Alternative registry style weddings

A 'registry style' wedding usually means:

  • little choice about venue
  • limited or no choice about the wording, and
  • limited number of guests

Many people incorrectly think that:

  • they can only have a registry-style wedding by booking through a Births, Deaths and Marriages Registry Office.
  • if they don't want a church wedding, their only choice is to go to the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages as is the case in many countries

Not true.

In Australia for 40 years now, Australians have had the privilege of being able to have a civil wedding

  • conducted at a time and place of their choosing
  • with words of their choosing to acknowledge  of their love and values
  • as short or as long as they like
  • conducted by an independent civil marriage celebrant of your choice
    ie a professional in private practice rather than one employed by a Registry Office or Recognised Church body.

You can ask an independent civil celebrant to give you

  • some ideas of what such a ceremony would be like
  • how you can have a registry style wedding close to you or where you wish to spend your wedding weekend, and
  • a quote for their services.

Many will quote a fee that is close to the registry office fee.  This will save you travel, parking and stress as registry offices cannot allow for couples held up by photographers or traffic.

The biggest mistake most couples make is assuming that their wedding ceremony needs to be short, because they have heard or found religious ceremonies long and boring!

Most civil ceremonies even if they last for as long as half an hour with the signing and presentation of the certificate are not boring, because professional civil celebrants :

  • use common everyday language which everyone can understand, whether they are religious or not
  • encourage the couple to choose their own music, poetry or prose and involve their familiy and friends in the ceremony itself
  • deliver the wedding in a warm, friendly and relaxed style.

Common problems and tips to overcome them

Sometimes couples have not provided sufficient seating for their guests, and been very late to arrive for the ceremony. Standing for a long time before the ceremony can make a short ceremony feel very long. Likewise, being uncomfotable standing in high heels on soft sand or hard surfaces.

TIP: Make sure you have adequate seating and be mindful of your guests by being on or close to time

Another  factor that can affect a civil wedding is poor weather conditions. There are a lot of low cost venues where the ceremony can be held. Unfortunately a lot of wedding function houses do not provide adequate facilities for the ceremony as their focus is the reception.

TIP: Arrange for your ceremony to be held in a local hall or community centre, then have your photos in the parks or beachside so you have the best of both worlds.

Having the same ceremony as everyone else - which is what happens in most registry offices - can also be boring.

TIP: Take the trouble to ensure your ceremony is different and special - giving the ceremony as much thought and care as your do your clothes and the reception.

TIP: Have a fun theme for your wedding - as time flies when you are having fun.

Finally even if they choose options that make the ceremony longer, most couples find their civil ceremony goes in the blink of an eye!

In Australia you have three choices for your wedding.

  • a church wedding by a religion that the government has 'recognised' and approved to organise the civil witnessing and registration on behalf of the state, or by an independent religious celebrant.
  • a registry office wedding by a Registry of Birth, Deaths and Marriages that the government has 'recognised' and approved to organise the civil witnessing and registration on behalf of the state.
  • a civil wedding at a time and place of your choosing by a celebrant of your choice.

Note: a couple have little choice about who will marrying them at a registry office an limited choice as regards religious celebrants as these are appointed to work within a particular area, and often limited by the church in terms of where the ceremony can be conducted

So you want a simple straight forward wedding:

Remember independent marriage celebrants are willing to offer a "registry-style" wedding (as described above)

  • at the place of your choice, or
  • even to provide you with a list of low cost venue  alternatives in their local area.

The latter is especially helpful if you and your family would like to have a 'weekend wedding away" but want a simple relaxed ceremony.

Last modified on Wednesday, 23 September 2015 21:40

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