Frequently Asked Questions

Getting Started

  • What documents do we need to provide?

    You will need to provide evidence of date and place of birth, identity and the end of any previous marriages for each party. I may also ask you to complete a statutory declaration to support your evidence.

    To be legally married in Australia a person must:

    • not be married to someone else
    • not be marrying a parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother or sister
    • be at least 18 years old, unless a court has approved a marriage where one party is aged between 16 and 18 years old
    • understand what marriage means and freely consent to marrying
    • use specific words (vows) during the ceremony
    • give written notice of their intention to marry to their authorised celebrant, within the required time frame.

    I will help you to understand these requirements. You don't have to be an Australian citizen or a permanent resident of Australia to legally marry here. 

  • How do I choose a celebrant?

    I am always available to meet (or speak with) couples to discuss their ideas and the planning process – with no obligation to buy my services.  It is important to find a celebrant who you feel comfortable with and feel confident they suit your needs - and will complement your special day. 

    Your wedding ceremony is a very important part of your day and it's essential that you have a ceremony that you will remember, for all the right reasons, for many years to come. Ideally your celebrant should be someone who is easy to communicate with, approachable and helpful - and you feel confident will do the very best job possible for you.

  • Why should a customer hire you over another service provider?

    Because I have a passion for making the entire ceremony about you / the couple - reflecting their personalities, their love, their beliefs and their togetherness.... I provide lots of choices and options and support them in their decisions. I truly LOVE what I do - and it shows!  Take a look at my testimonials to see why you should speak with me.

  • What experience, skills, qualifications or training do you have to make you the right person for the job?

    My first wedding was in 2003! So, I have had many years of doing weddings - and lots of other both private and public ceremonies too. I have a Cert IV in Celebrancy. Every year I complete much more than the required 10 hours of additional professional development. Lots of communication skills too! Plus I network with a lot of other wedding supplier professionals, so have a great knowledge of what's available and what's possible and who to contact for any other wedding needs.

    I am an active member of the Australian Marriage Celebrant’s Association and one of the benefits is the great advice and support from hundreds of other celebrants around Australia.

  • Are you an insured business and do you guarantee your work?

    I have full public liability and indemnity insurance cover. This is also a part of my requirements with the Australian Marriage Celebrants Association - a professional body I am a full member of. I guarantee my work to comply with all legal and ethical requirements for registered celebrants, absolutely.

  • What makes you the most reliable and trustworthy person for the job?

    Every time I communicate and work with a couple I demonstrate reliability and trust. This is really important for us both to be able to work together (at such a special time). I have an excellent reputation in the Orana region (and wider!) - as every past client would confirm!

  • What questions should a customer ask to hire the right service professional?

    Anything that gives them confidence that this person has their interests at heart, will support them with their decisions, and will present their ceremony in the most appropriate and special way. The couple needs to feel really comfortable (with an approachable and caring celebrant).

  • I live remotely from Dubbo - can you help me?

    Absolutely! We can 'meet' via Facetime / Skype or other, via phone calls, emails or any medium that is convenient and progress everything needed, without a problem. 

Planning the Day

  • Is it etiquette to invite you to our reception?

    As a professional celebrant, I do not expect to stay after officiating at your ceremony. However, I generally don’t rush off, but remain and mingle with guests until the bridal couple depart for photos.  Time permitting, I will be happy to join you in a toast before departing.

  • What about a Rehearsal?

    A rehearsal for a marriage ceremony is something I always encourage – especially if the venue location is conveniently local.  If it is a remote location I normally have at least a general ‘practice’ run-through with just the bridal party and myself off-site – and provide a comprehensive written guide.    I am always available by phone to answer any last minute on-site rehearsal queries. It helps us all to have the same expectation about the ceremony choreography – and puts everyone’s mind at ease about how the ceremony will ‘run’.   Alternatively, a modest travelling fee applies for me to be on-site for a remote location rehearsal.

  • Wet weather – what do we do if it rains?

    A Plan B venue is necessary with any outdoor location - one that is available at the same time – often it might be your reception venue.  I have a range of alternative options to suggest for your consideration.

  • We want to elope – do we need witnesses?

    Yes, you will need to have two witnesses over the age of 18, who are legally competent. 

    You may be able to ask a close friend, staff from where you are staying, the photographer, or I may be able to organise for two witnesses to attend.

  • Do you bring a PA / Speaker system?

    How disappointing is it not to be able to hear the wedding ceremony? I have received a lot of praise for having a fantastic public address system and high quality microphone. It can make all the difference to a ceremony - people love to hear what is being said!

