The best thing about a civil wedding is that very little is set in stone, so you can create your own wedding ceremony.
If you don't feel like going with the seating or structure of a traditional wedding, look for a way around it. The guests don't need to sit in straight rows; they can stand and gather around you (don't forget to provide water!). They could also sit in a circle or semi-circle around the ceremony. Take your cue from theatre productions you've enjoyed.
The processional (bridal march)
The bridal party is optional, however you legally require two witnesses over the age of 18 years. If you do decide to have a bridal party you may include whomever you like (Some people incorporate their beloved dogs into the ceremony as page puppies or flower doggies!)"¨The moment the bride appears is incredibly romantic. It's that split second when everyone sees just how much you love each other, so think of the best way to act out this moment and capture the atmosphere of your romance.
Here are some ideas:
- The bride and groom approach one another from either side of the front of the room (where the guests are facing) and meet in the middle before the altar.
- They both begin at the entrance (to symbolise their union), then part and
- walk around the guests (to symbolise their separate lives) then meet again at the altar.
- If the guests are in a circle, the bride and groom walk into the middle of the circle from either side.
- The bride and groom begin on opposite sides of the circle, walk halfway around to the other side (remaining on opposite sides as though circling one another) then walk through the guests to meet.
- The bride and groom walk down the aisle together.
This is an example of a civil wedding service.
Welcome - The Celebrant welcomes family and friends, and introduces themselves.
Introduction - The Celebrant speaks about the couple's philosophy of marriage and their ideals and aspirations.
Reading - It is usual to have a close friend or family member read. You could ask people to give a blessing, recite a poem or sing a song. You can have as many readings as you wish, but one or two is standard. Most professional Celebrants will have books of verses with suggestions.
Giving Away - 'Giving Away' of the Bride to the Groom is totally optional. Often, more than one 'Giving Away' is done. There are plenty of options.
- Giving away of the bride by a family member/friend (if you are lucky enough to have a grandparent, they would love to do this).
- Giving away of the bride and groom by their respective parents.
- Giving away of the bride by her parents.
- Giving yourselves to each other
Monitum - A mandatory statement from the Marriage Act, said by the Celebrant.
The Asking - This is often called the 'Declaration of Intention to Marriage'.
Wedding Vows - A professional Celebrant will be able to give you selections to choose from and/or assist you to write your own very special vows. Most will have a library of books to lend you.
Ring Ceremony - Most couples give rings to each other, but sometimes just the bride chooses to have a ring. Some couples may choose to give a gift.
2nd Reading or Blessing - Read by the Celebrant or honoured guest.
Conclusion - the Celebrant says a short conclusion.
Declaration of Marriage - The Celebrant pronounces the couple 'Husband and Wife'.
Signing of the Marriage Register - The couple and their two witnesses sign the Marriage Register and Marriage Certificates.
Congratulations and Presentation - The Celebrant congratulates the couple and introduces them to their family and friends. You can either have the Celebrant call you by your first names, or you may be introduced as Mr and Mrs.
Recessional - The music starts and the couple leave the ceremony area, followed by their bridal party.