Keep It Sweetly Simple!

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

SIMPLE WEDDING SERVICE CANBERRA - ACT Registry Office wedding substitute

Please note - this is a Wedding Page. If you'd like to visit my blog, where you'll find lots of information about getting married in the ACT and surrounds, and getting married in Australia in general, click here. You may also like to visit my Celebrant Fee page to learn more about the service I'd love to provide for you both. My latest wedding news and photos are on my facebook page and Instagram. There are more photos on Pinterest

My fee from November 2023 is $700 all inclusive (except for extra travel beyond Canberra/Queanbeyan city limits)

A gorgeous spring bride walks the garden path
Bronwyn walks along the garden path
to her waiting groom, Alistair

Simply beautiful and beautifully simple .....

My Simple (but still special) Service 
is very popular, especially with couples who would marry at the ACT Registry Office if they could. 

There are no Registry Office weddings 
in the ACT. 

Even if you wish to marry as soon as possible, you will need to wait one month from lodgement of your Notice of Intended Marriage. Although it's not widely known, this waiting time has been law in Australia since 1961. (The Registrar may approve a shorter time in very limited circumstances but you must apply for a shortening through your celebrant.) 

I can help you marry one month from the minute you first contact me. We don't need to have a meeting first.

The Law allows ...
You can legally marry in Australia if at least one of you is 18 or over. (A 16 or 17 year old must get permission from the court.) You can be male, female, or of indeterminate or unspecified gender. You may marry a partner of the opposite sex or the same sex as your own. This became law in Australia in December 2018. (And on that day I was celebrant at two weddings and guests cheered at the new legal wording!)

The Simple Service I provide can be held at any venue, at any time, on any day or evening, with any number of guests. 

I've been celebrant at over fourteen hundred wonderful weddings. When the wedding room closed at the ACT Registrar's Office over twenty years ago, simple weddings became a specialty of mine. Now all the weddings I attend have short and simple ceremonies, always with the option of adding your own personal vows. 

Simply beautiful and beautifully simple .....

Getting married in my Heart Garden or other venue of your choice, is a truly lovely alternative to a basic registry office wedding. About three hundred weddings have been held in my peaceful private romantic garden. In 2014, much to my surprise, my Heart Garden appeared in The Canberra Times as No 5 in Canberra's Top Ten Wedding venues.

Heart Garden ceremonies can be held on any day. 
They can begin at any time from 11am to 4.30pm.
Crystal flutes, ready for the celebration of the marriage

Allow up to an hour and a half for arriving, getting married, signing certificates, having a celebratory drink perhaps, and taking lots of photos. (I'll put out the crystal flutes. You bring the special bubbly. But please - no food.) 

Feel free to linger and take as many photos as you wish - perhaps by a photographer you bring with you, or simply by your guests. (And me.)

Of course, if you plan to keep your wedding event as short and simple as possible, it can take a lot less than an hour. 

Maximum number of adult guests at a Heart Garden wedding is 12 (not counting children). 
All children are welcome. 

You'll need one witness each. They can be anyone 18 or over, with a good understanding of English. Your witnesses can be your relatives.

A winter wedding in the warm sunny green room
Dehai and Wen had a winter wedding
in the green room
If on your wedding day, the weather's not so human-friendly, the ceremony and quite possibly the signing as well, will take place in my Green Room. This room has windows on three sides, all overlooking the garden. Sunshine from the west pours in on autumn and winter afternoons, from about 2.30 onwards. You and your guests will be warm and cosy, with the central heating on. 

Or if on your wedding day, it's extra hot, we can hold the ceremony inside. With the central evaporative-cooling on, you and your guests will stay cool and fresh. 
You may like to linger in the garden for a celebration drink and photos afterwards.

My fee from November 2023, of $700 covers everything you need. 
(My first increase since April 2020)
If your wedding plan changes, a refund of $350 may apply.

There is no extra fee to marry in my lovely romantic Heart Garden. As the Heart Gardener, it is my pleasure to put lots of time and energy into preparing my garden to look its best, and to host you as my guests on your most special day. 

