Jen Lawrie-Smith Marriage Celebrant

(22 reviews)
Service Area
Bellarine Peninsula, Geelong, Macedon Ranges, Daylesford, Melbourne  View Map
Business Hours
7 Days - By Appointment
0830 - 2030
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Expert Advice

As a wedding professional, Jen Lawrie-Smith Marriage Celebrant offers expert advice to help couples plan their perfect day. Ask a question or read their expert advice.

Can we write our own ring element into our wedding ceremony?

Wondering if the ring part of our ceremony can be personalised or if it has to be what everyone else has?

Jen Lawrie-Smith Marriage Celebrant

Exchanging rings is a tradition not a legal requirement so yes, you can have any creative element that helps personalise your ceremony. It's interesting that Aussie men only began regularly wearing weddings rings in the mid-70's, and in Europe rings are often worn on the right hand. Feel free to make that part *yours*!

Can the celebrant refer to us as husband and wife in a commitment ceremony?

In a commitment ceremony is the celebrant allowed to say husband and wife?

Jen Lawrie-Smith Marriage Celebrant

Hi, thanks for your question.

In Victoria, some commitment ceremonies are for people who want to register their domestic partnership with Births Deaths and Marriages but not have a legal wedding ceremony, and others are for people who are already married but they're having a renewal of vows ceremony - sometimes also referred to a commitment ceremony.

So, it depends on what you mean.

Many people who aren't married refer to one another as husband and wife - which is why the law requires the term 'lawful wedded husband/wife' in a wedding ceremony.

Feel free to contact me if this isn't clear enough :)

Which wedding traditions can you skip at your wedding?

Jen Lawrie-Smith Marriage Celebrant

Traditions such as "Giving the Bride Away" are often seen as being quite outmoded now so planning a ceremony is up to each couple, with guidance from their celebrant.

Legal requirements, however, can't be omitted.

Maybe your wedding could be a way to create a new family tradition... It's not unusual to hear of sentiments or actions repeated by others as a tribute!

Do it your way and enjoy!

What are the most important things to include in wedding vows?

Jen Lawrie-Smith Marriage Celebrant

Before or after the legal vow you can say anything you like, but remember these promises are the foundation for your future.

So think about what's really important to both of you, although you can each express it differently, and find some words around promising that you will stick by one another forever. 

Some light heartedness is fine, but the vows are no time to be too silly or poke too much fun at your partner!

Celebrants usually have heaps of examples... I know I have! Good luck writing yours!

Can anyone be a marriage celebrant?

Jen Lawrie-Smith Marriage Celebrant

Before applying for registration candidates are required to successfully complete the Certificate iv in Celebrancy or higher university qualification, and then prove themselves to be a fit and proper person.

Marriage celebrants hold an important place in society so although anyone can apply there is no guarantee that everyone will be accepted.

Information is available on the Attorney General's Department website.

Civil marriage in melbourne... is it possible?

hi, My self a Muslim & my girlfriend is Hindu. I live in Melbourne on aus pr visa & my GF lives in the USA on a work visa. we are planning to get married in Melbourne. please advise what is the best way to marry her in Melbourne without any religious marriage. I can contact you personally too discuss more abt my scenario.

Jen Lawrie-Smith Marriage Celebrant

Hello, there's no problem for you to marry in a civil ceremony anywhere in Australia. You simply need to choose a celebrant who suits you and follow the advice given to you in relation to proving your identity, ensuring you are both freely able to consent to marrying one another and lodging your Notice of Intended Marriage within the legal timeframe. You don't both have to be in Australia in order to do that, so talk to your celebrant about the process. I specialise in ceremonies which draw from different cultural backgrounds so I'd be happy to assist you if you'd like.

I hope this is helpful.

Best wishes, Jen Lawrie-Smith.

Are there any celebrants familiar with classic filipino weddings?

I am looking to find a celebrant who is familiar with the classic filipino wedding ceremonies and also familiar with the scriptures and prayers as well. Someone based in Melbourne and happy to travel up to 2hrs from Melbourne.

Jen Lawrie-Smith Marriage Celebrant


I've done a few of these lovely ceremonies using the candle, cord and veil ritual. Feel free to contact me with your location and I might be able to help!

