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Memorials & Funerals at home

The death of a loved one is never easy, and for many, planning a funeral service before the person can be buried is too much to bear. This article was created by Pamela Tatam, Content Marketing / Porch and she wrote that she created this article “How to Host a Memorial Service At Home” to help with …

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Simple (Budget-Friendly) Ways to Transform Your Home Wedding

Image from Unsplash article by Kelsey Taylor <kelsey@getcompletewellness.com Your wedding day is the most important day of your life. You’re celebrating your love, commitment, and relationship in a ceremony that is both beautiful and breathtaking. All for the easy breezy amount of — $36,000?! That doesn’t quite add up, considering that the Australian Bureau of Statistics …

Uncategorised

YES, YOU can get married and there is an important reason why you should!

There is so much uncertainty and confusion for many, and so many contradictions in information being provided from all sorts of directions. We have three tiers of government and information is not always consistent between them e.g. parks were open, then closed, then open and then closed again within 24 hours.

The good news is that if you were planning to marry, you have two options.

The first is to go ahead but with the ceremony but with just 5 people including your selves, present but others joining via video link. This is a great option because it enables your married life to begin and you can have the bigger celebration with everyone present later when this health crisis is over.

The other option is of course to postpone.

There is usually no problem in doing so, just be aware that postponement dates are filling quickly and so if you wish to postpone, set your date as quickly as possible because when this virus blows over, there will be people scrambling for dates.

The current official advice for NSW is that:

A wedding can have 5 people, and funerals can have just 10 but bear in mind that includes any persons that must be present such as the Celebrant and so for a wedding that is the couple, the two witnesses and the Celebrant while for a funeral, it is really only 7 as the Concierge, Funeral Director and Celebrant reduce the number to 7.

General Public Health advice at present is that by later October, November onwards all should be fine as it will be outside the flu season and hopefully by then we will have treatments and vaccines available.

I am still conducting ceremonies (in safe conditions) and will remain doing so, as long as it is possible

I conducted three weddings last week. Each under different conditions. The first was at a venue before the restrictions but social distancing was applied and high-level hygiene was still applied so everything including pens, table, cameras and anything that could be touched, was sanitised before and after the ceremony.

Then the restrictions started and a wedding that was to take place overseas, was instead a 5 party wedding in Tench Reserve. It was beautiful and fun. We laughed all the way through and when I made the pronouncement that they were officially married, passers-by cheered from a distance.

Just 24 hours later, the parks were closed and so the next ceremony was inside a loungeroom. A neighbour had rose bushes and so red petals beautifully covered the lounge room floor. Once again a beautiful ceremony and the couple may consider a larger renewal of vows ceremony with all their friends and relatives at a later date

Conducting funerals has been the hardest. I always make them a Celebration of the Life. The first recent funeral was reduced to just 20 people who had to sit apart at the chapel even though over 100 were expected originally. The second which would also have been a large funeral, was instead, after new restrictions were applied, attended by only 10, one of whom was a child. The second was at least live-streamed to others. Funerals are a very important step in the grief process and my heart breaks for families at this time when we cannot hug or hold them. Human contact is so important but currently restricted for obvious reasons.

I record all my Ceremonies on video and so can at least give that to the couples and families so that they can share the Ceremony with loved ones.

So as a Celebrant, and not a lawyer, I am going to try to answer 10 important questions about marriage and perhaps you can decide for yourself: Should I Get Married Now?.

So people can still get married as long as there is an appropriate legal notice and the couple are two consenting persons who meet the eligibility criteria of being over the age of 18 and who are not married to anyone else.

Wedding Ceremonies are currently much briefer in that they are generally the legal aspects covered only though utilising live streaming, others can still take part.  I had one ceremony where a person reads a poem from 1000klms away but we all saw her on the screen and heard her clearly through the sound system.

