Access Civil Ceremonies - Interview


Make your civil ceremony a special moment


Since 1961 civil ceremonies have been allowed by law in Australia and since 1961 average has been the norm. There is an army of wedding professionals working hard at maintaining the status quo, communicating what’s normal, preaching average.


Cylex: Why choose a celebrant and not a local authority registrar? Isn’t the ceremony the same?

Access Civil Ceremonies: The  legal status of your marriage will be the same whether or not you choose a  Civil Marriage Celebrant or a  State Registry Office official.  The difference is that there are so many more options that are open to the couple when they choose an Authorised Marriage Celebrant.  We are in private practise so we can meet all of your needs in relation to the length of the marriage ceremony, the content, the theme, the location, the choice of music and any readings you may wish to have.  We welcome the inclusion of friends, family and even pets.  You may have extra rituals such as a “Sand or Candle ceremony, you may wish to “Jump the Broom” or any other  cultural or fun thing that you would like. We can travel to any location that you wish. In most cases the Celebrant will tailor your ceremony to meet with your specific needs and wishes. When you choose a Registry Office ceremony, you will have to make and keep that appointed time for the ceremony which is usually held every half an hour.  I know of one couple who were late and missed their appointed time and were told that they could either go home and make another appointment or wait around to see if anyone else missed their appointment. You may have the option of 2 ceremonies, but you can only be married at the specific Government approved locations. It is a common misconception that it is always cheaper to have a Registry wedding.

Cylex: Is the ceremony legal? What is allowed during such a ceremony?

Access Civil Ceremonies: Provided the Celebrant and Registrar meet the legal requirements then the marriage is legal. Due to the strict time constraints of a Registry marriage there is not a lot of leeway for personal choice in any area of the marriage ceremony. With a Civil Wedding Celebrant you can have anything you wish as long as the legally required words of the Monitum have been spoken. Choosing the right Celebrant for you is very important if you wish to have anything that is to be unique to you.  Some Celebrants are more creative than others, some are more willing to go the extra mile to meet specific needs, but it is vitally important that you are able to connect on that emotional level because this could be the most exciting bur stressful day of your life.  You need to have confidence in your Celebrant, You need to be sure that they will be totally in control of all the elements of your wedding ceremony and that they will be able to keep you calm and reassured if nerves should get the better of you.



Cylex: If there is a couple who wants to get married in a park or on a beach do they need permission? Do you take care of this or the couple does?

Access Civil Ceremonies:  I always advise the couple to check with the local authorities to see if a permit is required when the wedding is to be in an open public space.  It is not always needed. However if you do have a permit you can then be sure of having that  place to yourself  at the time you require.  Without  a permit you may find yourself having to move to another part of the  park or beach because somebody else is already there. I do not purchase the permit for the couple because there may be some things related to the booking that they are not comfortable with, or they may find another location they like better after I have made the booking on their behalf.

Cylex: How does someone  reserve a wedding date?

Access Civil Ceremonies: After you have chosen your marriage date and booked your reception venue , it is important to book your Celebrant as soon as possible.  I suggest that you are prepared to interview 2 or 3 to see who best fits your needs and to make sure they are available at the time and date that you require.   The booking is usually secured when a deposit is paid and the Official Notice of Intent to Marry is completed and appropriately witnessed.

Cylex: Is it fashionable for the bride to be late?

Access Civil Ceremonies: Sadly it is still fashionable, but it is still quite rude if she is very late , particularly when the weather is very hot or cold and guests are outside waiting.  However,  in  my experience Guests are also arriving later and later because they expect the Bride to be half an hour late.  I think 10 minutes is acceptable but no more. To overcome this Couples are writing on the invitation please arrive at 3.45pm for commencement at 4.00pm etc.

Cylex: What happens in the event that the couple has to postpone their wedding?

Access Civil Ceremonies: When a Civil Celebrant received the completed Notice of Intent to Marry, it is valid for eighteen months from that date. Just how a Celebrant handles a postponement will be a personal choice.  I will always try to accommodate the new date, but that may not always be possible. If I cannot conduct the ceremony I will suggest the names of some of my colleagues who may be able to assist on the new date.




Cylex: Does the civil celebrant receive any government subsidies or only what the client pays them?

Access Civil Ceremonies: There are no subsidies from the Government or anyone else .  There are no set fees for a Marriage Celebrant.  They can charge whatever they believe their services are worth.  These charges can range from as low as a couple of hundred dollars right up to around $2000.00 depending on who the celebrant is and where the wedding is to be held.  

Cylex: Why are Celebrants so dear when they are only at the wedding for about an hour?

Access Civil Ceremonies: What the Celebrant actually  does on the wedding day is a very small part of what is required. Although the ceremony may only be for about 30 minutes your Celebrant may have already spent between 10 and 20 hours working on your behalf. When I am preparing a customised ceremony it will take me at least 20 hours of work. Initial meeting 2 hours.  Accept, validate and  lodge proof of ID etc and complete Notice of intent  1 hour..Research, design, and write the ceremony  10-15 hours.Sending  drafts for approval , Printing, emailing, phone calls   1 hour.Pre- wedding Rehearsal 2 hours. Lodging documents with Govt department 1 hour.Return Travel time to the wedding venue at least 1 hour. Arrive 30 minutes early as required by law.Maybe wait  half an hour or more if Bride is late.Conduct the ceremony for 30 minutes to 1 hour.Pack up equipment (table, papers, PA system ) 30 minutes.At the conclusion of the marriage there are more legal papers to be prepared for the Marriage to be registered. 30 minutes. Return Travel to Post office to send papers to City. 30 minutes. Follow the Registration process and advise when complete. 30 minutes over a one month period. Add to that the expense that we have in always being appropriately and professionally groomed. Maintaining a car; maintaining a well stocked home office;  purchasing the required official stationery; having a mobile phone and internet; attending mandatory annual on-going professional development training; paying the Government Celebrants Registration; Advertising; Association fees; Personal and Public liability Insurance. All of these things have to be included in the fees that we set. We have to be aware of any changes to the legislation and are subject to severe sanctions if we fail to meet our legal obligations. To become a Civil Marriage Celebrant we have to undertake an extensive training course and must be proven to be a “fit and proper person”. An interesting fact is that a couple will most likely still spend more on the wedding cake than their Wedding Celebrant. Please do not choose your Celebrant on Price alone.  Personality and Competence are more important. The most expensive is not necessarily the best and the Cheapest may not be the worst.  Shop wisely!


Personal qualities that a celebrant requires are public speaking ability, sound interviewing techniques, a calm reassuring manner, compassion, honesty, commitment, be of good character and have empathy and consideration for other’s needs. These are all important aspects of the role of the celebrant. These qualities allow the celebrant to construct a ceremony reflecting the wishes of the people they are working with.