Interfaith Marriages

Interfaith Marriages

In today’s multicultural and increasingly liberal society, it’s becoming increasingly common for couples from different religions to get married. The faith and religious beliefs shared by the engaged couple is likely to be the biggest factor in determining what kind of wedding it will be, and of course, what kind of marriage will follow. We created a list of essential tips to help your wedding day run as smoothly as possible.

Educate Yourself

Don’t wait for your partner to initate your education of their religion or culture- dive in, get a head start, and impress them with your attitude and know how. Also, recognise and prepare yourself for continuous learning for the rest of your life. If you’re going to be joining your partner’s clan, it’ a great idea to be able to culturally and religiously fit in as best you can, to promote a more seamless transition for you, your family, and your potential future family.

Establish Clear Communication With Your Partner

It is important that both you and your fiancé discuss how many and what religious traditions, if any, will be incorporated in the ceremony. Be clear on what you both feel comfortable and uncomfortable with and understand that compromises will need to be made. Try, wherever possible to meet halfway.

Many couples wonder what elements are required to create a good balance between the two religions on the big day. Ultimately, this will depend on the couple’s individual traditions and feelings of religious connection. If you’re unsure, a great recommendation is to include the basics of both religions being represented.

For Christian ceremonies, this will include:

– The Call to Worship

– The Opening Prayer

– Scriptural readings (from both the Old and New Testament)

– Lighting of the Unity Candle

– The Closing Prayer

For Muslim Ceremonies:

– The payment of mahr (the dowry or marriage gift)

– A written marriage contract, signed by the bride, groom, and two witnesses

– The Khutbah- tun- Nika (sermon) to bless the marriage

For Jewish Ceremonies:

– Signing the ketubah (marriage contract) by the bride, groom, and two witnesses

– Holding the actual ceremony underneath the chuppah (erected canopy)

– Blessings of Bethrothal

-Breaking the glass by the groom

For Hindu Ceremonies:

– The couple walking around the vivah- homa (sacred fire) whilst taking their marriage vows

– Puffed rice is offered as oblations to the vivah- homa 

– The groom’s scarf is tied to the bride’s dress, signifying the marrage knot (known as saptapadi)

– Sprinkling of water and meditiating on the sun and the pole star

– The couple making food offering to the fire, and then eachother

– Benediction by the elders

For Sikh Ceremonies:

Ard?s (prayer made before embarking on any significant task) is recited

– A call-and-response chant, known as kirtan is recited.

– Gifts are exchanged between the families, known as sagun

For Buddhist Ceremonies:

– The couple enters the temple carrying 21 beads, representing Buddha, the couple, and their families.

– The couple lights candles around the Buddha’s image

– In many wedding ceremonies, a Buddhist monk will chant 7 sacred texts whilst the wedding ceremony is underway.

Involve Both Families in the Planning Process

It is likely that the most opinionated views and disappointments will come from family members, particular parents and older family members who may not like the idea that you are straying away from tradition. Perhaps it may be practical to use a celebrant for each faith, or even two weddings to make everyone feel included. If this is not possible,however, the most sensible way to help them understand your decision is to include and involve both families in the planning process. Be firm about what you want and don’t want, but again be willing to compromise and be flexible on the less important features of your wedding.

The Ceremony Venue

If you can, hold the wedding ceremony in a religiously neutral space. Alternatively you may choose a wedding that is not based on any religious ground. Locations like:

– A non denominational chapel

– A historical or outdoor site

– Someone’s home, etc.

Setting your ceremony here will enable everyone to feel welcomed, and everyone can feel embraced by neutral imagery and atmosphere.

The Ceremony’s Language

Try not use exclusive religious prayers that could alienate some of your guests. For example, Rabbi Devon Lerner reccommends emphasising prayers about and directed to God over those about and directed to Jesus. This tends to feel more inclusive for all guests, especially if the other individual’s family belongs to a monotheistic faith.

Many prefer for all of their marriage ceremony to remain neutral; to include reading and music that is not religious, and for the celebrant to use language that may address God, but does not pertain to any specific religion. This is absolutely possible- your wedding’s emphasis, should you decide to take this route, will be focus focus on universal themes and the marital themes of love and unity.

