That celebrant guy

Choosing the Right Wedding Celebrant

Choosing the Right Wedding Celebrant

It’s not uncommon when a couple first makes contact with me – for them to ask for examples of previous ceremonies I have performed. Check out Boutique events group Wedding Venue for your ultimate wedding reception.



I’m more than happy to do so, but it comes with a particular direction: “Don’t focus on the words, focus on the intention.”


Why?  Because when I write a ceremony, it’s a personalised ceremony and it is entirely and utterly customised to the couple who it is written for.


There’s probably aline in there which is designed to bring a little smirk to the couple’s faces – an inside joke that no-one else there on the day would appreciate. – and you’ll just be thinking “what the?” as you read it – and that’s ok – remember, focus on the intent.


It was a perfect afternoon on the foreshore of Sydney Harbour at Vaucluse. The Ceremony was beautiful – and honest reflection and celebration of the couple, their family and friends. The newlyweds sparkled as bright as the sun glistened on the harbour. Everyone was high on happiness.


I always love it when there are lots of flower-girls at a wedding. Often it is a bit hectic at the rehearsal with children unsure of what is going on. I always make a point of sitting and having a chat about their favourite toys so that they know me by the wedding day. No matter what happens with them at the rehearsal, I always tell everyone not to worry as, somehow, everything always turns out well on the day!

I always love the excitement of little girls. All dressed up and with their hair done. They usually take their duties very seriously, particularly the “over fives”. 


Wedding Vow Gold – Benjamin Carlyle Celebrant

Wow, it’s been ages since I’ve Blogged and I’ve meant to share some Vows Gold from some recent weddings I’ve facilitated and some Tips!! Don’t be freaked out by writing your Vows because I hear this a lot, “Where the hell do I start Ben!?! I’m freaking out!” That might be because you’ve listened to terrible Vows at other weddings and this is probably because their celebrant gave them an outdated resource for their inspiration. I supply all of my couples with a gem of documents and here are a few tips below:

I packed my paperwork into my bag, collapsed the tripod, hoisted the PA bag over my shoulder and farewelled the couple. As I walked to my car, a wave of sadness descended. This was my final wedding after six wonderful years working as a civil marriage celebrant.


FOCUS on the intention of the Wedding Vows

There might be a shout-out to the friends who brought the couple together.

And when you see an introduction that looks like the opening scene from Julia Zemiro’s ‘RockWIz’ – don’t worry… I don’t do that at EVERY Ceremony.   Focus on the intent.


There’s a reason why one ceremony has a reading “The art of marriage” (Wilferd Peterson), and another “Nothing Else Matters” (Metallica). It’s because it was perfect for that couple, and their Ceremony!

So remember,  FOCUS on the intention, because you will quickly realise that I’ll go above and beyond to create a ceremony that is perfect for YOU.

Some ideas to think about for them:

Bridal Dresses 

Can be mini versions of the brides or bridesmaids. Think about, though, what they will be able to wear afterwards. One wedding recently the little girls were in the cutest tulle skirts with small white tee shirts. They looked fantastic.


If you are thinking of an outside wedding, think about a little faux fir jacket or cardigan for them. They won’t want to stand still if they are freezing!


Wedding Flowers

Ideas I’ve seen and loved include “flowers on a stick” with the posy mounted on a firm stick, lollipop style.

A tiny version of the bridesmaid flowers or a small version just for them. What about a little bouquet of violets in season? I picked these from the garden in the spring.

  • I’m here to tell you to keep it REAL. We don’t want to hear anyone but You laying it down to your life partner. 
  • Speak Authentically in your Language, is there any other option!?
  • Keep it Sweet, don’t drag them out to 2 pages worth, find that right equilibrium that isn’t too short but not long.
  • Do not Google your Vows; they will be average and something we’ve heard
  • I do not do the Repeat After Me scenario; I think it’s quite shite. I print your Vows out onto a card to read from in the Ceremony.
  • There’s no Right or Wrong here. Write a love letter, list some promises, create a poem or just tell us How It Is!!!! 
  • If you’re going to keep it a Surprise from each other, send them through, and I can measure them up for Vibe & Content.


Here are a few great examples of my recent Couples Love Words from Byron Bay & Tweed Coast Weddings!!


Three days later, I was no longer deemed ‘a fit and proper person’ suitable to solemnise marriages. I was deregistered as a Commonwealth-marriage celebrant. My crime? I forgot to pay the annual marriage celebrant registration charge by the final payment date required.

Now, before you shout “surely, a celebrant can be organised enough to pay the annual celebrant registration charge invoice within 60 days?” I certainly had been since the introduction of the charge in 2014. 

