OMG you may be thinking but ‘the times they are a changing’. Many couples want to move away from the traditional conservative style of ceremony, and inject a bit of fun, even hilarity into their marriage ceremony.

A flashmob is something that is taking hold, and involves the guests in a rather spectacular way - they thing is, it sort of only works if the couple themselves has no idea of what’s about to unfold.

Ninja vows, however are a different matter. Can you imagine writing the vows your beloved will speak to you in front of your guests"? What’s more, can you imagine, seeing your vows, the words that you are about to speak to your beloved, for the very first time at the moment you have to utter them!

Give it a few moments to sink in, what an ultimate act of faith and trust….and I suspect some pretty funny results to delight everybody present!

Ii will leave you with an edgy and pretty ‘side splitting’ version of the old fashioned ‘Asking’, and it works for any couple, not just the heterosexual variety!

Celebrant: Will you love him if he’s rich?
Will you love her in a ditch?
From today until the end of time,
Even if his words don’t rhyme?

Groom: I will love her if she’s rich
Bride: And I will love him in a ditch
Groom: And I will even love her when she’s being a b…eautiful princess.

Celebrant: Will you love him for richer, for poorer,
Will you love her for quiet or snorer,
From today until the cows come home,
And never stop writing goofy poems?

Bride: I will love him if he’s poor.
Groom: I will love her if she snores.
Bride: And I will love him when he’s a bore.

Celebrant: Will you love with all your heart?
Will you love till death do you part?
Will you have and forever hold,
Each others’ hearts ‘till the stars grow cold?

Bride and Groom: I will love her/him forever a thousand fold,
‘Till death do us part and our blood grow cold,
Groom: Or until our brains grow mold.

Celebrant: Will you love through good and bad?
Will you love in times happy and sad?

Bride and Groom: I will love her/him through good and bad,
And in times happy and sad.
Bride: Cause he’s the best friend I ever had.

Celebrant: Will you take him as your mate?
Will you have her as your date?
From this day on and ever more,
No matter what your life may have in store?

Bride and groom: I will have her/him as my mate,
Starting on this our wedding date.
Bride: May as well, as it’s our fate.

Celebrant: If you’ll be wed through and through,
Please answer with the words:

Bride and Groom: I do!


So when Brad and James first contacted me to be their celebrant four years ago, they knew their ‘bigger than Ben Hur’ wedding would not be legally recognised. I offered at that time to ‘finish the job’ once Marriage Equality legislation went through the Australian Parliament. So naturally when I received the invitation to do just that, on the fourth anniversary of the first wedding, I was chuffed beyond words.

We met at the same venue, the beautiful Hadleys Orient Hotel, with considerably fewer family and friends as this one had been affectionately dubbed ‘the paperwork party’. The mood was merry and the grooms allowed me to throw in a surprise at the end…a flashmob reading by all present! They exchanged the same vows as previously and the addition of one very important word sent shivers down our spines…’I take you as my lawful husband’ never sounded better!

What a big few days, the legal wedding on Thursday, James birthday the very next day, and a party back home in Sydney on Saturday night. Thank you both for the beautiful gift of a piece of stunning glassware by Setsuko Ogishi.

Now what excuse can we concoct for a further celebration in another four years…?



Hunting Ground.png

As well as a great big party, your wedding day has a pretty important ‘bit’ which is where we celebrants come in! A great ceremony sets the tone for your celebration and kicks off the party in the best possible way. Yet it is often forgotten in the planning for some other aspects of the day, and some people are reluctant to invest in an experienced, and truly professional celebrant.

Although one of the quickest (and least expensive) wedding elements, the ceremony really does deserve some consideration and thought. You want the celebrant who you both trust to deliver… on legalities, on personality, on keeping you both calm and focussed, and above all, on crafting and sharing a warm and interesting love story!

As well as being guardian of the paperwork, we are actually the official party starter. In the lead up there is a sequence of important steps (mostly invisible) that ensure that things come together. We can recommend amazing vendors, we are great at putting out’ fires’ when your stress levels are mounting, we remind you to breathe and help you focus on what this whole experience is really about.

There is a common misconception that a celebrants role involves a couple of hours work. We all approach our role in different ways, and that’s not a bad thing at all. To achieve the sort of personalised ceremony I like to perform, I really do need to invest considerable time, effort and energy into the ceremony and into you as a couple.

These days couples are spoilt for choice with a plethora of available celebrants. You need not accept ‘staid and clunky’… I suggest couples do some research, look around and be prepared to interview a few potential candidates. Make sure this person “gets” you as a couple, and that you look forward to your meetings with them. Ask yourselves if their presence is calming and if they’d fit right in at your important gig!