You can, however, have your wedding officiant address specific blessing and prayers to different deities or aspects of the monotheistic God. If you do choose to include this as part of your ceremony, we encourage you to keep this portion of the ceremony as balanced as possible. If you’re mentioning the exclusive God of one person’s faith, it’s only polite to address the other’s as well.

Go With the Flow

Although you and your partner may have planned every single last detail of this wedding, there will, ineveitably, be a couple of spanners thrown into the works. Maybe your grandmother would really appreciate you including a strictly- speaking unneccessary religious element of the wedding, which might throw your ceremony a little off balance. Try to be as flexible as you can without losing sight of your vision of your wedding. For most, after all, your wedding and choice in partner will be a rather big adjustment- so the least you can do is try to accommodate them where possible in return.

Your Wedding Program

Whilst just about every wedding will include a wedding program that will give the details of the bride, groom and their families, as well  acknowlegements and thankyous (amongst other features), interfaith and intercultural marriages are afforded a rare opportunity here. You can use these wedding programs to explain specific cultural/ religious wedding ceremonies, along with the significance and meaning behind them, as well as more general tenets of belief that you otherwise not have the opportunity to discuss.

Finding Your Officiant

Finding an officiant that will preside over a ‘mixed’ wedding is notoriously hard to do. This is generally because there is a perception that if the religious official presides over the wedding, they’re condoing the assimilation of one religion to another. So the solution is to begin your search early! The best way to go about this is by utilising your own religious network. Rabbi Lerner recommends that if you live in a metropolitan area, you should begin your search approximately a year before the wedding.

Enjoy Your Wedding

Life is short, and you only get to get married once (ideally). Keep in mind that all potential squabbles you have with your family, difficulties finding an officiant, or even fights between yourselves are happening for a really fantastic purpose- joining your beloved in both secular and religious law and beginning a life together.


Is a Civil Celebrant the Right Choice for You?

Is a Civil Celebrant the Right Choice for You?

Wedding celebrants are a fantastic resource for those who prefer to be married without a single religious affiliation. Because their primary use lies in their legal import and free of religious restrictions, they’re often associated with ceremonial flexibility and ease. If you’re considering hiring one, or perhaps multiple celebrants for you big day, make sure you’ve thoroughly thought through the following considerations.

(Courtesy acoastalbride.com)

  • The cost of being married by a civil celebrant is generally around the same price as being married by a religious minister.
  • Civil celebrants are the perfect solution if you’re marrying someone of a different culture or religion, as they provide a religiously unbiased ceremony.
  • They can also, however, be more accommodating if need me. They’re usually willing to incorporate religious passages and traditions from multiple cultures and religions.
  • On a similar note, if you are marrying someone of a different faith and would like two separate officiants to represent each of your religions, you’ll find it far easier to find two celebrants who can cater their services to suit both your needs than two religious officials to preside over an inter-religious ceremony.
  • Couples who do not have particularly strong religious ties often opt for celebrants as they do not feel they need the blessing of a religious institution, or evenaffiliated with it in any way.
  • A civil celebrant enables you to personalise your wedding by writing your own vows and even, on some occasions, planning what is said and what happens for the entire ceremony!
  • They may be more flexible than a religious official in marrying you wherever you choose (depending on your religion and the beliefs of you religious official).
  • Generally speaking, it’s faster to organise a celebrant than a religious official, as there are more available and religious locations are popular destinations for wedding ceremonies (meaning that they get booked further in advance).

When choosing a civil celebrant it is important to tell them what you want and be confident that they can deliver what you have in mind. As civil celebrants are more flexible in their approach, it’s even more important that you remain clear about what you want to happen on the day. From personalised vows to incorporating faiths a civil celebrant may be the alternative you have been looking for.


6 Tips for Writing your Wedding day Vows

6 Tips for Writing your Wedding day Vows

When writing your wedding vows, you can be as creative as you want. You have the choice to stick to traditional words or you can write your own. If you’re stuck for ideas, read below for some vows you might like to use or adapt.

Wedding Vow Example 1:

I, (name), take you, (name), to be my (husband/wife), to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, so long as we both shall live.

Wedding Vow Example 2:

(name), I have lived with you and I love you. Today I give myself to be your husband and I take you to be my wife. Whatever life may bring, I will love you and care for you always.

