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How to share your story with your celebrant

Posted on 13 February, 2017 at 5:15 Comments comments (0)

The most memorable wedding ceremonies are those that share a piece of you – well, your love story.


You’ve made the decision to hitch your wagon to your favourite person and you’re super-excited – but how do you put that into words? As your celebrant, I’ll write the love story part of your ceremony, but I need the details from you.


So, grab a pen and piece of paper, work together or separately, and start noting down your answers to the following questions. But don’t just stop when you get to the end! Let your mind roam freely and jot down all sorts of thoughts that I can use as building blocks to writing your story.


Let’s start with the basics:

 

  • How did you meet? When and where?
  • Did the sparks fly immediately?
  • Who made the first move? How
  • Common interests?

 


Now let’s dig a bit deeper.

 

  • Tell me about an occasion where your loved one did something that made you feel really special.
  • What’s the sweetest thing you’ve done for your partner?

 


Complete these sentences.

 

  • In five years we will……
  • He/she always makes me laugh when….
  • I want to be married because…
  • Something that no one else knows about our relationship is….
  • Work together or separately. These are simply thought starters

 


Now just send your notes to me and let me do the work. I’ll send you a draft and we’ll make magic happen!


 

How much does a celebrant cost?

Posted on 7 February, 2017 at 3:10 Comments comments (0)

"What do you charge for a wedding?"

That is the most common enquiry I get from couples when they start looking for a celebrant. Fair enough. Weddings can be very expensive and it's important to set a budget.

You will always find a celebrant who charges less that me.

So, here are four reasons why you should still consider choosing me as your authorised marriage celebrant:

 

  1. I always want to do an exceptional job for you. If I don't value the service that I provide, neither will you.
  2. I charge a fee that reflects the level of professionalism, personalisation and effort that I put into every ceremony. If I don't, then I risk losing the pride and joy in what I do, and that's not fair to you.
  3. I am a trained, experienced professional, authorised by the Attorney General's Department to perform a legal service. Just like you, I deserve to be remunerated properly for my work.
  4. Just because I'm lucky enough to love every moment of being a celebrant, that doesn't mean I can afford to work for the love of it. #addictedtoeating
Bonus reason - you'll get an awesome ceremony that just pops with personality!

 

Thank you

Posted on 16 December, 2016 at 23:35 Comments comments (0)

Thank you.

 

2016 has been my first full year as a celebrant and I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and everyone who has supported me on this magical journey.

 

Those who have chosen me as your celebrant, whether it be for your marriage or for a funeral service to farewell a loved one - thank you for allowing me to be a part of such special times in your lives. It has been an honour which I never take lightly.

 

To my family and friends - thank you for your unconditional love and encouragement.

 

May all of your dreams come true in 2017.



Your most important wedding professional

Posted on 10 August, 2016 at 7:05 Comments comments (1)

After you and your beloved, your celebrant is the most important person on your wedding day.

 

Ok, I agree that is a big call, but look at it this way - without a celebrant, your big day is just one great party.

 

That’s because your celebrant is the one responsible for ensuring that you are legally married.

 

All the other wedding professionals that you work with are there to make you look gorgeous, create atmosphere, entertain and feed your guests and capture your memories. That’s important and that’s why you should take great care in choosing the right people to work with.

 

So, what does your celebrant actually do?


 

There actually two elements to our role – your ceremony and the legal stuff.

 

For most celebrants, your ceremony is the fun part of our work. We get to use our creative side to craft a ceremony that reflects your personalities, personalises your wedding day, and introduces your guests to the theme of your wedding. Your ceremony can be formal, traditional, quirky, conservative, Pagan, religious, non-religious.

 

Anyone can perform this part of your ceremony but your celebrant has undergone significant training and obtained experience in crafting a variety of ceremonies and presenting them.

 

The second element of our role is legal. This is the stuff that makes sure that, at the end of the day, you are legally married to the person you plan to spend the rest of your life with.

 

And it’s stuff that cannot be done by just anyone.

 

Authorised marriage celebrants must complete training, apply to and be authorised by the Attorney General’s Department, and must undertake Ongoing Professional Development (OPD) every year.

 

We must verify your identify using specified means/documents. We must meet legislated timeframes from receiving your Notice of Intention to Marry through to submitting all of the paperwork for your wedding to the Department of Births, Deaths and Marriage. We must check your eligibility to marry (age, marital status. We must be satisfied that you are not being forced into marriage. During your ceremony we must make a specific legal statement and make sure that you make vows that meet legal wording requirements. In short we are agents of the Australian Government and we must comply with the Marriage Act 1961, Regulations and Guidelines, as well as a Code of Conduct.

 

As much as we love our jobs, it is not one to be taken lightly. Marriage has significant consequences (think wills, passports, even the name on your driver’s licence) and we have undertaken an obligation to ensure that the proper processes are followed.

