A Brief Look at the Legals - Ceremony Content
My last blog post covered the legal documents required to make a marriage official. However, paperwork is only one piece of the puzzle when putting a ceremony together, and there are also a handful of elements that must be present within a wedding's script for it to be legally binding.
To start with - it's worth noting that the following list is not long, and that's an exciting prospect! Realistically, couples can meet the legal components of a ceremony through a few minutes of reading, plus an extra few to sign their paperwork. Therefore, if you'd like to put a 20-minute wedding together, the majority of that time can be spent celebrating your uniqueness as a couple through creative inclusions - food for thought.
First, I'll start with a couple of smaller, random inclusions:
Your celebrant must introduce themselves as an 'Authorised Marriage Celebrant', making their role in the ceremony clear to your attendees. Additionally, the full names of the couple to be wed must be said out loud, either before or during the legal vows.
Now for some larger inclusions you may have already heard of:
Your celebrant must say a passage known as 'The Monitum' during the ceremony before the couple exchange legal vows. The exact wording is as follows:
"As an authorised marriage celebrant, I am legally registered to solemnise marriages according to the law. Before you are joined in marriage in my presence and in the presence of everyone here, 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 the law in Australia, is the union of two people to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life."
There must be two witnesses present at the ceremony, who will print their names and signatures on each of the Certificates of Marriage. These witnesses can be anyone aged 18 and above, provided they are of sound mind (i.e. not inebriated) and understand what they are witnessing.
Witnesses do not have to be members of your bridal party, and it can be a meaningful way of incorporating close friends or family into the wedding who are not yet playing a direct role.
Each of the parties to a marriage must state legal vows, saying their full names if they haven't yet done so during the ceremony. As a statutory element of the proceedings, the wording must be exact, and audible to those in attendance. For example:
"I call upon the persons here present to witness that I, Ronald Bilius Weasley, take you, Hermione Jean Granger, to be my lawful wedded wife."
The word 'wife' is interchangeable with 'husband', or 'spouse' as relevant to each wedding party and couple.
So there you have it; the above is the legal framework behind your marriage ceremony.
I invite every couple I work with to incorporate the legals into their ceremony in whatever way suits them (within reason), and knowing that the scope for creativity is immense.
Thanks for reading,