Tim Kelly - Marriage Celebrant | Cairns Tropical Marriages

(19 reviews)
Service Area
Cairns, Port Douglas, Mission Beach and the Tablelands but I am prepared to travel nationally
Business Hours
7 days
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Expert Advice

As a wedding professional, Tim Kelly - Marriage Celebrant | Cairns Tropical Marriages offers expert advice to help couples plan their perfect day. Ask a question or read their expert advice.

Can I get married in both a religious and civil ceremony?

My fiance is muslim and I am catholic, we want to respect the mother and have a 'Katb al kitab' but this happens on a different day to the reception. On the day of the reception we want to have a civil ceremony, please help. Need some advice. Thank you

Tim Kelly - Marriage Celebrant | Cairns Tropical Marriages

You can have two ceremonies, but only one will be allowed to be the legal one. You could have the 'Katb al kitab' as the legal ceremony out of respect for your partner's religion and have the second as a commitment ceremony. Multi-faith relationships can be challenging in this regard, so it is essential that you find a balance that you, and your future mother-in-law, are all happy with. You mention that on the day of the reception you will have a civil ceremony but there is no mention of a Catholic ceremony. A Muslim wedding is obviously recognised as a legal union so my suggestion would be to have the religious ceremony as the legal one and have a commitment ceremony on the day of the reception. This is obvioulsy causing you more than a little concern and I hope that my advice helps.

Do couples usually use vow books?

Tim Kelly - Marriage Celebrant | Cairns Tropical Marriages

Hello. The majority of my couples do say their own vows, though I do have a selection of vows that they can choose form if they do not feel confident penning their. Having said that, I do encourage my couples to write their own vows and offer to give them advice. Using a vow book is a great way to cover up trembling hands, but if your hands tremble, does that really matter? It's an emotionally loaded moment, after all. It is usually the groom who is nervous about the vows but my advice to anyone who is concerned is simple. Your vows do not need to sound like they were written by Shakespeare. The strongest words are the simplest, spoken from the heart. They are for the ears of one person and one person only, the person you are about to marry. I suugest that my couples open a Word document and make bullet points, keeping it simple. Reasons why you love your partner followed by the promises you want to make to them. Remove the bullet points and presto, you have your vows.

I alos print the couples vows myself and present them to the groom before the ceremony. Hope this helps.

Any tips on writing vows?

I have no idea where to begin. Are they meant to be promises?

Tim Kelly - Marriage Celebrant | Cairns Tropical Marriages

Vows are, essentially, promises. Don't stress about them though. I always tell my couples that, when it comes to the vows, the strongest words are the simplest, spoken from the heart. My advice to my couples if, like you, they don't know where to begin is to open a word document and, using bullet points, write down 4 or 5 of the reasons why you love your partner. Then write down 3 or 4 promises that you want to make. Remove the bullet points and add your partners name at the beginning and, presto, you have your vows. At the end of the day your vows are for your partner and no-one else really. Letting everyone at the wedding hear them is a courtesy to them and a show of commitment from you to your partner that you are saying it in front of witnesses. There's nothing legal about 'personal' vows. The legal vows are very short and to the point. Personal vows are exactly that, personal. Don't stress about it. You'll find once you get started that it all comes pretty easily and that you'll probably have to hold yourself back.

I'm not a religious but can I have my marriage ceremony in a church?

Tim Kelly - Marriage Celebrant | Cairns Tropical Marriages

Hi Cindy. Yes, you certainly can have your ceremony in a church, even if it is a civil ceremony. Contact the Chaplin or Chaplins of the church or churches you have in mind, most of them will be happy to allow you to use their church and will probably charge you a fee. Keep in mind, however, that that church business will take precedence.

Who writes the vows? Do we say them or have to repeat after the celebrant?

Tim Kelly - Marriage Celebrant | Cairns Tropical Marriages

The official vows, required by law, are usually spoken in the read and repeat fashion. I always encourage my couples to write their own personal vows to add after the official ones and will offer advice if they are having problems. No-one can write your vows for you, but if it really is an obstacle for you then your celebrant should have a collection of vows for you. You can use them as inspiration or, failing that, if it really is too difficult or stressful, you can choose a version that suits you best.