Wedding Vow Example 3:

I ask everyone here to witness that I (name), take you, (name), to be my lawful wedded (husband/wife). I will love you, trust you, believe in you as you are, be honest with you, encourage you, support you in your endeavors, care for you and above all else, respect you as a person of equal worth, and with equal rights and responsibilities – in sickness as in health, for better for worse, through all our life together.

Wedding Vow Example 4:

I come here today, (name), to join my life to years before this company. In their presence I pledge to be true to you, to respect you, and to grow with you through the years. Time may pass, fortune may smile, trials may come; no matter what we may encounter together, I vow here that this love will be my only love. I will make my home in your heart from this day forward.

Wedding Vow Example 5:

(Name), with free and unconstrained soul, I give you all I am and all I am to become. Take this ring, and with it my promise of faith, patience, and love, for the rest of my life

Wedding Vow Example 6:

Two flames, one light. (Name), I offer you this ring as a sign of life, and myself as your (husband/wife). Let us walk together always, and let us always walk towards the light.


The Emergency Kit

The Emergency Kit

Be prepared and understand that minor emergencies can and do arise. Don’t panic however – if you are well prepared these situations won’t amount to more than a slight disturbance.  Prepare yourself a wedding ’emergency kit’ and you will be able to handle any problems with style and grace.

Some things to include

Your emergency kit can include anything you think you might need on the wedding day. Some ideas include:

  • An extra pair of pantyhose is always a good backup to have. If you do find a snag or run in your stockings, dab some clear nail polish on it to prevent it running further. If the damage is beyond repair, simply put on your spare pair.
  • Safety pins will come in handy if you get an unexpected tear. They will also come in handy if you want to quickly bustle up a train.
  • Pack an emery board. If you break a nail, you can quickly file it down. You might also want to include some nail polish so you can touch up your nail colours if necessary.
  • A needle and thread is extra handy in case you need to do some emergency sewing. You’ll be glad you have this if some beading or sequins on your gown become undone.
  • In case of small cuts, pack a few band-aids that match your skin tone. If the cut doesn’t require a band-aid, pack tissues. These will also come in handy when you cry.
  • Bad hair days do happen! A small bottle of gel or hairspray will help tame your hair. Bobby pins and clips are also good for a quick fix.
  • Keep your smile bright and breath fresh with a travel size toothbrush, toothpaste and some breath mints.
  • Pack your purse and make sure you have a little bit of money for emergency phone calls etc.
  • Aspirins are a good idea to save you from any headaches you (or your bridesmaids) might have on the day.
  • Tuck a few crackers or cookies in a small plastic bag. You might be too busy to eat during the day. If you feel faint or lightheaded, have a bite. A small bottle of water is also a good idea. Do not pack juice, as this could spill and stain your dress.

Tips for Toasts and Speeches

Tips for Toasts and Speeches

Chances are that if you’ve made the effort to look up ‘tips for speech making’, this area isnt quite your forte. Yet. But have no public-speech-related fear! As it turns out, the gap between total amateur and being able to make a speech comfortably isn’t as wide as you’d think. All it takes is the right information and some practice (really). Read through and incorporate our tips to instantly up the ante and surprise the audience when it comes time to make your speech or toast.