    It is a legal requirement (according to The Celebrants Code of Practice) that all registered celebrants ensure the ceremony be audible to all of the guests. My PA / speaker is fully portable (not requiring mains power), so great for parks, farms, backyards, river banks, etc. 

  • Do we need to have wedding attendants (bridesmaids and groomsmen)?

    No, this is a personal choice.  You can also have male and female attendants for either the bride or groom. It is also ok to have unequal numbers of attendants.

    Choosing wedding attendants may be easy and help to create a fabulous sense of fun and excitement or, like a bride I had who 'sacked' two of her bridesmaids, it can be challenging! Be clear with your attendants what you expect from them: What tasks would you like them to undertake? Are they paying for their outfits? When do you want them to arrive to help - before the wedding, on the day of the wedding? Get clear about everything and then have lots of fun.

  • How can couples save money?

    Have a plan - and meet with me early to discuss this! I can offer so many tips, options, choices, etc - that will enable you to plan a (value for $) celebration that is so personal and unique to your needs....

    It might not be everyone's taste, but one couple requested all guests to 'op shop' for their wedding outfit. The results were amazing! And added so much to the fun of the celebration.

    Personally, I have noticed that the joy of a wedding celebration does not necessarily correlate to the $ spent - some very small, incredibly modest weddings have been the happiest I have witnessed.  

  • Can we get married next weekend?

    If you have lodged a Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM) form in the required time - a month before your wedding date, and fulfilled the required legal requirements, then yes, you can. The NOIM form needs to be lodged with an authorised celebrant. This form is valid for eighteen months from the date of lodgement.

    Under certain circumstances a shortening of this time may be granted by a prescribed authority (such as a court). Please ask me for more information, or download a free copy of the Guidelines on the Marriage Act which has a section on Shortening of Time.

The Ceremony

  • Can we have our own music during the ceremony?

    There are lot’s of opportunities for incorporating your personal music into the ceremony – for example, music both before and immediately after the ceremony – plus during the signing of the register.

  • Can a family member or friend deliver the wedding ceremony?

    Yes, a friend or family member can deliver parts of the wedding ceremony – in fact, quite a lot of it. (I have mentored a number of celebrants-in-training in this way!)

    However, you still need an authorised celebrant to conduct the legal requirements.

  • How can I involve special friends and family?

    There are many ways to include family and friends.  The traditional role has been to have them as attendants in your bridal party.  Or you can invite them to:

    • Present a reading, sing a special song, or play an instrument
    • Be the Master / Mistress of Ceremonies (Emcee)
    • Be the ring bearer (even if they are not in the bridal party, they can come forward when requested)
    • Be witnesses for the signing of the legal certificates and register
    • Co-ordinate the music if you are using recorded music or an I-phone playlist
    • Greet and usher guests to the ceremony area
    • Decorate or set-up the ceremony area
    • Bake or make or arrange for favours / guest gifts
    • Take responsibility for handing out orders of service, petals, bubbles, etc
    • Ask guests to sign a wedding journal
    • Be the wedding day co-ordinator - someone who has a clear picture of your vision and ensures that everything is unfolding as you would like. This person can make decisions on your behalf. They can introduce themselves to the celebrant, photographer, venue and reception co-ordinators, musicians, etc
    • Provide support for a parent who may be attending on their own - take them to their seats, provide them with transport from the ceremony to the reception, ask for the first dance etc. 
    • Be the chauffeurs
    • Decorate the wedding cars
    • Help with the after / next day party
    • Help with gift unwrapping and arranging 'Thank You' cards
  • Do we have to exchange wedding rings?

    It is not mandatory to exchange wedding rings. However, it is a tradition to honour the commitment you are making to each other.  The ring has come to symbolise the never ending nature of love. 

    Nowadays some grooms are choosing not to wear a wedding ring due to workplace health and safety concerns. Some may exchange a ring on the day and wear it only on social occasions.   If only one ring is being exchanged, it can be acknowledged that this ring is the symbol of their shared love and commitment.

    I had a couple who decided to buy a special gift for each other instead of exchanging wedding rings. His present was a Celtic hunting knife!

  • Can I include a naming ceremony at our wedding ceremony?

    Yes. It is very easy to incorporate a naming ceremony into a wedding. It can be for a single child or multiple younger and older children etc. 

    You can also hold a wedding or a naming ceremony for two families who have come together to celebrate.

    Or combine a house-warming with a marriage, or even a special milestone birthday and a wedding!

  • Can we choose our own words for the ceremony?

    Yes – that would be wonderful. I have lots of sample ceremonies that I can share with you – plus I encourage you to suggest new ideas we could incorporate.  The ceremony needs to reflect you as a couple – so the words need to be meaningful and ‘right’ for you.

