Frequently Asked Questions

The most common things we are asked

Q: Can we write our own vows and how do we put it all together?

A: Yes of course and l encourage you to do so, I provide suggestions which you may choose, or you may these to assist you to mix and match or write your own personal wedding vows to each other.

Q: Do we have to fill out any forms or do any paperwork for the Government?

A: Yes, provide all the legal documents required and will help you complete them and will submit them
to the relevant authorities. You will need your Birth Certificates or valid passports and perhaps other
documentation depending on your situation

Q: What costs are involved when using a civil celebrant?

A: Most civil celebrant services cost between $450 and $770 depending on the time, travel and individual situation. The mid-range price seems to be around $650 including all legal requirement, personalized, ceremony and assisting with the many aspects of the ceremony. I provide a range of prices depending upon your individual circumstances which we will discuss.

Q: Do we face our guests during the ceremony?

This is a frequently asked question. This is civil ceremony, so you are facing your guests who are share your joy and commitments on your big day. At our final meeting I will discuss all of this with You and on that will guide you.

Q: Can we have a religious element e.g. Prayers at our ceremony?

A: Yes of course you can. It is your marriage ceremony and can incorporate anything that you ask for provide total flexibility.

Q: can we have candies or symbolism in our ceremony?

Yes, I will offer you many choices or symbolism tor your Ceremony, unity, Candle, Rose, Celtic handfasting are just a few of the possibilities available to you. If you have any ideas or cultural rituals we can easily incorporate these into your ceremony.

Q: Can I use the Marriage certificate we receive at our marriage ceremony as evidence for a name change?

A: No, the certificate you are presented with at the close of your ceremony is a commemorative Certificate and not support your application to change your identity documents.

Q: What do I need as evidence for a name change?

you will need a Registered copy of your Marriage Certificate obtainable from the office of Births, Deaths and Marriages in the State in which you are Marriages in the state in which you married.

There is a small government fee for this certificate. You will be eligible for a new passport, free of charge if the application is made within 12 months of marriage.

Click here for more information on Legal Requirements and registration of Marriage.

Q: How long does a wedding ceremony go for?

A: This depends on your requirement but generally allow 45 minutes which includes a period for signing paperwork. If you have one or two reading and symbolism, then the ceremony can take longer. Weddings can be as long or as short as you wish but there are certain components of the ceremony that are required by law to be included. Remember your guests have come to watch wedding ceremony and will feel cheated if your ceremony is too short.

Q: How long does a wedding ceremony go for?

A: Most couples don’t know what is involved in a wedding ceremony and that why I am here to help you. My comprehensive Wedding Guide takes you step by step through many choices with a planer, to help you create your own unique ceremony.

Q: How far in advance can/should we book a celebrant?

You can book your celebrant anytime to secure your and time. Remember in peak months you may find that I am booked on your date. Legal documentation can only be officially lodged no more than 18 months in advance of the wedding date and no less than one month before the wedding date. The earlier you book your key services. Celebrant. Venue, Photographer etc., the more likely you will have your first choice.

Q: Where do we meet?

A: Meetings are held in my home in Blackburn. A meeting can be held day or night depending on my wedding schedule. The last weekday evening appointment is 8:30pm. Daytime week-end appointment is available subject to my availability.

Q: What Questions will l ask you!

A: Have you set a date and place for wedding?

  • Do you have your Birth certificates and/or valid passports?
  • Have you got any ideas or cultural requirements for a ceremony?
  • How many people will be in the wedding party?
  • Is there anything special/different you may want to include in the ceremony?

Celebrate and acknowledge your relationship with your chosen life companion. It is not always possible for people to legally marry but together you can declare your commitment to one another amongst your family and friends.

My craft is to make your Special Day personal. Stylish and memorable and together we can design and plan a ceremony that will be unique and memorable to you both. You may wish to choose your own wording and ideas, or I can suggest wording to make your ceremony meaningful and enjoyable for you and your guests.

These personalized ceremonies usually include the lightening of a unity candle and signing of a certificate of commitment.

Registration Marriage

Your celebrants will forward necessary paperwork for Registration of marriage to occur in the Department of Births, Death and marriages, (BDM), 595 Collins Street, Melbourne.


A Registered copy of the Certificate of Marriage is available for a small fee and it s recommended that all couples apply for this. Margret Barwell provides all her clients with a copy of the form required to apply for this registered copy. It takes approx.… 6 weeks for this to become available from BDM.

Changing the Brides name to her husband name Margaret can provide her clients with a Name Change Kit with all the relevant forms to change the bride’s name after marriage. You will be eligible for a new passport, free of charge, if application is made within 12 months of marriage.

Multicultural Weddings

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Melbourne is a very multicultural city and I welcome clients from many diverse backgrounds. Having lived in Sri Lanka and other parts of Asia. I am familiar with Poruwa, Hindu, Buddhist and other marriage ceremonies. Clients engage me to conduct the entire marriage ceremony for them incorporating some of their rituals and customs or, some clients request that I attend to the Commonwealth Government legal requirements at the ceremony whilst the actual ceremony is performed in accordance with their culture.

Spouse visa letters.
A client living in Australia who wishes to assist their purposed spouse who live overseas to obtain a Spouse Visa must:

Meet with me and complete the Notice of Intention to Marry form. (NOIM)

I will then provide a spouse vis Letter stating that they have met with me and completed the NOIM. This letter from me supports the client’s application for spouse visa.

When the overseas spouse arrives in Australia they must meet with me, produce relevant documentation (passport or birth certificate…. + divorce/death papers if relevant) and complete their section of the NOIM. The marriage date is then set, and the marriage must take place within 9 months of arrivals in Australia.

Industry Associations

Members of:

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Contact me

Phone : (03) 9877 2746

Mobile : 0408 772 746

Email : margaret@margaretbarwell.com.au