  • When it comes to any form of public speaking, be it a wedding or a conference, the most important thing is to know your audience.
  1. The first component of this is to decide on which tone is most appropriate for your speech. If the affair is a formal one, a speech rooted in humour or sentimental nostalgia might not be the most appropriate. If you’re not sure about the overall tone of the wedding, write your speech how you feel most comfortable, and make adjustments (such as how you address the audience, which jokes or memories you pull or add to the piece, etc) in the half-hour before you’re due to deliver it.
  2. Find out in advance what aspects or points you need to cover. Just as importantly, find out if there are any awkward areas or topics that you should avoid and adjust your speech accordingly. Knowing your audience will help you determine what to say and how to say it.
  • Don’t rush your speech. The most important rule of good public speaking is to breathe, centre yourself, and try to relax as much as possible.
  • Make sure the microphone is at the right height before your start your speech. Far better to address the issue first than to soldier on looking awkward or without being heard.
  • Make eye contact with your audience. Your audience will be more receptive to your speech if you have strong body language, a major component of which is solid eye contact (even if this is onyl held at the beginning of the speech). It will also help you to think of the individuals you are addressing, who happening to be sitting in a group. Many find looking at the audience and thinking about them in these terms helps to relax them. If you find that you can’t quite focus on your speech while making eye contact (a very common complaint), either find a spot on the wall opposite you to continually look at, or scan the space a few inches above the heads of the crowd. No one will be able to notice, we promise.
  • Don’t slouch. It’s scientifically proven that standing up straight makes you feel more confident and self assured, and your audience will see the difference. Stage presence counts for a lot. Good posture will also help you to project your voice.
  •  Do your best to appear relaxed and natural (ish). If you can, try to look at certain individuals when making your speech as opposed to staring into the back wall. If you make eye contact with people, your speech will be a lot more intimate. Smiling will give the impression that you are at ease. Fake it ’til you make it, baby!
  • Your speech should be prepared beforehand. Make yourself speech cards with large writing and print clearly. You might even want to use a highlighter and make pauses and paragraphs so that you can see these at a glance. There’s nothing worse than standing in front of an audience, waiting for the perfect off-the-cuff speech to come to you, only to crash and burn publicly.
  • Watch your language. Not the sweary bits- that should go without saying- but in terms of your use of phraseology. Make sure your language is clear and helps you to get your ultimate points across. Also, try not to repeat the same phrases or specific words multiple times.
  • If there are guests at the wedding that are particularly conservative or whom you don’t know well (and there are bound to be), try not to include crude jokes into your speech as you do not want to offend anybody. But if the wedding is an informal do where everyone uses that sort of language to humourously express themselves, let ‘er rip! Whatever will add to the joy of the celebration.
  • Unless you’re the bride, groom, or part of their immediate family, aim to have your speech run under 5 minutes. If you speak for much longer than this, your audience will probably get bored. To ensure you get the timing right, literally time the speech! After you’ve written a draft of your speech that is approximately the right duration, revisit it every now and again and update is as you see fit.
  • There’s no need to learn your speech by heart. A better option is to become familiar with the speech so that you will speak naturally when giving it. Have your speech cards handy so that you can glance at it from time to time as a refresher. Practice really does make perfect.
  • Try not to drink too much before it’s your time to speak. On the flip side, if you get very agitated ahead of public speechmaking, perhaps a glass (or two, tops!) of champers might help relax you.  Remember that your aim is to deliver your speech as well as possible, and to act in a way that aims to see that goal through. Use your discretion.
  • On the same lines, always visit the ladies’ in advance to making your speech!
  • If you can, and if it’ll help, find a private corner of the function (toilet stalls are absolutely fine) just before giving the speech. Use whatever methods you know help calm you down- some like to revert back to a hobby, like sitting down to knit for 5 minutes, other like to do something repetitive, like chewing gum or brushing their hair, whilst others like to spend some time doing a crazy little dance to get all the nervous energy they can out. Don’t worry about accidentally being found out- simply tell your surprise audience that you’re about to give a toast and you’re working out your nerves. They’ll understand, I promise.

At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that you have, in the grand scheme of things, a fairly small role and responsibility- though that’s not to say that it’s not significant! Remembering this should alleviate some pressure that everyone inevitably feels before public speaking. As long as you’re expressing your love and well wishes for the happy couple, the way you say it is a very secondary factor. Any positive speech, no matter what the delivery turns out to be, always serves to enhance the event. So remember to plan ahead, loosen up, speak confidently of love, and you absolutely can’t go wrong.


Wedding Speech Running Order

Wedding Speech Running Order

The typical running order for wedding speeches can vary depending on religion or culture, or even personal preference. The main objective in this portion of the wedding is to make sure that the guests are in a position to properly pay attention to, and actually enjoy the speeches. So, generally speaking, the speeches are held toward the end of the meal.

