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FAQ's

What does the Celebrant do?

I attend to all your legal paperwork and assist you to write and arrange a ceremony to suit your needs and solemnise your marriage.

 

What are the legal obligations?

You both must be over the age of 18 years.

Prior to the day of marriage, you need to produce either your Birth Certificates if born in Australia, and if born outside Australia you need to produce both Birth Certificates and Passports.

You must give the Celebrant one calendar month's notice.

If either of you have been previously married you must produce your Divorce Certificate.

Decree Absolute papers and/or if either of your spouses are deceased, you will need to produce the Death Certificate.

On the day of your marriage you must have 2 witnesses over the age of 18 years.

(I can assist you with this)

 

What are our first steps?

Book in a time and date with me as soon as you can.

Organise an appointment to discuss your requirements.

Your Notice of Intended Marriage needs to be completed no less than a calendar month prior to marriage, but it is strongly advisable to complete this with me as soon as you have decided on the date and time for your ceremony.

Most couples book months in advance.

Only one person needs to visit the Celebrant to complete the Notice of Intended Marriage. The other person can sign at a later date prior to marriage.

If either of us are applying for immigration, what do we need to do?

Make an appointment with the Celebrant where you will complete and sign the Notice of Intended Marriage. The Celebrant will then type you the necessary letter for the Department of Immigration. Only one of you need to complete the form for this to be done. Please call Sachin Sharma : (02) 9605 2435 or 0415 595 966 or email: info@civilweddingcelebrant.com.au for an appointment.

 

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What does our fee include?

GST

Time: Unlimited appointments, consultations and rehearsal times at the Celebrant's residence / legal paperwork preparation and typing / travelling to and from ceremony venue / presentation time.

Ceremony Guide: Your Ceremony Guide which includes format, selection of ideas, reading and verses to assist you to formulate your own personal ceremony - you are of course welcome to write your own wording and vows to include cultural, spiritual or religious wording. Your Ceremony Guide is shown to you at your obligation-free appointment and given to you after your deposit has been made.

Personally written ceremony with vows of your choice, to suit individual needs.

Your beautifully printed Marriage / Renewal / Commitment / Blessing certificate.

Printed ceremony wording in memento presentation folder.

Costs: Travel / stationery / postage / telephone calls within Australia only.

Completion of all legal paperwork prior to marriage. After the marriage couples must obtain their own Registered Marriage Certificate (extra cost at Births Deaths & Marriages $31 + $5 secure postage)

Use of Celebrant's p.a. system

Use of Celebrant's p.a. system for larger weddings (most venues)

Use of silver ring dish

Use of lectern for signing on the day of marriage

Celebrant's home for the marriage ceremony (max. 10 people)

 

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What do I do if I can't find my documents?

If you were born in Australia, you can obtain a copy of your Birth Certificate (and if applicable, the Death Certificate of former spouse) from Births, Deaths & Marriages, in the state in which you were born.

If you have divorced and need a copy of your Divorce Decree Absolute, then this can be obtained from the Family Law Court in the state in which the marriage was dissolved.

The Registry of Births Deaths & Marriages
35 Regent Street
Chippendale NSW 2000

Postal Address:
PO Box 30
Sydney NSW 2000
www.bdm.nsw.gov.au

 

Where can we get married?

There are many beautiful and romantic wedding locations you can get married at in Sydney, including parks, gardens, beaches, historic trust homes, Sydney Opera House, universities, lighthouse areas or on Sydney Harbour. Some parks and gardens require a fee for usage – the Celebrant can advise you and assist with your booking.

If you prefer an intimate marriage ceremony you may choose a hotel or restaurant venue, or perhaps a beach for a sunset wedding.