 

That’s why we ask you the tough and sometimes personal questions. That’s why we need you to produce certain documentation. That’s why our Terms of Service are so detailed, yet so important. It’s not just a 30-minute ceremony. It’s the rest of your life.

 

As I said before, without the legal stuff, your wedding day is just one big party. But with a celebrant, you get your party off to a great ceremonial start and you end up married! That’s what I call, win-win.

 

 

 

 

 

Bride's Day Out expo

Posted on 17 June, 2016 at 0:10 Comments comments (0)

Come along for a chat with some of Gippland's best wedding providers!

It's an expo for you!

Posted on 10 May, 2016 at 4:35 Comments comments (0)

Wedding or bridal expos are great way to check out your local wedding vendors.

You can meet us face-to-face, have a chat, pick up some great ideas and even make some bookings on the day.

I'm excited to be exhibiting at my very first expo this Sunday, May 15 at the Traralgon Premiere Function Centre between 10am and 2pm.

Please come on by and have a bit of fun with my social media photo frame. You can even get a discount on your ceremony fee by posting your photo with the hashtag  #UniqueLifeCeremonies on Facebook!

Tell me about your wedding plans and see whether I can help make your dreams come true!

You can also lock me in for your date by paying a deposit on the day. No need to bring cash. Just pay with your credit card.

Want to know more? Check out the expo's Facebook page at  https://www.facebook.com/weddingideasexpo/

Welcome and an introduction

Posted on 15 March, 2016 at 20:00 Comments comments (0)

Hello and welcome!

I'm Tracey Matthies, authorised marriage celebrant and owner at Unique Life Ceremonies. 

In this, my first blog post, you'll get to know me a little, including why I became a celebrant, and you'll also pick up at least one key tip for choosing a celebrant for your big day. 

I toyed with the idea of becoming a celebrant for at least 10 years before completing the course and applying to the Attorney General's Department for authorisation. I believe in the institution of marriage (for everyone) and I believe that family is important to our society. I also think that ceremony is essential to mark significant moments in our lives, and marriage is certainly a significant moment!

But most importantly, I feel that I have enough life experience to add value to your wedding day because I am a wife (more than 30 years' experience!), mother (almost 30 years' experience), grandma, daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, niece etc, etc.

As a former journalist who worked in both radio and print, I am also an experienced presenter, interviewer and writer, which all helps me to capture and share your love story.

The best part of being an authorised marriage celebrant is that I get to work with people who are in love and at the happiest time of their life!

When I'm not being a celebrant, I manage a small business that does market research for audiologists, I go rock and roll dancing, cycling and geocaching (Google that one!) with my husband, and I give back to my community through my involvement with the Lions Club of Trafalgar and Gippy Rocks.

OK, this is the key tip I promised you for choosing your authorised marriage celebrant.

I may not be the celebrant for you.

Surely, I suspect you're asking yourself right now, I want you to choose me as your celebrant. After all, you're on my website, you're reading my blog. 

Well, yes, I do hope that you will choose me as your celebrant. Hopefully we're creating a connection right here before we even meet.

However, I'm realistic enough to accept that my style will not suit everyone. I can be formal, relaxed, traditional, light-hearted, and I can even crack an acceptable joke or two. But I can't sing (out of the shower), and I am a woman of a certain vintage. You may feel more comfortable with a male celebrant, or with a much younger or older celebrant.

And that's OK.

The most important thing is that you choose a celebrant who you click with because it's that connection that will enable me to create the ceremony of your dreams. Don't be afraid to interview several celebrants until you find the right one.

Please leave a comment.


It's not romantic, but it's important

Posted on 15 March, 2016 at 4:30 Comments comments (0)

This is probably the most unromantic blog that I could write but it’s a topic that is quite simply too important to be ignored.


Have you seen those WorkSafe advertisements about safety in the workplace?


Well, guess what?


On your wedding day, your wedding ceremony is MY workplace and that makes me responsible for the safety and wellbeing of everyone there, including you and your soon-to-be (or maybe newly-wed) spouse, myself, your wedding party and your guests.


While you’re looking stunningly beautiful, I’m looking out for anything that could go wrong. From children or animals behaving unpredictably, tripping hazards for your bridal procession or your guests, to frayed power cords, seating for those who need it most, and moving vehicles, I need to try and spot a hazard before it becomes a danger.


And that’s why I’ll ask you about Plan B in case it’s raining or in the middle of a heatwave for your outdoor wedding. I’m not just being practical; I’m taking my OHS responsibilities seriously.



When I suggest, for a hot day, that you position your bridal party under the shade of the trees or provide pretty parasols for us all to stand under, it’s because I’ve conducted a risk assessment and identified sunburn and heatstroke as potential hazards. It’s why I’ve suggested that you make sure there is plenty of cold water and maybe handheld paper fans available for your guests.