Running Order

The running order of wedding speeches is usually as follows:

  • Guests arrive for drinks
  • Guests are seated
  • MC introduces the bridal party and welcomes the guests
  • Meal is served
  • Speeches are held
  • Cutting of the cake
  • Bridal waltz
  • Guests invited to dance
  • The farewell

It’s important to remember, however, that this order is flexible and can be changed. If another order happens to suit your needs better, feel free to switch it up. It helps to think out loud and discuss your options through with your wedding planner/ coordinater or family and friends to work out the best logistical option.

Speech Order

The order of the speeches themselves is similarly dependent on your personal preference. But for the sake of making sure they all run smoothly, decide on an order before the speeches are begun. Traditionally, speeches are made in the following order:

  • Father of the Bride
  • Father of the Groom
  • The Groom
  • The Bride
  • The Best Man

Individual Speeches
Each individual’s role and speech generally covers these basics:

Master of Ceremonies:

Controls the order of speeches. He calls for the guests’ attention and either introduces each speaker in turn or just the first speaker.

The Bride’s Father

(Or close friend or relative of the bride’s family) speaks first.The bride’s father will propose a toast to the newlywed couple. What he will speak about will depend on each situation, but he might include:

  • Welcoming the guests and thanking them for joining both his  and the groom’s family
  • How proud he is of his daughter/family member/friend, often including stories of her growing up and their family life
  • Welcoming his new son-in-law and the groom’s parents to his family
  • Advice and well wishes to the couple
  • Thanking everyone who helped to organise the wedding, including all paid employees
  • Proposing a toast to the couple at the end of his speech

The Groom

Traditionally speaks next. His speech could include:

  • Thanking the guests for their attendance
  • Thanking the bride’s parents for allowing him to marry their daughter, welcoming him into the family
  • Thanking everyone who contributed to the wedding
  • Thanking and complimenting the bride, emphasising how lucky he is to have married her
  • Paying tribute to his own parents- refering to his upbringing, moral guidance, and opportunities given to him through his family
  • Thanking the page boys, flower girls, ring bearers, and bridesmaids
  • Thanking his best man, a brief discussion of how important his friendship is to the groom
  • Thanking his groomsmen for their help in preparing him for the wedding, as well as helping the day to run smoothly
  • Thank everyone for coming, for their kind wishes and gifts

The Bride

Though not mandatory, the bride may choose to make her own speech. This can vary from a few short words thanking her guests for attending, and how lucky she feels on this day, to her own full-blown version of the groom’s own speech.

The Best Man

Officially, his duty is to reply on behalf of both the groomsmen and the bridesmaids. His speech is traditionally the most casual and fun, and generally includes:

  • Complimenting the bride and groom and wishing them a lifetime of happiness together
  • Thanking the groom for asking him to be best man at his wedding
  • Describe any funny stories about the groom (without mentioning anything too raunchy or any past relationships)
  • An informal speech or story about the bride and groom, and why they’re well- fitted for one another
  • Reading out any words from relatives/ particularly good friends who were unable to attend

If there are to be other toasts or additional speeches to be made, they are done so now. These are generally much shorter, and are ordinarily given in the following order:

  • Toast to the parents by the MC or groomsmen not the best man
  • Father of the bride
  • Father of the groom
  • Groom or Groom and Bride together
  • Best man

The Master of Ceremonies will then finalise the wedding speeches by encouraging the guests to enjoy the rest of the evening. We suggest you do the same!


The Bride’s Speech

The Bride’s Speech

Although traditionally, the bride was not required (or even encouraged) to make her own wedding speech, modern brides have increasingly been taking to the mike and turning this antiquated custom on it’s ear (hurrah girl power!). Many brides nowadays feel obliged to formally thank their families and guests for helping to celebrate this momentous occassion, as well as simply express how they’re feeling at this incredibly important juncture. So we’ve devised a plan for how you should structure your speech to make sure that all of your bases are covered.

( Courtesy myweddingbag.wordpress.com)

Where the Bride’s Speech Fits In

In the context of the broader running sheet for the wedding, the bride should be making her speech after the groom, just before the cutting of the cake. See our article on speech running order article for more details.

Lead With Your Gratitude

Even though ‘thank- yous’ have been made by the speech givers before, it’s still a nice gesture to reiterate the same sentiments to express your personal thanks to all your guests. People you should address include:

– All the guests present for making this day and celebration possible, as well as for their kind gifts. If you want to lay on the charm, you could also thank them for putting in the effort to look so gorgeous.

