Welcome

Welcome!

Thank you for visiting my website – I really love being a marriage celebrant in Melbourne.

I am a university-trained and Australian Government registered Melbourne marriage celebrant with over ten years experience in performing weddings, commitment ceremonies, renewal of vows, baby-naming and special occasions.

My style is warm, natural and young at heart. My approach is to listen to you, plan with you and create a ceremony that is just what you want it to be. My training and experience have given me a deep knowledge of the importance of ritual and ceremony in our lives.

Please have a look around my website – I hope you decide that I am the Melbourne marriage celebrant for you!

Weddings Walkthrough

Your wedding is special and unique! Naturally, you feel excited, but maybe also a little overwhelmed! You want your ceremony to be meaningful, dignified, joyous, memorable and fun – all at the same time!

You know what you don’t want, but you may feel less certain about how to express the emotions and significance you do feel. This is where I can really help you. I love to work with couples to develop a marriage ceremony that is personal and the “right” style just for you – whether relaxed and simple; traditional and formal; or even a bit “out there”!

Here are the 6 steps that I will take you through to develop your wedding ceremony:

Step 1 – Obligation free meeting
After an initial contact to establish whether I am available on the date you have booked, we have an obligation-free first meeting to discuss my services, costs and a general outline of your ceremony. I will have a folder of material for you and you can ask any questions you want. If you are planning a very small wedding, I can offer my home in Thornbury for the ceremony, free of charge. After this initial meeting, you decide whether I am the celebrant you want.

Step 2 – Second meeting
We have another meeting in which we complete the Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM) and then discuss your wedding concept and various options within the wedding ceremony. At this meeting you must show me evidence of: your date and place of birth (preferably your birth certificate or it can be your passport); your ID (usually your drivers licence); and the end of any previous marriages, if applicable. Allow at least an hour for this meeting as there are some additional items to cover: sign our “Confirmation of Details and Costs” agreement; pay the deposit; receive Relationship materials, the Celebrant Code of Practice, the Complaints Procedure and the process for obtaining a Victorian Certificate of Marriage after your wedding.

Step 3 – We create your wedding ceremony
I give you a questionnaire to fill in about your wedding ceremony and your background. I use this to fill in the details of your ceremony and to write your story. After you return the questionnaire, I write the first draft of your ceremony and then we have ongoing consultations about details like wording, readings, rituals, marriage vows, order of service, etc. I keep liaising with you until you feel the ceremony has the words, music and symbols that truly express the love and commitment you feel for each other.

Step 4 – Rehearsal
About a week before your wedding, we hold the rehearsal, preferably at the venue, with key members of your wedding party, if they can be there. You sign the “Declaration of No Legal Impediment to Marriage”, make your final payment and any last minute adjustments to your ceremony.

Step 5 – The big day!
It’s your Wedding Day! I arrive about 40 minutes before the start, set up and test the sound system; put the three prepared marriage certificates on the signing table; check that the groom is feeling calm and confident, the best man has the rings and the people who have roles to play are ready to go. At the conclusion of the ceremony, I present you with your Ceremonial Certificate of Marriage.

Step 6 – Make it official
After your wedding, I submit all your paperwork, both electronically and by mail, to the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages in Victoria, where it will be registered. And finally I send you my congratulations and ask you for feedback about your wedding ceremony and my services.

And of course if you have any questions just contact me here.

Weddings FAQ

These are some answers to questions I am often asked, especially in relation to weddings. I hope you find my answers helpful. I have included links to other sources of information where it seems appropriate.

Q: We are a same sex couple who dearly want to get married. Can you be our wedding celebrant?

As of now, I am delighted to answer “Yes, I can!”

From early December 2017, marriage equality became part of Australian law, which means that the right to marry will no longer be determined by sex or gender. Marriage is now defined to be: “the union of two people to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life”.

