Friday, May 8, 2015

Josh Withers Marriage Celebrant

Josh Withers Marriage Celebrant

“So are you a priest? Like, in a robe and everything?”

That’s what a shop assistant asked as I rushed in to get a bottle of water on the way to a wedding ceremony, in a suit, on a Tuesday afternoon. Apparently not many people, wearing suits, bought water on Tuesday afternoons from this shop and my presence was cause for concern.

The IGA staffer wondered at first if I was a Mormon or a Jehovah’s Witness. “I’m a celebrant!” I replied, telling him that I married people.

It all got very confusing for the young man.

I’ve had many similar experiences at wedding fairs and expos as well. So many people just don’t know what I do, so on behalf of the civil celebrants, priests, Mormons, and Jehovah’s Witnesses of this great country; let me clear a few things up.

Dresses, cakes, flowers, photographers, videographers, ice sculptures, caterers, invitations and lolly buffets should all be on your priority list, but, they all mean nothing without a celebrant. Your celebrant marries you (to your fiancé)!

Who can be a celebrant?

In Australia there are strictly two types of celebrants:

Religious celebrants
Civil celebrants
Not all priests, pastors, ministers and church leaders can be a religious celebrant; this is left to each denomination to determine, but many or most church leaders can marry people. Some churches restrict who they can marry, and some ask for church membership.

As for civil celebrants, it’s not quite like Friends where Joey can oversee your ceremony as long as you’ve gotten a marriage license. In fact in Australia we don’t even have marriage licenses, you do get a certificate after your ceremony though.

To become a celebrant in Australia today you need to complete a Certificate IV in Celebrancy then you must apply to the Attorney General’s office to become an authorized civil marriage celebrant.

What does every celebrant have in common?

Every single celebrant in Australia has this one thing in common: shoulder-pads, I said jokingly, as other celebrants send me death threats.

Seriously though, every single celebrant in Australia, religious or otherwise has the power and the authority to marry a man and a woman on Australian soil. Religious celebrants only have a few geographic limitations imposed by their state government and their church.

Every celebrant must see you more than at least 30 days before the wedding and help you complete some paperwork and see your ID. They’ll also ask you if you’re over 18, not related and not already married.

On the wedding day your celebrant’s legal responsibility is to make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into, and that at least two other people see it happen. They’ll also record the fact, and make sure the government knows all about it.

Where do celebrants differ?

This is where the shoulder-pads come in.

Celebrants, as you’d expect, are people, and you get to choose which person you want standing between you and your love on your wedding day. I won’t list all the ways that I differ to a colleague or another differs to me, but they are all different people with different skills, personalities, attitudes, experience and technology. Everyone charges a different price as well.

Now you get to go celebrant shopping!

So what the heck is a celebrant?

The celebrant is the guy or girl in charge of how boring your wedding is, or isn’t.

I explain it to couples like this: The celebrant is the CEO of your wedding, the bride and groom are the board of directors. I’m leading the company/wedding but you’re in charge and it’s important that before the wedding all of your expectations, desires, hopes and dreams are communicated so that your celebrant can be awesome!

Can I marry you?


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