Jen Lawrie-Smith CMC 0419121003

How can I incorporate my step-child into the ceremony?

Jen Lawrie-Smith Marriage Celebrant

Hi, depending on the age of the child, popular ways include a sand ceremony, giving the child something special near the time of the ring exchange or displaying a work of art the child has made.

Finally, presenting you all as a new family at the end of the ceremony, instead of just as a newly married couple, is a great way to include a step child.

All the best as a new family!

Do celebrants usually recommend pre-marriage counselling or courses?

Jen Lawrie-Smith Marriage Celebrant


Yes, it's our legal responsibility to let marrying couples know about the availability of pre-marriage education sessions and every marriage celebrant must provide an up-to-date list of suitable locations.

The courses are a great way to double-check "Are you thinking what I'm thinking" before you begin your marriage, and most couples say they learn a lot and have fun doing it!

Celebrants don't run the courses - independent expert providers deliver the courses.

If you don't get a chance to do one before your wedding you can always do one at any later time - enjoy!

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

Jen Lawrie-Smith Marriage Celebrant

Hi, you can only have one official marriage ceremony, so choose which you would like to be the legal ceremony - the civil one or the religious one... but which religious one is the question you need to resolve. Many people have a civil ceremony then a blessing by the religious celebrant of their choice. Or there's an alternative...

I trained in celebrancy at Monash Uni so I speciailise in ceremonies just like this - integrating elements of both cultural backgrounds into a civil ceremony. This way both families can feel comfortable with aspects which have been integrated into a very personal ceremony.

Feel free to contact me (or any Monash-trained celebrant) if you'd like more information.

Do couples usually use vow books?

Jen Lawrie-Smith Marriage Celebrant

Hi, I usually suggest that my couples try to remember as much of their vows as they can (yes, I know it's a big day and people get nervous) because these are the foundation of their marriage and it's great to keep the promises uppermost in mind through the years. But, because it's a big ask... two things help: 1/ don't write too much and 2/ I'm always standing right beside them quietly prompting and supporting them.

Personally, I prefer couples to be looking into one another's eyes rather than looking at bits of paper!

The vows are in the presentation copy I give every couple so they've always got a copy to keep... but on the day it's your choice.

I'm a chilled bride. Is that a bad thing?

I just don't need any stress, and I don't think the wedding is as important as the marriage. Don't get me wrong, is IS important and I have my gorgeous dress and venue, and all of that, but do I really need to be going crazy for months in the lead up, worrying?

Jen Lawrie-Smith Marriage Celebrant

It's absolutely wonderful that you're not going crazy stressing about the little things leading up to the wedding - I wish more brides were like that!

Marriage is about the big things - how often have we heard that? Hopefully your celebrant is helping you draw from what's important to you both and focus on that not only in your ceremony but also as preparation for your marriage... the dress, the cake, the 'trappings' are the little things, and as my daughter told me after her wedding, no-one remembers expect you!

Relax and enjoy the lead-up to your marriage - your way, the chilled way!!

If I'm in the middle of an argument with my sister, would it be bad of me to not attend her wedding?

Jen Lawrie-Smith Marriage Celebrant

Hopefully you can resolve your differences before her special day but if not, rise above the argument and don't let it spoil her happiness.

Familly support means everything to people on their wedding day - I've heard that hundreds of times. It probably means a lot to your sister too.

If I elope, do you think I'll regret it?

I don't want to do the whole big wedding thing so eloping is looking like a good option

Jen Lawrie-Smith Marriage Celebrant

Hi, it's quite possible you might, but you know your family and friends so it's your call! An alternative is a small wedding with only your nearest and dearest...

I remember when some good friends eloped, but after years of supporting them through hard times we felt a bit cheated we weren't there to share their happiness.

On the other hand, I know what it's like to elope and not have to do 'the wedding thing'! Have you already had an engagement party? Perhaps that's enough...!

If you do find you regret it, you can always hold a 'wedding' ceremony later, but it's then called something like a renewal of vows or a recommitment to marriage, and (apart from the legal line and other parts) you can share your vows in front of your family and friends.