This means that all eligible marrying couples can use the same marriage forms and celebrant must use the updated forms. In summary, a person getting married can choose to be described as “groom”, “bride” or “partner”. You must also indicate whether you identify as “Male”, “Female” or “X” (for a person who is intersex, indeterminate or unspecified).

Q: We are a same sex couple who were married overseas. Will our marriage now be recognised in Australia?

As of now, the answer to this question is also “Yes!”

Q: We have been to weddings which have included some lovely symbolic rituals, such as hand fasting, ring warming, pouring coloured sands and lighting a marriage candle, just to name a few. We would love to have a ritual in our wedding. Could you explain the meaning behind them and how you include them in the ceremony?

A ritual can add another level of meaning to your ceremony, especially if its symbolism and history is explained to the guests so they understand why you have included it. I would love to help you develop a ritual that suits you and enhances the mood and meaning you want in your ceremony. I have actually written an article about various wedding rituals here.

I’m not a fan of filling out a ceremony with rituals that actually detract from the moment. Rituals can go wrong – for example, the release of butterflies to symbolise new life and new beginnings when the weather is so cold that the butterflies don’t emerge; or a symbolic lighting of a marriage candle which splutters and dies out because of the wind. I will always suggest rituals that are simple to perform, that are filled with significance, that add colour and interest to the ceremony and most importantly, that are suited to your personalities.

Q: We really want to write our own Wedding Vows, but were swamped with too many ideas after we googled this topic. Can you help us?

Yes, I can, but the key thing is – remember that they are your vows! No one else knows what is in your hearts as well as you do. No one else knows what is unique and fundamental in your relationship. So I always say – start with you, and start with one or two words. Imagine I said to you: what do you value most in your partnership? Is it trust; honesty; unconditional support; space to grow; family loyalty; listening to each other; respect; good humour; predictability; shared values; friendship? Once you have chosen the key words, use each other’s names, then say “this is what I promise …” Of course, I have some samples if you are stuck, but first trust yourself to speak from the heart. Your vows can also include something lighthearted and they don’t have to be the same. You don’t have to learn them by heart. I offer two ways of saying them – either repeating them after me or reading from a card that I will have ready to hand to you when the moment comes. Some couples like to keep their vows secret from each other until the wedding ceremony. This can easily be done and it’s beautiful to see the emotion it releases.

I must also remind you that there is a mandatory legal sentence which must be at the start of the vows, and after that, it’s what you want to add

Q: Do you have your own sound system and can we use it for our music?

Yes, I do and I’m very happy to use it for your music and also for any Readings and for your Wedding Vows, if you want. I use a hands-free headset myself. When there are lots of guests and the ceremony is held outdoors, it’s important to be heard clearly. I can provide a hand held microphone with both a long and a shorter lead if there are any Readings and I can also hand this microphone to you, so your wedding vows can be heard. At the rehearsal we work out where the PA will be situated and it is often easy to give one of the groomsmen or bridesmaids the job of handing out the microphone.

As for your music, I ask you to prepare three tracks – one for the Entry; one for the Signing; and one for the Exit. I am happy to help you with the choices of music, but I find most couples already have their favourites! At the rehearsal we also time the entry with the music so you can feel confident on the day. My wireless portable PA system has an input for a standard headphone jack (3.5mm) and many couples use their i-Pods/players/phones this way on the day.

Before the ceremony; I do a quick check and run through with the person who you have asked to play your music. I regard being at the venue early is essential for checking out everything to do with the sound system.

Q: I’m terrified of speaking in public. Do I have to say anything in the wedding ceremony?

I’m afraid that there are a few things that you must, by law, say aloud in your wedding ceremony. But don’t worry, I’m there to help you and I will also make sure you have a chance to practise at the rehearsal. One thing you must say is “I do” (but you can both say it together). That’s after I ask you: “Do you declare before me, and before your witnesses, that you come here voluntarily, and without reservation, and that you are free by law to be married to each other today?” The next thing you must say is one compulsory sentence for your wedding vows, which you can repeat after me, if that’s easier: “I call upon the persons here present to witness that I, your name take you, partner’s name, to be my lawful wedded wife (or husband or spouse)” I can go slowly and divide the words up into small parcels so that you feel confident. Anyway, even if you do break down, so do lots of other couples who get carried away with all the emotion of this moment. You can feel sure that all of your guests are there to support you.