Check out our extensive list of Wedding Celebrants to help you tie the knot. 


I had the honour of being the Celebrant at Justine & Scott’s Wedding, which was held at Tumbling Waters Retreat in Stanwell Tops NSW.


They LOVE horses – specifically Random Blue, who is pictured, and walked the Bride down the aisle!

Each Ceremony I perform is personalised to the couple. For Justine & Scott’s wedding, I found a reading called ‘Thank-you’, and while it’s a poem about a horse and their rider, I felt it was appropriate to the qualities that the Bride & Groom share.


And for a very little one, what about a Teddy Bear dressed in a wedding outfit to match – a sure winner with your favourite little person! Has the double benefit of a toy to entertain them for the rest of the day!

Enjoy these ideas. Send me a note if you want to chat about a Wedding Celebrant!


couple in forest



Steve, you’re my best friend, my love and my life partner. As we stand here today, my heart is overflowing with love for you.


When someone is willingly able to withstand my neurotic ways, such as my obsession with indoor plants, the way I talk to my bunnies and my weird pet peeves, you know that person’s a keeper. You know me better than anyone in this world, and somehow you manage to love me.

You are without a doubt, the best blessing that life has ever given me and I am so grateful to wake up next to you every day!


You are the sweetest; most kinds hearted, golf obsessed human I have ever met. And while I can’t promise that I will succeed to pick you up from golf every Friday, I promise you this-

I promise to give you the best of myself, love you endlessly and give you perfect trust. You’re consistently the best part of my day, and I promise to value our relationship above all else.

But inconceivable as it might seem, I forgot in 2018. An immediate family member had died, and another was in the hospital. I did not check my secondary email account where the notice was sent until ten days past the due payment date. The SMS text reminder never arrived. I was too late.


If the marriage celebrant registration invoice remains unpaid after 60 days from the date of issue (the legislated ‘charge payment day’), under section 39FB of the Marriage Act 1961, the celebrant must be deregistered. There is no discretion even when circumstances like a sudden illness, a death in the family or even a domestic violence situation affects the timing of the payment.



Thank you for guarding my secrets.

Thank you for teaching me lessons my parents and teachers never could.

Thank you for being the best listener in the world.

Thank you for helping me fly.

Thank you for helping me face my fears.

Thank you for making me smile.

Thank you for showing me hard work does pay off.

Thank you for never giving up.

Thank you for trusting me.

Thank you for being my best friend.

For all the things you have done for me, there is nothing I can do to say how much I love you for being there.


Destination Weddings

When you are thinking of a destination wedding, the question is always “what time of year is best”? The answer is, quite simply, “it depends”! Depends on what?  



Do you have a particular Wedding vision in mind?


Do you have a particular vision in mind? Is it a backdrop of gorgeous green trees, snowcapped mountains, a helicopter ride into the snow, a long balmy evening for your reception, a picnic under the fruit trees, loads of spring flowers in the photos?  


I vow to you my loyalty, my everlasting devotion and my unconditional love for a lifetime.

I promise to respect you like your person, encourage your passions and help you live your best life.

You are the love of my life, Steve and I promise to let you know that every day. I Vow to make you feel as in love as you today, every day.


Quite naturally, we all tend to sit by passively and accept laws without much thought or consideration given to their implications unless personally affected. But seemingly well-intentioned laws can backfire, expose absurd processes, and unjust outcomes.


One day I met all the requirements to practise as a Commonwealth-registered marriage celebrant, and the next I did not.


To re-register, I had to wait several months (after I completed the red tape, obtained three referee reports and paid the $600 application fee plus $40 for a police history check) to satisfy the requirements, and ‘once again’ practise as a Commonwealth registered marriage celebrant.

I support Marriage Equality. As a celebrant, I am in a unique, and privileged position to witness the celebration of love between a couple, formally, legally, and in the company of family and friends. Unfortunately, same-sex couples do not currently have the opportunity to experience this joyous moment.


The following statement, known as the Monitum, is currently legally required to be read by the celebrant during an Australian wedding ceremony:


“I am a duly authorised by law to solemnise marriages according to law. Before you are joined in marriage in my presence and 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 the law in Australia, is the union of a man and a woman, to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.”

Other Activities for your Wedding Guests

Do you want your guests to be able to combine the trip to this fantastic destination with certain activities? e.g. Skiing or boating on the lake? Hiking the great NZ walks?

Outdoor or Indoor Wedding

Do you want an outdoor wedding? It can always rain in the summer, but you can pretty much guarantee that it will be chilly in the winter! So, if you want a beautiful, strapless dress with no jacket for the Ceremony and drinks and canapés outside on the lawn, do you want that in the winter?  