My fee of $700 includes lodging your Notice of Intended Marriage with me as your lodging authority, at least one month before your wedding. This is usually done at a one-hour meeting in Weston, but can be done earlier by email, SMS or mail if timing of the lodgment of your Notice is critical. Because there's quite a lot more to be done than just lodging your Notice of Intended Marriage, we'll still need more time together before you can marry. (We can meet by Zoom if necessary.)

Note here that you lodge your Notice with your registered celebrant, not the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages. 
Like all other celebrants, both civil and religious, I only send your wedding papers to the Registrar after you've been married. Your marriage actually comes into effect during your wedding ceremony. Your wedding papers are then sent to the Registrar's Office in the territory or state in which you married. They certify that a legal marriage took place. Your marriage will then be registered. (You can then buy a certificate from the Registrar for your personal records.)

Because your marriage comes into legal effect during your marriage ceremony, this also means that if you plan to change your name with marriage, the change comes into legal effect during your ceremony (not when your marriage is registered). 

You may however, need documentation from the Registrar's Office that you're legally married, e.g. when applying for a driver's licence in your new name. (The certificate you receive at your wedding is a legal document, but it won't have the necessary registration number on it.) 
Michele the Celebrant October 2023
at The Commonwealth Club  Canberra

At your wedding, you'll receive an attractive, personal Certificate of Marriage. I'll fill it out in the font of your choice. Once you're married, you can apply (and pay) for an Official Certificate of Marriage from the Registrar's Office in the territory or state where your marriage took place. Please note here that you will make the application yourselves. It can be done online from the moment that you're married 😊

In the ACT and NSW, all applications must be made online. Search for Access Canberra. You must include credit card payment in your application to the Registrar. 

Your official certificate will be posted to you from the Registrar's Office by registered mail. (Note here that applying for an official certificate from the Registrar is optional - your marriage is already legal from the making of your marriage vows, remember.)

My fee also covers 
- The sighting of documents and preparation of your three certificates of marriage. (One for the couple, one to be sent to the Registrar and one for the celebrant to keep for at least six years.)
- Providing you with all prescribed pre-marriage information, handouts and all the help you need. 
- A simple ceremony with all approved legal options in the wording, as well as the option to add your own personal vows. 
- The ceremony itself at the location of your choice anywhere in Australia. 
- The use of my top quality portable amplifier. If you bring special entrance music, any phone can be plugged in. (I have cables for all phones, including newest iPhones and Samsung.)
- The use of crystal flutes for your celebration drink if you choose to marry in my Heart Garden.

You'll choose the wording for your ceremony at our meeting. To personalise the set legal ceremony and make it more your own, I'll show you every wording option that's allowedYour wording will be printed in the font of your choice on cream parchment paper. It's usually just one A4 page. 

You may also like to make personal vows during your ceremony. Please bring them to your wedding. They may be notes on paper, they may be on your phone or iPad.

After your ceremony, I'll place your marriage certificate (also in the font of your choice) and your ceremony wording in a clear plastic wallet for you to take with you as a newly, totally-legally-married couple.
Private happiness in
my Heart Garden
Summer 2018
for newlywed

-  A one-hour meeting in Weston. (And a bit longer if you'll marry in my garden, so we can have a look around.) 

I've streamlined to an hour, everything that must be done in preparation for your legal marriage. Meetings are held on Monday and Wednesday evenings at my home in the Heart Garden, with a 5.30, 6 or 6.30 start. Flexibility with day and time is possible if you don't live locally. 

The fee of $700 is payable at our meeting when the Notice of Intended Marriage is lodged and all other preparation for the wedding is done. This fee includes my travel on your wedding day in the local area. 

My fee includes the use of my excellent portable PA system with cordless microphone. My amplifier can play music from your phone. I have cables to connect all phones and tablets, plus adapters for iPhones and Samsung Note.
(But no connection for new phones that only charge remotely.)

In response to a wedding enquiry, I always send a Notice of Intended Marriage to be filled in and printed, or printed and filled in. (This must be lodged at least one month before the wedding.) I also send three files of information. 

Please note here that I only have meetings with couples who have booked me as their celebrant.

Since everything we need to do together is covered in one meeting, including payment, the next time we meet, it will be your wedding day. 😊 Of course we'll stay in touch before then for any questions you may have. 
Simone and Tom married in the
rose gardens of Old Parliament
House on 9 December 2017
On your wedding day, if there are any personal documents still to be sighted, this can be done just before your ceremony. There's also a signing that you'll each need to do before you can legally marry. You can do this separately or together. It'll take about one minute, just before you wed. You'll learn about this at our meeting.

