There is no such thing as a silly question so please don’t be afraid to call for a chat with Meera.
Here are some common issues which might concern you:
When should we book Meera?
Please do this the moment you decided on your date! Celebrants can be booked a year in advance.
How long should our ceremony take?
This is very individual and will depend on your choices for the ritual, but usually between 15-30 minutes.
Can we be married anywhere in Australia, even in the air?
YES! Meera can perform your ceremony anywhere, including on an airplane or boat! If you want to get married in any ‘public’ area such as a park or beach, you will need to contact the local council to check on permission and/or fees.
Do we have to attend a pre-marital course or counselling?
You don’t but it is an obligation for Meera to ensure you know of any such courses in your area. It is actually a very sensible idea for you to consider this. Australia regards marriage as an extremely important legal state in any case and not to be taken at all lightly but as a couple you should also consider carefully if you have covered every aspect of your future life together and prepared for issues such as having children, sharing finances and so forth. A good preparation course can really help settle such things.
Can we just elope??
Absolutely! You must comply with all legalities and have two people, who are eighteen years old or over to witness the ceremony.
HELP – we can’t find some original documents!
If you were born in Australia, you can obtain a copy of your birth certificate and if applicable, a death certificate of a former spouse from the Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages, in the state in which you were born. If divorced you can obtain a copy of your Divorce Order from the Family Law Court in the state in which your marriage was dissolved.
Do we have to write our own vows?
Not at all! There is an absolute legal requirement for you both to say, “I call upon the people here present to witness that I (bride’s name/groom’s name), take you, (groom’s name/bride’s name) to be my wedded (husband/wife)”. However, most couples relish the opportunity to tell their intended how they feel about the step they are about to make and it certainly offers you both the opportunity to create something very personal.
Do we have to memorise our vows?
No. You can choose to repeat them after me or read from a card.
Can our children be part of the ceremony?
Including your children is a very special act and there are many ways in which they can take part, depending on their age! You may like also to consider making a special vow to your respective children within the ceremony itself!
Is there a waiting period to get married or can we do it immediately?
If you want to get married quickly you will need approval from your local court (called ‘Shortening of Time.’) and the granting of this depends on you qualifying under one of these categories: Employment related or other travel commitments.
Wedding or celebration arrangements, or religious considerations.
Error in giving notice.
My fiancé and I are of a different religion…
Can we include aspects of both religions into our ceremony? Many religious needs can be easily incorporated into your ceremony.
Can we use a translator?
YES! If the bride and or groom cannot speak English a translator will be required and it can be a family member or a friend.
What does Meera’s Celebrant’s fee cover?
All documentation before, during and after your ceremony, all meetings, all drafts and final copy of the ceremony, any rehearsal, performing on the wedding day, travel time and all email/telephone calls.
What things do we need to consider in our ceremony?
There are some legal must-do’s and others are optional rituals or proceedings you may like to include:
Optional – Processional (Entrance of the wedding party)
Optional – First Poem/Reading/Ritual/Prayer/Music Performance
Optional – Giving away of the bride
LEGAL – Monitum – Legal wording spoken by the Celebrant from the Marriage Act
Optional – The Asking
The Vows (Your promises to each other)
Optional – Second Poem/Reading/Ritual/Prayer/Music/Dance
Optional – Exchange of wedding rings
LEGAL – Conclusion and Declaration
LEGAL – Signing the Marriage Register
Optional – Presentation of the Marriage Certificate
Optional – Recessional – Exit of the bridal party
Does Meera travel outside of Sydney?
She does – she is based in the Lower Blue Mountains and travels anywhere required, however any extensive travel may incur an extra fee so please ask!
We are under 18 yrs – can we still marry?
You need a parent’s written consent and a court order under section 12 of the Marriage Act to do this.
We’ve seen fees as low as $300?
The fees can vary quite a lot. There is now a legal requirement for celebrants to pay for their registration and so you will find fees going up to cover this but it is also true to say you get what you pay for! Of course you need to consider your own budget but you also should consider very carefully every aspect of your celebrant including:
Are they presentable?
Are they articulate?
Are they a worthy representative for you in front of your guests?
You don’t get married every day and so this is a decision you cannot take lightly and whoever you choose, choose carefully and be prepared to pay for what they are worth!
Should I be ‘fashionably’ late?
No – consider your intended and all your guests respectfully. You have put a schedule in place upon which many people are relying in order to get their part done so don’t play with the time. Let everything run to schedule and give yourself the security of knowing everything else you have planned can take place without the added stress of running late. Also ensure your guests understand they are also expected to treat you and your event with respect – make it clear that tardiness in not acceptable.