At this crucial time, people may question why get married but quite apart from the obvious proclamation of love, unlike de -facto relationships, a marriage offers equal protection under the law for the couple for both parties. Some will argue that that is available already to anyone in a long term relations but in a crisis or emergency that can be problematic. With a marriage, you are immediately the next-of-kin, and given protection under the law with regards property, assets, inheritance, insurances, medical care and so much more. But there are many circumstances where that might not be the case for people in a De-Facto relationship especially if a ‘next of kin’, such as parents or sibling arrives and they can have more rights to access the patient and make decisions about their care than a defacto partner, no matter how many years they have been together.

I’ll give an example. A young unemployed John marries Mary but they separate within 6 months. John meets Jane and life for them is great. They buy a house together and develop a high income. John suddenly dies but as he did not divorce, his legal wife, Mary, has a claim on his estate.

Or if Joe is ostracised and excluded from his family because but lives happily with Jonny for 10 years but they never marry; there is an accident and Joe is in intensive care. Despite the years of animosity, a considerate Jonny calls the family and they show up as next of kin to make all decisions regarding Joe’s health care and as only family is allowed in ICU, Jonny can only watch from behind a window.

And of course, if there is a death, the ‘next of kin’ may have more rights than a defacto partner, no matter how many years you have been together. Even if there is a will, relatives may still have a claim upon the estate.

So here is a guide for

NEW CLIENTS

  1. You MUST phone to make an appointment.
  2. When you phone, you may be asked certain questions to ensure public safety.
  3. Subject to availability, I will meet you at a mutually agreed location, but I cannot accept people at my home at present however I am happy to meet in a café or public place. Meeting at your own home will be discussed and decided upon.
  4. We will not shake hands,
  5. I will NOT meet with you if you are sick, have a temperature or cough, or a runny nose or if I become sick, have a temperature or cough, or a runny nose (other than allergies)
  6. YOU MUST maintain a safe distance at all times.
  7. YOU MUSThave washed or sanitised your hands which must be dry and clean when we meet.
  8. Any documents you present, MUST be dry and clean and readable without my touching them.
  9. If you are unable to comply, or I suspect for any reason, that you have not complied, with the safety protocols, the meeting will be cancelled.

FUNERALS

I will do my very best, as always, to assist you through the process, as will your chosen funeral director. I can even recommend one or two.

To plan the funeral:

  1. I cannot accept people at my home at present, but our meetings can take place via video link, or I can be the one visitor to your household following discussion and assurances of safety.
  2. I will NOT meet in person, in a closed room if you are sick, travelled overseas within the last three weeks, have a temperature or cough, or a runny nose or if I become sick, have a temperature or cough, or a runny nose (other than allergies)
  3. If for any reason I am unable to attend, I will do my utmost to find a replacement.
  4. YOU MUST maintain a safe distance at all times.
  5. YOU MUSThave washed or sanitised your hands which must be dry and clean when we meet.
  6. Any document or photographs you present, MUST be dry and clean and readable without my touching them but digital copies can be transmitted via an online medium (I can help with that).
  7. At the funeral, handshaking, kissing and hugging should be avoided.
  8. Seating will be spaced and there is a maximum limit of ten people in attendance but we can broadcast via live streaming
  9. To avoid cross-contamination, there may not be a Guest Register
  10. The Chapel management may institute additional safety protocols.
  11. Graveside committals must abide by safe distance requirements which can be difficult in some cemeteries.
  12. Guests may take part via video link in their homes or cars (anywhere there is internet access and a device with an appropriate app)

WEDDINGS

Options for your booked wedding are:

    1. Continue but with high-level hygiene practices adopted and the limited number of 5
    2. Video stream to guests to anywhere there is the internet, a device and an app
    3. Have a ‘legals only’ ceremony now, (only need two witnesses) and a larger Celebration of Marriage later, or
    4. Postpone your wedding entirely

Here are some additional considerations:

    1. You must postpone if you are sick, have a temperature or cough, or a runny nose.
    2. I will not attend if I become sick, have a temperature or cough, or a runny nose (other than allergies)
    3. You can NOT have guests in attendance who have recently travelled overseas or experienced virus symptoms
    4. YOU MUST maintain a safe distance at all times.
    5. YOU MUST have washed or sanitised your hands which must be dry and clean.
    6. Any documents MUST be dry and clean and readable.
    7. At the wedding, handshaking, and hugging should be avoided but the ‘first kiss’ is your own choice, just don’t kiss me 😊
    8. Guests may be able to take part via video link which can be lived streamed to a suitable device
    9. If anyone falls ill after the wedding, you must notify me, all in attendance, immediately

WHAT TO DO IF YOUR VENUE CANCELS

Venues and vendors need your business to survive, so please be patient, kind and understanding.