I am first-aid certified and that means that I have a legal responsibility to provide first aid should something occur while I’m working at your ceremony. That should give you peace of mind. If Nan faints or your pageboy nephew trips and rolls his ankle, then I’ll stop the ceremony and take care of the patient. Hopefully I can make them safe and comfortable and we can finish your ceremony.


The good news – I may be responsible for OHS at your wedding but I won’t have to wear a hi-viz vest (and that’s as much a relief for me as it is for you)!


 Image courtesy of Stock Images at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Nine things your celebrant wishes you knew (it's nothing personal)

Posted on 2 March, 2016 at 5:25 Comments comments (0)

Whether you are getting married for the first, second or even fifth time, there are certain things your celebrant (hopefully that's me!), wishes that you knew.  So, here are nine things that your celebrant wishes you knew. 

1. Celebrants love weddings, we love love and we love working with people in love on the happiest day of their lives. I guess you could say we are just romantics who have found the ideal way to get a regular dose of love in our lives.

2. Without an authorised marriage celebrant, your big day is just a party. You CAN get married without the pretty dress, flowers, hair and make-up, vintage cars and professional photographers (I’m not suggesting that you should give up all of these lovely elements!). But you cannot get married without a celebrant. Just ask my Mum. She married the love of her life in the emergency department of the Dandenong Hospital without any of the above except me, her celebrant. They didn’t have the party but they did get married.

3. Most of us have other jobs, often full-time. We also have families and other interests (I love dancing, cycling and geocaching with my husband and spending time with our grandson). Sometimes that means we can’t answer your phone call or email immediately but we do our best to get back to you as quickly as possible, especially as it gets closer to your wedding day

4. We hate it when you ask for a price before anything else. Now, this isn’t intended to offend. We know that you are on a budget but was that the first question you asked your dressmaker, cake maker or photographer or did you ask to see examples of their work? Celebrants are trained, authorised professionals who put many unseen hours into your wedding day. For me, it’s typically 12 to 15 hours by the time we have had several meetings, completed the legalities, created, revised and completed your ceremony, conducted your rehearsal, responded to your texts, emails, phone calls and Facebook messages, actually married you, and then registered your marriage. (Quick, look back at point one, I love all of this stuff, but you may not have realised how much work we put into your special day). On top of that celebrants have business expenses – PA system, signing table and chairs, maintaining a home office and reliable car, annual registration with the Attorney General’s Department plus ongoing professional development (that’s compulsory to maintain our registration), purchasing legal forms and documents, marketing, and smart clothes to wear (okay, that last one is a side benefit of being celebrant, but it’s still an expense).

5. You don’t need a license to get married in Australia. That’s just the influence of American TV. The legalities of getting married in Australia are best explained face-to-face, but in a nutshell, you must both be over 18 years old (some exemptions apply), and legally free to marry. You must lodge a Notice of Intention to Marry form with your celebrant between one and 18 months before your big day (again, some exemptions apply), you must prove your identity to the satisfaction of your celebrant, you must sign a Declaration of No Legal Impediment to Marriage, you must make legal vows in accordance with the Marriage Act 1961 and sign three copies of your marriage certificate. Your celebrant must also make a legal statement during your ceremony. So, you may have to show me your driver’s license as a part of proving your identity, but you don’t need a marriage license in Australia.

6. We have to follow the rules set down by the Attorney General’s Department (and the Marriage Act 1961) and the consequences of doing the dodgey on a date or similar are worse for us than for you so please don’t ask. Celebrants who falsify documents such as the date on your Notice of Intention to Marry form etc can be fined and have their authorization cancelled. I will not risk my career as a celebrant (refer to point one). If you ask, I will say no, and make a report to the authorities. Oh, and I will suggest that I am probably not the celebrant for you.

7. There’s no such thing as a dumb question, except the one that you don’t ask. I mean that. Look on your celebrant as your expert resource and don’t be afraid to ask the question. More than likely, we’ve heard it before and if not, then it has probably come up in our training or ongoing professional development. And if we don’t know the answer on the spot, we can always ask the Attorney General’s Department, Births, Deaths and Marriages, or our professional colleagues.

8. It truly is your day and we can do almost anything in your ceremony. I mean that. Apart from ensuring that all of the legal requirements are met, we can help you to get married however and wherever you want to in Australia (that’s cos our authorization is only for marriages in Australia). So, if you’ve got your heart set on a midnight ceremony in a hot air balloon hovering over your childhood house, then let’s get planning cos I love hot air ballooning. A bungee jumping ceremony – I might not be the celebrant for you!

9. We love it when you tell us how we did. It’s not just that it makes us feel good. Nor is it that your testimonial helps us to win new clients. It’s because we truly care about you and your day. We get anxious and nervous, just like you, but it’s our job to be the calm in the midst of your storm, so when you or your guests give us feedback, we feel just that bit better about the next wedding on our calendar.

What else do you wish you knew about marriage celebrants (refer point seven)? Go ahead and ask me by adding your comments.

 


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