Alina Hawkins - Marriage Celebrant
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: You are looking for a celebrant but don’t know where to start. How do you choose the right person?
Whatever your occasion, it is clearly a significant day for you and your family. It is therefore important that you feel comfortable with your celebrant and have confidence in their ability to conduct your ceremony in line with your ideas. Remember, the ceremony sets the scene for the whole celebration. I suggest you meet with several celebrants to get a feel for how their personality and service will fit with you.
I offer an obligation free meeting where we can discuss your occasion and share ideas.
Face to face is the best option but if this isn’t possible then we can do this over the phone or via video Skype.
Q: You have chosen me as our celebrant.
What happens next?
Once we have confirmed my availability for the date of your ceremony, we will organise a time to meet face to face. At this meeting we will complete any necessary paperwork and discuss ideas for your ceremony. A non-refundable deposit is payable at this point to hold your date. Following the meeting I will provide you with a range of resources to assist you in finalising your words. I will also email you a draft of your ceremony based on our discussions. We can then converse via phone and email to complete your ceremony.
About two weeks out from the ceremony we will confirm the final ceremony. The remainder of your ceremony fee is also paid at this time. Depending on the occasion we can also have a rehearsal about a week before the ceremony. At the end of the ceremony I’ll present you with your certificates and a keepsake copy of your ceremony. I’ll then complete any necessary paperwork and, if required, register your wedding or commitment.
Don’t worry, in our first meeting we will go through all of this to make sure we are all comfortable with what will happen and when. In my follow up email I’ll also give you a guide to refer back to.
Q: How long before the ceremony do we need
to be in contact?
This depends on the type of occasion and the time of year/week – Saturday afternoons are very popular particularly between September and May. It is important to remember that many ceremonies are booked at least 6 months in advance so the earlier you contact me the more likely it is that I am available on your preferred date.
For weddings you are required to complete a Notice of Intended Marriage form at least 1 full calendar month before your ceremony. This Notice is then valid for 18 months. Without this Notice you cannot legally marry in Australia. I will provide you with this form and help you complete it at our first meeting.
For other ceremonies there is no specific timeframe but it is important that we have time to put together a meaningful and complete ceremony.
Q: What to bring to the first meeting?
For all occasions, before we meet, think about the type of ceremony you would like and bring along any ideas you have for words, music, people you would like involved, etc. If you have no idea's yet that's fine too, I have lots of samples you can look at.
If you are getting married the following information is required to complete the Notice of Intended Marriage:
- You must both be 18 years of age or older – please bring along photo ID such as a driver’s license or passport
- If one of you is under 18 years then you will require court approval – see the Marriage Act 1961 for more details
- Original birth certificates or extracts for both of you
- If born overseas, you’ll also need your overseas passport or birth certificate, with official translation if not in English
- If either of you have been previously married or are widowed, I will need the Divorce Certificate or Death Certificate
- Details for the wedding including date, time, venue and the names of your two witnesses who must be at least 18 years old
A copy of your birth certificate can be obtained from the Office of Births, Deaths and Marriages in the State of your birth. See website details on my Useful Links page to direct you to your birth states BDM site.
Q: Proposed Marriage Visa Applications
Some couples may require a special letter produced by the celebrant in order to assist with a Proposed Marriage Visa application. I am able to do this for you and will also provide a certified copy of the Notice of Intended Marriage which can then be given to the Embassy. For more information on a Prospective Marriage Visa visit the Department of Immigration website www.immi.gov.au
Q: Marriage Certificates
On the wedding day, you will be required to sign three certificates immediately after the marriage has been solemnised.
The Bride has to sign in her maiden name and you need tohave two witnesses aged over 18 years old.
You will be presented with your marriage certificate beautifully prepared using a lovely font. This certificate is a keepsake only and cannot be used to change your name to your new married name.
In order to do this, you will need to apply for the standard or official marriage certificate with the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages in the State you were married. (See website links on Useful Links page to direct you to the BDM site of the state where you were married). They will then send you a certified copy of this marriage certificate.
I adhere to the Marriage Celebrant Code of Practice
and a copy of it is also available on the
Attorney General's Department website www.ag.gov.au