Quick Facts

 
About Getting Married in Australia
About Changing your Name after Marriage
About Having a Naming Ceremony
About Having a Commitment Ceremony
About Renewing your Vows
About Fees and Payment
Feedback, Reviews, and Testimonials
About Jennifer Cram
About Celebrant Dress
Quick Facts Video: How to Get From Yes to We Do - The Paperwork
Quick Facts Video: The Celebrant Who Give You More of Everything

Quick Facts About Getting Married

 
To be legally married in Australia you must do the following;
  • Give at least a month's notice
  • A Notice of Intended Marriage form must be completed, signed in front of a qualified witness (of which a celebrant is one) and  lodged with your celebrant at least one month  before your ceremony.
Special circumstances - There are a limited number of special circumstances in which a couple can apply to marry with less than one month's notice, such as terminal illness. This is called shortening of time and is granted only after careful consideration by an official at Births, Deaths, and Marriages or a courthouse. Pregnancy or an expiring visa are not regarded as grounds for shortening of time.
  • Show your celebrant evidence of your Identity
    Both of the marrying couple must show your celebrant your birth certificate (an original as issued by a relevant government authority NOT a photocopy or copy certified by a JP) or your passport.
Special circumstances - Occasionally because of individual circumstances, there may be issues with a person's identity documents (or lack of them). This is where having an my experience as a celebrant and my in depth understanding of the legal issues relating to allowable alternatives and possibilities pays dividends.
  • Prove that you are Free to Marry
    If you have been married before you must show your Divorce Certificate or the Death Certificate of your previous husband/wife, or a certificate of Nullity. This certificate must make it clear that the divorce is final.
Requirements of the Marriage Act for your marriage ceremony
These are the three things that must happen during your marriage ceremony in order for you to be legally married. And yes, you will see videos of ceremonies where the correct words aren't said, and you may even speak to celebrants who airily tell you that you don't have to say them (because they don't understand the requirements of the Marriage Act) but if you don't comply then the legality of your marriage will be in doubt.
  • You must have 2 witnesses present
    You may have as many guests as you like, but 2 people, over the age of 18 must be designated as your legal witnesses
  • Your celebrant must make the statement required by the Act before you make your vows
    This includes the legal definition of marriage as being the union of a man and a woman
  • You must make vows using the legally required words
    "I call upon the persons here present (OR I ask everyone here) to witness that I (Full Name) take you (Full Name) to be my lawful wedded husband/wife (OR you can say spouse OR partner in marriage). It is these declarations that create your marriage, so you can't change them.

And PS because you are marrying under Australian Law, the marriage can only take place in Australia, and will be registered in Australia. Some other countries require that their citizens have to notify the authorities in their home country even if they marry elsewhere. This is not the case in Australia. Overseas marriages are recognised here, but not registered here.

Engaging Jennifer Cram (me - Jenny) as your celebrant for your marriage
  • Check my availability for your chosen date, time and venue
  • Choose your marriage ceremony package
  • Complete my booking form (supplied when I confirm my availability) and pay the booking fee (50% of the fee, payable as a non-refundable deposit)
  • Complete the questionnaires which I will supply and return to me
  • Work with me to refine the draft ceremony I will write for you
  • Pay the balance of the fee at least one month before the ceremony
  • Complete and send back my feedback form

Quick Facts About Changing Your Name After Marriage

 
Changing your name is a five-step process (NB it is not compulsory and while it is more traditional for a bride to change her surname to that of her husband, it is happening more and more the other way round too. Same sex couples can change their names in exactly the same way, if they wish.
  • Start using the name as soon as you are married
  • Use your chosen new name consistently
  • Obtain your official certificate from Births, Deaths, and Marriages (I'll give you the form and explain how to do this)
  • Make photocopies of it and have them certified by a JP
  • Change your personal records (Driver License/Proof of Age Card, Medicare Card, Passport, Electoral Roll, Bank Accounts, Superannuation, etc)

More information about changing your name - bride, groom, 2 brides, 2 grooms, both of you

Worth noting: A bride signs her maiden name (or the surname she has been currently using before the marriage). The certificate will have this name on it. That's not a mistake and not a cause for concern as entities to which you will be presenting this certificate understand that, and will change the bride's surname to that of the groom on their records and on identity documents (or that of the groom to the bride if that is what you've chosen to do). Same applies to same sex couples. You use your current legal name. Any change by marriage is up to you.

Quick Facts About Having a Naming Ceremony

 
A naming ceremony is a ceremony that celebrates your child and the relationships that will be important to your child.
  • You can appoint Godparents/Mentors/Guideparents/Sponsors/Mentors (or whatever you choose to call them. The only thing to be aware of is that, even if you call them Guardians, the naming ceremony doesn't create the legal relationship. You'll need to see a solicitor for that.
  • There are no legal requirements for a naming ceremony.
Engaging Jenny as your celebrant for your child's naming
  • Check my availability for your chosen date, time and venue
  • Choose your naming ceremony package
  • Complete my booking form (supplied when I confirm my availability) and pay the booking fee (50% of the fee, payable as a non-refundable deposit)
  • Complete the questionnaire which I will supply and return to me
  • Work with me to refine the draft ceremony I will write for you
  • Pay the balance of the fee at least one month before the ceremony
  • Provide a photograph of your child for inclusion on his/her naming certificate
  • Complete and send back my feedback form