Some popular wedding venues in Sydney and Newcastle are:

Newcastle Cathedral King Edward Park Country Comfort Mudgee Hunter Valley Gardens Crowne Plaza Newcastle Nobbys Head Newcastle Beach Newcastle Town Hall Royal Botanic Gardens Centennial Park Sydney Opera House Balmoral Beach Rocky Point Balmoral Observatory Hill Millers Point Sydney Harbour Bondi Beach Vaucluse House Cronulla & Coogee Beaches Elizabeth Bay House Sydney Tower Manly Beach Oatlands House Shelly Beach University of Sydney Old Government House Parramatta Ku-ring-gai National Park Newport Mirage McKell Park Darling Point Macquarie Lighthouse Watsons Bay Nielsen Park Vaucluse Curzon Hall Marsfield Taronga Function Centre Darling Harbour Cafes/Restaurants Chinese Gardens Darling Harbour Swain Gardens Lindfield Eryldene House Gordon

 

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Can we choose spiritual or religious wording for our ceremony?

Yes. You are welcome to include any wording you feel reflects your beliefs or way of life.

 

Do we have to attend any pre-marital courses?

No. However, all Celebrants have course information should you wish to attend.
Relationships Australia 1300 364 277
Interrelate 1300 736 966

 

I have relatives coming from overseas and I want to get married while they are here. This would be before the legal requirement of 1 month and 1 day. Can this be done?

Yes. I could perform the Ceremony to fit in with your visitors. Keeping in mind that you would not be legally married until we repeat the procedure after the required time, we will require 2 witnesses for this to occur. Your legal Wedding date, appearing on all your documents would be the date of the repeated procedure.

 

What will you wear?

Accordingly to suit the formality/informality of your wedding- Elegantly, appropriately and relatively neutral. It’s your day not mine. It is my intention to compliment the bridal party.  

 

We want to have the ceremony and reception on a boat, would you stay onboard afterwards?

No. I will ask that the captain take me back to the pick up point or else I will get a water taxi to take me back to land. (The water taxi would be at your expense).  

 

What happens in the event that we have to postpone our wedding?

The Notice of Intended Marriage is valid for 18 months, I am only too happy to reschedule the wedding with you.

 

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Who can I have as my witnesses?

Anyone you like providing they are over the age of 18 years. They may be from overseas.

 

Can I have a friend or family member read a poem at my wedding?

Yes, I would encourage this as it adds dimension to your Ceremony ensuring that your ceremony is personalised and unique to you and your partner.

 

How many poems/readings is the right amount?

This is personal, 1- 2 is appropriate and ensures that the Ceremony is not too long.

 

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How long will the Ceremony take?

The average time is 15 – 20 minutes but this may vary depending on how many readings/poems etc. you include.

 

Do I have to be given away?

No, this is a personal choice and is not a requirement.

 

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Who usually gives the bride away?

Again this is personal. It can be anyone you like.

 

We want to arrive at the ceremony together, is this suitable?

Absolutely – these days anything goes, it’s your day, your choice.

 

Is it fashionable for the bride to be late?

No, it's not fashionable to be late! Consider your guests, who may be elderly and become hot, tired and thirsty. Your reception, caterers, photographers and musicians are all running to a time schedule. If the Ceremony starts late so does everything else.

 

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What happens if there are people around where we plan to hold the Ceremony?

Providing you have written approval from the relevant Council to hold the Ceremony, you have the right to ask them to move. I am happy to do this on your behalf.

 

Should we have some chairs for our guests – how many is the right amount?

Yes chairs are a good idea, approx 12 chairs, is a good number, mostly for the elderly and family. Unless you have the exact amount of chairs as people most people prefer to stand.

 

What happens after the Ceremony - do you stay for the reception?

No I will leave soon after the ceremony, quietly and discreetly, occasionally staying for a drink.

 

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What would happen if you were to get sick?

Unless I am on death's door I will attend to your Ceremony. In the event that I am too ill, I have a wonderful group of celebrants I can call on who would perform your ceremony.

 

What do we do if you were involved in a traffic jam or accident and can't get to the Ceremony?

The appropriate thing to do would be to continue on with the photographs and then onto the Reception venue. We could perform the Ceremony at the Reception once I arrive.

 

What name does the bride sign on the day of the Wedding?

Her maiden name on all documentation.

 

What name should the bride use when booking travel/ honeymoon reservations?