Any ideas for a cool entrance to my ceremony?

Jen Lawrie-Smith Marriage Celebrant

Hi there,

One of the coolest entrances I've seen was my bride who sang a love song to her Groom as she walked in! Takes guts and a fair bit of talent, but do you think you could pull that off?!

If not, an idea I like is where the whole family arrives as a bridal entrance... The groom's family with him, the bride's family ahead of her, and then, if you like, the bride with her father or both parents, or whoever she wants.

As marriage equality nears, of course this applies to partners regardless of gender!

Son in law isn't "allowed" to come to the wedding. What can I do?

My SIL's mother is withholding custody. She said she doesn't want him to be there- there are no legal orders in place- what can I do!?

Jen Lawrie-Smith Marriage Celebrant

This sounds like a difficult situation but it isn't entirely clear from the little information here exactly what you mean. For example, how old is the person you would like to attend the wedding? Is this a young adult?

Perhaps try to explain calmly how much it would mean to you and your partner to have that person attend your wedding and hope that a sense of overall family happiness and cohesiveness might prevail... Weddings can be stressful enough without pressure on people to attend if it's going to cause difficulties, and it's possible there might be a reason you're unaware of.

Keep an open conversation with your sister in law's mother, and hope for the best! Good luck!

I'm considering walking myself down the aisle, thoughts?

Has any other bride done this at one of your weddings?

Jen Lawrie-Smith Marriage Celebrant

Hi there, yes, lots of brides have done this and there's no reason why you shouldn't.

If it's a long walk and/or you're a bit nervous about it, how about your Groom meeting you part way and you walking the last part together?

Enjoy your day!

Is it okay to stand the opposite way at the altar?

I know the bride is meant to stand on the left in our culture (and opposite in Jewish ceremonies), but can I stand on the right?

Jen Lawrie-Smith Marriage Celebrant

Hi there!

These days most couples don't marry in a church but if you do it would be respectful to face the altar, so ask your vicar or priest.

For civil ceremonies, couples usually face their guests. There's no 'right' way these days.

I usually suggest couples stand the way they feel comfortable, or for my bride, when she faces her groom for the vows, (on that side) consider the cut of her dress of how her hair will look best in the photos!

Do Aussie couples usually have ushers?

We don't have a bridal party but want to honour our close friends by asking them to have official roles on the day, like ushers, and doing a reading and things like that.

Jen Lawrie-Smith Marriage Celebrant

Hi there,

Aussie couples don't seem to have a formal role - someone named as a 'usher' - but it's a great idea to have a few, particularly if your wedding is large, and I agree, honouring your friends in this way helps them feel included!

If you'd like a friend to read something make sure that person is comfortable reading in public... some people really hate the idea!

Great idea to include your friends in these ways! If your wedding's on a hot day, another idea is to have a couple of people man a water station too...

Do you usually have a rehearsal with the couple before the wedding day?

Jen Lawrie-Smith Marriage Celebrant


I always offer a rehearsal, and I try for a time that's around the same time as the ceremony so we get an idea of the light.

Not everyone wants a rehearsal, and not everyone needs to attend, but it's a great 'nerve-settler' as well as a good lead-in to the formality of changing into a married couple.

If children are in the bridal party I think it's really important to try to include them in a rehearsal!

There's a legal document which needs to be signed before the ceremony starts so it's often done at the rehearsal, a day or so beforehand.

What is your favourite wedding reading?

Jen Lawrie-Smith Marriage Celebrant

My favourite reading is the one which best reflects the couple's thoughts and feelings about marriage!

I always ask couples to tell me why they've chosen their reading and integrate the reason into the introduction so their guests understand the relevance.

Having said that, who wants to hear the same readings wedding after wedding? Readings tend to be 'popular' and years ago people chose from 'The Prophet' - more recently is was 'The Apache Wedding Blessing', and then 'Captain Corelli's Mandolin'. So, my advice is not to type 'wedding readings' into your favourite search engine or the 'popular' ones will come up and your guests (who might be going to lots of weddings) will hear the same ones on rotation.

