Sometimes marrying couples have a preference for a simple ‘legals only’ marriage ceremony.  I appreciate that the circumstances of every couple are different, and they will have their own individual preferences and wishes for their ceremony.  Accordingly, I offer an affordable package for a ‘legals only’ ceremony.  This includes the option of the ceremony being held in my internal courtyard garden in Kingston, Canberra.

My courtyard is a light‑filled, serene and quiet spot with garden pleasures including natives, citrus trees and some running water.  As to numbers of people you might have at the ceremony, the courtyard will easily accommodate the marrying couple (of course!), the couple’s two witnesses, and a small number of family members and friends if this is your preference.

If you’d like an indoor ceremony, or the weather doesn’t go to plan, there are indoor spots adjacent to the courtyard garden which bring the outdoor space inside for the same serenity, quietness and appreciation of the garden.

As for any couple getting married, there are some legal requirements to marry in Australia in accordance with the Marriage Act 1961.  As an authorised celebrant, it’s my responsibility to work with couples on these requirements.  A key early matter to consider is the completion of the Notice of Indented Marriage form which is to be lodged with your chosen celebrant at least 30 days prior to the wedding date.  Also, at the ceremony, you’d have two witnesses attending, who in addition to the marrying couple, would witness and sign the marriage documentation.

I was delighted to marry Jassi and Kamal recently in my garden courtyard with a number of family members also attending.  I’ve included a few pictures from their ceremony with this blog for a peek at my garden courtyard.  Indeed, Jassi and Kamal also enjoyed having some photos taken indoors which was easily managed.

Feel free to get in touch if you’d like to talk more about planning your wedding ceremony.

On 7 July 2019, I married Anne and Orion in the farm grounds of Poachers Pantry.  They chose a spot about 10 minutes’ walk from Poachers Pantry restaurant, their reception venue.

The spot they chose embodied earth’s natural beauty with plenty of sunshine, open rolling hills, trees abounding, serene water, sheep and other wildlife.  This made the perfect backdrop for Anne and Orion’s mid‑winter outdoor wedding!

If you are planning a wedding, don’t rule out an outdoor winter wedding in Canberra and the surrounding district.

With the many lovely days of winter sunshine we experience, and with some planning for an alternative if the weather doesn’t go to order (this is the case for weddings all year round), winter can be embraced as a season for your wedding ceremony.  As an added benefit, you might even find that some of the venues and other marriage services are cheaper in the quiet ‘wedding season’.

Here are some tips I hope you find useful if you are thinking about a winter wedding.  It’s not an exhaustive list, so feel free to get in touch if you’d like to talk more about planning your wedding, whatever the season.

Winter accessories are stylish too

Anne opted for a long-sleeved wedding dress and Orion had a three-piece suit.  Coats were available as an option if needed but with the sun shining and the wonderful emotions flowing during the ceremony that ran for about 30 minutes, there was no time to feel the cold.

All about the timing

Think about the warmest part of the day that you may like to have your wedding ceremony.  It’s worth having a look at the average temperatures for the month in winter when you might want to be married.  Late morning or early afternoon on a winter’s day will generally mean best light for photos and for warmth.  Anne and Orion were married at midday followed by a lunch reception with local seasonal produce served at Poachers Pantry restaurant.

Winter wedding colours

While there is no protocol, a winter wedding may lend itself to warm tones of berry red, burgundy, deep blues, black and gold.  Anne had a wonderful deep berry native bouquet and these colours were carried through to the reception decorations.  I styled the signing table in berry chrysanthemums together with never-failing evergreen gum to work in Anne and Orion’s colour and bush theme.

Plan for adaptability

Whatever season you’re planning your marriage – spring, summer, autumn or winter – it’s always advisable to have options for an indoor ceremony in adverse or wet weather.  For some this might mean supplying umbrellas in the rain, and for others, it might result in moving to an indoor venue.  Anne and Orion had advised their guests in their invitation to dress for comfort and warmth.  Though it was a chilly morning, the sun didn’t disappoint, and most guests were taking off their extra layer after their walk and before the ceremony commenced.  Plus, Anne and Orion had an indoor option at Poachers Pantry should this have been needed.

Link your ceremony and reception venue (if possible)

If possible, have your ceremony and reception in the one venue/area, or in areas near to each other.  For Anne and Orion, it was a short walk from the restaurant reception at Poachers Pantry to the wonderful spot on the farm where they were married.  Family and friends all commented on the beauty of the walk through bush and the wedding spot.

For anyone getting married, a key legal requirement is completion of the Notice of Intended Marriage form – the NOIM.  As a marriage celebrant, it’s an important responsibility of mine to manage completion of this form.

Timing is important with the NOIM.  It will need to be signed by the prospective marrying couple, and witnessed by me as your marriage celebrant, at least one month before your wedding ceremony.

Supporting documents that I’ll need to see in completing the form are:  your passport; or your birth certificate and a driver’s licence – this is to confirm your identity.  If you’ve been previously married, evidence of the end of your marriage, generally through a divorce certificate, will also be required.

Here is the NOIM for your information.

In the lead up to your wedding, you will also be asked to sign a form that indicates you are freely consenting to marry.  Then, on the day of your wedding, there will be three marriage certificates.  Each certificate is to be signed by the marrying couple, two witnesses, and by me as the authorised marriage celebrant. One of the certificates will be given to you as a record of your marriage.  I’ll manage the process on the day and the subsequent lodging of the relevant documents with the registry of births, deaths and marriages for the official recording of your marriage.

If you wish to change your name after your marriage, you’ll need to apply for your official marriage certificate from your state or territory’s births, deaths and marriages registry.

For more information on getting married in Australia, you may also wish to visit the Attorney‑General’s Department Getting married page.

The ACT offers many great public spaces at which to get married.  Around Lake Burley Griffin and at one of the Old Parliament House Gardens are just a few of the options.  A less well known spot, though so gorgeous, is Norgrove Park in Kingston.  My picture of Norgrove Park with the white and lilac wisteria happily in bloom positively says it all!

If you are planning to marry in a public space, useful information on public venues and the process for securing such a venue is available at https://www.nca.gov.au.  It’s worth exploring this early in your marriage ceremony planning so you can secure your preferred spot.