Let’s not wish the ceremony away so we can get to the party. Whether it’s short and sweet, or steeped in tradition and ritual, let’s get this event off to the perfect start with a ‘kick ass’ ceremony that will blow people away!


So many times the new year sees articles about the ‘new’ wedding trends, what colour palette, how the trendy groom will be attired, not to mention “the dress”….

Having been around the wedding scene for quite a while, I scream inwardly…”really?

You see, weddings are SUCH a consumer affair. A lot of industries benefit from making couples think they MUST HAVE every last wedding related service and gizmo. The moment you start to plan a wedding, the layers of what every bride and groom must have/buy/beg/borrow/steal increases exponentially until it has the capacity to do your head in.

i really admire couples who make their wedding day their own, couples who question tradition, and somehow manage to retain the meaning of the day without all the consumerism and frippery. Be daring, throw out the ‘shoulds’ and other peoples expectations and jointly commit to taking control of your wedding planning.

Lets face it, some wedding traditions come from pretty crazy beginnings

  • flowers - to cover the scent of the bride and wears off evil spirits

  • wearing white - dates back to Queen Victoria as an act of rebellion

  • bridal party - to disguise the bride to prevent kidnapping

  • groom on left - so his right hand is free to draw his sword and protect his bride should a fiery dragon appear

I actually salute couples who shake it up and dare to do it their own way. Who said the bride has to make a ‘grand entrance’, and with marriage equality, this tradition is really being turned on its head. Some couples even mingle with guests before the ceremony, or take an opportunity for a photo shoot so they can be present with guests after the ceremony (not rushing off for the traditional prolonged photo shoot, thus missing all the fun!)

Gone are the days of ‘matchy matchy’ bridal parties….grooms ‘girls’ and brides ‘boys’ rock, and let your team choose clothing that actually suits them and they may wear again!

No couple ever felt ‘less married’ because they didn’t have a photo booth at the reception!

Recent years have seen a trend towards destination elopements, also called ‘micro luxe’ weddings, where the guest list is small and intimate, there is often a getaway involved, or a very exclusive fine dining affair. Couples are treating themselves to a grand experience but limiting it to a very elite group of special people. This deliberate rejection of doing what is traditional or expected speaks of maturity, being in control and putting the relationship at the forefront.

Which leads me to the vows. Couples are increasingly relishing the opportunity to write their own vows; these are brave and confident couples, many of whom have waited a long time for the opportunity to marry! They relish the opportunity to ditch the traditional wording and speak to one another from the heart.

I challenge couples to resist the ‘fairytale trap’ but to reflect carefully on your own core values so that your marriage feels honest and authentic.

After all, your marriage is not the end goal, it is the pathway into a lifelong, fulfilling relationship.

Screen Shot 2019-01-26 at 11.20.54 am.png


Another wedding 'season' is now done and dusted, and another sixty couples have brought my tally of marriage ceremonies to well over one thousand three hundred! Thank you all for entrusting me with your special day!

As I sit here, I reflect on what arguably has been the greatest change in my professional career - yes the introduction (at long last) of marriage equality in Australia.

While the media have been talking it up, and remain ever so keen for a story, the couples themselves have taken a far more circumspect approach. i have performed six ceremonies with another four coming up later this year.  The couples have without exception been in long term relationships for many years. Without exception they see their marriage as their own business, rather than some sort of 'story' for the masses.

The sky has not fallen in, no cake maker in Australia has been taken to court, nor has any other unforeseen calamity given the naysayers an opportunity to say 'I told you so'! I share with you a fab photo of a couple I had the pleasure of marrying, a few short months ago - such fun, and well done guys on the Hawaiian theme!


My Wedding Wish

National charity 'My Wedding Wish' has now opened in Tasmania. I am happy to be involved as a 'Wish Leader' for the south of our state. This charity provides a free wedding to couples where one has been given a terminal diagnosis.

To date the charity, which was established in Queensland by Dr Lynette McGuire, has gifted almost $450,000 of weddings for couples where one or both has been given a terminal diagnosis of less than five years. This charity enables us to create a really magical day for some deserving couples. Tasmanian wedding service suppliers have really come on board and I encourage you to spread the word. 

We do not wish a terminal diagnosis on anybody, but we are ready and waiting to assist a couple with such shattering news, to at least have the worry of their wedding day taken completely off their shoulders. MWW will organise the bridal gown, flowers, hair and makeup, a venue and photographer, the suits and a range of other wedding related services. 