– Guests who’ve travelled from far away. If you’ve got many guests who’ve travelled to be at your wedding, you can simply mention them in generalities. If, however, you’ve only got a few, you could mention them by name and where they’re from.

– Guests who couldn’t be with you on this occassion. This could be due to an inability to travel, or a  death. It’s absolutely appropriate to mention the ‘silver lining’ of each of these speeches- for example someone who couldnt be there because they’ve recently had a baby, or if you feel a deceased loved one looking over your celebrations.

– Thank individual guests, who’ve particularly helped you through this period, helped with a particular service, or contributed a significant gift. This could include, for example, your close friends and family who’ve put up with your complaints, the person who provided your cake, or even your wedding planner.

– Thank your parents for their role in the wedding, and the love and encouragement they’ve provided throughout your life.

– Thank your partner’s parents for welcoming you into their family, and assure them you’ll love and take exceptional care of their son forevermore.

Reminisce a Little

Now’s the time to give your version of how you and your partner met, perhaps when you realised he was the one,  and your version of how he proposed. Feel free to slip in any funny related anecdotes- like the first impression he made on your parents, or anything silly that happened in the lead up to the wedding. Steer clear of embarrassing him (or anyone if you can help it), however- that’s more of the best man’s domain.

You could then discuss what you think it means to be married, and to be a wife, and how you are going to show your love to him for the rest of your lives together.

Turn Your Attention to Your Husband

Express your love for your new husband. Include how happy he’s made you, and the impact he’s made not only on your life, but on you as a person. Discuss how lucky you feel to have met him, and to be able to share your life with him. And if you’re not great with words, don’t stress- there are an infinite number of poems, sonnets, songs, or verses on love and marriage that should help you express how you feel.

Wrap it Up With a Toast

Depending on how you feel, as well as who has already been toasted, this toast could be directed at your husband, the marriage ahead of you, your guests, or to love and happiness. Whatever you toast to, just make sure that you convey that at this moment, your heart is brimming with joy.


Wedding Speech Dos and Don’ts

Wedding Speech Dos and Don’ts

Whilst being asked to deliver the all-important wedding speech is, of course, an enormous honour, it can also be unbelieveably stressful. What if you’re not interesting enough? Optimistic enough? Funny enough? Poignant enough?

The good news is that severe public-speech-related jitters are incredibly common- studies have shown that public speaking is the top reported fear among adults, even beating out death itself. Bizarre. But a great wedding speech doesn’t have to be the cause of anxiety. Just follow these simple sets of ‘dos and don’ts’ for a fail-safe speech that will absolutely delight the bride and groom.


Plan your speech. A certain amount of spontaneity is definitely allowed, and you certainly don’t have to write your speech out word-for-word, but you do want to have all of the main points and examples planned out in your head. Before the big day, practice your speech for a friend to make sure you’re comfortable. Wedding photographers everywhere will tell you that some of these spontaneous moments provide some of the most lasting and memorable pictures in your wedding album.


Drink too much before your speech! At most wedding receptions there’s usually no shortage of alcohol – which can seem like a quick and easy way to calm your nerves; however, this method doesn’t usually end well. Have a social drink if it’s appropriate, but save any “heavier” drinking for after you’ve put down the microphone.


Introduce yourself to the audience. Remember that there’s likely a large group of attendees who have no idea who you are. Avoid the temptation to jump right into the body of your speech, and take a second to mention your name, and relationship to the bride and/or groom.


Tell embarrassing stories. Especially if you’ve known the bride or groom for a very long time, you might be tempted to wax nostalgic about the time the groom ended up locked out of his apartment, completely naked – but these stories aren’t usually received as well as they’re meant. Save the embarrassing anecdotes for private conversations, not for the stage.


Keep it brief. Considering how much you’ve likely sweated over your speech, it can be difficult to remember that it’s actually not the main event at the wedding reception. Also remember that time feels different when you’re under pressure; so your experience at the microphone might not accurately reflect the experience of a listener. When in doubt, shorter is always better.


