Email Paul Cochran - Marriage Celebrant


What are our first steps?
  1. Most quality Celebrants are busy, so please book me as soon as you have decided on your date, time and venue.
  2. Organise an appointment with me to commence planning the ceremony.
  3. Your Notice of Intended Marriage' (NOIM) needs to be completed no less than one calendar month and one day prior to marriage but it is strongly advisable to complete this with me as soon as you have decided on the date and time for your ceremony. I will supply you with a copy to complete upon confirmation of your booking or you can go on-line to download a copy.

What do I need to Provide?
You are required by law to fill out a ‘Notice of Intended Marriage’ (NOIM) form which must be received by your marriage celebrant no later than one calendar month and one day prior to your marriage date.

You will need your birth certificates (originals) and evidence that any prior marriage has been dissolved by either death or divorce. If either of you have been divorced or widowed you will need to show your celebrant the original Divorce/Death certificates. For divorce, a copy of the Decree Absolute can be obtained from the Family Law Court in the State where the Marriage was dissolved. (please note - this only apples to Marriages dissolved after 1975). For Marriages dissolved prior to 1975, a copy of the Decree Absolute can be obtained from the Supreme Court in the State where the Marriage was dissolved.

Also provide your Deed Poll/Certificate of Name Change, if your name has been changed other than by previous marriage. Photocopies are not acceptable and if any of your certificates are not available, you should contact the Registrar of Births, Deaths & Marriages for advice.

You can download the NOIM from the Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages, complete it exactly as instructed on the document and bring it with you to our meeting, together with the above documentation.

Names must be exactly as documented on your Birth Certificates. If you would rather me help you fill out the (NOIM) I can provide one for you at our meeting and we can fill it out together, you will still need to bring the same documentation as above.

Where can we get married?
There are many beautiful and romantic wedding locations you can get married in. Parks, Botanical Gardens, Historic Trust homes, bush settings, universities campuses, even your own backyard. Some public parks and gardens require a fee for usage but many are free, although a booking through the local council or Parks Victoria is often necessary. I can advise you and assist with your booking requirements for your ceremony location.

If you prefer an intimate marriage ceremony you may choose a hotel or restaurant venue, or perhaps on a beach for a sunset wedding.

Can we choose spiritual or religious wording and readings for our ceremony?
Certainly. You are welcome to include any wording you feel reflects your beliefs or way of life.

What does the Celebrant do?

  • Attends to all the legal paperwork.
  • Assists you to create a ceremony to suit your needs
  • Conducts a rehearsal if requested
  • Marries you in accordance with Australian law (called solemnizing a marriage)
  • Provides advice on other wedding arrangements and services as requested
  • Maintains professional standards through membership of a professional association and participation in mandatory training and professional development each year
Do I need a “Plan B” in case of inclement weather?
Yes, definitely. If you are having an outdoor wedding, it is advisable to have an alternative indoor venue in case of inclement weather i.e. wind, extreme heat, rain – all valid reasons to move inside. Planning in advance takes away the stress and confusion on the day should we need to move venues at the last minute.

Note: Should your wedding be late in the day, determine the sunset time to ensure sufficient light for document signing and photography.

Do we have to attend any pre-marital courses?
This is your choice. I do have all the information regarding this should you wish to attend. Most couples who have taken advantage of these courses have gained a lot of insight and confidence in their marriage. I have lots of information about services that can support you both before and after your marriage. I am a firm believer in the value of these courses.

What happens in the event that we have to postpone our wedding?
The Notice of Intended Marriage is valid for 18 months, I am only too happy to reschedule the wedding with you.

Who can I have as my witnesses?
Anyone you like providing they are over the age of 18 years. They may be from overseas.

Can I have a friend or family member read a poem at my wedding?
Yes, I would encourage this as it adds dimension to your Ceremony ensuring that your ceremony is personalised and unique to you and your partner.

How many poems/readings is the right amount?
This is personal, one or two readings are appropriate and ensures that the Ceremony is not too long.

How long will the Ceremony take?
The average time is 20 – 30  minutes but this may vary depending on how many readings/poems etc. you include.

Who usually gives the bride away?
Again this is personal. It can be anyone you like.

Do I have to be given away?
No this is a personal choice and is not a requirement.

We want to arrive at the ceremony together, is this suitable?
Absolutely – these days anything goes, it’s your day you, your choice.

Is it fashionable for the bride to be late?
No, it is not fashionable to be late! Consider your guests, who may be elderly or infirm and become hot, tired and thirsty. Your reception, caterers, photographers and musicians are all running to a time schedule. If the Ceremony starts late so does everything else.

Should we have some chairs for our guests – how many is the right amount?
Yes chairs are a good idea, approx 12 chairs, is a good number, mostly for the elderly and family. Unless you have the exact amount of chairs as guests most people will prefer to stand.
What happens after the Ceremony - do you stay for the reception?
No I will leave soon after the ceremony, quietly and discreetly, occasionally staying for a celebratory drink.

What would happen if you were to get sick?
Unless I am very ill, I will perform your ceremony. Otherwise, I will organise a suitable replacement celebrant after consulting with you. 

What name does the bride sign on the day of the Wedding 
Her maiden name on all documentation.

What name should the bride use when booking travel/ honeymoon reservations?
Your maiden name as this is your legal name until after the Wedding day, and once the Marriage has been registered with the office of Births, Deaths and Marriages. Remember, your passport will be in your maiden name so travel documentation and tickets need to be the same.

Visitors from Overseas Marrying in Australia
If you are coming from Overseas for your marriage, you will need all of the above, but you must have your Notice of Intended Marriage Form witnessed by ONLY  an Australian Embassy/Consular Authorized Staff member or a Notary Public of your country. See a Law Firm in your home town for lists of these. Any documents NOT in English need to be translated and originals of both to be brought with you. I will be able to help you with all of these details, just email me for advice.

What I Provide
We can discuss my fee, when you make your initial enquiry. My fee is all inclusive with no hidden extras and covers the following:

  • A selection of ceremonies, readings and rituals provided in a detailed information pack
  • Planning meeting at my home or yours
  • Rehearsal, if required (wedding ceremonies only)
  • Portable cordless PA system with built in CD player with wireless headset and wireless handheld microphone
  • Beautifully covered signing table and chairs
  • My guarantee to be at the ceremony venue at least half an hour before the agreed starting time of the ceremony, (at least 45 minutes prior for wedding ceremonies)
  • Presentation copy of your ceremony (and additional copies provided for the bride and groom’s families)
  • Complimentary ceremonial candle (all ceremonies)
  • Travel up to 80 km to the ceremony location (a small km charge applies for longer distances)
  • General information on other services, such as relationship counselling.
  • Unlimited phone and email contact prior to the ceremony
  • Invoices, receipts & refund policy given for all transactions
  • Advice on your choice of music, poetry and other readings

How to Proceed
Send me an email by using my on-line enquiry form or call me directly. I’m always delighted to speak to couples about their wedding plans and provide helpful advice without obligation.
Alternatively, we can meet each other in my home, which is relaxed and friendly, or I can come to you, it is your choice.

If you decide you would like me to be your Celebrant, I would ask you to pay an initial booking fee of $150, which is non-refundable. This deposit covers ceremony preparation and the security of your marriage date. Then the fun begins as we plan together a Wedding Ceremony to remember. The balance of my fee is payable anytime up to two weeks prior to your marriage by way of direct deposit, bank cheque or cash.

 
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Paul Cochran, Marriage Celebrant