I can only imagine the relief and sheer joy of the 47,000 same sex couples in our country who now have the option to marry. This was hard fought battle, it should never have come to an intrusive and divisive survey BUT thankfully the majority of Australians have given their support and we will now see full equality within weeks (fingers crossed).

When interviewed by media yesterday, the question about personal gain was foremost on the journo's mind ... indeed many people have seen the introduction of marriage equality as a 'lucrative' gig for celebrants.

I DO feel offended and  frustrated, as comments of this nature miss the whole point. Marriage is a protective institution, it nurtures us as human beings and indeed contributes to improved physical and mental health. Sexual orientation is a personal matter, and does not impact on others. Let us do better, let us celebrate love in all its forms and show that all Australians 'belong'! I just feel SOOOOooo happy!


What's More Important: The Wedding or the Marriage?

If you find yourself seduced by glossy wedding magazines, or the myriad of social media sites that will 'help' you plan your wedding, within a very short time you will have to decide whether this one day will be:

  1. the most important day of your life,
  2. the best day of your life, or
  3. the most expensive day of your life!

It’s more than likely that your wedding is one or all of those statuses. I’d like to suggest a more proportionate response.

Maybe your wedding isn’t the most important day, maybe the day you’re currently in, the now is the most important day. It's all very well to wax on about future love, or past love. Love, and loving someone actually exist in the present, it’s an activity that can only occur in the now. Maybe your marriage is more important than the actual wedding in which you are about to invest so very heavily.

Is your future together about the car, the cake, the 'favours'? Should you be so stressed about seating plans, make up trials and whether the fake tan will rub off on your wedding dress? I don't think so, but maybe I'm just old fashioned.

Rather than perceiving your wedding as the 'best day's your life, could it be that the best is yet to come. Maybe  your marriage is a union that has the strength and courage to proclaim that “our best is still ahead of us”.

The Demise of the Bridal Party

When I meet with couples one of the points of contention between them is often the size of their bridal party. Why do bridal parties even exist? Well. historically they were more or less a 'safety net' in the event of real actual demons attacking weddings.  Our ancestors used to be stressed about demons attacking the good things in life, and this included marriage ceremonies.

In my twenty one years of officiating at marriages,  demons are yet to make an appearance, let alone destroy a wedding. Regardless, this is the origin of having attendants at your wedding. Everyone thought it would be a really great idea to dress up a few friends to look a little bit like us so that when the demons arrived to interrupt the nuptials they would be confused because there are so many men in suits and women in dresses. Lo and behold, the bridal party was invented.

But nowadays we live in much more liberated times and we even have the ability to apply a bit of science to the situation, and most likely deduce that the threat of demons sabotaging our wedding day is pretty slim.  There is NO expectation on you to have hordes of family and friends in your wedding party. I'm not advocating dropping this tradition, as I am happy to work with whatever wishes you have for your BIG day! But put your thinking caps on and work out who you wish to involve, why you want a bridal party and work out some of the logistics.  Sadly it seems so many couples are working to others expectations, or trying to please everybody but themselves.

This is your wedding, I can't guarantee 100% that it will be free of demons, but I'm 99.9% confident that you get married without the drama of a huge and costly entourage.

Putting My Support to 'Maddie Riewoldt's Vision'

Life has been very good to me, and apart from losing my father at a relatively young age in 1989, my life has not been touched by tragedy or misfortune. I have taken the decision to make a regular donation for each booking received, and the charityI have chosen is Maddie Riewoldt's Vision.

Recognised recently in the Telstra Business Awards, this worthwhile charity is funding research into new treatment for blood cancers. My connection to this family  dates back to the 1980s when they lived in Hobart. I have to confess to also being a passionate Saint Kilda supporter. 

The death of a bride, (a former student) from breast cancer in April this year, only three days after she was married, has been the added impetus to try and support some sort of research into this insidious disease. So for every booking received I will make a donation of $5 to this charity, and show this via my Instagram and Facebook pages.

To Change or Not to Change...Surnames

When I meet with the bride and groom in the planning of their marriage ceremony, this is one of the questions that does arise quite often. Many brides are sure of their intention, but for some they are struggling to weigh up whether to take their husband's surname after marriage. Well some research has been done and a recently published study by Associate Professor Yvonne Corcoran-Nantes from Flinders University has found that 80% of brides do take their husbands surname, even in this the twenty first century.

A little known option is for the groom to take his bride's surname and this has occurred just once in my career, making the odds more than 'one in a thousand'. For some brides, their surname is one they have used in their profession and they feel strongly about keeping it. For others, there are no male offspring and they are literally the last link to their family name. For a report on the study by Associate Professor Corcoran-Nantes, click here.

