Here’s what happens when you book in with Joyful Ceremonies:

Firstly we’ll chat on the phone or via email or text where you can ask me any questions, I’ll get a bit of an idea of what you have in mind and we will make a time to meet.

I’ll come to see you at your home or somewhere handy for you both, and we’ll have a more in-depth discussion about your ceremony as well as any legal aspects that you’ll need to know about. You’re welcome to visit me in Castlemaine if you like.

After this meeting, let me know when you’re ready to make a booking and I’ll send you a document with everything we discussed when we met so you don’t have to worry about remembering anything. We’ll then arrange a second meeting.

At this meeting we’ll get any legal paperwork started (for marriages). Then comes the best part. We start to explore who you are as a couple – we chat about how you met, what you love about each other, why you’ve chosen to marry, what values you share, and the overall story of your relationship.

Through this discussion I will get a better idea of the perfect style for your ceremony, and I will write up a draft for your perusal. I’ll give you some homework around choosing or writing your own vows.

Once I’ve emailed you the first draft, you are encouraged to respond with any thoughts about what you liked and want more of, anything you didn’t like, something you wish to include but hadn’t thought of before now - even if you can’t quite put your finger on it but have a vague idea, all of your information and feedback is very useful. Some people want more cowbell. I get it. It generally only takes a couple of drafts to get your ceremony to a standard where all are happy and ready to go ahead. I am committed to all couples feeling completely satisfied and comfortable, and if additional meetings or emailing are required, I’m very happy to accommodate this.

In the week before the big day we’ll meet at the location of the ceremony and have a rehearsal. This is not to go word by word through the entire thing – but so everyone knows where to stand, when they’ll be speaking and to generally take the nerves out of it. Once you’ve had a rehearsal, even if you’re extremely nervous during the ceremony your muscle memory will kick in and you’ll be fine on the day. I’ve seen it happen so many times! I’ll be there and 100% have your back.

Most couples say they had no idea how helpful the rehearsal was until afterward, when they realise how much more comfortable they felt. I’ve also got lots of handy tips for dealing with nerves that you can do in just a few seconds, with significant positive impact. There may or may not be some interpretive dance, references to chickens and important banana information included at this point.

The rehearsal is also a great opportunity to see where the light will be at the time of day of your ceremony (handy for photos and shade considerations), and to test out the PA system that I provide so you can be comfortable that all present will clearly hear every word.

On the topic of PA systems – I have a very handy little one with wonderfully clear volume suitable to a crowd up to 120 people, facilities for playing music from anything with a headphone jack, and two wireless microphones. This equipment is charged up prior to the ceremony and doesn’t need a power cord – so it works well in parks, gardens or bushland.

There is also some paperwork to fill out and be witnessed by the celebrant in the fortnight prior to your ceremony - the rehearsal is a good time to do this.

At the ceremony, I’ll check you are both ready to kick things off and then we’ll all have a great time celebrating your commitment in a variety of ways – the ceremony will be personally tailored to you in a way that is meaningful for all present. I do not believe in long ceremonies! We can cover a lot of ground and do it beautifully in 15-18 minutes at the most. At the end of the marrying bit, you’ll be filling out some paperwork which I’ll take you through piece by piece while your guests can have a drink and a chat, or enjoy some music. After this – I present you with your certificate of marriage, everyone cheers and you star in approximately seven billion photos whilst having a ripper of a time celebrating with your nearest and dearest.

At this stage I’ll wish you a hearty congratulations. If you’d like me to stick around as MC for your reception, I’d be happy to oblige. If you have that covered, I’ll say my farewells, then head home and scan your documents to be on the safe side, then send them off to Births, Deaths and Marriages both online and via the post.

A few weeks after your wedding I’ll get in touch to see how it all went for the rest of the evening, and send you all the links you need if there are any name changes or need for a legal certificate of marriage to pop in the filing cabinet/on the fridge/for any official reason.

Long story short: I’ll take care of everything and walk you through, step by step. Paperwork, ceremony, nerves, where to stand, which finger the ring goes on, how to write vows, anything you need. I’ve got your back.

Sound good? Drop me a line through the contact section.

An example of a couple's personal story brought to life in a wedding ceremony - thanks Eliza and Karl!