You can choose your favourite song lyrics, something from your favourite book/play/TV show, something you wrote to one another years ago, something you loved at school, some advice from an older relative... or of course, you can ask your celebrant. Check out your own books  (your parents' or the library) and enjoy dipping back into some poetry or literature in your quiet time!

Quirky, romantic, contemporary, a haiku... there are thousands to choose from! Enjoy choosing yours!

What do you need to have a wedding?

My partner, myself, two witnesses.... what else?

Jen Lawrie-Smith Marriage Celebrant

  • A correctly completed Notice of Intended Marriage received by an authorised celebrant no earlier than 18 months before and no later than one month before the wedding
  • A declaration of no impediment to marriage signed by both parties prior to the start of the ceremony in the presence of the celebrant
  • An authorised celebrant, ceremony structure and wording according to Australian law

You need to speak to a celebrant who can guide you through all the legalities and make sure your marriage will be valid - best wishes!

is there an extra charge to have a rehearsal?

Jen Lawrie-Smith Marriage Celebrant

Rehearsal charges are generally built in to the overall celebrant fee. Depending on the location, your celebrant might need to charge you a travelling allowance however, especially if two trips are needed to a distance further than the average, so make sure you've discussed this when you first agree on the terms and conditions. (ie one for the rehearsal, the second for the wedding)

It's up to each couple as to whether they want a rehearsal or not. Over the years I've found some have a great time and are really relaxed, others go through things in minute detail, and others don't want one at all!

Check with your celebrant just to be sure.

can i have a religious ceremony not in a church?

Jen Lawrie-Smith Marriage Celebrant

Hello there.

It's probably best to choose a celebrant who's studied how to integrate elements of religious ceremonies into a civil ceremony without offending anyone from that religion. You don't say which religion you're thinking about and of course there are so many, so, for example, the ritual incorporating the Greek Crowns might be able to be reflected in a garden wedding, but a civil celebrant won't want to appear to be a Greek Orthodox priest and won't use the whole traditional ceremony. (Other examples... Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim... same applies)

If you're from say, an Anglican background, you'll find the civil ceremony framework allows plenty of scope for you to include prayers and readings of your choice and most celebrants would be happy for you to do that.

Generally speaking, religious rites are associated with celebrants ordained to deliver them according to that religion and religious celebrants must work in a particular church. Civil celebrants, on the other hand, can marry people anywhere - including in a church, with permission.

So, if you want a religious ceremony in a location away from where the religious celebrant can work, there's nothing to stop you having two celebrants work together! The religious celebrant conducts the religious rite (or blessing) and the civil celebrant takes the legal responsibility.

Best Wishes, Jen

will i regret skipping traditions and formalities in my wedding?

Jen Lawrie-Smith Marriage Celebrant

Hi, it's your wedding so do it the way you and your partner want! If you're not 'traditional' or 'formal' people, don't have conventions! The great thing about civil ceremonies is that you can create a ceremony that reflects yourselves - enjoy!

if its a hot day should i be providing umbrellas and fans for my guests? (outdoor ceremony)

Jen Lawrie-Smith Marriage Celebrant

Hi, I think that little fans are a great idea and make a lovely keepsake! They're quiet and small so they won't get in the way in your photos. Umbrellas, on the other hand, can block people's view - and I'm not sure whether you're wondering about large market-style ones or personal ones.

From my experience, the stylists often set up the market umbrellas hours before the ceremony and peg them into the ground so they can't be moved. By the time the ceremony starts the sun has moved and the shade isn't where it's much use, and the couple and their attendants (and celebrant) end up with shaded feet and squinty faces!

Guests always want to stay in the shade so try to choose a spot where everyone will be comfortable... and have plenty of cups of cool water!

everyone says i need to have cash on the day. but what for?

Jen Lawrie-Smith Marriage Celebrant

Hi, I've seen (for example) mothers of the bride walking around with hundreds of dollars paying suppliers such as musicians. Personally, I think that's a bit tacky and it has the potential to spoil their day - they shouldn't have to worry about carrying large sums!

Celebrants issue invoices well in advance and generally expect to be paid in full about 2-4 weeks before the ceremony. See if you can get all your suppliers to do the same. Even if payments can't be arranged in advance, see if your supplier has a mobile card reader.