Today I choose you Dre Boy! Your caring, loving & calm nature, cooking skills and motivating drive for adventure has me hooked, line and sinker


I take comfort in knowing we are taking on this world through the struggles and success we will face – Walking side by side as a team.

I promise to mow the lawns while you vacuum the floor, and bring in the firewood, while you cook our dinner. I promise you dream big with you, build and grow with you, and always love you, cheer you on and encourage you.

I am so excited to be spending all my days going on adventures with you, today and forever.


The re-registration process is even more absurd and costly for marriage celebrants with over ten years’ experience. They are required to retrain if they don’t have the current training requirements of a Cert IV in Celebrancy or an equivalent tertiary qualification. It’s not surprising therefore when a celebrant with 20 years’ experience and well over a thousand marriage ceremonies under her belt, decided that to register ‘again’ was a complete waste of time, effort and money.

The current processes and law illustrate the defects in the Legislation and the severe implications of mandatory deregistration. We have compiled a list of our top Wedding Celebrants to help you celebrate your special day.


pretty dresses


It’s not uncommon for couples to request to change the wording to be more inclusive. Unfortunately I cannot. However, in a small way of progressing forward… here are a few words you might like to consider adding to your Ceremony…

“However, Beth and John look forward to a day when marriage is a right any couple can share.”


 “Beth & John support marriage equality, and they look forward to the day when marriage is a human right which any consenting couple in love can share.”


Available Wedding Dates

What is available and when? Specific dates in the summer, in particular, get booked quickly. So, think about alternatives to a Saturday if you are keen on a time of year that is popular. If lots of your guests are coming to a holiday at the same time, then maybe a weekday wouldn’t be a problem. Often weekdays can be a cheaper option.


Wedding Flowers

Here is an interesting one: flowers! If you have your heart set on a massive bouquet of peony roses or a little posy of Lily of the Valley, be aware that they have a minimal time in bloom and thus, availability!


Wedding Vows

Ashley’s to Cara: Our dapper groom couldn’t do romance but utilised his Salesman Skills to get his feelings out onto paper.


Cara as per every birthday card I write to you, you know this is going to be poorly worded and not very romantic. So in short, you are fantastic. Instead of promises, today I am going to give you a list of goals I want to achieve in our life together, as you know how much I love a KPI.


2018 – the same year I was deregistered – saw the highest number of celebrants deregistered since the introduction of the cost-recovery charge. It’s highly likely the massive jump from 170 celebrants deregistered in 2017 to 370 in 2018 can be attributed to the omission of an SMS text reminder to celebrants from the Marriage Law and Celebrants Section (MLCS), as in previous years.

The reason the text message was not sent in 2018 was that the part of the department that had that capacity was moved in a Machinery of Government change.

 “Beth and John have requested that I read out a short statement of their own. They believe that any two people should be able to make the commitment to stand up and publicly declare their love in front of their friends and family. The ability to do this should be legally recognised by the state, as a responsibility, a privilege, and as a basic human right. Beth and John believe that this right should be available to all couples, and hope that one day soon, this will change for the better.”


I look forward to the day that we no longer have to ‘add’ to the Momentum. 

Love is all there is.


  1. Getting a date that will work for guests. Yes, seriously, our winter wedding was on the only Saturday without an All Blacks test!  


Goal 1 – I will make you laugh every day.

Goal 2 – I will get more accurate with my long-range shots into the washing basket.

Goal 3 – I will be less needy and demand less attention when you have had a hard day at work.

Goal 4 – I will eat quieter and even slower.

Goal 5 – I will travel with you and try new experiences wherever you wish to go.

Goal 6 – I will buy you a new puppy.

Goal 7 – I will feed you when you are hangry.

Goal 8 – I will continuously try to be the best possible husband I can be and ensure I can make you as happy as you make me. 


You are my best friend, and I cannot wait to be able to call you my wife, for the rest of our lives.

Thankfully, this year, the MLCS is using a provider for the text reminders to help prevent celebrants from missing the payment date and deregistration. But that doesn’t help me. It is also disappointing that the MLCS does not obtain data from deregistered celebrants to determine their reason for non-payment, as this type of information would be useful to improve processes.

Losing my job and informing the couples who booked me to officiate their marriage that it was no longer possible, was gut-wrenching. The pair were forced to find a new celebrant – some within a short time frame – which caused distress and inconvenience.


