Including Friends and Family in Your Ceremony

A beautiful friend of mine gave me a print with a lovely quote. It greets all at the entrance of my home and reads “Life is a journey and LOVE is what makes that journey worthwhile.”  It’s simple and true; love gives life joy and meaning. So, it makes sense to include your friends and family in your ceremony.

love quote for your ceremony

Marriage is the ultimate expression of romantic love, yet your guests on your wedding day do not need to be mere bystanders. I’m all for including friends and family, engaging them and making them feel special because they help make your world wonderful.  

Ideas

So, here’s a few ways that you can include your folk:

Ask them to escort you down the aisle. Traditionally, the father of the bride’s role, but this could be anyone special, or more than one person

Sing a song or play an instrument before, during or after the ceremony

Coordinate the music (you can use my PA system during the ceremony)

Ask them to read a poem or say a blessing

Greet and usher guests (people are often polite and hesitant to take up a seat but it looks better for the photos)

Particular family members and the bridal party may be acknowledged and thanked individually in the ceremony

Be part of any rituals, such as a sand ceremony (many examples provided in ceremony booklet)

Look after the rings (rings are a tradition, not a legal requirement)

They may act as a witness i.e. to sign your marriage documents (as long as they are over 18 years old)

Hand out anything applicable, such as rose petals

Your Children

If you already have children, you may want to give them a gift and say a few kind words to them about their place in the family and your commitment to them.

Include your friends and family in your ceremony such as young girl

For more relaxed affairs, friends and family may help with food preparation, invitations, photography and decorations.

Readings

My mother-in-law read a touching poem during our wedding ceremony. I printed this poem and it’s now also hanging on our wall. It’s called “A Tapestry of Love”.

Heart Red Leafed Tree on Red Field

Contact Me

Including friends and family in your ceremony is a great way to make it extra special. Just make sure you give them plenty of time to prepare. That way, everyone is stress-free and things goes smoothly. Feel free to email me the details about your ceremony and arrange a no obligation chat. I’d love to be your celebrant and help make your ceremony amazing.

The Ceremony Process

Weddings, vow renewals and baby naming

Let’s get the ceremony process rolling … You can contact me via email or phone. If I’m free on your date, we can get started! We can meet in person for a non-obligatory chat, if you’d like. I’ll get an understanding of what you’d like for your ceremony.

Once you book me as your celebrant, I’ll send you a resource booklet, relevant to the type of ceremony you want, whether it be your wedding, vow renewals or a baby naming. This booklet contains lots of examples and tips to help plan the structure and content of your special ceremony.

Along the way, I’ll be contactable by phone, email or video chat to answer any questions you may have and to discuss ideas. I’ll create a fully customised ceremony script for your review, based on our discussions. I’m flexible and happy to adjust to your wishes.

Engaged and getting married

If you’re getting married, congratulations! I look forward to getting to know you and your partner. I have devised a couple’s quiz, so that I can obtain lots of insightful information about how you met and what you love about each other.

Engaged couple at the start of the marriage ceremony process

There’s a bit of paperwork that needs to be completed for legal weddings. I’ll ask you a few questions about your situation, so that I can understand your background and sight the correct, required original identification, such as your birth certificate and driver licence, or passport. The Notice of Intended Marriage form must be completed, signed in front of an authorised witness (such as a celebrant, solicitor or JP) and given to me at least one calendar month before your wedding date (and no earlier than 18 months before). I lodge this with the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, after your marriage ceremony.  You’ll also both need to complete the Declaration of No Legal Impediment to Marriage, which basically just confirms that you are not married to anyone else. I’ll guide you through all the paperwork.

Then we can get back to planning the details of your amazing ceremony. I’m flexible and happy to make any adjustments as needed along the way. I’ll send you a draft of the ceremony script and we can polish it until it’s nice and shiny. You don’t need to worry about offending me with any changes, no matter how minor. I’ve also created a checklist to make sure that we cover all the ins and outs of the ceremony process, such as a possible wet weather option. Once all the ends are tied up, you’ll be ready to tie the knot!

