The Wedding Ceremony
Time was when wedding ceremonies were either stiff, formal affairs in a church or a rather soul-less event in a registry office. Both options adhered to traditional formats and rigid rules.
There’s only one tiny element that the law requires to be included, otherwise, you can say, do and include almost anything you like within the scope of your imagination and your budget!
Many choose a theme. People have been married in hot air balloons, in underground caves or even knee-deep in a river (they were avid fishing fans!)
So close your eyes and think about the type of ceremony you would like – do you want it simple, elegant or quirky and outrageous? Humorous or solemn? Casual dress or dressed-to-the-nines? Do you want a traditional ceremony or one that includes a symbolic ritual?
What does your heart tell you – some or all of the above … or are you really not sure yet!?
There are no hard and fast rules for a civil wedding ceremony, other than the words appearing in italics (see below) are required by law (according to the Marriage Act 1961) and cannot be changed.
Celebrant: “I am 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 now 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.”
Bride/s and Groom/s: “I call upon everyone here present to witness that I, (PERSON’S LEGAL NAME), take you, (PERSON’S LEGAL NAME), to be my lawful husband/wife/spouse or partner in marriage” (and vice-versa); Reference: 5.7.7 Guidelines of the Marriage Act 1961 (updated July 2018)
The perfect ceremony lasts at least 15 to 20 minutes and probably no longer than an hour, depending on your choice of readings. This includes about five minutes for signing the marriage certificates and, in addition, time for some photographs.
An increasing number of people are choosing to have Rituals or Symbols in their ceremony. Popular rituals in addition to exchanging rings include:
- Lighting candles
- Sharing wine
- Exchanging gifts
- Hand fasting
- Exchange of garlands
- Sand ceremony (blending of different coloured sands to symbolise a new unity)
- Tree planting
- Rose ceremony
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