  • How long does the ceremony normally run for?

    I have done ceremonies from 15 minutes to an hour long.  Very generally, most range in the 20-30 minutes timing – depending on the Readings and inclusions chosen – allowing for relaxed signing, etc.

    I can give you a good estimate of how long your ceremony will take, when we firm up what you would like included. 

Pricing

  • How do I normally charge for my service?

    A small deposit (to guarantee the date), with the balance to follow the week prior to the marriage ceremony. OR I am more than happy for couples to pay off the balance over several months. Whatever is most convenient for them. Often couples prefer to direct deposit into my bank, but any mode is fine.

  • What makes my pricing competitive?

    My pricing is exceptional value for money - I provide so many options and choices and inclusions - for a wholly personal and unique ceremony - designed around the couple's needs and style. I keep my fee to a minimum, but provide a lot of inclusions (plus helpful hints, skills and knowledge) others don't.

  • Special discount pricing

    Lots of special offers - including for a very modest 'legal requirements only' ceremony, or for a weekday date (such as a Friday), or for a morning or midday timing, plus for an off-peak season months - and nearly anything else I can think up a reason to discount for!

  • What are the typical things that you need to know before you can provide a quote to a customer?
    • The day / date of their ceremony 
    • The approx time (eg: morning, midday, afternoon, evening) for their ceremony 
    • The location or venue (ie: local to Dubbo or is it an outlying area / other town)
    • Any special needs or requirements for their ceremony
  • How couples can save money

    Have a plan - and meet with me early to discuss this! I can offer so many tips, options, choices, etc - that will enable you to plan a (value for $) celebration that is so personal and unique to your needs....

    It might not be everyone's taste, but one couple requested all guests to 'op shop' for their wedding outfit.  The results were amazing!  And added so much to the fun of the celebration.

    Personally, I have noticed that the joy of a wedding celebration does not necessarily correlate to the $ spent - some very small, incredibly modest weddings have been the happiest I have witnessed.   

What's Unique about Sue the celebrant?

  • Is there a particular aspect of your trade or industry that you specialise in?

    I specialise in marriages and weddings. But also do a lot of vow renewals, funerals, Namings, and memorials. I love doing different ceremonies - most recently I did a Coming Of Age celebration.

  • What do you like most about your job?

    Every single thing - there is no downside to being a celebrant! Happy customers always bring joy to my day...and I am lucky enough to have many, many happy customers.  

    I really enjoy the planning, getting to know the couple and their needs and beliefs. Then I can share options, ideas and expertise I have with them to ensure their ceremony reflects them, their priorities and their relationship. Of course, facilitating their ceremony on 'the day' is incredibly special (and unforgettable - for all the right reasons)!   And then it's fabulous to learn their feedback - what their personal highlights were (in a day filled with highlights)...

    Sometimes I reconnect with the couple again incidentally and we relive special highlights and memories - or I might 'bless' their baby with a Naming ceremony, help with a friend's marriage, or Celebrate the Life Grandma or Grandpa. Being a celebrant is a very privileged whole of life role...

  • Do you have a favourite customer story you would like to share?

    I have many - that's the fabulous part of being a celebrant - each couple is unique and special (in a multitude of ways)... Creating lifetime memories!! My favourites are of very simple ceremonies where the connection and love within the gathering is so intimate and personal.

  • How did you decide to get into your line of work?

    I went to a couple of celebrant lead ceremonies in the 1990's. While they were nice enough - they weren't as 'magical' as I imagined they could be....I believed a marriage ceremony could be presented much better, made a much more personal and unique occasion - a real CELEBRATION of love!

Later

  • Changing my name on my passport?

    In Australia if a change of name on a passport - due to marriage - is applied for within 12 months of the marriage, the Passport Office will issue a new passport free of charge - provided there is at least two years still left on the passport. It is issued to the same expiry date. If you apply after twelve months... you have to pay the full fee!  Visit the Department of Foreign Affairs for more information.

  • How do I obtain my Marriage Certificate?

    I present you with a calligraphy 'presentation' marriage certificate on the day of your wedding.  
    Once I return to my office, I upload all documentation and register your marriage online with the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages e-registry service. I email you a copy of the e-registry confirmation of the notification and registration.
    There are two ways to obtain your (computer generated) Certificate of Marriage (which some organisations require in order for you to change your name). The first is to pay the Certificate fee directly to me and I can order it for you. The second is to follow this link (and pay online):
    https://www.service.nsw.gov.au/transaction/apply-marriage-certificate

    Let me know any queries in this regard.