Outdoor ceremony inspiration

Why would a celebrant publish a list of outdoor ceremony locations as we head into Winter. Well, many couples are planning for the next season from October 2016 through to April 2017 and this list might just give you some inspiration or an idea you had not considered for your ceremony.  I have avoided the usual venues where you would usually commit to a food and beverage 'package' and I haven't listed beaches, many of which you would just turn up at, and hope for the best. So in no particular order, have a think about these:-

Derwent Sailing Squadron
Rosny Barn
Runnymede House
Parliament House lawns (write to your local MP for permission, it's free!)
GASP pavilion
Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens
Signal Station
Knocklofty Reserve
Hobart City Council parks (St David's Park , Princes, Fitzroy Gardens, Cascade Gardens, Waterworks Reserve, Acanthe Park)
Bellerive Boardwalk rotunda
Richmond Bridge platform (book through local council)

GASP Art and Sculpture Park pavilion, Montrose

GASP Art and Sculpture Park pavilion, Montrose









I have a very new Chiayo 505 wireless portable Amplifier system, purchased in October 2015. I did considerable research before settling on this unit.

It has both a hand held microphone and a ‘madonna style’ headset microphone which enables me to be ‘hands free’. The microphones operate from different channels so both can be used in a ceremony at the same time (me wearing the headset, and the hand held mike available to guests performing readings, and your exchange of vows.

The player also has the capability of playing your music ‘playlist’, which you supply on an iPod or similar device. This generally comprises a piece for the entry of the bride, another for the signing, and maybe a third piece for immediately after you have been presented to your guests as husband and wife. I supply the ‘lead’ if you wish to take up this offer, and i ask you to provide me with an ‘operator’ of the iPod to hit ‘start’ and ‘stop’ at the appropriate times.

The Chiayo 505 does have ‘bluetooth’ capability but I am not fully satisfied with the quality of the sound from this and prefer to use a device and a cable to the speaker to ensure no crackles or 'dropping out'.

If you have booked a videographer and he/she wishes to place a lapel microphone and transmitter in the groom’s coat pocket, this may interfere with my system and cause it to fail. It is preferable if they plug into my 'Aux Out' as they will then get the sound without the compromising my microphone.

Lastly, the number of ‘signals’ at any given place and time has escalated beyond anything we can imagine or control. Your guests mobile phones have the ability to affect the quality of the sound and for this reason it is preferable if phones are switched to ‘flight mode’ during the ceremony.

Having said all of this, most ceremonies go off without a hitch and the Chiayo system is a great asset to me, and a reassuring addition to the ceremony.

Organising Your Ceremony From A Distance

It might be Melbourne Cup Day in some parts of Australia, but for one couple based in country Victoria, today is their wedding day at Pavilion on Pirates on Tasmania's idyllic Tasman Peninsula.

In fact it's very popular to travel to Tasmania for your wedding. Whether you grew up here, you and your partner are from different cities and want a 'neutral' destination to gather together your nearest and dearest, OR you simply love the idea of coming to Tasmania for a memorable experience, this can easily be done.

You might be surprised that approximately 35% of my weddings involve couples travelling to Tasmania from interstate or overseas. So what exactly do they have to do, what paperwork is required and how do the formalities get addressed?

Your first step is to complete the Notice of Intended Marriage. There is a list of authorised people on the back of the Notice, who can witness your signatures.  i am happy to accept a scanned copy as long as the original either makes its way by 'snail mail' or accompanies you when you come for the wedding.

You also need to show some identity documents, either your birth certificates and photo ID, or your passports (which contain photo ID).  I like these to also be scanned, BUT you also need to bring the original documents with you so I can sight them.  (Some people may also need to provide evidence of the end of their previous marriage.)

As long as a Notice of Intended Marriage is in my hands, you can plan your ceremony for one month (or later) down the track! I then guide you through how to use my website to access a swag of ideas and wording, and we work together to create the ceremony you are after.... all this can be done before you even start packing your suitcases!

'Pavilion on Pirates', Eaglehawk Neck, Tasmania

'Pavilion on Pirates', Eaglehawk Neck, Tasmania

Ceremony with a Difference

When I was first contacted by Brad and James to be their celebrant, my obvious question was 'why now', when there appeared to be a real chance that the change to the Marriage Act was within sight. I felt it was maybe worth holding out a bit longer. However Brad and James said they had been engaged for three years and they refused to be 'dictated to' by Tony Abbott any longer.

