If You Have To Postpone Your Wedding…where do you start?

It’s safe to say we never thought I’d be writing an article on templates to postpone weddings due to a pandemic, but here we are. My thoughts are with you as we all navigate this difficult time.We’ve been inspired by the positivity that so many of you are sharing right now, and we’re so proud of our industry – the way that we’re all coming together to manage this tricky situation is, quite frankly, bloody amazing.Deciding whether to proceed with your wedding is a question on a lot of couple’s minds right now, especially since the newly required distancing rules and the restrictions on weddings having no more than five people (being the couple, the celebrant and two witnesses). Keep in mind, the 4 square metre rule still applies. Find more information via the Government’s website here.

Reasons you might consider postponing your wedding

  • First and foremost, guest safety
  • To protect the health of the wedding team (venue and vendors alike)
  • The wedding doesn’t fit into the new gathering guidelines set by the Government, which you can find here
  • Limitations on guest numbers being no more than five people (including the couple, the celebrant and two witnesses)
  • Overseas guests can no longer attend
  • Some invited guests are more vulnerable members of the community (elderly, immunocompromised or living with pre-existing health conditions)
  • Concern that social distancing isn’t conducive to weddings (a large amount of personal space is required, no kissing, hugging, sharing food or close-quarters dancing)
  • Concern that the day won’t be as originally planned and guests won’t be able to let their hair down
  • No desire to put guests into the difficult position of deciding whether or not to attend

 

Some considerations 

If you are sensibly weighing up the option of changing your wedding plans, I’d always strongly advise you postpone rather than cancel your big day. Not only will this decision mean you won’t be losing money that you’d put down on deposits to secure your wedding team, but you’ll be keeping your amazing suppliers in business. It’s a very tough landscape out there right now, with postponements due to COVID-19 meaning that much of the industry won’t see any income for months. And there’s no firm end in sight.

Also, I’d encourage you to consider being open to rescheduling your wedding to a weekday or ‘off-peak’ day – basically, Monday to Thursday. With the volume of weddings being moved to late 2021 and into 2022, it means that many businesses simply won’t be able to keep the doors open if all their weekends are taken and they can’t book in new couples.

Even as I type this, I realise this is tricky for many. I completely recognise this isn’t a decision that you’re probably making voluntarily. You didn’t ask to be put in a position where you were forced to reschedule your wedding, so there may understandably be some resistance to this idea. But I wanted to share this with you, because I know for some venues and vendors, it’s the only thing they can offer right now in order to keep the lights on. We all need to be gentle with each other and work together to find compromise that will mean you get to have the best damn party ever.

Ways to tell your guests you’re postponing your wedding

On the topic of communication, there are a few quick and nifty ways of sending mass comms to your guests. We’ve outlined these here:

  • Create a group in Facebook Messenger to update your contacts, and ask them to DM you back privately should they have any questions. You can use this as a way to get quick RSVP’s from guests if you’re proceeding and want to confirm numbers.
  • MailChimp has been typically used in the past for marketing or mass communication for businesses, however in this case also makes for an awesome tool to send one email, that can be personalised with names to your whole guest list, and you can make it look schmicker than your typical email. All you need to do is join MailChimp here (for free for accounts with under 2,000 contacts), follow the prompts, upload your guest’s emails and their first names and create a campaign. Remember to send yourself a quick test first.
  • Of course, good old email is a quick and easy alternative. Just remember to leave contacts in BCC so that your guests don’t start to receive any replies.
  • Canva is a serious lifesaver in any situation and can be used for basically anything graphic design related, plus it’s free which we absolutely love. It’s pretty intuitive – once you’ve joined, just select the type of design you’d like to create. If you’re posting a message to your guests via social media, we’d recommend using a square format or selecting ‘Instagram Post’ on the homepage after signing up. Once you’ve opened a blank design, you can select from templates on the left-hand side to find what you’re looking for. Pop in your info (we’ve put a guide below), download and send out. We’ve seen a lot of couples utilise the pre-made designs Canva has to create a square tile for their social media to keep their guests up to date on their plans.
  • You could use a wedding website and guest management tool to contact your guests.

Have any other suggestions? I’d love to hear from you and share them.

 

What Documents Get Signed On My Wedding Day?

There are quite a few legal documents that you have to sign when getting married. On your wedding day you will be signing 3 documents during your wedding ceremony. These 3 certificates need to be signed by the Bride and Groom. They each need to have a signature of one witness to the ceremony that is over the age of 18 and the celebrant needs to sign also.

The first is one of the official certificates, that gets sent to Births, Deaths and Marriages in the state where your wedding is held, for registration purposes. This certificate has documentation called ‘Declaration of no Impediment to marriage’, on the back that is previously signed by the couple before the wedding ceremony that confirms that there is no reason that they cannot be married.

The second is another official certificate that is kept by the authorised celebrant it will usually be in a big book that all of their previous weddings are recorded in.

The third is the ceremonial certificate that is kept by the couple. This is the pretty certificate. But unfortunately this cannot be used by the Bride to change her name. To change your name, you will have to get a copy of your marriage certificate from Births, Deaths and Marriages. This process takes some time as the celebrant has 14 days to register the marriage with Births, Deaths and Marriages. Then, Births, Deaths and Marriages can take a bit of time processing it. I generally recommend that couples wait around 4 weeks before applying for their official certificate from Births, Deaths and Marriages.

