F.A.Q.s - frequently asked questions

  1. Can we be married anywhere we like in Australia? YES I am authorised to marry couples anywhere in Australia but conduct most weddings in all Sydney areas, the southern highlands and the Blue Mountains.Of course I am happy to travel to other states as long as my expenses are covered.
  2. Is it possible to be married at home? YES  Home weddings are popular or you may be married in my home office if you  have witnesses only.
  3. Can we be married at any time of the day or night or on any day of the year? YES
  4. Do we need a licence to get married?  NO -  You do need to complete a Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM) and lodge it with me, your celebrant. It is usually witnessed by me at our first meeting, but may also be witnessed by a JP, Notary Public etc. & scanned & emailed or faxed and posted to me.
  5. May we be married in whatever clothes we like? YES
  6. Are you, our celebrant,  happy to wear a particular type or colour for our ceremony? YES, I always dress as befits the occasion but if you have any special requests,just let me know what you want and I will do what I can to comply. I am also happy to fit in with the bridal party's colour palette.
  7. Are we able to plan our wedding ceremony by email & post? YES Once you have made contact with me, we can complete all the necessary documents by email, fax or post.Original documents are then sighted and signed when we meet before your wedding ceremony.
  8. Why is it important to engage an experienced celebrant? An experienced celebrant is able handle all of the legalities well and write and conduct a lovely ceremony. I have conducted hundreds of weddings and have knowledge of current regulations regarding marriage and many ideas to personalise your ceremony.A celebrant is not just a necessary legal component of your marriage ceremony, but your script writer, your producer and your director.  And definitely, your support person on the day.
  9. Why do celebrants charge different rates for their services? If a celebrant is offering to conduct your wedding for a very cheap rate, it means that you may have no or limited choice of ceremony, and the celebrant may not be an experienced speaker or fully conversant with the legal aspects of marriage.I complete on QUALITY not price. Every wedding ceremony I conduct is personally written for you.
  10. What attributes does a reputable, professional celebrant have?  Check out testimonials, experience, membership of professional association/s. The experienced celebrant will have knowledge of other wedding services, eg, venues, photographers etc. if you need recommendations.She/he will be a en experienced public speaker,a capable writer and a friendly and helpful person.
  11. Can we be married in Sydney when we arrive from overseas?YES  See Overseas Visitors    and  Legal Information
  12. Do we have to have a blood test? NO
  13. What names do we use on our Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM)? Your names must be exactly as they are on your birth certificate, or if previously married, your married name, or if you have a Change of Name Certificate.
  14. Can I use the name I am known by usage?NO if you have changed your name you must register the change with the BDM in your state through a Change of Name form.If you use a name which you have assumed through usage, you may have trouble having your Marriage Certificate recognised by the Passport Office etc. in future.
  15. Do we only need 2 witnesses? YES
  16. Can they be members of our family, if they are over 18 years? YES
  17. Will we be given a presentation wedding certificate on the day? YES
  18. Will our wedding be accepted world wide? YES  Some countries require  an Apostille stamp. Check with your embassy or DFAT
  19. Do you register our marriage for us? YES I will register your marriage online shortly after the ceremony.
  20. Can you order our registered marriage certificate? YES I can order it online for you after registering your marriage.  For a small fee,I can order your certificate  from BDM
  21. May we write our own Ceremony? YES  You can write as little or as much of your ceremony as long as I make sure that it complies with the Marriage Act, 1961 of Australia.
  22. If we give you information, will you write a personal ceremony for us? YES I really enjoy learning about you as a couple and writing a ceremony which is true to you.
  23. May our friends read a poem or reading? YES I encourage family & friends to participate.
  24. Do you provide a PA system so that all of our guests can hear the ceremony? YES I have a good PA system and do not charge any extra for its use.
  25. What if we don't want to have a PA at our wedding as we feel it spoils the intimate nature of our ceremony. That's fine with me.  It's your wedding and I will make sure that I do my best to ensure that all of your guests can hear the ceremony.  As a former teacher, I have had some practice in projecting my voice.
  26. Is it a good idea to have a drink before the ceremony in order to relax.Probably not. Under law, I am not allowed to marry anyone who is under the influence of any substance.