Her maiden name as this is her legal name until after the Wedding day, once the Marriage has been registered with Births Deaths and Marriages.

 

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Why Do Celebrants All Charge Different Prices for Weddings?

Our activities are regulated Federally, but prices are not because of the Trade Practices Act. Each celebrant is therefore able to set their own fees and charges for the services they provide.

 

I've Been Quoted $200 For A Wedding - Why Are You So Much Dearer?

 

The Celebrant's fee is one of the cheapest elements of the overall wedding package - yet we work much longer for clients than any other wedding provider. Marriage celebrancy is a business and Celebrants charging $200 for a ceremony that could take them 200km from home and 20 hours to prepare for may in fact be “new” to the role of celebrant and are charging very low fees while they gain experience. In other words, you are the brand new vehicle that they are just learning to drive. As a comparison, the Registry Office in Brisbane charges $325 for a Saturday wedding in the CBD - and you do all the running around for that.

 

But Why Pay So Much For 20 Minutes Work On My Wedding Day?

The "20 minutes" is the time taken to deliver your wedding ceremony on the day. What people don't see is the hours of work that have gone into planning and developing your ceremony, meeting with you to complete paperwork and discuss the ceremony, and the time taken to rehearse the ceremony in your chosen venue. This amounts to hours and hours of work - in my case, as many as 20 hours depending on the location of the wedding and how far I have to travel.

 

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I Need To Marry Quickly - Do I Have To Wait A Month and A Day?

There are some special circumstances which enable you to obtain permission to marry under the month-and-day notice period. Contact me for further information about how to do this.

 

My Fiance Lives Overseas - What Do We Need To Do?

If you live here, you can lodge the Notice of Intended Marriage with a registered celebrant, and your fiance can complete the papers when he/she arrives after gaining a visa. A celebrant can also supply copies of information your fiance needs as part of his/her visa application.

 

Can I Write My Own Vows?

Of course you can - in fact, you can write the entire ceremony yourself, if you wish. However, you need to be aware that some specific vows must be stated as part of the marriage vows, and you must incorporate those into your ceremony. I can provide further guidance on this.

 

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Do You Let Us Do What We Want In Our Ceremony?

Section 5(a) of the Code of Practice for Marriage Celebrants requires celebrants to give you guidance and to enable you to choose or compose a ceremony that meets your needs and requirements. I take that to mean that you have choice about what happens in your ceremony, and who you involve. As long as the legal elements are incorporated in your ceremony, you are welcome to structure the ceremony to incorporate anything else that you like. Obviously, if something you aimed to do could be illegal or possibly risking public safety, I would strongly (but courteously!) advise you against doing it.

 

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What Happens If We Need To Use An Interpreter?

As I only conduct ceremonies in the English language, an interpreter will be needed in situations where either the couple or their official witnesses do not speak/understand English fluently. The couple/witnesses must fully understand what is taking place in the marriage ceremony, and what they are committing themselves to by saying vows and signing papers. If they don't, the marriage could be declared invalid and the celebrant could face legal and disciplinary action. An interpreter works with the celebrant to ensure the celebrant meets his/her legal obligations in conducting a valid marriage ceremony for non-English speaking couples/witnesses. Where possible, the interpreter should be an accredited interpreter through NAATI or other official agency. Where family/friends act as interpreters, it's difficult for the celebrant to know if the interpreter is doing the job properly. Formal paperwork has to be signed by the interpreter as part of their role in the ceremony.

 

What Happens If You Cannot Perform Our Ceremony On The Day?

In the event that I am unable to conduct the ceremony due to illness or other circumstances, I or my family will arrange for an alternative celebrant to conduct the ceremony in my place, at my expense. The alternative celebrant will be someone who possesses a high standard of skill and presentation, who I know personally, and am confident that they will do a great job. Note: Clients should never have to scrabble around at the last minute to replace their celebrant if the celebrant is ill or otherwise unable to conduct the ceremony. It is not the clients' fault that the celebrant cannot meet their obligations, and the celebrant is the one responsible for finding a replacement in such situations.