Your big day

On your big day, I’ll deliver your ceremony with enthusiasm and warmth. (You can use my PA system for your music during the ceremony). You’ll need at least two witnesses (over 18 years old) to eavesdrop on your vows and sign the marriage certificates, of which there are three: one for me, one goes to the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages (BDM) and you keep the certificate pictured below. (If you’d like to change your name, please note that this couple’s certificate is not sufficient documentation. You’ll need to apply to BDM for the standard marriage certificate. I can help you with that).

Couple's marriage certificate at the end of the ceremony process
The certificate given to you by the celebrant after your ceremony

Your married!

Then you get to enjoy your wedded bliss. Congratulations! I’ll submit all the required paperwork with BDM.

Hopefully, we conclude the ceremony process with you telling me and your friends how wonderful it was working with me, and how you’re still smiling from the special day we created together.

Any questions, I’m happy to help. Let’s chat! Thanks, Julia.

What’s a Baby Naming Ceremony?

Parents kissing baby during naming ceremony

A baby naming ceremony is a special event like a christening; yet it generally doesn’t include religious elements. It’s an opportunity to celebrate the individuality of your child and welcome them to family and friends. The baby naming ceremony may also include other children. It’s usually held within the first 12 months of a child’s life and is often joined with a first birthday celebration. It’s a joyous occasion, which doesn’t require any licences or legalities. 

Lolly buffet image via The Party Cart

Ceremony Content

The content and format can be very flexible to suit your wishes. The ceremony many include a story about your child, the reason behind the choice of their name, blessings from loved ones and pledges of support from chosen mentors. As a parent, you may want to talk about your promises to your child and your hopes for their future. The ceremony might have a theme that ties all the elements together, such as love, gratitude or superheros. The mood may be formal, or it could be more relaxed. It’s a lovely event, where your child is celebrated and showered with love and support.

hearts and hands come together at a baby naming ceremony
It takes a community to help raise a child!

Ideas for Your Naming Ceremony

  • Tree planting – guests can pour dirt around the tree as they can say a kind wish for your child. This tree will then grow with your child and is a beautiful symbol of life.
  • A time capsule – guests can bring an item to place in a box, such as a small gift, a note or photograph. This box can be given to your child on a special birthday (e.g. 5, 12, 16, or 18).
  • Gift giving – you may want to give your child a special gift, such as a personalised bear, blanket or bracelet. 
baby’s hand with personalised bracelet for naming ceremony
Personalised gifts make beautiful keepsakes.
Image via Etsy – TomDesign

Candle lighting – candles (that may be personalised and decorated) can be lit by loved ones (such as a parent, grandparent or mentor) who make a wish or promise. 

Video recording – guests record a message to your child.

Poetry reading – I can give you a booklet that includes several options. One of my favourite poems is called a Message for My Child by Jessica Wesolek.

Let’s Plan Together

As a celebrant, I would love to help plan and deliver a wonderful Naming Ceremony for your child. I’ll give you a resource booklet with lots of inspiration, such as rituals, poems, songs and ideas. Have a look at the package I offer and contact me for a chat. 

Vow Renewal Ceremony

A Special Way to Say “I Still Love You”

A renewal of vows ceremony is a beautiful way to celebrate your continued love and commitment to your partner.  A vow renewal ceremony can be held at any time after the exchange of your initial marriage vows; whether it be a year, five years or twenty-fifty years and can be celebrated more than once. Many married couples choose to have a renewal ceremony on their tenth wedding anniversary. A vow renewal is about celebrating your life together and doesn’t require any legalities. You might want it to be an intimate occasion or it could be a bigger celebration to include the people you cherish most, perhaps including your own children. A vow renewal can incorporate the elements you want, such as your relationship highlights, readings and personalised vows.

As every couple and their journey together is unique, I’ll take the time to get to know you. I’ll ask you to complete a questionnaire and provide you with a resource booklet full of ideas and readings. This way, I’ll be able to create a personalised ceremony, which is customised to celebrate your marriage. 

happy married couple at vow renewal ceremony

Style & Setting

Decide on the style and setting you want. Do you want it to include a relaxed BBQ, intimate dinner or something a little grander?  It could take place on a beach, a mountain top, in a park, at home or in a hired venue. You could even incorporate your celebration with a holiday. Choose what you are comfortable with and what’s meaningful to you.