The CV-19 pandemic has significantly impacted upon the events industry and livelihoods and some businesses may not survive extended closure.
If your date cannot go ahead (as confirmed with venues and/or vendors), here are a few simple tips to follow:-

    1. Create a Social Media Group (e.g. Facebook, WhatsApp etc) for family & friends already invited
    2. Announce your date has been POSTPONED (not cancelled because you will definitely still be getting married in the future).
    3. Chat with the venue in regard to transferring ALL costs to a future date. Yes there may be additional costs or penalties, but these will be insignificant in comparison to them applying the T&C’s of your original contract.
    4. Once you have that date, contact each and every vendor letting them know that:
  • because of the new restrictions imposed, the venue has advised your day cannot go ahead as planned but it has been rescheduled to <new date> and you hope they are happy to transfer your existing invoices to that date.

 

    1. Monitor those who can assist and those who cannot.
    2. For those who can, ask for an updated invoice.
    3. For those who CAN’T, ensure you reach an agreement in regard to how to cancel any existing arrangements . As most will be relieved you have a new date, hopefully there will be very few who cannot transfer.
    4. For those who can’t commit to your new date, ask them for recommendations.

 

Fun Weddings

SHOULD I GET MARRIED NOW?

There is so much uncertainty and confusion, and so many contradictions in information being provided from all sorts of directions. We have three tiers of government and information is not always consistent between them e.g. parks were open, then closed, then open and now closed in a space of 48 hours.

So as a Celebrant, and not a lawyer, I am going to try to answer 10 important questions about marriage and perhaps you can decide for yourself: Should I Get Married Now?.

_____________________________________________

        1. Can I get married?
        2. How many guests can I have at my ceremony?
        3. Why get married?
        4. What are the advantages of marriage if we have been together for years, we don’t need a piece of paper to validate our love?
        5. What is the Marriageable Age in Australia?
        6. What happens if we are not married and my partner gets hospitalised?
        7. What happens if my partner dies and we are not married?
        8. Can you include religious content in our Ceremony if it is asked for?
        9. Do I have to be an Australian Citizen to get married in Australia?
        10. We undertook a Civil Union overseas; can we marry in Australia?

_____________________________________________

1.   Can I get married?

Yes, as long as you are two consenting persons who meet the eligibility criteria.

What are the eligibility criteria for marriage in Australia?

The simplest definition is; Two consenting people over the age of 18 who are not married to anyone else.

2.   How many guests can I have at my ceremony?

There can only be 5 people, present at a wedding as it now stands. are:

        • Celebrant
        • The couple
        • Two witnesses who are over 18

However, others can join in via video link and live broadcasting.

I’ve had an interstate guest perform a reading at a ceremony, and relatives in another country watch the entire ceremony on a big screen overseas.

3.   Why get married?

Quite apart from the obvious proclamation of love, unlike defacto rights, a marriage offers equal protection under the law for the couple for both parties.

4.   What are the advantages of marriage if we have been together for years, we don’t need a piece of paper to validate our love?

Rights for a couple in a de facto are not the same as for a married couple.

With a marriage, you are immediately the next-of-kin, giving protection under the law with regards property, assets, inheritance, insurances, medical care and so much more.

You are not the ‘next of kin’ if not married

5.   What is the Marriageable Age in Australia?

The marriageable age in Australia is 18 and so at least one party must be over 18, and if the other is under 18, a court order and consents must be obtained.

6.   What happens if we are not married and my partner gets hospitalised?

The ‘next of kin’ (such as parents or siblings) can have more rights to access the patient and make decisions about their care than a defacto partner, no matter how many years you have been together.