Tell inside jokes or ‘you had to be there’ stories. The fact that you’re speaking at the wedding means you likely have a particularly close relationship to the bride, groom, or both. It’s wonderful to make your speech personal, and direct it to the wedded couple; just make sure it’s not so peppered with inside references that it’s not understandable to the rest of the wedding guests.


Make eye contact, and broadcast your voice. This is particularly important if you’re at a formal wedding, where the wedding party is seated separately. Look around the room, and make eye contact with other guests – not just the bride and groom. Although in your speech you might be speaking directly to the bride or groom, e.g. “I remember when we would sit around fantisizing about our dream weddings…” it’s important to acknowledge the other guests.


Mention past loves or old flames. Although this should go without saying, it’s a surprisingly frequent occurrence. The wedding speech isn’t the time to bring up the bride’s old boyfriend – keep your speech narrowly focused on the couple.


Include both the bride and the groom in your speech. If you have a particularly close relationship with either the bride or the groom, it’s easy to give a speech that’s unfairly one-sided. As much as possible, give equal attention to both the bride and groom.


Let your emotions run wild. Weddings are incredibly moving events, and during the very best speeches it’s perfectly acceptable to shed a quiet tear of joy or two; but remember that there’s a fine line between a tastefully authentic speech and a blubbering mess.


End the speech with the customary toast. Keep the toast itself short and classy. Wish the bride and groom love, luck, and happiness in their new life together, raise your glass, and bring the speech to an end.

In short, when being asked to prepare a wedding speech, make sure to keep some if not all these points in mind; they could just make a difference between an awkward and a great and lasting wedding speech that will be talked about not only that day, but for years to come. Oh and just one more piece of advice: Do remember to have fun with it, after all, it is a wedding!

*In case this isnt clear, this is meant to be read in as sarcastic a tone as one can possibly manage, depending on your particular vocal range.


Wedding Celebrant FAQs

Wedding Celebrant FAQs

(Courtesy greenweddingshoes.com)

What does a celebrant do?

A wedding celebrant takes care of all of the legal requirements for your wedding. They communicate with the government departments and obtain and submit all of the necessary paperwork on your behalf. A celebrant also facilitates your wedding ceremony and helps to make sure things run smoothly on the day. They may also recommend other services to you such as local florists and caterers.

What is the difference between a minister and a celebrant?

A minister or priest is a religious leader and will usually perform weddings in their church and include religious wordings in the ceremony. A celebrant is a civil servant who can legally marry couples in a number of venues and is able to customise the ceremony to suit the needs and style of the couple.

How should we choose our celebrant?

Meet a few celebrants until you find someone who you both feel comfortable with. A celebrant who suits your style, personalities and understands your ceremony desires will work well with you and make the day more enjoyable for everyone. Basically, when you find someone who has the qualities you admire in a friend, you have probably found the perfect celebrant for your big day. For more information, check out this comprehensive article.

Can a friend or family member marry us?

If they are a legal minister or celebrant, yes. If not, your celebrant may be willing to work with you so that they perform all of the legal requirements, wordings and signing registry and then oversee your friend or family member facilitating the vows and ring exchange.

When should we start looking for a celebrant?

Don’t leave celebrant shopping to the last minute. Start looking as soon as you have set a wedding date. Meet with a few celebrants before deciding on the one you are most comfortable with. Keep in mind that popular celebrants book up fast. If you can, start meeting celebrants up to 12 months before the wedding. At the very least, you will need one month to notify the attorney general’s office of your “intent to marry” so make sure to find a celebrant more than one month before your wedding day.

How much of the budget should we spend on the celebrant?

Seeing as there is no marriage if there is no celebrant, budget priority should be given to the celebrant’s fee. The celebrant’s fee should come first and foremost and then the rest of the budget can be broken down from there.

How much should we expect to pay for a celebrant?

Celebrants charge anywhere from $150 to $850 but the fee doesn’t necessarily reflect the quality of service. Shop around until you find a celebrant you are comfortable with. You may find that a cheaper celebrant suits your needs better than a more expensive one.

Do we need to pay for the whole celebrant’s fee up front?

Most celebrants do not require the entire fee to be paid up front. Most ask for a deposit of between 20% and 50% during the initial consultation.

After paying the deposit, when should we pay the rest of the celebrant’s fee?