Q: I get asked this question a lot. It usually starts with “We only want a short wedding, with no frills and very few guests. Can you just “do the legals” and how long will it take?” (The other part of this enquiry is often “and how much do you charge?”)

I suppose I don’t like the bluntness of the question, so I start by trying to find out if there is a reason behind it. However, the short answer is that there are some legally mandated steps and words in a wedding ceremony as laid out in the Marriage Act 1961 and Marriage Regulations 1963. If that is all that is done and said, the ceremony itself would be about 10 minutes long.

[Note that there are legally required steps to be taken before the wedding which I am just summarizing here. A minimum of a month before the wedding ceremony the Notice of Intended Marriage has to be correctly filled in and witnessed and supporting original documents have to be shown to your celebrant. Also prior to the wedding, a Statutory Declaration of No Legal Impediment has to be completed with your celebrant. You also have to provide 2 adult witnesses for the wedding. Another legal requirement is that a Certificate of Marriage is prepared and signed in accordance with the Act.

“The legals” in the ceremony itself include:

The authorised celebrant must say to the parties, in the presence of the witnesses, the words:

“I am duly authorised by law to solemnise marriages according to law.

“Before you are joined in marriage in my presence and in the presence of these witnesses, I am to remind you of the solemn and binding nature of the relationship into which you are now about to enter.

“Marriage, according to law in Australia, is the union of two people to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.”

Each of the couple must say to the other, in the presence of the authorised celebrant and the witnesses, the words of the vows:

“I call upon the persons here present to witness that I name take you name to be my lawful wedded wife (or husband) (or spouse)”

Q: I am getting married overseas. I just want a celebrant to register my marriage in Australia before I go.

Many couples plan to have a big wedding celebration in another country. This is fine, but you can only be legally married once. If you need to be married in Australia before you go so that you can get an Australian Certificate of Marriage, you need to be clear about the certificate you require. The ceremonial Certificate of Marriage issued by the Commonwealth of Australia will be presented to you by me at the conclusion of your wedding ceremony. However, you may need a Certificate of Marriage issued by the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages in the state you were married in, eg Victoria. In this case you have to apply for it after you are married and after the marriage has been registered. Currently, there is a waiting period of about 40 days. I will explain the application process to you or you can download the form at: http://www.bdm.vic.gov.au/home/marriages/apply+for+a+marriage+certificate

You also need to lodge your Notice of Intended Marriage with me one month before the wedding, so it’s important to work out your timeline beforehand.

Q: I have already been legally married overseas. I would now like to get married here in Australia so I can have a wedding ceremony with my family and friends.

This is a commonly asked question, but the answer is always the same: you can only be legally married once. This now applies to same-sex marriages. If your overseas marriage is recognized in Australia, you cannot be married again. You can certainly have a ceremony to recommit or renew your wedding vows before your family and friends in Australia, but you have to make the nature of this celebration clear to everyone and they must know that you have already been married. I have performed this kind of celebration of a marriage many times and they have been very joyful and sincere ceremonies.

Q: I am hoping to bring my future partner to Australia so we can get married. We are working through the process of getting a Prospective Marriage Visa and have been told we need to get a letter from a marriage celebrant and complete a Notice of Intended Marriage. Is this correct and where do we start?

Yes, this is correct. I have provided many couples with these 2 documents and have had the joy of celebrating their weddings some time later when their visa has been granted. Celebrants are not immigration agents and must not provide immigration advice. The Department of Immigration link is: http://www.immi.gov.au/visas. The Prospective Marriage Visa is for people who want to come to Australia to marry their prospective spouse. It is a temporary visa for nine months. The person who is lodging the application must be outside Australia when lodging the application and when the visa is granted.

