The content and style of every marriage ceremony will be different, and tailored to the wants and needs of each individual couple. Your ceremony can be as traditional and formal as you like, or relaxed and unstructured. You can include religious elements, favourite songs, poetry, traditions and rituals.
There are some delightful suggestions for additions to your ceremony, and if you choose one of them, it will be included in the ceremony at the appropriate place. They include Hand Fasting, Sharing a Glass of Wine, Warming the Rings, Sand or Salt Ceremony and more.
Generally speaking, a marriage ceremony will contain the following elements:
The celebrant greets the guests and couple. The Celebrant will also say a few words about marriage in general, and/or specifically about the couple's relationship, how they met, etc. Mention of any special people can be addressed in this section.
Marriage ceremonies often include music, poetry or readings about love. A couple can look to famous quotes or personal writings for inspiration. Perhaps you may like to read a love letter or poem from one partner to the other. There are several suggestions for readings in the resources folder, but the choices are virtually unlimited.
Giving Away or Parents Promise (optional)
Traditional "Giving Away" by father or other significant person. Or maybe promise of support from all parents which is particularly useful if step parents are involved.
The Celebrant asks each partner if they are willing to take each other as husband/wife, using one of the suggested texts included in the resources folder, or the couple may chose to write their own.
The Celebrant says some words (commonly known as The Monitum) as prescribed in the Marriage Act, explaining the serious nature of the vows about to be undertaken. In order for the Marriage to be legal, this must be included.
This is the declaration by the couple of their intent to be committed to each other for life. They will make promises and define what that commitment means to them. The couple may choose to select from the suggestions for vows in the resources folder, or to write their own. There are some specific words that must be mentioned to constitute a legal civil marriage in Australia and they are also outlined in the resources folder.
Exchange of Rings
The couple will usually wish to exchange rings. Some words will be said about what the rings symbolize, and the couple may choose to use one of the suggestions for ring presentation in the resources folder, or write their own. This is the stage where the Celebrant will pronounce the couple as Husband & Wife and invite them to kiss.
See comments above – another reading, blessing or poem may be included here.
Signing of the Marriage Certificates
While the couple and their witnesses sign the Marriage Certificates, often a favourite song is played, or a musician may sing or play.
The Celebrant presents the couple with their Marriage Certificate, and introduces them as a married couple.