Groom doesn't want to make a speech, what do I do?

My Groom is terrified of making a speech at our wedding and has therefore refused to do so. And i highly doubt the best man will also. The maid of honor is also scared of public speaking but is happy to over come her fear to say a little something. Suggestions to even thing out?

Jen Lawrie-Smith Marriage Celebrant

Hi Tara,

I agree with Del. If everyone knows your man is really terrified, (and let's face it, some people are) then make it a fun occasion and recruit your friends who aren't shy!

Traditionally he just has to thank everyone on behalf of you both, so it's thank-you to everyone who just spoke, thank-you all for coming, and just as a joke, thanks to my lovely bride for marrying me! Make it light-hearted and no-one will mind it isn't long-winded!

Hope you have a great celebration!

can i ask my celebrant to mention marriage equality during the ceremony?

I'm still looking for one- but this is really important to me

Jen Lawrie-Smith Marriage Celebrant

Yes! This is becoming more and more common, and it's probably unusual now to find a celebrant who won't be happy to say something. However, we can't really appear disrespectful to the law as it stands, so most celebrants link the wording to the couple and their thoughts, not the official wording of the Monitum.

So, there are lots of lovely ways to mention marriage equality - and let's hope it isn't long before the law changes!

who walks me down the aisle if my dad is no longer with us?

Jen Lawrie-Smith Marriage Celebrant

You don't have to walk down the aisle with anyone, unless you want to, of course! Many brides choose to walk in with their partner, or meet him half way, walk in with their attendants or another family member.  Asking someone important to accompany you on this walk is a great way to honour them, as well as give you a supportive arm to hold. I love it when both families accompany the bride and groom - what fun when everyone arrives in a group! If you think outside the traditional entrance it takes the emphasis away from the fact that your father isn't there.

I hope you have a happy day!

If im having a destination wedding somewhere that doesnt speak english...

do i have to import an english speaking celebrant??

Jen Lawrie-Smith Marriage Celebrant

It might be simpler to get married in Australia, with two witnesses and an authorised celebrant, and then have a 'renewal of vows' ceremony at the destination using a friend who's good at public speaking! As long as you make it clear the second ceremony isn't the legal one (and the legal parts are omitted) this is often a good idea. 

Have you ever made a mistake in a ceremony? Like saying a name wrong or anything?

Jen Lawrie-Smith Marriage Celebrant

Hi Carlaj,

A celebrant always worries about getting a couples names wrong but spoonerisms can pop out at the worst of times - and that can happen to the best of us!!

The key to NOT making mistakes is good preparation and not being too busy.  Fortunately couples forgive us if we make a mistake stumbling over a difficult pronunciation and they know we've tried to get it right. I normally have couples say their own names during their vows... no need for them to repeat after me - they know their names, so I'm not going to stumble over them then!

I hope your day goes well!

how am i supposed to keep my surprise wedding a surprise when a celebrant rocks up?

I haven't found a celebrant yet that is able to blend in..

Jen Lawrie-Smith Marriage Celebrant

The trick is to choose someone who's good at acting - or 'playing'!

I've been all sorts of characters, from a tour guide to 'mum's friend from patchwork', to the agent who 'sold them the house' to even Mary Christmas on Christmas Day! Think creatively, hide the Register beforehand or even pretend it's a gift!

Good luck!

If I'm not taking his name, can we ask the celebrant to not say 'mr and mrs (husbands last name)?

Jen Lawrie-Smith Marriage Celebrant

Ask your celebrant to simply introduce you as a married couple ??

When I enquire with a celebrant, what should I be asking them>?

Jen Lawrie-Smith Marriage Celebrant

Lisa and John have answered this well, but these things are usually covered by the celebrant when you meet. When you first email or call, don't simply ask "How much do you charge?"

Perhaps ask "Are you available on xxx day and could you please give us some more information about what you offer", or "We're planning a beach wedding so would like to know if you have a portable sound system", or "We'd like to have our dogs at our wedding. Are you ok with that?" and so forth.