Q: We need to complete a Notice of Intended Marriage in time for our wedding, but my partner’s divorce hasn’t been finalised yet – even though it has been applied for. Can we proceed?

Yes, as long as court evidence of your partner’s divorce is provided before the wedding takes place and as long as you are able to provide the necessary documents for the Notice of Intended Marriage, namely: evidence of your date and place of birth, your identity and the end of any previous marriages.

Q: I have been talking to a celebrant who is insisting that we produce our birth certificates in order to complete a Notice of Intended Marriage. I have never had one and my partner can’t find his. We both have current passports. Aren’t they enough?

Yes, since 1 July 2014, an amendment to the Marriage Act has made Australian passports acceptable documents for determining date and place of birth. The birth certificate is the more useful document in that it provides information about the names and places of birth of the couples’ parents.

Q: We want our marriage venue to be in a park, but there is no shelter available. Is this a good idea?

Most of the weddings I do over the summer months are outdoors and there are many really beautiful parks, gardens and beach settings in and around Melbourne. You may need to book a space or pay to use an outdoor venue – so check with the local council first. The one factor that cannot be controlled or accurately predicted is the weather! It is therefore essential to have a Plan B. This can be as easy as supplying umbrellas or setting up a marquee or organizing a fall-back setting in the reception venue. Sometimes however, Plan B gets more complex – especially if you are planning your wedding in a forest in the bush fire season. You cannot put people’s lives at risk and you must consider the timing and details of changing your venue or evacuating from it, if necessary.

Q: We don’t want a big wedding – just ourselves and our two witnesses. What suggestions do you have for a venue?

I am happy to offer my home as a venue for a small wedding at no extras cost. I have conducted many lovely wedding ceremonies with just the witnesses or a few close family members present.

Q: We’re expecting a baby any time in the next two weeks. We are hoping to get married before the baby arrives, but it seems we have to give one month’s notice of our intention to marry. Is this correct? Is there anything we can do to shorten the time period?

It’s true that you do have to give one month’s Notice of Intended Marriage. Here’s where you can get further information and the application form: http://www.bdm.vic.gov.au/home/marriages/notice+of+intended+marriage+form

However, the only way the statutory notice period can be shortened is if you apply for, and are granted a shortening of time. To do this, you have to go through the BDM (Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages) or through the Registrars at major regional Victorian courts. There are only a few exceptional circumstances that will be accepted as reasons for the shortening.

These are the steps you have to go through: You have to complete your NOIM and lodge it with your celebrant; you have to provide your original signed and completed NOIM and all the supporting documents you showed to your celebrant; you have to meet one of the exceptional circumstances; you have to complete a notice period shortening application form which includes a statutory declarations explaining your reasons; you have to provide supporting evidence for your application; you have to provide a signed letter from the celebrant agreeing to perform your marriage on the chosen date, if the application is granted; you also have to pay an application fee.

NOTE: This is an active page and I will update it with further questions in the future. Please contact me with any queries.

My Latest Posts

  • The skies cleared

    The skies cleared and the beautiful view of vineyard and sea made a stunning backdrop for Ravi and Liesa’s wedding at the Red hill Estate on the Mornington Peninsula. 

  • Surprise Wedding Ritual

    Imagine the guests’ surprise when the groomsmen produced a trestle, log and handsaw for a German wedding ritual called a Baumstamm Sägen.  By working together to saw the log, the couple show how much co-operation and harmony they bring to their marriage and that by working together they can overcome all obstacles! Cheered on by their guests, Liesa and Ravi worked smoothly and persistently to saw their log in half. It was a wonderful way to show their marriage was off to a fine start!

  • We do!

    Smiles of joy all around as Alistair and Kellie say “I do!” Two years to the day since they first met in London, this very happy international couple tied the knot and welcomed in the Spring in the beautiful Alexandra Gardens yesterday.