Steps In Getting Married In Australia

The first thing you need to do is fill out a Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM). Download the NOIM form by clicking on this link.

You need to satisfy your celebrant that you and your partner are who you say you are. The evidence I’ll need from you is:

1. Evidence of your place and date of birth and evidence of your identity. You can use your passport for this, if you have one, or you can provide your driver’s licence and birth certificate).

2. If one or both of you were before married, evidence of your divorce or death of a previous partner. If you have been married more than once, then you only need to provide evidence of the most recent divorce or the death of your most recent partner.

WHAT IF I WANT TO GET MARRIED BEFORE THE MONTH IS DUE?

If there are extenuating circumstances that mean you need to get married within a month of your celebrant receiving your NOIM, you can apply to a prescribed authority to see if it will approve a shortening of the notice time. There are only five circumstances that can lead to a shortening of time. No other circumstances are able to be considered by the prescribed authority. And there is no guarantee that any application for a shortening of time will be successful.

The five categories of circumstances set out in the Regulations are:

1. Employment-related, or other travel commitments

2. Wedding or celebration arrangements, or religious considerations

3. Medical reasons

4. Legal proceedings, and

5. Error in giving notice.

The Prescribed Authority will consider and assess the information provided in support of your application and may seek more information.

What Are The Legal Requirements To Get Married In Australia?

If you’re planning on getting married in Australia you don’t have to be an Australian citizen or a permanent resident of Australia. If you’re from outside Australia, and you intend to live in Australia after your marriage, you will need to seek visa information from the Immigration Department.

And, if you’are from a country outside Australia, you will need to check to see if your country needs its Embassy to grant you permission before you get married, in order for them to recognise your Australian marriage as per the legal requirements.

This can have implications for people who are not Australian citizens – particularly LGBTQIA couples – who intend to return to their country after getting married in Australia.

If your marriage involves an Australian citizen and a non-Australian citizen, you should get advice about immigration matters from the Australian Department of Home Affairs or a registered migration agent.

WHAT ARE THE MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS TO MARRY IN AUSTRALIA?

To be married in Australia, you must:

1. Not be married to someone else
2. Not be marrying a parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother or sister (including by adoption)
3. Be at least 18 years old, unless a court has approved a marriage where one party is between 16 and 18 years old. Approval will not be given if both parties are below 16 years
4. Understand what marriage means
5. Freely consent to getting married
6. Use specific words during the ceremony
7. Give your celebrant written notice of your intention to marry, within the required time frame. I clarify this further in the next section.

As your Marriage Celebrant I will explain each of these conditions to you in more detail.

What Happens At A Rehearsal?

On the day before your special day you’ll have plenty to do. From welcoming guests to getting a manicure and pedicure the last thing on your mind will be to have a rehearsal. Unless you are having a BIG wedding a rehearsal is not really needed. However, when you invest in one of my Premium wedding packages you have the opportunity to have a rehearsal…I recommend 2-3 days before your wedding day. So, what will we do?

The rehearsal is an important and exciting part of the whole wedding process. As a celebrant, I enjoy working with couples to use the rehearsal as an opportunity to put the finishing touches to their ceremony and iron out any logistical or procedural issues. The following is the 10-Step Program that I generally use to make the run-through comprehensive, painless and enjoyable:

  1.  General introduction: review of rehearsal with bride & groom + others.
  2.  Proposed physical staging of ceremony:
  • Identify the “best ceremony spot” (ie where the bride, groom and celebrant will be positioned)
  • Furniture/props: including canopies, chairs and Registry Table
  • Format for Groomsmen and Bridesmaids
  • PA system/Musician(s)
  1.  Bridal procession:
  • Arrival order: bridesmaids/flower girls/ bride & escort?
  • Music for arrival (if required)
  • Groom to stand forward to acknowledge bridesmaids?
  • Bride and escort: “handover” process?
  1.  Readings:
  • Identify readers and respective readings
  • Where they stand?
  1.  PA system:instruction on mic use for Bride & Groom + Readers
  2.  Main Ceremony:
  • Finalize any last-minute changes
  • Check pronunciations
  • Identify any pre-ceremony announcements – eg phones/cameras etc
  • Vows: discuss timing + microphone (ie each hold mic or celebrant to hold it?)
  • Exchange of Rings: discuss procedure with ring-bearer and couple
  • Any further announcements?
  • Form of final marriage announcement e.g. Mr & Mrs?
  • Confirm witnesses
  1.  Music arrangements:content/sound system/ who is responsible?
  2.  Marriage document signing procedure:3 forms require 5 signatures: bride, groom, the witnesses and celebrant; who takes possession of the commemorative certificate?
  3.  Recession:discuss details
  4. Other issues
  • If applicable, sign declaration document at rehearsal (this to be signed within 14 days of ceremony). Sign BDM marriage certificate application (if celebrant is processing this for you). Celebrant to check original i.d. documents (if outstanding).
  • Veil or no veil?
  • Bouquet: who’s in charge of handover/return?
  • Weather issues / contingencies
  • Responsibility for flower girls / page boys?

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