The wedding of Suzie and Chris on a sanbar off Cullen Bay, Darwin Sept 7 2012

What is a civil marriage ceremony?

A civil marriage ceremony is a non-religious legal ceremony, created to best suit the needs of the couple being married.

What does my service include?

  • Unlimited meetings at my office, in your home or at a mutually convenient location.
  • Creation of a unique and personal ceremony 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, experienced and registered celebrant
  • Unlimited electronic access to my resource materials
  • Copies of your ceremony booklet for yourselves, your parents, readers and musicians
  • All legal work and registration
  • Recommendations for other services, where  requested
  • Provision of a portable PA system with cd player and mobile phone capability, three microphones and stands
  • Transport and accommodation costs to be negotiated for ceremonies outside the urban area
  • No hidden extra charges
  • And much much more!

Elements of a Ceremony

You may like to include some of the following elements in your ceremony. For the marriage to be legal, there must be a Statement of Marriage, vows and the Celebrant Authority . Wording for the Statement of Marriage and the Celebrant Authority is prescribed by the Attorney-General’s Office and may not be altered.

  • Pre-ceremonial music
  • Request to silence mobile phones / pagers and confetti info
  • Entrance and welcome
  • Acknowledgment of the Aboriginal custodians of the land
  • Introduction of bridal party
  • Thanks to parents/parents-in-law 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 wedding rings; blending of water, wine, fire or sand; vows for family members / friends; presentation of couple; handfasting; tying wishes onto a wish tree; vows to stepchildren; your own family and cultural traditions etc
  • Celebrant Authority and Statement of Marriage
  • Vows (your personal promises to one another)
  • Exchange of rings / gifts
  • The asking (the ‘I do’ part)
  • The kiss (usually the grand finale!)
  • Music / Serving of drinks / Signing of marriage register and certificate
  • Information about photos and reception / conclusion
  • Music / presentation / toast / walking down aisle / group photo

Confirmation of Booking and Payment Details

To arrange your wedding with me, confirm by email a date, time and venue. You need to download and print a copy of the Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM) and submit it to me at least a full calendar month prior to your wedding date.

The creation of each unique ceremony requires, on average, around 25 hours of my time. My fee is all inclusive*, with the exception of Christmas, New Year and unusual transport and accommodation costs. Your ceremony date and time will be confirmed and secured by payment of your booking fee at the time of booking and no paperwork will be accepted or issued, nor will drafts of the ceremony be released, before this occurs.

Due to the high number of enquiries I receive, I cannot guarantee your date 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 and original copies of the required documents have been sighted by me by the time of your rehearsal, at the very latest. 

Payment may be made by cash or internet bank transfer. Please put your names in the reference field if paying by internet bank transfer.

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.


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.

Please note that if I suspect that either of you is drunk or under the influence of illicit drugs, I am not legally allowed to conduct the ceremony.

If you have any concerns regarding my services, please let me know immediately. You are also welcome to contact the Attorney–General’s Office, Robert Garran Offices, National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600 tel 02 6141 6666.

Shortening of Time

Can’t wait a full calendar month to marry?

It is possible to shorten the minimum notice time for a marriage to less than a month if special circumstances set out in the regulations are met.

You need to approach a Prescribed Authority for approval.

Prescribed authorities (usually at your Local Court or Registry officials) can shorten the required period of notice if they are satisfied that circumstances prescribed in the regulations are met.

There are the five categories of circumstances set out in the regulations.  These are:

  1. Employment related or other travel commitments,
  2. Wedding or celebrant arrangements, or religious considerations,
  3. Medical reasons,
  4. Legal proceedings,
  5. Error in giving notice.

The reason for seeking a shortening of time for notice must fall within one of these categories before an application can be considered.  There is no capacity to grant shortening of time outside these circumstances.  Shortening of time is not automatic.  When making a decision the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages (BDM) or prescribed authority will weigh up the information provided in support of the application and may seek additional information as outlined in the regulations.

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

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