A Celebration of Marriage ceremony is an opportunity for a couple, who were married overseas or in another state, to celebrate their marriage with family and friends.
Civil celebrants in Australia are not able to legally marry a couple for a second time, In the past a second ceremony has usually been called a 'Renewal of Vows' for the want of a better expression.
However, in recent times, celebrants have realised that the ceremony is primarily a celebration with family and friends of the couple's recently acquired married status. It is therefore more appropriate to call it a "Celebration of Marriage".
A Celebration of Marriage ceremony may have all the elements of a traditional wedding ceremony, followed by a 'reception'. Often it will look exactly like a wedding. Importantly:
- the celebrant must ensure that the guests are clear that the ceremony is not a legal marriage ceremony.
- any vows / promise that relate specifically to 'taking the other as husband or wife" need to be in the past tense. eg I, XF, took you YH, to be my wife. This does not mean that other promises can not be in the present tense eg. I promise to love and cherish you.
On Saturday the Xth month 20XX, William Citizen and Mary Surname sealed their love in a marriage ceremony on a beach in Zanzibar at sunset. It was a private ceremony with just two witnesses and marked the end of their time working overseas and the beginning of the next phase in their lives.
For Bill and Mary that ceremony was one part of their marriage process. Today is other. Mary and Bill are here today to seal their union with our blessings and to celebrate their marriage in the presence of the people they care about most, you their family and their friends.
This candle, which Mary’s Godparents' Robert and Cecilia now bring forward, represents the connection between there and here and the love that burns brightly between these two hearts.
So family and friends, you are warmly welcomed here today to celebrate with them as they celebrate their marriage and their love for one another. Your presence signifies your love, friendship and support and they thank you all for joining them on this special day.