How do I choose music?
Let Meera be your guide! With her background as an entertainer, she is a the perfect choice for consultation about music! There are many ways to incorporate music into your day but please be mindful of context – you may need to consider copyright, whether you are wanting recorded or live music, how that can be placed (venue? PA? CD player or iPod? Who will take care of pushing the buttons??).
Things to consider:
Coming up the aisle
During the ceremony
During the Signing of the Register
Coming back down the aisle
During the taking of photographs as your guests wait for your return and so forth.
Should we consider a back-up plan?
That depends on your style of ceremony but it is safe to say that while you might expect a bright sunny day, if you are having your ceremony outside you may need to consider the time of year, the possibility of rain, whether the venue could accommodate suddenly putting the guests inside rather than in the garden and so forth.
Also consider the temperature, your dress/suit, the comfort of your guests, whether the grass may be muddy. All these things can add to a big distraction!
Hot days require enough shade for everyone and the bride doesn’t want to be sweating and looking like a tomato either!
Just be careful that your Wet Weather Back-up doesn’t involve a venue hours away or at a different time – excellent celebrants are in big demand and will most often be booked for more than one wedding a day, especially at certain times of the year. Meera will always leave a decent interval between weddings but there are obvious time restrictions….
We really don’t want anything ‘traditional’….
You don’t have to – you can get as creative as you like – within reason!
Don’t pretend to be anything you are not – keep things real so you can also be relaxed. Conversely, if you love the idea of being formal, go for it!
You can still be structured and keep things light, funny, sweet – even casual! Let Meera help you set the tone so your guests will follow and everything can flow from there.
Do we really need a rehearsal?
Not at all and some couples really don’t want to because they’d rather have things ‘fresh’ on the day. If you are worried about walking, speaking, standing or how things might look in the venue, you should consider a rehearsal. You may need to time your walk to your music, for example, but if you’d rather not, don’t be concerned about it.
Will Meera provide a signing table & chair?
Sure, but you may find most decorators do set-ups so get them to provide it as part of your package. This takes care of one extra thing and so Meera won’t need to organise one of your party to assist with it as she may most likely also be providing the PA.
We speak different languages and want readings in those languages – can Meera cope?
YES SHE CAN! As a former opera singer, Meera sang in French, Welsh, Spanish, German, Czech and Italian. She is extremely comfortable with phonetic learning and is very willing to undertake any reading or greeting in any language!
We think our budget is too tight to afford you…?
I do understand…sometimes there are exceptional circumstances and if you are also willing to be flexible on some services then simply talk to Meera.
What happens if Meera is sick on the day?
Meera’s performance training has helped her cope with all kinds of lurgies, even laryngitis so she’d have to be extremely sick or infectious to miss your Big Day! You can rest assured that there will always be another celebrant contactable to come in should the worst happen!
11 Top Tips
There are so many things that can go wrong…..here are my Top Tips to ensure you don’t get caught out!
- Put all the rings in one box – you don’t want the ringbearer fumbling with more than one.
- Put a little vaseline on the underside of your rings to help them slide straight onto your fingers. Even if it fits perfectly, this will help.
- Brides, please make sure you see Meera before coming down the aisle!
- Seat your parents at the front so Meera doesn’t have a hard time finding the Father of The Bride for the Giveaway.
- If Mum and Dad are walking you down the aisle, tell the decorators, to give you extra space between the chairs so you have plenty of room to walk 3 across.
- Bridesmaids – please make sure they know how to pace themselves when walking down the aisle! Heads up!
- Brides – hold onto your flowers until you make your vows. They are gorgeous and give you something to do with nervous hands!
- Very small children (babies) and ceremonies really don’t mix……they don’t understand what’s happening and don’t care! Please consider not having them at the ceremony itself. How? Ask if the venue provides a “Crying Room” for parents to take unruly babies and toddlers and make sure those responsible understand they are expected to remove their children if they start to act up, rather than ruin your once-in-a-lifetime ceremony.
- Look after your guests at all times. If it is hot, provide water for them and shade. They will not remember you fondly if they end up standing in extreme temperatures – hot or cold.
- Brides, do not arrive in front of the venue and get straight out. Get your driver to pull over somewhere else so you can get yourself together before walking in without everyone watching you.
- BE ORGANISED! There will be nothing worse than feeling afterwards that you made a hash of simple things you could have taken care of better with more thought so DELEGATE the small stuff, DECIDE on the big stuff, HIRE the best you can afford and ENJOY!