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  • Writer's pictureSacha Birchall

FAQs - Sunshine Coast Celebrants

I’ve put together some frequently asked questions for wedding celebrants here on the Sunny Coast. Some are more generic, while others are more specific to getting married in this beautiful region.

So here goes, a quick list of FAQs, that might come in handy for you when planning your big day.

About Sunshine Coast Celebrants

What is the difference between a civil celebrant and a religious celebrant?

Civil celebrants are authorised by the Attorney-General's Department to conduct legal marriages in Australia. They provide a non-religious alternative to traditional religious ceremonies. An authorised marriage celebrant is a registered professional who can help couples create a meaningful and personalised ceremony that reflects their values, beliefs, and personality.

Sunshine Coast Celebrant - Sacha Birchall
Me at signing table with witnesses and couple

How far in advance should we book our wedding celebrant?

You should book your wedding celebrant as soon as possible, ideally at least six months in advance. The Sunshine Coast is a popular choice for weddings, so it’s vital you book your celebrant with some time to spare. This will give you plenty of time to work with your celebrant to create a personalised ceremony that reflects your individual style and preference and ensure your celebrant is available. At the bare minimum, you should give your celebrant at least 31 days' notice, as legally we require at least one month to complete the Notice of Intended Marriage form.

We aren’t from the Sunshine Coast, how do we organise our wedding ceremony from afar?

Not from the Sunshine Coast? All good. I can help you plan your ceremony remotely and guide you through the process of completing your Notice of Intended Marriage form.

Most Sunshine Coast Celebrants are also aware of the different venues and locations that require organising permits from the local council. So they can advise you of this if you are not sure where you want your ceremony. To hold a wedding or ceremony on a beach or park, you will need to make an application to the council. Check out the Sunshine Coast Council website for more information.

Planning the ceremony

What is involved in the marriage ceremony?

The marriage ceremony typically includes the legal requirements for the marriage, such as the celebrant reading the Monitum, the exchange of vows and the signing of documents. It may also include other elements such as readings, music, and rituals. Your wedding celebrant can work with you to create a ceremony that is personal and meaningful to you.

For some #weddinginspo, local recommendations and advice check out the following Sunshine Coast social groups and accounts:

Form 15 - Sunshine Coast Celebrant use only
Signing of the marriage certificate

Can we personalise the ceremony?

Yes, most definitely. In fact, this is why I became a celebrant in the first place! To help couples shape their ceremony into something that reflects their value and personalities.

From incorporating your favourite tune as you walk down the aisle, to a special reading that means a lot to you both, your wedding celebrant should make sure your special day includes any sentimental elements.

Do we need to exchange rings?

No, you do not need to exchange rings as part of your marriage ceremony. However, it is a common tradition that many couples choose to include in their ceremony.

Can we write our own vows?

Yes absolutely! You have minimum vows that are mandatory, and then you can say what you would like to your partner. Your celebrant can provide guidance on the structure and content of your vows, as well as tips on how to make them personal and meaningful.

Can we include cultural, religious or symbolic rituals and traditions in our ceremony?

Many couples choose to include different rituals in their wedding ceremony. Some different types of traditions include:

  • Welcome to Country/ Acknowledgment of traditional owners of the land

  • Handfasting/ ‘Tying the Knot’

  • Unity candle ceremony

  • Sand ceremony

  • Readings from a religious text

  • Traditional dances such as the haka

Your wedding celebrant can work with you to incorporate these traditions in a way that is respectful and meaningful, and where necessary can provide guidance on the meaning and significance of these rituals.

Personally, if I am not familiar with the ritual or tradition, I learn as much as possible from the couple and work with them to make sure we incorporate it seamlessly into the ceremony.

Traditional dance - Haka
Traditional dance - Haka

Can we have a friend or family member perform our ceremony?

No, only registered authorised marriage celebrants can legally perform marriage ceremonies in Australia. However, your friend or family member can still play a role in your ceremony, such as by doing a reading or giving a speech.

When planning your ceremony and making a decision on who you want to perform the ceremony, it’s important you have a clear understanding of what to expect from your wedding celebrant.

If there is anything that you are still unsure about, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me and have a chat.

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