The Educated Celebrant
Ongoing Professional Development
Did you know that celebrants must attend a 5-hour workshop annually to update their knowledge and continue their registration as Authorised Marriage Celebrants? Before the advances in Marriage Equality, I could call myself a “Civil Celebrant” (CMC), but now celebrants must call themselves either “Marriage Celebrant” (indicating a conviction in relation to LGBTQI marriage), or Religious Celebrants (who will conduct marriages according to their religious convictions).
Celebrant Training 2020
It was touch and go for me this year whether I could meet with a group of celebrants in the living flesh, rather than in live-streaming scenario. Although I have been conducting weddings for 25 years, with a current fervour for my LGBTQI clientele, I always learn, refresh or reconsider skills and practices which come naturally to me now.
Code of Practice for Marriage Celebrants
It should go without saying that a celebrant must respect the importance of the marriage ceremony to the marrying party and their organisers.
Choice of ceremony and Marriage Law
I will guide you in choosing or composing a ceremony which reflects your beliefs about marriage, and placing them within the context of the legal definition of marriage:
… 1. the union of two people 2. to the exclusion of all others 3. voluntarily entered into 4. for life.
Dissected, you can be married in Australia irrespective of gender, nationality, religion, language, customs or ability – as long as you consent to and comprehend the commitment you are making. You need to be over 18, not already married, and not related by means of ascendance, descendance or as siblings (even if one of you is adopted);
The relationship is exclusive – you cannot be married to more than this one person, your “significant other”;
No-one is twisting your arm; you want to do it!
As long as the marriage exists, it will last until one of you dies.
The concept of rehearsing your marriage ceremony seems strange to me as I treasure the day as the unique, happiest day of your life. You can only have this day once!
Of course, it would be illegal to rehearse your marriage vows, however, to run through your ceremony wording in my office (and feel free to bring your bridal party) is something I can understand and is part of my fee. In fact, you can have as many meetings here with me as you feel you need.
If, after you've met with me and discussed your ceremony, chosen it and feel comfortable with it, you feel you need a rehearsal at the site of your wedding, there is a fee for that, because of extra time and travel. You would also need to give me a month's notice of this.
You might still like to go on-site sometime with your bridal party to practise walking in (in heels) and knowing where to stand and timing your entrance song if you're having one.
All of this can be relayed to me because basically, I will do what you tell me.
All the personal details you share with me are private and confidential. You’ll meet with me in a designated meeting room at my residence.
You are required to show me some personal documents – your birth certificate or passport, photo ID and divorce papers. I am only to sight these; I should not keep them. If you send me scanned copies, I am to trash them once I’ve seen them and noted the details.
Your marriage documents – Notice of Intended Marriage, and later, your official Certificate of Marriage will be kept securely in my office. After your wedding, I will send them digitally to the Department of Births, Deaths and Marriage for registration and I will keep the originals in case they are needed down the track. After 7 years I will dispose of them.
I’m not a relationship counsellor nor will I be intrusive about your decision to marry. However, I must give each of you a brochure from Family Services called “Happily Ever … Before and After”. I can also recommend education services if you want me to. I don’t require you to complete marriage education.
Amongst the materials I give you is a sheet which tells you how to complain about me!
This has never happened, and I hope it never will. I would much rather you spoke to me if you’re not happy with my service so that I can fix the problem going forward.
Of course, the best way to ensure you are happy with my service is communication.
In our meetings, you will find that I use my 25 years’ experience to help you imagine your wedding ceremony. Above all, I will listen to ideas you already have, because almost anything can be incorporated into the ceremony. You can confidently and confidentially tell me background information that will enhance or just contextualise your ceremony.
I won’t pry into your relationship, but I will be open to anything you may want to share.
The Marriage Act
Remember, there are only two elements which make a marriage legal – that is the recitation by me from the Marriage Act:
My name is Susan Artup, a marriage celebrant duly authorised by law to solemnise marriages according to law. Before you are joined in marriage in my presence and in the presence of these witnesses, I am to remind you of the solemn and binding nature of the relationship into which you are about to enter. Marriage, according to law in Australia, is the union of two people to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.
I very much encourage you to write personal vows for one another, but the crux of the marriage ceremony is your legal commitment, repeated after me in the presence of your (two) witnesses:
I, ( full name), call upon the persons here present to witness that I take you, ( full name) to be my lawful/wedded husband/wife/spouse/partner in marriage.
The minute you exchange these words you are married – even if we don’t sign the documents, even if they blow over a cliff or into the ocean, even if I don’t register your wedding. Savour that moment!
In 2018, I published a book for marrying couples entitled “Love is in the Air, 100 ideas for your personal wedding story”. I love writing and can write your entire bespoke ceremony if you wish. This book, and another word-processed booklet I give at the time of booking, has lots of examples of my writing which are yours to use.
Celebrant as Speaker
I deliver ceremonies in a calm, confident and natural manner. I won’t be phased up there – 25 years a celebrant and 35 years’ classroom content delivery as a language teacher ensure that. It is my goal that I will make you feel calm, confident and natural as you stand before your favourite people with the love of your life!