Does the beach hold your heart or are you more of a garden type gal/guy?

Decide on your budget. This is not a wedding, so it doesn’t need to be as elaborate. For example, you could have cupcakes instead of a big cake but you may still want a photographer to capture the happy moments.

Skip on the bridal party. Spare them the expense. Simply ask friends to come as guests.

You can send electronic invitations and let people know that they are not expected to give gifts. It’s just a chance to celebrate. 

Keep it light-hearted and focus on the positives.

Personalised Vows

Invest some time to write heartfelt words that express your love. These can incorporate your initial marriage vows, what you have learnt about each other and your achievements together, such as travel, having children, building a home and developing your careers. You can also state your hopes, dreams and promises for the future.

write wedding vows or renewal of vows that celebrate your marriage

This is a good opportunity to tell your partner all the reasons you still love them!

Other Tips

Think about how you want to enter. If you want, your father could walk you down the aisle or you could be escorted by your children or arrive together with your partner.

Include children in ceremony aisle walk at a renewal of vows ceremony

You can include your loved ones. For example, your eldest may read a poem.

Exchanging wedding bands is optional. A special message could be engraved on your current rings, or you can simply bless your rings, or exchange another gift.

wedding rings at a renewal of vows ceremony

You may want to take the time to thank the people nearest and dearest to you. This could be a time to acknowledge those loves ones who are not present, but whose presence is felt.

Have fun! Enjoy a reception where the music is pumping and the champagne is flowing.

Champagne toast at a renewal of vows ceremony

Let’s chat

Do what feels right for you and reflects your relationship. I’d love to discuss ideas with you to help create an amazing renewal of vows ceremony. Have a look at the package I offer and let’s chat. You can contact me via my email form or give me a call on 0404 997 923.

Creating Your Amazing Ceremony

Welcome! Creative Love Ceremonies is about creating a ceremony just for you, based on the celebration of your love. My name is Julia and I am a registered marriage celebrant. It’s important to me that your ceremony is a reflection of your personality, values and wishes, whether it be a marriage ceremony, baby naming or renewal of vows. I would be thrilled to work with you: to plan, design and deliver your amazing ceremony. My English and drama teaching skills will come in handy.

Mood and ceremony location

Five years ago, I married the love of my life. I knew that I wanted our wedding ceremony to be us. I wanted it to feel relaxed, engaging and from the heart, with a few sprinkles of humour. It had many personalised and beautiful moments. We both love nature, so getting married under a tree at the Brisbane Powerhouse, just felt right.

Groom and bride under tree at Brisbane Powerhouse wedding venue during marriage ceremony
The Performance Lawn at the Powerhouse. Murray Redpath Photography

Unique details

I also knew that I did not want a plain gold wedding band. I wanted my wedding ring to be unique, just like our love. So, my husband and I decided to get each other’s fingerprints embossed on the outside of our rings, and our celebrant said a few words about their significance.

unique wedding rings for marriage ceremony
Brent&Jess Fingerprint Rings. Murray Redpath Photography

However, exchanging rings is not a legal requirement. Overall, the main thing you must do in your wedding ceremony is say the legal vows (in front a registered celebrant and two witnesses). Everything else can come from the heart and other inspiration. If you choose me as your celebrant, I will give you a booklet with lots of ideas and information. For example, there are many readings and rituals that you can choose from.  

Ritual

When Trent and I traveled around Italy together, we saw several lovers’ locks. This made our trip feel all the more romantic. Therefore, as part of our wedding ceremony, we decided to include a lovers’ lock ritual to symbolise that our lives were now linked together, forever as one.