Some couples choose to pay the remaining amount of the celebrant’s fee on the day of their wedding. However, this can become tricky, and awkward, as your mind will likely be on other things that day. It’s a good idea to pay the remaining amount at the rehearsal dinner. That way, you don’t have to worry about it slipping your mind and you can focus on the important things.

What services are included in the celebrant’s fee?

Most celebrants will meet with the couple a few times. There is the initial consultation and then two or more meetings to discuss the ceremony, legalities and to answer any questions that the bride and groom might have. The celebrant’s fee includes the time involved in these meetings and filing the necessary paperwork. Many celebrants also provide a PA system, signing table and stationery to use on the day of the wedding. These items may be included in the price or may include a separate fee.

How long should the ceremony be?

Most ceremonies are between 20 and 30 minutes but this is up to you. Couples who have particularly musical friends sometimes invite their friends to perform a suitable song at the ceremony, which obviously extends the length of the ceremony. However, most guests prefer short and sweet ceremonies. You can party the time away with your friends and family at the reception.

Is there a certain wedding program that we need to follow during the ceremony?

There are some parts of the ceremony which cannot be changed, for legal reasons. If you choose to be married by a minister, there are additional parts of the ceremony which the minister likely will not change. However, much of the ceremony is customisable. Your celebrant can discuss options with you and provide samples which you can pick and choose between to create a ceremony program which suits your personalities and preferences.

What aspects of the ceremony do we need to discuss with the celebrant beforehand?

Your vows and the legal wording of the ceremony are of utmost importance but there are many other details that are also important to discuss to make sure that your day runs smoothly. You will be able to iron out most of the ceremony wrinkles and ask questions during the rehearsal but it is also a good idea to make sure that the photographers and ushers are clear on the celebrant’s expectations. You may have seen the recent viral video where the photographers and minister began arguing during the ceremony. This is the last thing you want at your wedding. Camera flashes and clicks can be distracting and interfere with the PA system so make sure to clearly define areas where the photographers can and cannot shoot from, as well as times during the ceremony when photography may not be appropriate.

Who can be our witnesses?

You will need two witnesses to sign your wedding papers at the ceremony, to make your marriage legal. The two witnesses can be any two adults (over the age of 18) except the celebrant.


Wedding Celebrant Glossary

Wedding Celebrant Glossary

(Courtesy stylemepretty.com)

Church wedding: a wedding ceremony which is performed in a place of worship, by a religious minister.

Civil celebrant: a civil celebrant is a person, outside of the church, who is legally able to marry couples and facilitate wedding ceremonies. A civil celebrant can perform wedding ceremonies in almost any location.

Intent to Marry: a form which must be submitted to the Department of Births, Deaths and Marriages, at least 30 days prior to the wedding.

Interfaith Ceremony: a wedding between a couple from different faith backgrounds, which may be difficult to facilitate in a church. A civil celebrant can flexibly work with the couple to incorporate aspects of both faiths into the ceremony.

Legal Wordings: the words which must be spoken by the celebrant, prior to the vows being spoken, to make the marriage legal. There are certain words which must also be spoken by the bride and groom as they exchange vows, to make the marriage legally binding.

Minister: a religious leader who is able to legally marry couples and facilitate wedding ceremonies. Ministers usually include religious wordings during the ceremony and may only perform ceremonies inside their church or place of worship.

Readings: vows which are customised to suit the personality and style of the bride and groom.

Rites: the formal vows, wordings and prayers usually set aside for Catholic wedding ceremonies.

Rituals: the formal parts of the ceremony which include the legal wordings.

Rehearsal: a practice run of the ceremony, usually done the night before the wedding. This is the time to iron out any wrinkles in the service and answer any questions that the wedding party might have. Rehearsals are also a good time to pay the remaining amount of the celebrant’s fee.

Ring exchange: the point in the ceremony, after the vows, where the bride and groom give each other their wedding rings.

Signing registry: the final paperwork which legally states that the bride and groom are married. This paperwork needs to be signed at the ceremony by the bride, groom, celebrant and two witnesses.

Vows: the speech which the bride and groom say to each other, stating their commitment to one another.

Witnesses: two adults who sign the wedding registry, confirming that they witnessed the couple get married in a legal wedding ceremony.