photographer, wedding co-ordinator or any of your other suppliers as witnesses – more than happy to help you with co-ordinating this. Other couples prefer to arrive and be in the moment and ask any willing people close by.
Can a celebrant still marry us in a church?
Anna – Absolutely. Port Douglas has several lovely chapels to offer, the most outstanding perhaps is St Mary’s by the Sea.
Can you help with other aspects of my wedding?
Stephanie – I am more than happy to assist in any way I can, I like to think I go the extra mile for every couple I work with, whether it is a large event involving many family and friends or an intimate elopement with just the two of you.
What if I fly in the day before and can’t meet you before the wedding?
Sarah – A lot of couples who are eloping only fly in the night before or day of, so to make things simple I arrive at their accommodation prior to the agreed ceremony time and meet with them separately or together to finalise the legals which takes about 10 minutes.
Is a rehearsal necessary?
Stephanie – It is necessary to have a pre wedding meeting, to discuss paperwork and complete the Declaration prior to the wedding.
I usually suggest that this be combined with a rehearsal or walk through. Having a rehearsal or walk through, allows everyone involved in the ceremony to see how things will run, where they will stand, what they will do and how they will act. In addition it will bring up any questions which might not have arisen until just before the ceremony.
It will also allow the ceremony to look more seamless and professional.
What can I expect to pay for a marriage celebrant?
Anna – You can expect to pay somewhere between $500 and $1000, however the Port Douglas celebrants all charge around $600 or so. This is not just for the time on the day, there is a long process with many emails, the writing of your ceremony, submitting paperwork to Births Deaths and Marriages, meeting you in person as needed and for a ceremony rehearsal.