Lover’s lock wedding ritual idea for marriage ceremony
Lover’s Locks in Venice, Italy

Customising your ceremony

There are many ways that a ceremony can be customised. The location is one, rituals is another (many outlined in the booklet) and then there is also the structure and wording. A ceremony will normally start with some music. This can help create the mood; pick a song that you love. The song might have a memory attached to it or could make a great backdrop for an impressive entrance. For instance, you might want to include your family, pet or hobbies. These are details that we can chat about and then I can create a script that truly reflects your story. The most important thing is that the ceremony is a celebration of your love and life.

Together, we can create your ceremony. Above all, I would love to get to know you, understand what’s important to you and include this in your amazing ceremony. Feel free to get in touch via the email contact form or call me on 0404 997 923. Let’s chat.

The Elopement Ceremony

To elope means to run away to secretly marry. I see it as an alternative to the big wedding; it doesn’t need to be a secret to everyone. You might want to elope to have a ceremony that is more relaxed, more intimate and more cost effective. You may decide to celebrate with others afterwards or enjoy the wedded bliss with only you and your partner, or just a few loved ones. An elopement can be very romantic and personalised to suit your wishes.

An elopement is more about you and your partner than your guests.

Legal Requirements

To run away and get married sounds very spontaneous. It’s more like Norah Jones’s song “Come Away with Me”: there needs to be a bit of planning. You have to lodge a Notice of Intended Marriage form at least one month before you get married, with your celebrant (hopefully me 😊). You’ll need two witnesses at the ceremony, to hear you say your vows and sign the marriage documents. The marriage documents require five signatures: yours, your partner’s, the two witnesses’ and the celebrant’s. One of the witnesses could perhaps be your photographer.

Location

One of the perks about an elopement is that you can pretty much get married anywhere: from a mountain top, to a park, beach, winery, garden or restaurant. Some public places, such as parks or beaches, may require a council permit. Choose a place that is special to you and your partner, one where you both feel happy and comfortable. The place you get married could be somewhere you visit later, such as your anniversary. This ceremony spot then becomes like a core, to which you can add memories and meaning.  

Pick a place that makes your heart happy!

Ceremony Ideas

You can decide whether you want it to be a simple ceremony or more customised with personal vows. It may also include readings or rituals, such as a sand ceremony (items for rituals to be provided by the couple). As your celebrant, I can give you a booklet with lots of ideas and inspiration. You can have a look at my customised wedding packages (fully personalised and sweet & simple) to get an idea of what could be included in your elopement package. Together we can create something special that suits you. You can contact me via my email form or call me on 0404 997 923.

gay couple intimate elopement in winery

Choosing Your Celebrant

I remember being engaged and meeting with a few celebrants. It was quite an interesting experience. They all had their own unique personality and had something different to offer. The first was a young female celebrant who was very bubbly. I appreciated her enthusiasm but felt that she was a little too animated and would probably detract from OUR love story.

Another was an older male who was professional and pleasant but I just didn’t feel that we clicked or that he would create a ceremony tailored to us.

The third was a lady who seemed to be the MacDonald’s of the celebrant world, trying to upsell add-ons. She asked us if we wanted a barn owl to fly in the wedding rings. The answer was “… umm … no thanks.” The idea of a pair of talons, flying towards my face, made me tense up.

Owl to fly in wedding rings
(Image via University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources – PC Linda Wright)

My fiancé and I discussed who we would both feel comfortable with and agreed that we would prefer a middle-aged female who was calm, competent and friendly. Through word of mouth, we met with our lucky last celebrant in a café. She had a relaxed yet attentive energy and we finally felt at ease.

About Me

It’s important that you find a celebrant that you feel comfortable with and one who can offer you what you’re looking for. That celebrant could be me! I’m someone who loves the outdoors, listening to music, healthy living and spending time with friends and family. My friends describe me as someone who is supportive, a great listener and has a good sense of humour. I’ll take the time to get to know you to ensure that your ceremony is special and meaningful to you. I used to be a drama and English teacher, so I’ll be able to write you a well-structured, fully customised ceremony and deliver it clearly and with warmth.

I’d love to meet you and discuss how we can create your amazing ceremony. Feel free to send me a message through my contact page or give me a call on 0404 997 923. Let’s chat.

Brisbane based marriage celebrant