Simple easy service by one of Canberra's most experienced celebrants.

29 June 2018

A Canberra Registry Office wedding? What about witnesses? Will you elope? ... And a happy story, ten years on

Hello, and welcome

They married by the lake in a simple secret ceremony with just two special friends as witnesses, on a stormy afternoon in late autumn. Just as I said 'It's time for your first kiss as ... husband and wife!' there was a bright burst of sunlight across the lake. How magical is that?!

All rugged up for the wedding
at Molonglo Reach
Lake Burley Griffin ACT
So much fun!
Registry Office weddings in the ACT 

Registry Office weddings in the ACT?

There are none.

In most other cities in Australia, couples who want a short simple wedding go to the local registry office but ACT registry-office weddings finished about twenty years ago. You’ll need to find a private civil celebrant in the ACT for your registry-office wedding alternative. I would love to be at your service.

Short simple weddings are my specialty. I call them Simply beautiful and beautifully simple.

I offer you a beautiful venue – my large private peaceful romantic Heart Garden, or if you wish to marry during the cooler months, my green room with its windows on three sides overlooking the garden. It's warm, cosy and intimate. From about 2 in the afternoon, sunlight streams in and I also light candles. And of course, there'll be flowers from my garden. (Or in winter I'll buy some.)
Here's my green room, set up for a private wedding in mid-May 2018
on a chilly autumn day. There are candles, flowers, crystal glasses
and a pair of special Chinese wedding decorations
which a couple gave to me many years ago.
The bride and groom (whose families are from China) 

will stand in the bay window.
We had the ceremony and signing inside,
then got some beautiful photos in the garden.

For all Heart Garden weddings, I invite you to bring a special drink to celebrate after your ceremony. I'll provide the crystal glasses. You can also bring your favourite music to play through my amplifier.

The maximum number of adult guests for a Heart Garden wedding is around ten. All children are welcome. Weddings can be held on any day, between 10 and about 4.30. (Depends on the time of year.) 

I wish I could show you photos from the three same-sex marriages I've hosted in my garden this year as they were wonderfully happy occasions. By request of the newlyweds, there are no photos from these weddings publically online.

Choosing your witnesses

You’ll need two witnesses to your marriage. Even though by law, you have to call on all persons here present (or everyone here) to witness your vows of marriage to one another, it's also law that only two people actually need to be watching and listening.

Usually the witnesses are one person who’s special to the bride plus one person special to the groom – or own person special to each marrying partner. Your witnesses can be family. They can be friends or someone in your community whom you especially respect and wish to honour.

Choosing your witness is often a sensitive choice. Many witnesses, if not most, consider it a privilege to be chosen as a witness to a marriage. For this reason, the choice you make can have consequences that it’s good to be aware of.

Choose with care. Just as the person you ask to witness for you can feel really good about being chosen, a person whom you don’t choose can feel really bad.

Witnesses to your marriage need to be 18 or over. They must be present in person to watch you make your vows. Because marriage in Australian law is essentially a verbal contract, your witnesses must be close enough to hear your vows as well. They must have a good command of English to be able to understand all that’s being said.

After your ceremony, your witnesses (along with both of you and your celebrant) will sign three certificates of marriage. This way they testify that they were witnessing as your marriage was solemnised. (Or you may choose to have legalised in your wedding wording instead of the traditional solemnised.)

Are you thinking of eloping?

Are you thinking of eloping? If so, I can help. As for any legal marriage ceremony, you’ll need two adult witnesses.

Witnesses to a marriage don’t need to know the couple personally.

Many years ago, I was at Green Patch in Booderee National Park, Jervis Bay NSW for an elopement. I had the unusual experience of asking a father coming off the beach with his two young daughters, if he would kindly be one of the witnesses. He was very happy to do this and his two little girls were delighted to be part of ‘a real wedding’ with a handsome groom and a beautiful bride, dressed in lace. My husband David was with me so that we could spend the weekend together in Jervis Bay. He was the other witness.
Nice story, don’t you think?

Well, there’s more to it, and it’s just as happy.

Annie, who was the bride, contacted me a while ago, to tell me that she and Kyle had just celebrated their ten-year anniversary. They dropped in from Tumburramba to say hello with their daughter. It was a wonderful surprise!

Annie wrote me a great review on facebook, for which I am most grateful. (But it's disappeared.)

Over the years there have been many happy elopements in my Heart Garden. Witnesses have been my daughters, my daughter-in-law, my friends, my neighbours and my husband.

It’s been really special for us to share the joy with these couples, who for their own reasons, chose to marry quietly and keep it to themselves. I wish I could show you some of the gorgeous photos I’ve taken for them and also kept in my own collection. But of course, I can’t show you because I totally respect their privacy and confidentiality.


I’d be delighted to be celebrant at your wedding, large or small, with lots of guests or only two. In any location of your choice, including my beautiful garden or in my warm and cosy green room, overlooking the garden. There is no extra fee for this. My fee, which covers everything is $600. (More info here.)


Cherie and Barjinder
shared their special day with their families
in the Rose Gardens
of Parliament House ACT
on 2 May 2018
I’d love to be there for you both at any time you like, on any day.

There’s a contact form here. Or you may like to phone or text me on 0406 376 375, any day between 9am and 9pm, or send a PM on facebook. We’ll only need one one-hour meeting together to do all we need to do before your big day – it’s that simple.

Are you wanting to marry ASAP?

The Marriage Act requires that you wait one month after lodging your Notice of Intended Marriage with your celebrant. (Although you might qualify for a shortening of this time, which can only be granted by the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages if your celebrant applies on your behalf.)

If you wish to marry as soon as possible, I can help you marry exactly one month from the day you contact me. As long as you can contact me by phone or text before about 11pm, you can lodge your Notice of Intended Marriage with me that same day. We'll need to have a meeting together as well, but there's no rush for that. I’d love to share in your excitement!

Sincerely
Michele


The Heart Garden - hosted fourteen Spring weddings in 2017.
Spring seems so far away as we're heading for mid-winter. If you'd like to marry in the Heart Garden next Spring, let's meet soon.