7.   What happens if my partner dies and we are not married?

The ‘next of kin’ may have more rights than a defacto partner, no matter how many years you have been together. Even if there is a will, relatives may still have a claim upon the estate.

8.   Can you include religious content in our Ceremony if it is asked for?

Yes, of course. It is your wedding, and so your choice, so long as the Marriage Act is no contradicted.

9.   Do I have to be an Australian Citizen to get married in Australia?

No. You just have to be two consenting adults who satisfy eligibility for marriage.

10. We undertook a Civil Union overseas; can we marry in Australia?

A Civil Union is not recognised as a Marriage, even though there may be some similar rights. So as long as other eligibility criteria are satisfied, you should be able to marry in Australia.

 

Uncategorised

Do you have to postpone your wedding, or funeral ceremony and are you taking new bookings?

It is pretty crazy and there is of course uncertainty for many but the good news is that if you wish to postpone, there is no problem in doing so, just be aware that postponement dates are filling quickly and so if you wish to postpone, set your date as quickly as possible and give me a call.

The current gvt official advice for NSW is that:

“Religious gatherings, places of worship (excluding small weddings and funerals that comply with the 4m2 rule, which can proceed”

General Public Health advice at present is that November onwards should be fine as it will be well outside the flu season. In addition, there are several countries, Australia included, who reportedly are advanced in developing treatments and vaccines.

I am still conducting ceremonies (in safe conditions) and will remain doing so, as long as it is safe to do so with public and personal safety ate the forefront. 

I conducted two weddings in the past week and have two more ceremonies this week at which safe practice has, and will be adopted.

The only difference from before, is that more stringent public safety protocol are in place and given the announcements today, are now even more stringent and so I am monitoring the situation on a daily, if not hourly basis.

As the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation develops, the best way to protect yourself is the same as you would against any respiratory infection, that is,  Practice good hygiene by:

      • making sure to clean your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand rub
      • carry an alcohol-based hand rub and use it frequently
      • cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing with tissue or a flexed elbow
      • observe social distancing of 1.5 metres and avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms
      • self-isolate if you become ill
      • make sure you stay home in isolation if you are sick

Due to the daily developing Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, some venues and vendors have reduced services, but as I practice safe protocols, I have not as yet; however I am of course being very cautious for your safety, and for mine, and so have instituted a community safety plan which includes, but is not limited to:

      • limitation of contact and outside movement to limit exposure
      • the use of alcohol-based hand sanitiser sprays, before, during and after each and every ceremony (whenever needed)
      • safe distancing & Size limitations (4 metre area inside, 2 metre area outside).
      • Disposable and/or sanitising pens for signing
      • sanitising of equipment before and after each event
      • Public safety announcements.
      • Sanitising of clothing before and after each ceremony
      • Live streaming of the ceremony to external devices where desired & applicable
      • Requesting organisers to check that all guests are virus free and don’t pose a risk
      • A safety check on site before commencing (any risk and immediate cancellation is an option).

Here are some more details:

NEW CLIENTS

    1. You MUST phone to make an appointment.
    2. When you phone, you may be asked certain questions to ensure public safety.
    3. Subject to availability, I will meet you at a mutually agreed location, but I cannot accept people at my home at present however I am happy to meet in a café or public place. Meeting at your own home will be discussed and decided upon.
    4. We will not shake hands,
    5. I will NOT meet with you if you are sick, have a temperature or cough, or a runny nose or if I become sick, have a temperature or cough, or a runny nose (other than allergies)
    6. YOU MUST maintain a safe distance at all times.
    7. YOU MUST have washed or sanitised your hands which must be dry and clean when we meet.
    8. Any documents you present, MUST be dry and clean and readable without my touching them.
    9. If you are unable to comply, or I suspect for any reason, that you have not complied, with the safety protocols, the meeting will be cancelled.