Their marriage last Saturday was a simply amazing experience. Their attention to detail, backgrounds in events and design and their commitment to making sure all their guests had a memorable experience all contributed to a wonderful ceremony. From the detailed, monogrammed ceremony booklets to their personal styling complete with 'tails', to the choreography of the entrance of their  two families and bridal party.... to the procession from ceremony venue to reception, accompanied by a police pipe band, this event packed a real punch!

I felt privileged to be the celebrant for James and Brad's wedding. I also feel a deep sadness that their love and commitment is not yet formally recognised in Australia. I look forward to the day that we can re-convene and finish off the paperwork... and their union is on an equal footing with every other marriage I have had the pleasure of performing.

yes I Am LGBTI Friendly!

Among celebrant ranks there are also some who prefer to not perform marriages (or unions) other than the current heterosexual version. In order to make it easier for people to find a celebrant that will be supportive and embracing of marriage equality, two of my colleagues have designed and made available the logo pictured below.

By displaying this logo, I am saying I am supportive of marriage equality, and will support heterosexual and 'same sex' couples fully.

This logo is supported by 'Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) and Australian Marriage Equality (AME). Expect to see this symbol popping up all over the place as we continue to push for marriage equality legislation to pass in the parliament. 

Nothing Stays the Same

Reflecting on an inspiring address yesterday by Rodney Croome (convenor of Australian Marriage Equality) to the national conference of the Australian Federation of Civil Celebrants (AFCC) ...Rodney talked about the evolution of marriage over time and of course it has not stayed the same. Remember when marriage was about creating alliances, expanding one's empire and had little to do with love, remember when marriages were largely arranged, remember when the wife had to  promise to 'obey' the husband, remember when rape in marriage was condoned, remember when inter-race marriage and inter-religion marriage was not tolerated... the hypocrisy of trying to hold onto the notion that the Marriage Act is to be upheld at all costs flies in the face of the evolution of the nature of marriage throughout history! I was proud to be in the picture below, taken at the close of our annual AFCC conference, with Rodney featuring centre front!

Screen Shot 2015-07-15 at 1.05.11 am.png

That 'pesky' Monitum

I was very interested to read of a recent trend of couples (and guests) blocking their ears during the mandated reading of the 'Monitum' during a marriage ceremony. The addition of the Monitum by John Howard in 2004 was to 'close the door' on same sex marriages. However increasingly I and many other celebrants are being asked if this wording must be stated.

I simply love the Australian way of 'getting around' stupidity, in this instance by covering their ears, coughing loudly.... or even asking the celebrant to say the Monitum 'sans microphone'. The less radical option is to simply have the celebrant add a qualifying statement, arranged beforehand that sounds along the lines of the following:- 

This couple look forward to the day when all loving couples are able to marry and celebrant their love as they are doing today.

Hopefully Tony Abbott will stick to his word of bringing this matter to the parliament after the Winter recess, and I remain hopeful that he will allow a free vote on this long overdue reform item.



The Ongoing Argument for Marriage Equality

Evidently there is a movement by heterosexual couples in the USA to incorporate this beautifully written inclusive statement about Civil Marriage from the 2003 Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decision (which first gave LGBTIQ Marriage to the USA) to legalize same-sex marriage as a reading within Civil Marriage Ceremonies as a way to support LGBTIQ Marriage Equality:

"Marriage is a vital social institution. The exclusive commitment of two individuals to each other nurtures love and mutual support.

Civil marriage is at once a deeply personal commitment to another human being and a highly public celebration of the ideals of mutuality, companionship, intimacy, fidelity, and family. Because it fulfils yearnings for security, safe haven, and connection that express our common humanity, civil marriage is an esteemed institution and the decision whether and whom to marry is among life's momentous acts of self-definition.

It is undoubtedly for these concrete reasons, as well as for its intimately personal significance, that civil marriage has long been termed a "civil right." Without the right to choose to marry one is excluded from the full range of human experience."

Pop Up Wedding

Do you want to be married with all the romance of the beautifully styled venue, photographer and flowers all organised, with your planner and celebrant seamlessly sorted and taking care of everything? Well now you can! I am happy to announce a collaboration with  Style My Day and Parfait Weddings and Events to provide an opportunity for a small number of couples to do just that, in a beautiful hall in inner Hobart suburb, decorated and styled for the occasion. This 'pop up' wedding offer will take place in November 2015 and will provide excellent suppliers, and wonderful value for your wedding dollar.  You can invite your 'nearest and dearest' and you can still design your own ceremony.... talk to me if you want to know more or visit my colleagues websites to learn more.