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As celebrants we hear some common misconceptions about weddings, so today Celebrant Melanie Lawson from Oberon in NSW is going to bust some myths!
Myth no 1: “I Do”
Many people think of the classic moment in a wedding ceremony as the point where the couple exchange vows by saying “I do”. This is commonly seen on American TV shows and movies and is a very romantic moment.
Busted: In Australia, wedding vows must be said in accordance with the Marriage Act and the couple’s vows are: “ I call upon the persons here present to witness that I, A.B. (or C.D.), take thee, C.D. (or A.B.), to be my lawful wedded [wife or husband or spouse]”.
However…couples can add additional vows which reflect personal commitments, promises or statements of love. You can also include an ‘asking’ where the celebrant asks each of the parties if they are willing to commit to the marriage, look after each other etc. This allows each person to reply by saying “I do”.
Myth no 2: You can’t marry your cousin.
Marriage between relatives is taboo in many cultures. You might have read a book or seen a movie in which ‘kissing cousins’ could not be together because they were related.
Busted: the law in Australia does not prevent you from marrying a cousin. You cannot marry your sibling or a direct descendent (parent, child or grandparent/grandchild). This applies to biological relationships as well as adopted or foster relationships.
Myth no 3: Eloping.
True love can strike you in an instant! We have all heard romantic stories of two people who fall passionately in love and run away the next day to be married.
Busted: By law in Australia you must give a celebrant at least one calendar month notice of your intention to marry, using the prescribed form. There are some exceptions to this, including illness or overseas postings, however if you want to get married quickly you will need to apply for a ‘shortening of time’ through the court.
Myth no 4: Order of ceremony.
Many weddings have traditional formats including ‘giving away’ the bride; readings/prayers; vows; blessings and presentation of the married couple at the end of the ceremony. Then there are other traditional elements such as wearing ‘something borrowed, something blue’ or throwing the bridal bouquet at the end of the ceremony.
Busted: A civil ceremony must contain legal wording by the celebrant known as the ‘monitum’ and the correct legal vows said by each party to the marriage. Apart from that, there is no required format or inclusions. Your celebrant can help you design a unique ceremony that reflects your style. You can include readings, rituals, music or additional vows. Or you can choose to keep the ceremony very brief and ‘legal’. It’s up to you!
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Well said Melanie. So much misinformation is out there which is picked up from TV , Movies and Novels. But the great thing about a Civil Marriage ceremony is that you can do it your way once the Monitum is set in place.
I love the way every ceremony ends up being such a unique reflection of the couple getting married. Life as a celebrant is never boring!