At our first meeting I will give you a ceremony information pack – base on the thousand or so ceremonies I’ve conducted in the last 20 years. There are not 1,000 to choose from so don’t panic – but a number of “standard” ceremony proformas and a number of variations on these. This repertoire I’ve felt privileged to build up based on the generous sharing of ideas of the couples I’ve met: special symbols, rituals and readings from many cultures and spiritual outlooks.
So after you “ lodge” your Notice of Intended Marriage with me I will give you an information leaflet called “ Happily Ever Before and After” from the Department of Community and Family Affairs. I am obliged to give you this, as well as information about relationship education in the community. As a civil celebrant I am not a relationship educator or counselor and do not presume any such role – but the government sees it important that I should have access to this information for you.
I see my role as twofold: to make sure that your ceremony and its preparation incorporates all the elements and processes required by law – i.e. to pin you down; and to give you as many options as possible to make your ceremony individual and unique, “ true to your relationship” – i.e. to give you freedom.
This is why I’ll give you the ceremonies and readings to choose from and even more importantly will be open and willing to listen to any ideas you have about how you’d like your ceremony to unfold – anything you’ve seen or heard and collected over the years can be woven into your ceremony – and remember, I am the facilitator, the official presence – I can be more in the background than you may think if you or a close friend or family member want to play a prominent role in the proceedings.