Please note that after many years of helping couples with their Visa applications, while one of them is living overseas, I no longer provide this service. However, if you'll both be in Australia at the time of your wedding, I'd be very happy to be your celebrant and help you with your Visa application.

I'm available to marry couples who come from other countries to marry in Australia. We can do the lodgement of the Notice of Intended Marriage by scan and email (or airmail) and most of our communicating by email, Zoom, text or phone. We'll also need to meet before your wedding day (if that's possible for you). Over the years, three couples have flown to Australia, just to marry in my garden. And then they've flown back home (to Hong Kong, Italy and China). How extraordinary is that?!

I only have meetings with couples who have booked me as their celebrant already. Before you make your celebrant decision, iyou'd like to talk with me on Zoom (with or without video) please phone or text me to set up a time. 

If you'd like to see how I look, hear how I sound, and see some Heart Garden images click here. You'll see a 3.33 minute video from July 2010. You may also like to view the video I made in Spring of the same year. It runs for 2.22 minutes. There's also an audio introduction in the My Profile part of this blog. (The page you are reading now is a Wedding Page. My home page is here.)
View of the garden, through to the green room
The unusual,rustic steps up to the Green Room are 
Hawkesbury River sandstone from my family's property. 
They were quarried by my uncles when I was a girl, 
living in the bush at Berowra (near the Hawkesbury River).

When these two videos were made, I'd been celebrant for three civil celebrants on their own wedding days. Now six civil marriage celebrants have chosen me as their celebrant at their own weddings. (And yes, in case you may be wondering, they paid my normal fee.) I think this is a wonderful endorsement by my peers, of the high quality of the service I provide. To me, it's recognition of my heartfelt commitment to making every single wedding, special and memorable.

I hold weddings in my garden for two main reasons: 
Jenny and Mars flew from China to marry in the Heart Garden
Mars and Jenny flew from Shanghai,
to marry in the Heart Garden 
in early Spring 2015.
They flew back to China the next day!

- To provide a simply beautiful, beautifully simple registry-style wedding in Canberra with efficient and friendly pre-marriage preparation, and 

- To share the beauty, privacy and tranquility of my large, generous, romantic garden. There's no extra fee for this. Maximum number of adult guests:12. All children welcome.

The Heart Garden was selected for the Australian Open Garden Scheme in October 2007. Hundreds of people came to visit over the long weekend, but the garden's usually very private. Except for the songs of birds, it's quiet. It's peaceful and relaxing.

Vicki and Quentin married in mid-spring 2016 I am the Heart Gardener as well as celebrant. When a wedding is scheduled, I spend many hours, sometimes days, preparing the garden to look its best. Much of my celebrant income goes into new plantings and plant food. (This won't surprise you when you actually see the garden!) 

In autumn, there are colourful trees and shrubs and quite a lot of flowers. In spring, there are flowers all around, like blossoms and bluebells. In summer, the roses and lilies are out and there are several cool shady nooks. Even in the winter, I make sure that there are flowers and greenery around the ceremony area. 

On boards on my Pinterest page, you can see how the garden looks in the month you plan to marry, either as single images or slideshows. I've recently added another board, just for recent Heart Garden weddings. Please feel free to repin. 

I've always loved taking photos. I like to put random garden images on my Instagram page, just for the pleasure of taking and sharing them. I post 'Just Married' photos there too (but only when it's OK with the newlyweds). I keep my facebook page up-to-date with my latest photos, comments and short videos. There are a few short videos on my YouTube channel.

A short, simple, registry-style wedding, can be held, with me as your celebrant, on any day, in the Heart Garden (with up to 12 adult guests) or elsewhere (at any time, day or night, with an unlimited number of guests)

If you'd like to contact me now about your own simple wedding, please fill out this email contact formI will respond very soon. Or phone or my mobile 0406 376 375 on any day between 9am and 9pm. Text at any time that suits you, or PM on facebook. Thank you. 

And my congratulations and very best wishes to you both!

13 November 2023

Your day is my focus
That's my promise
It's my pleasure.


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