Kerin Woods - Civil Celebrant

(5 reviews)
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Mornington Peninsula, Gippsland, Melbourne Metro  View Map
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Expert Advice

As a wedding professional, Kerin Woods - Civil Celebrant offers expert advice to help couples plan their perfect day. Ask a question or read their expert advice.

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

Kerin Woods - Civil Celebrant

There are many ways and one of the most popular I do is the Sand ceremony. You all pour your favourite coloured sand into a decorative bottle and seal it up. It is kept as a memento of the day and the ceremony words are beautiful. Please see below: 

Today you are making a lasting commitment to share the rest of your lives with each other, joining your two families into one.

First, you will each separately pour a layer of sand into the vase, representing who you are as an individual. (First one person pours, then the other, forming two distinct layers of sand.)Then, you will pour simultaneously, blending your two colors as you will blend your lives in marriage.

(The couple pours simultaneously. Depending on the size and shape of the vase, it may form a third color, or a swirl of the two colors.)


As the individual grains of sand can no longer be separated, may your bond also be inseparable.

But you are also making a bond with your children/Child. As they also contribute their unique personalities and strengths to this new family, they will also individually add a layer of sand to this unity vase. (Pause as the children/Child pour their sand individually, forming separate layers over their parents' blended sand.)Then everyone, will pour together, representing their commitment to each other. (Everyone pours simultaneously. If you have many children, it may be difficult to have everyone around the vase at once, but it should be as simultaneous as possible.)

You can also have a unity candle Ceremony:After you, the bride and groom light your unity candle, you may want to read a poem or a special statement to your kids. Then all members of your new family can join their tapers together to the one Unity Candle. Older children could also participate in a reading about bringing your new family together. Talk with your officiant to create a ceremony that’s right for you and your children.

Make your children feel they’re already a part of a new family. Choose a Unity Candle specially printed with your names, your wedding date, and also your children’s names right on the candle.

Including all of your new family in the lighting of your unity candle makes it a unique, personal ceremony that everyone will remember for years to come.

Can a religious priest/minister/pastor marry you in a non-denominational chapel?

Please post as anonymous, thank you.

Kerin Woods - Civil Celebrant

It really depends on the religion and the person. They are able to, it is really a case of whether they will or not. Best way to find out is to ask. Nothing gained until then. Good Luck. 

How can I encourage my partner to write their vows?

I've written mine and I'm still waiting to find out about theirs- is there anything I can do without nagging? The wedding is only two weeks away

Kerin Woods - Civil Celebrant

It is a very nerve racking thing, and it seems it is mostly grooms who struggle. Your Celebrant should be able to assist with this. I send my couples some ideas if they are struggling. You will find once he starts he will be fine, he just needs some assistance to get going. Good Luck. 

Any advice on changing your religion to get married?

We want a celebrant to perform our wedding, as we both have different religions- but i was wondering on your thoughts around changing your religion for marriage? My partner wants me to but I am not sure about it. Any advice?

Kerin Woods - Civil Celebrant

It is a very big decision to make and you should think about it quite a lot before you make it. Are either of you very religious? Do ypu have very strong views on ypur religion? if you have said yes to either f those questions, ypu may need to seek some counselling. If it is only your partner who has strong views onthis, you need to sit down and talk about what ypu both want. You say you both want a celebrant to perform your ceremony as you have different religions, but most people who have strong views do not want a celebrant. I really think you need to sit down and talk it through and maybe seek assistance from your religious counsellors . Hope this helps 

Any alternatives to swapping rings?

Ceremony ideas?

Kerin Woods - Civil Celebrant

You could have a rose ceremony, exchanging the roses as you r gift to one another, You could have tattoos , have a sand ceremony and  keep the bottle with your wedding date and your names on it. Unity candles are also an option. There a lots of ideas. let  your imagination go wild. 

Any ideas for a cool entrance to my ceremony?

Kerin Woods - Civil Celebrant

Thereare so many ideas and most of them are here, I agree that the couple meeting at the top of the aisle and walking down together is beautiful. Another thing you could do is ask the guests to hand you flowers as you walk down the aisle and this would be your bouquet. If you ask for certain flowers, or leave the flowers you want with them, it is a beautiful idea and unique. 

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!?

Kerin Woods - Civil Celebrant

I am afraid I do not understand this question, is this a child or a young teenager? 

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

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

Kerin Woods - Civil Celebrant

I have a number of brides do this and it is lovely. You could even walk down together as a couple. There is no right or wrong, it is whatever you want. I love it when couples do their own thing and make their ceremony unique. 

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?

Kerin Woods - Civil Celebrant

Most definately, we did it over 30 years ago, and I ask all my couples to face the guests so they can see them get married, that is what they are there for. 

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.

Kerin Woods - Civil Celebrant

It is not common to have ushers unless it is a formal wedding, they could do a reading or read a poem. There are so many great things they could read and add to your ceremony. 

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

Kerin Woods - Civil Celebrant

Yes, even if they do not ask, I always suggest a rehearsal. It makes everyone more relaxed on the day 

What is your favourite wedding reading?

Kerin Woods - Civil Celebrant

The Art of Marriage by Arlan Peterson. It says everything I want my coupkes to remember about marriage. 

What's the usual order of events in a wedding ceremony?

Kerin Woods - Civil Celebrant

General Order of Ceremony
Your wedding ceremony can go for as little as 5 minutes to up to 45 minutes or so, depending on how much you want to include in your ceremony. It usually lasts between 20-30 mins.  I will work with you to develop a custom ceremony.  That said, there is a suggested general structure for a wedding ceremonies as follows:
  • Entry of Bridal party
  • Welcoming by celebrant
  • Giving away
  • Introduction by the Celebrant
  • Selected readings or poems
  • Monitum/Legal (This is a mandatory statement from the Marriage Act advising that I am registered to solemnize your marriage and also of the legal binding nature of the ceremony.)
  • Declaration of intention to marry
  • Vows
  • Ring Exchange
  • Announcement of marriage
  • The wedding kiss
  • Signing of the register

What are some examples of unusual readings for weddings?

Looking for something a little different.

Kerin Woods - Civil Celebrant


I have done some very different readings, for exmple:

Dr Suess

Football mad groom

I have had couples quote Dr.Who and Harry Potter. 

I think as long as you want it in your ceremony, go with it. It is your day and no-one else should have an opinion. 

have anyone ever done a same sex civil ceremony?

located in melb

Kerin Woods - Civil Celebrant

I have done several same sex commitment ceremonies. I cannot wait until it is legal to conduct the actual wedding

do you think its important to go with a vendor who is same-sex friendly?

If that aligns with your beliefs

Kerin Woods - Civil Celebrant

I think it is very important. We should all have the right to marry the person we love. Even if you do not personally believe in SSM there is no reason to not use a Celebrant because they do. I hope find the celebrant you are looking for. Good Luck with your plans

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