FUNERALS

    1. We MUST speak over the phone to make an appointment to meet.
    2. You may be asked certain questions to ensure public safety.
    3. I cannot accept people at my home at present, but our meeting can take place via video link, a public place or at your home following discussion and assurances of safety.
    4. I will NOT meet with you if you are sick, have a temperature or cough, or a runny nose or if I become sick, have a temperature or cough, or a runny nose (other than allergies)
    5. If for any reason I am unable to attend, I will do my utmost to find a replacement.
    6. YOU MUST maintain a safe distance at all times.
    7. YOU MUST have washed or sanitised your hands which must be dry and clean when we meet.
    8. Any document or photographs you present, MUST be dry and clean and readable without my touching them but digital copies can be transmitted via an online medium.
    9. At the funeral, hand shaking, and hugging should be avoided.
    10. Seating will be spaced and there may be a limit on capacity of the venue.
    11. To avoid cross contamination, there may not be a Guest Register
    12. The Chapel management may institute additional safety protocols.
    13. Grave side committals have fewer restrictions as they are outdoors, but safe distance requirements still apply.
    14. Guests may take part via video link in their homes or cars (anywhere there is internet access and a device with an appropriate app)

WEDDINGS

Options for your booked wedding are:

    1. Continue but with high-level hygiene practices adopted.
    2. Reduce the physical presence of guests to minimise risk.
    3. Keep the numbers but video link guests to anywhere there is the internet, a device and an app (their cars for instance)
    4. Have a smaller ‘legals only’ ceremony now, (only need two witnesses) and a larger Celebration of Marriage later
    5. Postpone your wedding entirely

Here are some additional considerations:

    1. You must postpone if you are sick, have a temperature or cough, or a runny nose.
    2. I will not attend if I become sick, have a temperature or cough, or a runny nose (other than allergies)
    3. You can NOT have guests in attendance who have recently travelled overseas or experienced virus symptoms
    4. YOU MUST maintain a safe distances at all times.
    5. YOU MUST have washed or sanitised your hands which must be dry and clean.
    6. Any documents MUST be dry and clean and readable.
    7. At the wedding, hand shaking, and hugging should be avoided but the ‘first kiss’ is your own choice.
    8. Seating MUST be spaced and there may be a limit on capacity of the venue.
    9. To avoid cross contamination, there may not be a Guest Register
    10. The Chapel management may institute additional safety protocols.
    11. Outdoor weddings may have fewer restrictions but the 2 metre rule must be applied at all times
    12. Guests may be able to take part via video link which can be lived streamed to a suitable device
    13. If anyone falls ill after the wedding, you must notify me, all the vendors and all the guests immediately

WHAT TO DO IF YOUR VENUE CANCELS

Venues and vendors need your business to survive, so please be patient, kind and understanding.

The CV-19 pandemic has significantly impacted upon the events industry and livelihoods and some businesses may not survive extended closure.
If your date cannot go ahead (as confirmed with venues and/or vendors), here are a few simply tips to follow:-

    1. Create a Social Media Group (e.g. Facebook, WhatsApp etc) for family & friends already invited
    2. Announce your date has been POSTPONED (not cancelled because you will definitely still be getting married in the future).
    3. Chat with the venue in regard to transferring ALL costs to a future date. Yes there may be additional costs or penalties, but these will be insignificant in comparison to them applying the T&C’s of your original contract.
    4. Once you have that date, contact each and every vendor letting them know that:
          1. because of the new restrictions imposed, the venue has advised your day cannot go ahead as planned but it has been rescheduled to <new date> and you hope they are happy to transfer your existing invoices to that date.
    5. Monitor those who can assist and those who cannot.
    6. For those who can, ask for an updated invoice.
    7. For those who CAN’T, ensure you reach an agreement in regard to how to cancel any existing arrangements . As most will be relieved you have a new date, hopefully there will be very few who cannot transfer.
    8. For those who can’t commit to your new date, ask them for recommendations and/or pop a post in the group.
Funeral, funeral

How Many guests can I have at a funeral

In consideration of new temporary public health measures, Invocare have issued this information today (23/3/2020) for their Chapels in Sydney, NSW:

Northern Suburbs Memorial Gardens & Crematorium

  • North Chapel     – 29 people
  • South Chapel     – 19 people
  • East Chapel         – 23 people
  • West Chapel       – 12 people

