Planning your ceremony with Anne Fitzgerald
Whilst planning for your ceremony we can communicate via email and phone as often as required to ensure all necessary care and attention is paid to detail.
1. Initial phone call
Our initial conversation will be a chance to introduce ourselves, and for me to hear what you need – and to check my availability. We will arrange to meet to commence the process. I will explain what you need to bring. (If meeting is not possible we can proceed anyway via email / fax).
2. Our First Meeting
At this meeting we will
- Secure the date and time of the ceremony
- Complete the Notice of Intended Marriage form – it is a legal requirement that I receive this form a month before the wedding, and completing it together helps me to get to know you
- Begin to plan the ceremony –
. I will show you what must be included by law
. We will discuss your ideas, how you have come to be together, your influences and values, perhaps cultural heritage and family
. We will look at a collection of sample ceremonies and readings for you to consider. This is a helpful way of getting started in creating your personalised wedding ceremony
- We will make a schedule for proceeding ie dates for finalising all documents and the draft ceremony, and for the rehearsal.
You are likely to go away with sample ceremonies, ideas to think over, readings to consider and some direction for planning the participants and flow of the ceremony. I will soon be in touch to discuss your choices. I will help to bring these ideas together in draft form for you to consider, add to, fine tune, and finally approve. (We will rehearse the ceremony together before the event).
Please note: At our first meeting, I will require 40% deposit of the agreed fee, with the balance of 60% to be paid at the rehearsal, or a week before the wedding where there is no rehearsal). This deposit cannot be refunded. For details on fees, click here
3. Before the Ceremony
Just before the wedding (usually at the rehearsal) it is a legal requirement to complete a Declaration of No Impediment to Marriage proceeding. I will arrange the necessary documents for you to sign.
The Rehearsal will ideally occur at the venue a day before the ceremony, involving all participants in the ceremony and the photographer.
4. On Your Wedding Day
The Certificates On the day of your wedding, I will bring three certificates. After the ceremony each certificate will be signed by you, the celebrant and two witnesses (see Witnesses section below).
I will give you one of the signed certificates on the day, as a record of your marriage. (Or I can take it, and send this after the event to save you storing it on the day). I maintain the second copy in the Marriage Register. I send the third to the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages (see below).
Presentation of the Certificate Once the marriage certificates have been signed on the day, the presentation of the certificate to the couple is the moment when the ceremony concludes. We will face the gathering and I will announce the presentation to you by the titles by which you henceforth wish to be known. This is a very happy moment and your photographer will be alert to this!
5. After the Wedding
I send the third certificate, to the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages (within fourteen days). A printed marriage certificate can then be issued by the Registry. This is required for many official purposes, so after your wedding you should apply for a copy of this certificate from the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages (follow this link).
We will communicate via email and phone as often as required, so that we are able to prepare your ceremony and these legal requirements with care and attention to detail.
Other Important Information
Witnesses to Marriage
A wedding ceremony must be ‘witnessed’ by two people aged at least eighteen. (If they do not speak or understand English, an interpreter will be required). They will be required to sign all three copies of the marriage certificate signed by the couple at the wedding.
Ideally this will occur the day prior to the ceremony. We will go through the ceremony as prepared, the ‘flow’ or choreography, the timing, audio (including working out how to accommodate guests with special needs) and the needs of the photographer.
Going through the ceremony with you and other other participants the day before the ceremony will put your mind at ease. This planning will also make it easier to accommodate last minute contingencies, eg participating guests who arrive on the day and may need my attention.
Amplification of the Ceremony
In almost all settings amplification is required. If this is not provided by the venue I will bring a PA system which will suit the ceremony, as it is essential that guests and witnesses are able to hear the announcement of vows. You will probably need to speak into a microphone.
If any of the guests have impaired hearing please let me know. We will aim to make arrangements (eg ensuring the seating is favourable) so that they have the best opportunity to hear the ceremony.
You can decide on the time of your wedding party’s arrival. You might like to consider that delays in arrival can be difficult for guests, particularly older guests and those with children.
We will ideally have rehearsed the the previous day with all participants. However, if some participants in the ceremony can only arrive on the day it is helpful for allowance to be made for me to discuss the flow and their role with them, to make sure they are clear and comfortable with the planned proceedings.
On the day of the ceremony, I plan to arrive 40 minutes before the scheduled start of the ceremony. I aim to allow for a maximum of 20 minute delay in the start, in the event that we need to accommodate late arrivals.
Furniture for Signing the Certificates
I can supply a table and chairs for signing certificates where these are not supplied by the venue. Of course not all Blue Mountains locations accommodate furniture, so we can work creatively to find the perfect solution.
There is no requirement to attend any pre-marital counselling or courses before you marry. I am required to provide you with a copy of a brochure prepared by the Attorney General’s Department titled Happily Ever Before and After.
If you would like information about personal and relationship services and resources, please ask. You can raise any specific interests or needs in this area (you can phone me if you’d prefer). I’ll do my best to help you access the most appropriate resources. It really is a good idea to be proactive in dealing with personal and relationship matters.
Relationships Australia is one service that can be accessed right across Australia via 1300 364 277 or www.relationships.com.au. You can download their brochure on building relationships here partners-a-guide-to-successful-relationships
In addition a range of services exist at various locations. I have prepared a Blue Mountains brochure which is available on request. It includes link addresses for a broad range of online resources. Visit my facebook page for links to some of these.
To keep or to change? This is a matter of choice. The tradition of a wife taking a husband’s surname is increasingly given careful consideration, rather than being accepted as inevitable. If you choose to change your name the process is outlined here.
Style of Celebrant
My presentation style is warm and welcoming, professional and friendly. Having been an ABC broadcaster for 7 years I am very familiar with the need to be perfectly prepared, but to also be prepared to go with the ‘magic of the moment’.
Click here to learn more about your celebrant. The ceremony is your day, and the celebrant has the privilege to officiate. I will provide you with a portfolio of possible outfits to ensure that your ceremony leaves the visual impression you want from of the effort you put into the preparations for your day.
Ceremony Photography Etiquette
The choice of who takes photographs on the day is your call. There are pros and cons to consider. You may intend to employ a professional photographer or appoint a family member or friend to photograph the ceremony. Guests may also take photos unless you prefer that they did not.
Having someone in the role of official photographer limits the number of people aiming to position themselves for the best shot at your ceremony. You may want to make sure your guests are ‘in the moment’ with you rather than taking photos. On the other hand, you may miss getting a record of spontaneous moments, and the range of angles and perspectives from guests using phone cameras can add to the record of day. Mind you that means they may post on social media before you get a chance to see the image. You can request that they send or show the images to an appointed ‘editor’ before posting.
You can choose to let your guests know your choice, and ask for their cooperation for a guest photography-free ceremony (or reception). You may ask for guests to show any image they want to post on social media to X before posting (a member of the official party perhaps).
Whatever your choice, I can mention this at the outset, to reinforce what you may note in the invitation correspondence.