As soon as possible Please ensure you have necessary Identity Documents. If you have any questions, please ask me now as obtaining these documents can be a timely process, and I cannot legally marry you if you fail to provide sufficient evidence of date of birth, place of birth, and your identity (photo). Please note, these documents need to be in English or officially translated. What I need to see:
Either an original birth certificate (date and place of birth) and a driver’s license (photo ID) OR a passport (date and place of birth, and photo ID)
If divorced or widowed, a divorce or death certificate is required.
If you are under 18 years old, we need to discuss court orders.
When you are ready If you are interested in nurturing your relationship with a relationship education service, please look into this early on. If you want to identify the strengths in your relationship, identify areas that could be enriched, and learn skills to make your relationship even more amazing than it already is, you need to give yourselves time to do this. More information about what services are available, check out the Happily Ever Before and After page. If you are keen to explore this further with me, ask about the "Nurture Love" package. Four months before the wedding I will be in touch with some ceremony planning resources and we will schedule our "Planning Meeting". At this time I will also gather the required information for the Notice of Intended Marriage and ask you to complete a little "Getting To Know You" questionnaire, so that I can really personalise your ceremony with your story and your personality.
Three months before the wedding It's time for our "Planning Meeting". This is an in-person meeting, usually at a local cafe, where you will be able to sign the Notice of Intended Marriage with me as your witness, I will sight the required ID as listed above, and then we get to chat about your ceremony! We will go through a sample flow of a ceremony, and you get to tell me what bits you like, what bits you don't like, and what bits you want to add. I scribble down all these ideas and notes, and then go off to create your ceremony.
Three months before the wedding I will email you a draft of your ceremony.
One month before the wedding The remainder of your invoice (the service fee) due.
One week before the wedding I will have incorporated any feedback from the draft, and your ceremony will be finalised.
Week of the wedding Excitement is building and it's time for the rehearsal. This may be in person or via video call. As you will have seen your ceremony and know your venue, these rehearsals are generally fairly relaxed. It is a great opportunity to confirm ceremony details such as timing, and for you to ask any questions.
Before the wedding Before we can commence the ceremony, we need to sign the Declaration of No Legal Impediment. This can be done a few days prior if we are having an in person rehearsal, or the day of the wedding if we opt for a video call rehearsal. As I will be checking in with you both on the wedding day before we start, it's really no hassle just to do it the day of the wedding.
Day of the wedding Your "Big Day" has finally arrived! By this time there are lots of emotions swirling around, and likely a few wedding morning jitters. But you can rest assured knowing that I've got your ceremony covered. You've seen the script, you know when and where I am meeting you, and you trust that I will deliver the ceremony you have dreamed of. I always arrive early to set up and test my PA. I leave myself plenty of time to meet up with each of you, answer any questions you may have, and give the reassuring hug that this is going to be amazing!
We will go through the ceremony, sign the marriage certificates, and you will be presented with your commemorative Certificate of Marriage.
Week following the wedding I will lodge all of the marriage paperwork with Victorian Births, Deaths and Marriages. I will then email you to confirm the paperwork has been submitted. I will also provide information about how to order a Certificate of Marriage from BDM, which is the document to provide evidence of marriage (please note: the commemorative certificate from the day may look pretty, but generally isn't accepted as evidence of marriage).
Happily Ever After... While this is where my official role as your marriage celebrant ends, I always love hearing from my couples down the track! If you ever have any questions or just want to chat, you know where to find me.
SOPHIE FITZDOWSE Marriage Celebrant Prepare/Enrich Facilitator
Services include: Wedding Ceremonies, Naming Ceremonies, Vow Renewal Ceremonies, Prepare-Enrich Sessions Servicing the Melbourne Area, including Mornington Penninsula, Dandenong Ranges, and Yarra Valley.