If you provide a little more detail about your needs it's easier for the celebrant to respond, and you can then get a sense of whether that person is helpful and receptive.

Travel documents and name changes

Do you need to change the name on your travel documents urgently or can this wait?

Jen Lawrie-Smith Marriage Celebrant

If your passport has at least two years' validity left, you can change your name on it free of charge at a time that suits you, usually sooner rather than later, but there's no urgency. Any travel documents (eg airline tickets) must match the name of your passport, so if you want to fly overseas for your honeymoon straight after the wedding you'll have to use your maiden name because of the time involved in getting your official marriage certificate from the Registry and getting your passport altered.

Can we get married in Australia if we are not citizens?

Hi there, I am wondering if you can help me. Myself and my partner are currently residing in Canberra but we are not Australian citizens, we are English citizens, we are here on two year working visas. We are due to get married back in England in December but in order to make it 'legal' we have been advised that we have to get married officially here first. As we will be here on our own we only want something very small and personal, basically it's just to allow us to get married in the uk. Sorry if I have confused you as I appreciate it's a bit complicated but if you could let me know your thoughts it would be much appreciated xx

Jen Lawrie-Smith Marriage Celebrant

Hi, this does seem confusing. If you're marrying in England there's no requirement to marry here first, regardless of your being here on working visas or not. You just need to decide if you want to hold your legal ceremony here OR the UK, as you can't marry twice (without being divorced).

Bridesmaid drama!

I have a lot of female first cousins that I'm very close to but one in particular that I've chosen to be in my bridal party (along with my two sisters). I know my cousins and aunts will be upset that they/their daughters weren't chosen and I'm worried about hurting people's feelings. I'm announcing the bridesmaids at my engagement party. Do you have any advice?

Jen Lawrie-Smith Marriage Celebrant

Hi Dennise, Maybe the other cousins could be involved in different ways, such as a reading or working with your celebrant to craft a unique 'mini ceremony' using flowers or other things you like. If they're creative, ask them to help style the space! It's fine to choose the person you're closest to - most people would understand, and I agree, perhaps don't make a big announcement!

I just need a celebrant and a license

How do I go about this? Do I need forms to fill out? It will be a very very simple wedding. Just need someone to do it please.

Jen Lawrie-Smith Marriage Celebrant

There is a list of authorised celebrants on the Attorney General's website - the person you choose will help you complete your Notice of Intended Marriage.

The time-frame for lodging it is between one and eighteen months of the wedding, and you need to provide original copies of your proof of identity documents.

Celebrants vary in training, expertise, fees, style and personality but regardless of who you choose, that person will put in quite a bit of time and effort helping you on the day... it might look and be simple but there's quite a bit of work behind the scenes!

My fiance's mum and sister don't like me. Should his sister be in the bridal party. What do I do ?

How am I supposed to plan a wedding without his mum taking part and his family. It's supposed to be a happy and proud moment for both of us but it's not

Jen Lawrie-Smith Marriage Celebrant

Wedding planning can be stressful for everyone, including your soon-to-be family-in-law, so maybe just work out a few tasks you don't mind allocating to these ladies and graciously suggest you'd appreciate their help - and allow them to decline if they don't want to be involved. Listen to their input, smile and say you'll consider their suggestions, but if it doesn't suit you and your partner, simply choose what you both want and don't get too caught up in explaining your reasons. It might be easier to choose only one bridesmaid, say, your bestie, and then there's no potential for discomfort! Good luck - and keep smiling!

Help! I need vows help, I honestly have no idea what to say! I love her. What else should I say?

I asked my friends and they said it'd come to me. It hasn't. I am freaking out!!!

Jen Lawrie-Smith Marriage Celebrant

Hi Melissa, unfortunately it's not quite that easy! Apart from the legal line which your celebrant will have given you, the promises you make are the foundation of your marriage, so I'd suggest sitting down with your partner and talking about the really important things - this will help guide you both. You don't have to say the same words and if you're nervous, don't say too much.

Effectively you're both promising to stand by one another through all life's ups and downs, but how you say it is up to you! Try not to be overly fussy with the words - just be yourself. Make the promises realistic, too - for example, no matter how wonderful you might be no couple can "always promise to understand" - you can only promise to try!