  27. Is it possible to incorporate symbols and ceremonies from my religious faith or culture? YES  - I encourage couples to honour their culture within their ceremony. I am happy to work with clergy from all faiths if you wish to combine your civil & religious ceremony.Discuss this with me.
  28. Can you tell us about special ceremonies such as the sand ceremony, handfasting, wine ceremony,unity bowl, rose ceremony, candle ceremony, ring warming?  YES  I am happy to give you information about ways to personalise your wedding ceremony and to discuss the most appropriate one for you
  29. Can I marry a person of my own sex? NO - not at present in Australia. However, you may have a commitment ceremony which is similar to a wedding ceremony & you can register your relationship with.Births, Deaths & Marriages N.S.W.
  30. Do I have to take my husbands name? NO, there are a few options.  See the USEFUL LINKS page of this site.
  31. Do we have to have wedding rings? NO In order for your marriage to be legal it must include the Celebrant Authority, the prescribed Vows, and signatures by the bride and groom, witnesses and celebrant.
  32. May I be given away or presented by a person who is not a member of my family? YES
  33. Do we need to have my birth certificate, divorce papers and death certificate translated into English if they are in another language? YES
  34. If we have already produced our birth certificates, divorce papers and/or death certificates do we need to provide them again on our wedding day? NO
  35. Can you help me with my application for a Prospective Marriage or fiancee visa? YES - once you have completed your NOIM & booked a date for your ceremony, I will write a letter of support to the Australian Embassy in the country of your fiance/fiancee.
  36. Are you able to write a letter of support for family members applying for visas from overseas in order to attend our wedding? YES, I am happy to help with this.
  37. Can you help us with immigration advice? NO By law I am unable to offer advice on immigration matters but I can refer you to the relevant authorities or to an Immigration Agent who can help you.
  38. Can you advise about a Prenuptial Agreement? NO, that is not my role but I can refer you to solicitors who specialise in this area.
  39. Can I use my Australian passport as evidence of identity for theNOIM?    Yes, a passport or birth certificate is acceptable proof of identity.
  40. Can you recommend or arrange for a photographer for us? YES See my links page or talk to me about your requirement.
  41. Can you assist in making suggestions for our venue? YES I am more than happy to suggest different venues for you.
  42. Will you help with production of the ceremony, ie, who stands where? YES -  That's part of my role. We will discuss that & can have a rehearsal if you think that is necessary.I also provide a table  for signing if needed & a quality sound system  if needed..
  43. Can we play our music through your sound system? YES - you can play an MP3 or iPod through my system.
  44. Can we be married if we are both under 18 years? NO, only one can be under 18. (and then you need permission of the court)
  45. Can we hyphenate our surnames? YES (see link on question 18)
  46. We want to elope, get married without any fuss, just the two of us.  Is that possible? YES. For a marriage ceremony to be legal, you only need the two of you, the celebrant (me) and two witnesses over the age of 18.  And of course, you need to give the usual notice etc. Refer to my Legal Requirements page.
  47. What if we want to change the date of our wedding?  I am happy to transfer your booking fee to another date that I am available.
  48. What happens if you are unable to conduct our wedding at short notice, due to illness or accident? I will do my utmost to find another celebrant to conduct your ceremony,& will transfer your legal documents.  I know a number of excellent celebrants.
  49. How can we be sure that you are a legally registered marriage celebrant, and our marriage will be valid? The Commonwealth Attorney General's website has a list of registered marriage celebrants. Attorney Generals Registered Marriage CelebrantsYou will find my name and contact details here.
  50. How many marriages have you conducted?  I have been a Registered Marriage Celebrant since 2006 and have conducted hundreds of weddings of all styles in that time.
  51. What if I have other questions that are not answered here? Phone or email me and I will help to answer all your questions to the best of my ability.


02 9979 2315

+61 2 9979 2315

mob 0402810062

                                                                                                        Nielson Bay,                                                                                                                                                              


 RACA, Circular Quay, sydney

Wendy's Secret Garden, North Sydney






                        RoyalAutomobile Club, Circular Quay, Sydney

Palm BeachSydney Harbour

Palm Beach Sydney was the romantic setting for both of these weddings






Sydney Harbour on board "Aussie Legend"was   where Sally and Niall chose to make their vows

Blue Mountains


Shereden & John at Rodd Point, Drummoyne 



Hickson Road, Sydney











                     Mount Wilson in the Blue Mountains

 Bangarra Dance Theatre, Hickson Road, Sydney


Page Copyright 2006 - 2015 Elaine Searle