  • Many trips to Thailand later ….

    Gavin was overjoyed when his lovely fiancée Kusuma agreed to come to Australia to marry him. It is a big step to leave one’s culture and family, but both the bride and the groom are very much looking forward to making a happy life together here and to travel back to Thailand when they can.

  • Here Comes the Bride

    I love this moment. After all the preparation, the waiting, the entrance music, the arrival of the flower girl and page boy, then the bridesmaid, there is a wonderful build up of anticipation …. and the bride makes her appearance!

Renewal Of Vows

Many couples decide to renew their wedding vows some time after their marriage.

I have actually had a renewal of vows ceremony with my husband and found it to be very special and worthwhile.

There are lots of reasons why you and your partner might choose to renew your vows:

Maybe you had a small, private wedding and now you want to affirm the happiness of your marriage to a larger circle of friends and family.
Maybe your marriage has come through some challenging times and you are proud to take this opportunity to celebrate your strength as a couple.
Maybe you have reached a significant milestone in your marriage and you just want your friends and family to know how happy you are!
A Renewal of Vows Ceremony is a wonderful opportunity to include your friends, children, and even grandchildren, in restating the importance of your life partnership.

I will work with you to develop a personalised and meaningful ceremony.

Afterwards, I will present you with a special “Renewal of Vows Certificate” keepsake.

Please contact me here with any enquiries.

Baby Naming

Many parents these days are having a fun and informal Melbourne baby naming day. Usually it is simply because they don’t want a religious ceremony, but still want to celebrate their child in a special and significant way!
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Here are just some of the reasons parents might want to have a baby naming day in Melbourne:

You may want to present your child to your family and friends.

You may want to express your hopes and dreams for your child’s future.
You may want to publicly affirm your commitment to being a loving and caring parent.
You may want to share your happiness and delight.
You may have adopted a child or maybe you are blending families with a new partner.
You may wish to thank someone who has had a special role in the child’s life, such as a surrogate mother.
Maybe your child is no longer a baby and wants his or her own special name.
What better way to celebrate than to have a joyful Melbourne baby naming ceremony with family and friends? I will work with you to develop a memorable and enjoyable occasion. Afterwards, I will present you with a special “Naming Certificate” you can keep or gift to your child.

Any questions at all, please contact me here.

About Me

Your first question is probably: “Do I want this person to be my marriage celebrant?” So, here’s some information about me myself to give you an idea of what I am like. I hope that the stories, photographs, and testimonials on my site will give you the best impression of me, but you might also be interested in what motivates and qualifies a person to become a celebrant, so that is what I have tried to address in this ‘about me’ page.

I have two adult children and have been happily married for over thirty-five years, and I’ve lived in Melbourne my whole life. I have retired from my career in education which spanned over forty years. This has given me vast experience in event organisation and planning, public speaking, and most importantly experience with people. Perfect training for a Melbourne marriage celebrant!

I am a qualified and professional person. I hold a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Diploma of Education from Melbourne University, and a Graduate Diploma of Civil Celebrancy from Monash University. My studies, which took several years, have given me a much more thorough education than the short TAFE course offers which is what most celebrants do.

Becoming a marriage celebrant in my retirement was a natural choice for me. I have a warm, friendly personality; a lively sense of humour and a realistic understanding of human nature. I am calm and relaxed and extremely well-organised. I decided to become a celebrant years before retiring from my career in education.

The most important thing people know about me, is that they can rely on me and trust me. My goal is to be one of the most professional, sincere and fun marriage celebrants Melbourne has to offer. I am sure that I can help you develop the Melbourne wedding ceremony you and rest assured I will always put your needs and wishes first.

If you would like to know anything else about me, just ask here!

Contact Me

Please use the form below to contact me, or alternatively any of these:
Mobile: +61 (0)407 810 882
Home: +61 (3) 9484 3914
Email: rosemarysalvaris@gmail.com