Keep It Sweetly Simple!

Simple easy service by one of Canberra's most experienced celebrants. (I have married over 1400 couples.) Your beautiful memorable alternative to a Registry Office wedding. Only one one-hour meeting required and the next time we meet, it's your wedding day!

14 November 2018

Your three Certificates of Marriage

Hello, and welcome
For Qian and Min, it was their lucky day 8-8-18
They married in the sunny cosy green room,
overlooking the wintry Heart Garden.
You're getting married... Wonderful! Perhaps you're wondering about what happens when you sign your certificates.

On your wedding day, you’ll sign three Certificates of Marriage. So will your celebrant and also your two witnesses. You’ll sign the certificates with your usual signature.

Nazia signs a certificate of marriage as her new husband Nillarn looks on The Heart Garden  Weston ACT Saturday 22 September 2018
Sasha signs three certificates of 
marriage as her new husband Rohan looks on.
The Green Room - The Heart Garden  Weston ACT
Saturday 22 September 2018
This can be a bit disappointing if you’ve changed your name already and you want to try out your new signature. You can however, be announced to your guests by your new married name at the end of your ceremony, if you wish.

Legal change of name takes place with the making of your vows of marriage during your wedding ceremony. This means that, by the end of the ceremony, if you – as bride, or groom, or both - have chosen name change, then it’s already legally in effect.

There’s nothing more you need to do about this, but, if you want to change things like your passport or your driver’s licence, then you must produce evidence that your legal marriage has taken place.

After your wedding, your celebrant has two weeks to send your papers to the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages in the territory or state in which you were married.

To get evidence that your legal marriage has taken place, you must apply for your Official (or ‘full’) Certificate from the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages. Applying online is easiest but if you married in the ACT, you can apply at any Access Canberra shopfront.

You must include credit card payment in your application to the Registrar.

When you apply, you must fill in the full names that appear on your Notice of Intended Marriage. They’ll also be on the marriage certificate you received on the day of your marriage. This means – don’t use married names on your application to the Registrar.

If you apply straight after getting married, you’ll need to allow time for your marriage papers to be processed by the Registrar and officially registered. (Remember here that your marriage is already legal – it’s just not registered yet.)

Next, allow three to four business days for the Registrar’s Office to process your application, then allow a couple of days as your certificate travels to you in the mail by registered post.

Because your certificate will be sent by registered post, there must be someone home to sign for it. If there’s no-one home, you’ll get a card and you’ll need to sign and collect from the post office.

The current fee for an official certificate in the ACT, with registration number on it, is $63. This includes registered postage.

Personally, I like to focus on the certificate you take home on the day. It needs to be a beautiful momento for you, so I ask you at our meeting to choose the font you’d like me to use when I print it.

If you have Asian names, I’ll ask you whether you want your surname to appear before your other names. The choice is yours.

The certificate I hand to you on the day will have a unique number and this number will be recorded, but because it doesn’t have a registration number, you can’t use this certificate as evidence of your marriage for any legal purpose (like a licence application or work records).

As evidence of your legal marriage, you must buy an ‘official’ certificate from the Registrar of Births Deaths and Marriages.

Angela and Jon, just married, receive their 
certificate from Michele.
Friday 28 September 18
at Lennox Gardens ACT
You may be wondering what happens to the other certificate that’s signed on the day. It’s in your celebrant’s register.

Some celebrants keep an electronic register but I still like to use a large red book. By law, I have to keep my registers for six years, but I just like to keep them. (Sometimes I press flowers in them from weddings.) Because I’ve been celebrant at nearly fourteen hundred weddings, I have quite a large library of registers!

I was asked at a wedding recently, why the witnesses signed before the bride and groom. This is my preference. I like the witnesses to sign first, then I sign, and then the newly married couple.

This plan works well for setting up the photos with just the couple, signing at the end. Then, as the law requires, I hand the newlyweds their certificate. (This is a nice chance for me to get a photo for my personal collection.)

The guest who asked about the order of signing challenged me about ‘How can they witness the signatures of the bride and groom, if they sign before them?’ This is a common misunderstanding.

The answer is, that the witnesses certify that they witnessed a legal marriage take place, not that they witnessed the signing of the certificates by the groom and bride.

If you would like me to be celebrant at your wedding, I’d be delighted to be there for you both.

I specialise in small simple weddings, with any number of guests, on any day or night, at any time. I call them beautifully simple and simply beautiful. We have no registry office weddings in Canberra ACT, so I offer a perfect alternative.

Micah and Marlon married at
Royal Canberra Golf Club
on 2 September 2018
If your wedding is going to be small with around 10 adult guests or less (and any number of children) you'll be most welcome to marry in my peaceful romantic Heart Garden. 

My fee for any wedding is $650. There's no extra fee for a wedding in my garden. You may like to see garden photos on my Pinterest page. And there are lots more on Instagram and facebook.

There’s an email contact form here. Or please phone me on 0406 376 375 any day between 9am and 9pm, or text anytime, and let's talk about your wedding. 

My congratulations to you both on your very happy plan.


Nazia and Nillarn married at the home of Nazia's parents in Macgregor
on Saturday 22 September 2018

The rustic entrance to the Heart Garden in mid-Spring 2018
The rustic entrance to the Heart Garden in mid-Spring 2018

The Heart Garden in mid-Spring 2018. When the poppies, violas, rhododendrons and wisteria finish, the roses will come on. Masses of flowers on the large potted blueberry (mid-screen) mean a bumper crop this summer.

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