Your celebrant will have loads of examples and will help you, so for now, relax and enjoy just thinking about what you both need in your marriage and what you both can offer - and you might even find that if you attend a session on preparing for marriage, your vows will follow from that. Don't freak out - take your time and enjoy.

Finally Melissa - is this a civil union? You say you love 'her'. If it's a same-sex union sadly, at the moment, the legal line can't be included...

Wishing you a happy marriage!

Can I hire a celebrant and have a "wedding" for my friends and family even if I already eloped?

Just wanted to do something nice for my family because we eloped about a month ago but it's not like we need to get remarried... haha. I don't want to do a reception at all and only want it to be small. Mainly a photo opportunity.

Jen Lawrie-Smith Marriage Celebrant

Yes, Bron, your 'something nice' could be a ceremony for your family and friends but it must be clear to everyone that it's not a legal marriage ceremony. Call it a renewal of vows, a commitment to marriage - whatever you like - but I've found these events are really appreciated by those who weren't there when the couple eloped. Same vows or different vows, just omit the legal line and focus on what's important to you and your families.

Now, because it isn't a legal ceremony and there's no documentation, you don't need an authorised celebrant, so without wishing to put anyone out of a job, it's something you can even arrange for yourself! If it's mainly a photo opportunity, enjoy getting everyone together. Perhaps just check that people are happy to get 'all frocked up' even though there's no 'wedding'... sometimes feathers can be a bit ruffled!

Hope this helps and you find a great way to celebrate - again!

What is everyones thoughts on +1s at a wedding??

We are already on a tight budget and originally i had just said family only... but when planning out our tables my fiancé and my mother asked where the partners of our bridal party are and where family members partners were sitting and i said they weren't invited and they both looked shocked like you can't not invite your bestfriends partner to your my head i say why not? Its my wedding, i dont like her partner and i don't want them there... is it terrible for me not to invite them?

Jen Lawrie-Smith Marriage Celebrant

Tricky situation, Alexandra. How does your fiance feel about having those additional people there? It's his wedding too. Have you and your best friend discussed the possibility of not including the partner?

You probably want everyone to feel happy for you and part of your celebrations, and you should both feel relaxed, so it's something you need to talk through over the next few months before finalising your guest list. If it's clear to everyone it's family only and it's say, around 10-20 people, you can probably keep +1's off your list - if it's a larger wedding Craig (below) might be right! To include a few +1's might only cost you a little in terms of money, but excluding them might cost you a lot in terms of friendships. Good luck!

What vows would you recommend for a commitment ceremony?

Jen Lawrie-Smith Marriage Celebrant

Hi Bethany, I'd suggest discussing your relationship (the good and the bad, the hopes and the challenges) with your partner and then begin with "I promise..." One tip - no-one can promise "to always understand"; we can only promise to try! Wishing you happiness

How do I set up a wedding ceremony schedule?

Jen Lawrie-Smith Marriage Celebrant

HI Bec, I'm not really sure if you're talking about a ceremony or the whole day but I'll hazard a guess that as your wedding isn't far off your celebrant has explained the order in which things happen during the ceremony. For other items it's a great idea to coordinate with your venue as there's sure to be someone who's used to helping couples plan their "running sheet" or schedule. If you're doing it yourself, however, you can check the internet for a guide then customise one to suit what's happening on your day. Does everything need to be delivered to one location, who will be responsible, what are your priorities? I always remind couples not to leave their guests standing around for too long before, during or after the ceremony, so that's another consideration. For things outside the scope of your celebrant, you can always use a wedding planner if it's all getting too much! Or, grab a big piece of butcher's paper and friend who's good at organising and talk through every item then list them in order! Good luck!

How can I help my celebrant to provide a personal and fun service?

What's the best way for me to help my celebrant to provide a personal and fun service?

Jen Lawrie-Smith Marriage Celebrant

Hi Tanya,

Once you've chosen a celebrant you like, supply answers to his/her questions which reflect your own personalities and fun times. Your celebrant will then be able to draw from your words and work with you to write something you and your guests connect with.

All the best for your big day!

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