Today I’d like to share an excerpt from a Ceremony I had the honour to conduct last month. Louise & Scott requested to perform a hand-tying ritual within the Ceremony, and this is how it was done. Please copy and paste the link to hear how it went (or click on ‘source’ below).

Overseas Guests

Thinking of overseas guests, think about a time that isn’t peak airfare for them. That may influence the number of guests that can come.  

What are other things on at the time of your Wedding you are considering? 

Will accommodation for additional guests be a problem? Does it, for example, clash with the Winter Festival?

Brad, Falling in love with you was something I didn’t expect. But being in life with you is something I couldn’t have stopped, even if I tried.


I laugh harder with you; I get to be myself around you.

When I see something strange or something goes wrong or right, you’re the first person I want to talk to about it.


Our journey isn’t perfect, but it is ours!

And even on bad days, I will still be happy with you, because having you as my husband makes the trip worthwhile.


See our list of Melbourne Wedding Celebrants to help you make an informed decision when saying your vows. 


bridesmaid and best men photo



I love the way you smile at me. I love you for all that you are, all that you have been and all that you’re yet to be.


I want to be the only hand that you ever need to hold, and when we are 80 years old, we can say we made it.


Just keep loving me, and I will keep enjoying your, and the rest will fall into place.

I am so ready for our future together.

The couples chose me because of my personality, service, and reputation to create and deliver a marriage ceremony for one of the most critical days in their life. My business reputation was now damaged. Plus, I lost $4,200 income from cancelled weddings which was a high cost to my family and me.


Being deregistered is one of the worst things that can happen to a marriage celebrant, so I kept my status close. I only told a few couples and celebrants who I felt would understand and not judge. To the others, I simply provided vague responses when asked why I had to cancel the weddings.

I seem to get dust in my eyes at the end of watching Undercover boss. Somehow I must have been cutting onions when Gordon Ramsay saves another Hotel Hell. And then there is the continual eye leak that seems to happen whenever I hear Somewhere over the Rainbow – even when it’s sung by Kermit the Frog!


Love is beautiful that doesn’t even come close to describing it. And I make no apologies for getting caught up in experiencing an incredible moment, that I can’t even begin to capture it in words.  

I’m not, and I will never be – a ‘robotic’ celebrant. I just can’t even fathom being a part of a wedding – where two people are expressing their enduring love for each other – and not being affected by it. THAT doesn’t mean, I’m a blubbering mess… I’m still the absolute professional.  

So, I hope this helps you think about a few the “what time of year” question.

Contact me to have a chat about your Ceremony!


Yahoo!!! On December 7, 2017, the Australian Parliament voted a big YES for Marriage Equality in Australia!! If you missed the news, you must have been on holidays in Antarctica. On December 8, 2017, the Prime Minister and the Attorney General sat down and changed the Legislation, allowing Same-Sex couples to get married in Australia! Inspiring and amazingly efficient work!! The rainbows, glitter and unicorn memes will dominate your Social Media for a while to come.

From what I’ve gathered, when the annual registration charge and the penalty of deregistration for non-payment were proposed, there was some support from some Celebrant Associations, but strong opposition from most associations.


The charge is a cost recovery levy, rather than a fee. It is imposed on 28% of marriage celebrants in Australia – which is another reason why deregistration for the non-payment of the charge is grossly unfair.

I’ve learnt to take my advice – I tell my couples, when it becomes a tad overwhelming – take a deep breath – and soak in all the love that is around. A moment’s pause may feel like a lifetime. However, it reinforces that these special moments will last forever.


The vows are a crucial moment in any wedding ceremony. They are your commitment to each other. There are many options to consider but, whatever you select, make sure they are “right for you both”, not what someone else thinks you need to have! The only thing to consider is that you must use your full name, if you haven’t used it elsewhere in the Ceremony, and include that you are here to marry each other. I love the Vows part of every Ceremony. No matter the style or length, they are always the critical moment in the Ceremony. I love seeing the connection between couples as they make their vows and the emotion that comes with these commitments to each other. Here are some things to think about:


Formal or Informal? 

I think the answer to that usually lies in the overall style of your wedding ceremony. A formal wedding with really informal vows might not work quite as well as intimate vows in a more relaxed service. So think about the look and feel that you want.  


So where to from here!? When can Same-Sex couples get Married!?!


Well, from December 9, 2017, any couple, regardless of their sexual preference, can fill in the new NOIM Form and have this in their Celebrants’ possession via an email or in-person on the same day. The earliest date of marriage for any couple, wishing to kick this goal with their NOIM tomorrow, will be January 9, 2018!!! All of the same rules apply to the NOIM Form & the ability to get married will depend on you both kicking the relevant goals.

Scroll to Top