 

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How Do I Change My Name After Marrying?

Although you receive a Marriage Certificate at your wedding, you CANNOT use this to change your name because it is not one of the Federal Government's approved primary identification documents. This is because only the couple's names are on the certificate, and people have been known to marry using names that are not their legal names. Therefore, you need to order a Registered Copy of the Marriage Certificate from the Registering Authority of the state/territory in which you married. Your celebrant should tell you about this if they are doing their job properly!!!

 

Why Can't I Provide My Passport As Proof of Place/Date of Birth?

The Federal Government has systematically reduced the number of primary identification documents for evidence of place/date of birth/identity at birth of Australian-born citizens. Passports are not on this list of approved documents because in the past (before tight controls were introduced on the matter of identity) people had obtained passports in assumed names (non-legal names) or without providing evidence of place/date of birth. The reasoning is that all Australian-born citizens will be able to obtain a birth certificate from the Registering Authority in their State of Birth, and that is a primary identification document.

 

Do You Offer Discounts?

Yes. As part of my commitment to supporting my community, I provide significant discounts to holders of Commonwealth Concession Cards (all types), as well as Seniors Cards and Foster Carers Cards. Please contact me for further information about this.

 

How Many Meetings Do You Have With Your Clients?

This will depend on the level of service chosen. Please explore my Weddings Section and it will tell you what you need to know in this regard.

 

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If I Cancel My Ceremony, Will You Give Me A Refund?

Yes - but the amount of the refund will depend on how much you have paid and what work I have performed for you prior to your cancelling the ceremony. If you cancel a week before your ceremony, I will have done everything but conduct the wedding and am entitled to be paid for my work. That would reduce the amount of the refund if you had paid in full. If you cancel shortly after making a booking, I may not have done a lot of work and so the amount of the refund would be higher. However, the deposit paid to secure the ceremony in my diary and cover preliminary work is non-refundable. By accepting your booking I have potentially turned down other work for the same day, and the deposit covers the initial meeting and paperwork and other work I may perform at the time of booking. Full Terms and Conditions of Booking (in my brochures) outline the circumstances under which you can cancel your ceremony and how refunds are paid.

 

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Are There Occasions When You Would Cancel On Couples?

Yes, but fortunately I have never had to invoke this sort of action to date. Obviously, if I have not been paid in full before the day of the ceremony, I do not have to conduct the ceremony. The Federal Attorney-General's Department supports this stance. Your other wedding providers will have been paid in full ahead of the wedding - and so your celebrant should be paid too. Without us, you can't marry. Other circumstances in which I would be within my rights to cancel my services would be if the bride/groom were under the influence of alcohol or mind-altering substances, as I could end up in prison for solemnising a marriage where either party was that out of it that they could not fully comprehend their obligations in participating in a marriage ceremony.

 

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You Say You Are An Accredited Celebrant - What Does This Mean?

All celebrants who have been registered to solemnise marriages since late 2003 have been required to undertake a mandatory accredited training course in marriage celebrancy. The completion of this accredited course (CHCMCEL401A) entitles celebrants to call themselves an accredited celebrant. Celebrants who entered the system prior to late 2003 who have not undertaken an accredited training course in marriage celebrancy cannot call themselves accredited celebrants.

 

You Say You Are A Certified Practicing Celebrant - What Does That Mean?

The Professional Celebrants Association Inc, of which I am a member, has a program to certify those celebrants who meet specific professional development objectives over a three-year period. I have met those objectives and so in November 2008 I was awarded Certification by the Association. I am entitled to use the post-nominals CPC and call myself a Certified Practicing Celebrant. The PCA is the only association in Australia to offer this professional recognition to its members.

 

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When do I need to book the Celebrant?

Most professional Celebrants are busy, so please book me as soon as you have decided on your date, time and venue.

You are advised to book as soon as you can. Call today for an obligation-free appointment. If you would like to discuss your wedding or entertainment with Sachin Sharma please call: 0415595966 or email: info@civilweddingcelebrant.com.au

 

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