Which is the bride's side and which is the groom's side?

Is this still a thing? Obvious not for same sex couples, but still

Tim Kelly - Marriage Celebrant | Cairns Tropical Marriages

To be honest? Whichever side you say it is. Let's face it. The bride goes to a lot of effort to look fabulous on the day, they take hours to prepare, whereas the groom, though well groomed, is usually ready in a fraction of the time. The bride's hair alone could be a deciding factor in which side she chooses to stand. So, my dear, it is entirely up to you and your groom will be happy to stand wherever you ask him too. The fact that he is standing in front of you is all that matters to him.

Is it bad to have my guests sitting in the sun?

What if it's really hot? It's a feb wedding. What can I do to ensure no one faints? :/

Tim Kelly - Marriage Celebrant | Cairns Tropical Marriages

Well done for thinking about the well being of your guests so early on in the process. Ideally it would be best to have your guests sitting in the shade but that's not always feasible. February is hot in Australia, no matter where you are, but if you're in FNQ then you have the humidity to consider too. If possible, go to your location before hand, at the time you have chosen for your wedding, and see for yourself. If there is no shade then look at possibly hiring a gazebo or providing umbrellas, if you're budget allows. If it doesn't then there's no harm in asking guests to bring an umbrella along. It would appear that you have already provided seating (you mention 'sitting in the sun') but you could also provide water, either bottles in a tub or eski, or a water station set up in the shade with cups where the guests can help themselves. You could also provide fans. My only other suggestion is to ensure that your ceremony isn't too long.

Your guests are going to be there quite a while before you arrive but that does not mean that they have to be seated from the moment they arrive. A good celebrant will have a contact who is with the bride who will let them know when you are about to arrive. When they get their cue from the contact is when they will ask the guests to take their seats so that the guests will only be sitting just before and during the ceremony, thereby minimising the guests exposure to the sun and heat.

If a Couple Doesn't Kiss at Their Wedding, What Else Can They Do?

I am extremely phobic of being touched, but at weddings the couple always kisses. Is it a requirement, or are there different things I can do? If so, what?

Tim Kelly - Marriage Celebrant | Cairns Tropical Marriages

Kissing is not a requirement, merely symbolic. There are many options available to you. If your phobia allows, you can consider a hand fastening, with gloves. The hands are bound by a symbolic ribbon. The ribbon is then removed and placed, along with the gloves, in a bag, pouch or box. If this still makes you feel uncomfortable you could consider releasing butterflies or doves as a symbolic end note to your ceremony. You need to be comfortable and at ease throughout your entire ceremony. I do a hand ceremony too, if you are comfortable with holding hands. Feel free to contact me and I will gladly go into more detail.

have you ever said no to doing a couple's wedding?

Tim Kelly - Marriage Celebrant | Cairns Tropical Marriages

Hi there

Unfortunately I have had to turn down quite a few weddings though fortunately it was merely due to availability. To date I have not turned down a wedding as a matter of conscience. I have been lucky, to date, that all of my couples have been legitimate and above board. If, however, I didn't feel that all aspects of the procedure were 100% above board and the couple were unable to put my mind at rest, I would be bound by conscience, not to mention my duty as a Celebrant, to turn them down. An example would be where I'd felt that one of the couple did not genuinely consent to the marriage or did not fully understand the gravity and the importance of marriage.

what questions should i ask my celebrant when i meet with them?

