GLBTI Community

Same sex ceremonies

Commitments

What’s involved in a commitment ceremony?
A commitment ceremony can include whatever you like. It’s your ceremony, and at the moment in Australia there are no legal limitations or requirements for the ceremony.

Can we get married?
Under current Australian law, same sex couples are not legally able to marry. A commitment ceremony is the best alternative in this instance.

What does my service include?

  • Minimum of 2 meetings in your home or at a mutually convenient location
  • Telephone and email consultations as required
  • Creation of a unique and personal ceremony, written especially for you,  with your full editorial control
  • Attention to detail and excellent personal service
  • On or off site rehearsal
  • My guarantee that no other ceremony will be booked so close that I arrive late or rush off afterwards
  • Professional delivery of your ceremony
  • Confidential and secure record keeping
  • Fully insured, trained and experienced celebrant
  • Unlimited access to resource materials
  • Copies of your ceremony booklet for yourselves, your readers and musicians
  • Recommendations for other services, where  requested
  • Provision of a portable PA system with cd player, mp3 player capacity, three microphones and stands
  • All my transport costs for any return journey not exceeding one hour’s journey from my home. The ATO per kiometre rate applies thereafter for all travel, unless otherwise negotiated.
  • No hidden extra charges
  • And much much more!

Elements of a ceremony

The ceremony can be divided into the following sections and can appear in any order. These can be added to, rearranged or deleted to suit the two of you.

The remaining elements are up to the two of you. This is your ceremony and it should be reflective of the two of you, so please feel free to be as creative as you wish. This is a rough guide only, to give you a sense of how a ceremony can be structured.

  • Pre-ceremonial music
  • Request to silence mobile phones / pagers and confetti info
  • Entrance music and entrance
  • Acknowledgment of the Aboriginal custodians of the land
  • Introduction of ceremonial party and welcome
  • Thanks to parents and other family members
  • Acknowledgment of absent or deceased family members and friends and candle lighting / bell ringing / flowers
  • Reason for ceremony
  • Brief history and highlights of your life together
  • Extracts / passages / poems / songs / original pieces etc
  • Interactive symbols eg hallowing of space; warming of the commitment rings; lighting of candles; blending of water, wine, sand, oils or tea; family members’ or friends’ contributions or vows; presentation of couple; breaking of a glass; tea ceremony; handfasting; affirming vows for loving couples in attendance; tying wishes onto a wish tree; vows to stepchildren; jumping the broom; your own family and cultural traditions etc
  • Vows (your personal promises to one another)
  • Exchange of rings or gifts
  • The asking (the ‘I do’ part)
  • The kiss (usually the grand finale!)
  • Music / Serving of drinks / Signing of certificate
  • Information about photos and reception
  • Conclusion
  • Presentation
  • Toast
  • Walking down the aisle
  • Music
  • Group photo

Just as you are individuals, your ceremony should reflect your personalities and your own styles. Wear whatever you feel is appropriate for the ceremony. Include whoever is important to you as part of the ceremonial party, as a reader or as a witness to the signing of your certificate.

What does my service include?

The creation of each unique ceremony requires, on average, around 25 hours of my time. This equates to an hourly rate of less than $40 per hour. Why not compare this with the hourly rates for other services relating to your ceremony? I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

My fee is all inclusive*, with the exception of accommodation (more than two hours’ drive from my home), Christmas and New Year and transport costs for any return journey exceeding more than one hour from my home.

The ceremony date and time will be confirmed and secured by the payment of your booking fee at the time of booking and no resources will be provided, nor will drafts of the ceremony be released, before this occurs.

Due to the high number of enquiries I receive, I cannot guarantee the booking until your booking fee has been received.

The outstanding balance is payable within four weeks of the first draft of the ceremony being issued. I will not attend the ceremony unless all fees have been paid promptly.

Payment may be made by cash or internet bank transfer. Please put your names in the reference field if paying by internet bank transfer or notify me once you have made a branch deposit.

Should the ceremony be cancelled by you, the booking fee is non-refundable. Should either of you cancel the ceremony within six weeks of the scheduled ceremony date, having paid the balance, no refunds will be paid.

Margi MacGregor retains all intellectual property rights over any part of the ceremony created by her, and no part of her ceremony documentation may be published, sold or made available without her approval.

Conditions

If someone in your household is ill and we have a meeting booked, please call me to arrange another time to meet.

Should you wish to alter the arranged date, time or venue for your ceremony, please contact me as soon as you start considering doing so, for confirmation of my availability.

The ceremony must start close to the scheduled commencement time. In the event that the ceremony is delayed more than half an hour, for whatever reason, I become entitled to proceed to my next commitment, if necessary. Please note that, should this occur, you are liable for and indemnify me against liability, loss or costs incurred due to either of you not being ready within that half hour window. I will make every attempt to return after the next commitment.

Useful links

Relationship education agencies are a great way to ensure your union gets off to the best possible start.

Useful books

The Wedding by Douglas Wythe, Andrew Merling, Roslyn Merling, and Sheldon Merling (William Morrow, 2000)
The Essential Guide to Lesbian and Gay Weddings, by Tess Ayers and Paul Brown (Alyson Publications)
“Recognizing Ourselves: Ceremonies of Lesbian and Gay Commitment,” by Ellen Lewin (Columbia University Press, 1998)
“Together Forever: Gay and Lesbian Marriage,” by Eric Marcus (Anchor Books/Doubleday, 1998)

Gender Reassignment

For the transsexual, the challenges that have to be faced in making the great changes involved in gender-reassignment can be so enormous as to shake one’s resolve at every step of the way.

Celebrating the changes and sharing your journey with friends and family can ease the transition and give you a strong sense of self confidence, validating you and your decision to present yourself to the world as you really are.

Useful links

If you have any concerns regarding my services, please let me know immediately so I may rectify the situation.

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