Quick Facts About Having a Commitment Ceremony

 
A commitment ceremony is a non-legal ceremony that celebrates the loving relationship between two people, regardless of gender.  Without entering into a legal marriage you can express and celebrate your love and commitment in front of family and friends.
  • The only legal requirement is that no-one present must be given the impression that the ceremony is a legal marriage.
Engaging Jenny as your celebrant for your commitment ceremony
  • Check my availability for your chosen date, time and venue
  • Choose your commitment ceremony package
  • Complete my booking form (supplied when I confirm my availability) and pay the booking fee (50% of the fee, payable as a non-refundable deposit)
  • Complete the questionnaires which I will supply and return to me
  • Work with me to refine the draft ceremony I will write for you
  • Pay the balance of the fee at least one month before the ceremony
  • Complete and send back my feedback form

Quick Facts About Renewing Your Vows

 
A renewal of vows (reaffirmation of vows) ceremony is a non-legal ceremony that celebrates the success of your marriage or life partnership, or it can be the full white wedding experience to allow you to share your happiness with family and friends where you have been legally married elsewhere.
  • The only legal requirement is that you cannot make vows that are indistinguishable from legal marriage vows, and no-one present must be given the impression that the ceremony creates a legal marriage.
Engaging Jenny as your celebrant for your renewal of vows
  • Check my availability for your chosen date, time and venue
  • Choose your reaffirmation of vows package
  • Complete my booking form (supplied when I confirm my availability) and pay the booking fee (non-refundable deposit)
  • Complete the questionnaires which I will supply and return to me
  • Work with me to refine the draft ceremony I will write for you
  • Pay the balance of the fee at least one month before the ceremony
  • Complete and send back the feedback form

 Quick Facts About Fees and Payment

 
Because there is no industry standard for celebrant fees it is possible to hire a celebrant for far less than I charge. But you get what you pay for, and saving a few dollars worth the angst of not being sure that your marriage is legal, or of having a boring ceremony that lacks creativity, or simply of not being able to lean on your celebrant as a calm and reassuring presence when you are nervous on the day?  On the other hand, a small proportion of new celebrants have adopted the strategy of charging top dollar in the belief that potential clients will assume they are skilled and experienced.  All of this means that it is not sufficient to rely on price to guide you in your choice.

My fees are more than reasonable for the amount of work, creativity, knowledge and attention to detail I bring to the ceremony in addition to (for weddings) the legal service that being your celebrant includes.

A 50% deposit is payable to lock your ceremony date and time into my diary. the balance of the fee is payable at least one month before the ceremony. A payment plan can be negotiated.
Additional fees may be added for the following
  • travel beyond 50 km from my office in Kenmore
  • additional certificates for naming ceremonies
  • a late start fee if you are not ready to commence the ceremony on time
  • ceremony at unsociable hours
  • ceremony on Christmas Eve or New Year's Eve
  • ceremony on Christmas Day, New Year's Day, Anzac Day
No additional fees are charged for 
  • my use of my top-of-the-line PA system (compliant with the new frequencies)
  • inclusion of rituals in the ceremony

Quick Facts About Feedback, Reviews, and Testimonials

 
Testimonials from previous clients will no doubt have influenced your decision to choose me as your celebrant. Therefore I ask you to complete a feedback form. This form does two things - it gives me valuable information about potential changes/improvements to my service that should be considered, and it adds to the body of testimonials that give those reading through my website an unbiased view of what they can expect from me.  Reviews and Testimonials, likewise, and much appreciated.

 Quick Facts About Me - Jennifer Cram, Authorised Marriage Celebrant

 
  • I am a secular humanist civil celebrant specialising in fun, relaxed, respectful, non-religious ceremonies (but I respect your spiritual beliefs and am happy to include content that reflects them if you wish)
  • I am authorised by the Australian Government to conduct marriage ceremonies
  • I approach every ceremony with a huge sense of responsibility, genuine warmth and empathy, together with kindness and a grounded life-view.
  • My style is warm, friendly, and relaxed - and with the confidence to ensure that you are the centre of attention. I don't hog the limelight. I don't need to.
  • I have a creative approach to ceremony development. Your ceremony will be "so you"
  • Highly qualified in celebrancy (Advanced Diplomas in Marriage, General and Funeral Celebrancy all with high distinction; Cert IV in Marriage Celebrancy, along with degrees in English Literature, Psychology, Information Science and Management)
  • I have considerable experience in theatrical choreography. This  ensures that your ceremony looks good from start to finish (something that unfortunately is lacking in so many ceremonies), and that how and where you move around the ceremony space is well thought out.
  • I am ABIA accredited
  • Winner, 2013 Queensland ABIA awards (Marriage Celebrant), Third 2018, and finalist every year since 2009. The majority of couples who rated my services for ABIA also nominated me as their best wedding service provider.
  • Finalist every year in National Designer of Dreams Awards since 2011 (These awards are based on ratings by couples over the previous 4 years, and signify that a finalist is in the top 0.1% of celebrants Australia-wide).

Quick Facts About What I Wear

 
How your celebrant dresses is extremely important. Obviously the style of dress must be appropriate to the level of formality of your ceremony, but even more importantly your celebrant should blend in with your bridal party. My take on this is that, in order not to stand out in the photographs it is best if your celebrant blends in with the men of the party so as to not add an additional colour. The last thing you need is a celebrant who 'stands out' in the photos because the eye is drawn to brightly coloured clothing - what a previous lovely bride referred to as a "bright-petunia celebrant".  This means I generally wear black, dark gray or dark navy, but if you have cultural or other concerns about those colours I can wear other colours. All of my outfits are elegant and understated, and cover my elbows and ankles. I never turn up with bare arms, in something strapless or low-cut, bright prints, leggings, or anything that shouts "look at me". And that includes jewellery and head wear (no fascinators!)

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