Tim Kelly - Marriage Celebrant | Cairns Tropical Marriages

Dear Bride

that question is very much like the question: how long is a piece of string? You need to know that the Celebrant is the Celebrant for you. A professional Celebrant should basically be able to answer all of your questions at the initial meeting/during the initial phone call without you actually having to ask them. They should tell you what services they offer, that they will help you to create your ceremony and write your vows or even create the ceremony for you by getting to know you and weaving your love story int o the ceremony. You will be able to judge from that initial contact whether they are the right fit for you as a couple, but if you're not sure, ask them how they will reflect your beliefs and who you are.You can ask:

  • What they offer in the way of a ceremony.
  • Ask how they go about creating it? Is it rigid or is it fluid? A ceremony only has to contain the legal wording spoken by the Celebrant and yourselves, everything else is up to you and, in light of that, what the Celebrant is prepared to do. You want someone who is relaxed enough to conduct a ceremony that you feel comfortable with.
  • Can you write our own vows and can they help with that?
  • Ask what else they offer in the way of services. Do they have a PA system and, if so is it extra?
  • Do they provide a signing table and chairs?
  • Do they take care of the music?
  • Do they have any other ceremonies on that day?
  • Do they charge extra for travel?
  • can they provide ideas for readings ceremonies like Butterfly release.

there are so many questions, I could go on forever. Feel free to contact me and we can discuss these things in more detail.



Cairns Tropical Marriages

How to choose bridesmaids?

I want to have bridesmaids at my wedding but I have no close girl friends or sisters that I am particularly close to. My daughter who will be 9 and my youngest sister (19) are all I have but neither live close by and neither are maid of honor material. What should I do?

Tim Kelly - Marriage Celebrant | Cairns Tropical Marriages

Hi Amanda

That is a tough one. You don't have to have bridesmaids, but as you stated in your query, you want bridesmaids. It's comforting to know that as you stand there, looking at your husband to be, there is someone at your back. I would like to bring attention to your comment that neither your daughter nor your younger sister are 'maid of honour material'. What constitutes maid of honour material? I have a 9 year old son and I would not hesitate to ask him to be my best man should my partner of nearly 13yrs finally agree to marry me (I've lost count of the proposals, I think she's playing hard to get). At the end of the day your maid of honour should be someone who loves you for who you are, only wants the best for you and is happy that you have found someone to commit to. Having your daughter as your maid of honour will also make her feel that the ceremony is also about her as she has been included in it by being asked to assume an all important role. The maid of honour is usually also the brides witness but as your duaghter is not 18 you would have to choose somone else. It sounds like your daughter lives some distance away. Maybe, by including her as your maid of honour, you will re-enforce the fact that, even though you are apart, she is still very important to you. At the end of the day, you don't really want to choose an someone who is not close to you. The main role of the maid of honour is to be there for you. I would ask your daughter, if you want my honest opinion. I also have no close friends here in Australia, but even if I did, my son, Connah, would be my first choice. Best of luck with your decision, I hope that this has been helpful.

I'm looking into booking a celebrant, but I don't understand the difference between ceremony types?

Some provide a "full personalised" ceremony, and others a basic package, what's the biggest difference there? I thought all ceremonies had to be pretty much the same, ie: "Do you ___ take ___ to be your lawfully wedded wife". Please explain how there's such a big difference in price and services? :)

Tim Kelly - Marriage Celebrant | Cairns Tropical Marriages

Hello. The ceremony type really depends on you. An elopement would be a very simple ceremony, including the necessary legal wording but with minimum fuss. Other than that, the type of ceremony you choose all depends on what you want on your wedding day. You may want to create your own ceremony or work with your celebrant to help them create a personalised ceremony which incorporates your love story and beliefs. Your ceremony is really a blank canvas waiting for you to create something. Don't over think it. There's enough stress involved in your wedding, the creation of your ceremony shouldn't be part of that stress.

I have an issue with someone posting pics of us before we do on social media...

How do we make it known to our guests?

Tim Kelly - Marriage Celebrant | Cairns Tropical Marriages

At the end of the day you can't really stop them from posting before you. However, the people at your wedding are your closest friends, family and loved ones. If you make your wishes very clear then it stands to reason that they will do as you ask. I provide my couples with a booking form asking for specific information such as - do they want me to announce anything to the guests before the ceremony, please switch off your phones; refrain from taking pictures during the ceremony and.... the couple request that you all wait for them to post on social media before

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