Benny Roff - Melbourne Marriage Celebrant

Getting married can be a whole lot of fun. In fact, it should be a whole lot of fun. Exactly how you choose to get married is, for the most part, only limited by your imagination. That said, the government weighs in on a couple of things, and you have to include them in your wedding service to make the marriage legal. If you don’t know exactly how you want your wedding ceremony to go, relax, most couples don’t have detailed plans by the time they meet with me.

In the days leading up to the ceremony, I strongly recommend a rehearsal. A wedding is a public performance, and a rehearsal will help everything to go smoothly.

So we’ve established that you can do almost anything you want when getting married, at least as far as you marriage celebrant is concerned. Nevertheless, you can’t create in a vacuum, so below I’ve listed some of the elements people often include in their ceremonies.

Let’s make your Wedding Amazing!
Welcoming your guests to your ceremony, apart from being a common courtesy, is also an opportunity to introduce your bridal party to the crowd. For one thing, it’s rare that all of the guests will know who all of the people are, for another thing, it’s an opportunity to get people laughing early on. Most bridal parties have at least a few anecdotes to share with your guests.
This is where somebody walks down the aisle, it doesn’t have to happen, but usually does in some way shape or form. Traditionally it’s the bride and her bridesmaids, and she’s accompanied by her father, but it rarely goes that way. Sometimes it’s the groom walking down, sometimes the bride is accompanied by her children, sometimes the groom walks down accompanied by his car, sometimes both brides dance walk down the aisle with their pet staffy, sometimes the entire congregation walks down the aisle, following a musician. Do whatever you feel is right for you, and don’t feel you have to follow tradition…unless you want to!
We have a meeting that lasts about two hours, during which we can really work out your ceremony. The last thing I do is to ask you a bunch of questions about yourselves and your relationship. I try to give an honest account when I’m telling your story, and romance and hilarity generally ensue. I make sure to ask exactly what level of candour you want to present to your guests and work from there.
This is basically a chance for you to acknowledge the special relationship between you both and your parents, or your children or your best friends. Sometimes it’s even about the relationship between a father and his daughter. All of those things are pretty nice and you don’t often get afforded the chance to acknowledge them publicly.
The readings can be anything, musical performances, theatrical performances…they can even be readings. The readings could be a favourite recipe, poetry, prose. You shouldn’t feel constrained to choose things that you think are “weddingy”. Anything that’s meaningful to you, be it funny, cute, serious or whatever you like. I have a short list of some non-cheesy wedding readings for you to look at here. It is not necessary to have any. Three is the usual maximum. I recommend that you choose people who are good public speakers, if possible. If you have an uncle who is a socially awkward engineer and an auntie who is a gregarious barrister, choose auntie to read.
This is the bit where you I say things like “for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health” and you say something like “I do” It’s actually a nice place in between two serious bits of the ceremony to add in some lighthearted stuff. The way that goes is to start traditional and then add in some personal idiosyncrasies for the amusement of your guests. You could also play it straight down the line with traditional lines, or leave out the section completely. Here are some examples of fun I dos.
This is the part I am required by law to say and contains the currently controversial “a man and a woman” bit. Some couples like me to express that these are not their personal views, others are happy for me just to read it.
This is one of the sections required by law to have in your marriage ceremony. The minimum legal wording is as follows:
“I call upon the persons here present to witness that I, [full name], take thee, [full name], to be my lawful wedded wife (or husband)”
In addition you can add traditional vows, some of which can be found here.
Finally, and perhaps most enjoyably you can write your own. Modern vows tend to come across as cheesy, writing your own on the other hand, is both earnest and beautiful. Vows are really the business part of the ceremony, you are both setting the terms of the contract that you want to live by. So it makes sense to write vows that make sense for you. Personalised vows usually contain two sets of elements: saying nice things about each other and making promises. Some examples can be found here. Some couples like to write their vows separately and only read them to their partner on the day, don’t worry, if you do this, I’ll discreetly let you know if your vows don’t quite match up and help them to be more even!
A ring ceremony is extremely convenient if you wish to exchange rings during your wedding. You can say whatever you’d like, but if you’re stuck, we can always go down the “with this ring, I thee wed” road.
I pronounce you ‘Husband and Wife’ or ‘Dave and Dave’ or whatever you’d like.
You’ve made it, it’s time to bail. Preferably with joyous enthusiasm to a piece of upbeat music as you launch into your waiting family and friends. Whooping, cheering and jumping for joy are all encouraged at this point.
You sit at a little table with two chairs and sign many documents, it is a legal requirement and takes about five minutes.