Lake Macquarie Memorial Park

  • Chapel                  – 30 people

Newcastle Memorial Park

  • North Chapel     – 30 people
  • East Chapel         – 15 people

Rookwood Memorial Park

  • West Chapel       – 20 people
  • South Chapel     – 33 people
  • South Chapel     – 49 people (plus Columbarium area)
  • East Chapel         – 16 people
  • East Chapel         – 32 people (plus Columbarium area)
  • Foyer of the East Chapel – 5 people

Forest Lawn Memorial Park Memorial Park

  • North Chapel     – 29 people
  • South Chapel     – 36 people

Lakeside Memorial Park

  • Chapel                  – 22 people

Pinegrove Memorial Park

  • North Chapel     – 20 people
  • West Chapel       – 20 people

Castlebrook Memorial Park

  • Garden Chapel  – 23 people

InvoCare will have a staff member on-site at each chapel from Monday morning to assist you to monitor the number of people attending each service.  If more people attend than expected you will also need to ensure the maximum space limits are not exceeded.  Once the maximum capacity is reached, you are welcome to direct the extra guests to the outside space where the service can play through external monitors and speakers.  To support these changes, we have prepared signage noting the capacity limits for each chapel.

In the interests of health and wellbeing, we strongly recommend that gatherings be limited to immediate family only, and be listed as private, as this will assist us all to reduce funeral numbers.  We appreciate your assistance and cooperation in helping us all remain compliant with the government’s new rules.  As things are changing rapidly, this advice may change.

 

Regards,

Vijay Singh

NSW GM Cemeteries & Crematoria

InvoCare NSW CemCrem Head Office

199 Delhi Road | NORTH RYDE NSW 2113 Australia

T +61 2 9888 6628

www.invocare.com.au

News, wedding

YES; YOUR CEREMONY CAN STILL TAKE PLACE – CELEBRANCY SAFETY PROTOCOL

UPDATE 22/3/2020

OWING TO NEW RESTRICTIONS ABOUT TO BE PUT IN PLACE. 

WE WILL HAVE TO WAIT ANOTHER 48 HOURS TO SEE WHAT CAN GO AHEAD.


I am very pleased to advise that I am continuing to provide services however am monitoring the situation on a daily basis.

As the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation develops, the best way to protect yourself is the same as you would against any respiratory infection, that is,  Practice good hygiene by:

        • making sure to clean your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand rub
        • cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing with tissue or a flexed elbow
        • observe social distancing of 1.5 metres and avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms
        • make sure you stay home in isolation if you are sick   

Due to the daily developing Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, some venues and vendors have reduced service, but I have not; however I am of course being very cautious for your safety, and for mine, and so have instituted a community safety plan which includes the use of alcohol-based hand sanitiser sprays.

NEW CLIENTS

  1. You MUST phone to make an appointment.
  2. When you phone, you may be asked certain questions to ensure public safety.
  3. Subject to availability, I will meet you at a mutually agreed location, but I cannot accept people at my home at present however I am happy to meet in a café or public place. Meeting at your own home will be discussed and decided upon.
  4. We will not shake hands,
  5. I will NOT meet with you if you are sick, have a temperature or cough, or a runny nose or if I become sick, have a temperature or cough, or a runny nose (other than allergies)
  6. YOU MUST maintain a safe distance at all times.
  7. YOU MUST have washed or sanitised your hands which must be dry and clean when we meet.
  8. Any documents you present, MUST be dry and clean and readable without my touching them.
  9. If you are unable to comply, or I suspect for any reason, that you have not complied, with the safety protocols, the meeting will be cancelled.

FUNERALS

  1. We MUST speak over the phone to make an appointment to meet.
  2. You may be asked certain questions to ensure public safety.
  3. I cannot accept people at my home at present, but our meeting can take place via video link, a public place or at your home following discussion.
  4. I will NOT meet with you if you are sick, have a temperature or cough, or a runny nose or if I become sick, have a temperature or cough, or a runny nose (other than allergies)
  5. If for any reason I am unable to attend, I will do my utmost to find a replacement.
  6. YOU MUST maintain a safe distance at all times.
  7. YOU MUST have washed or sanitised your hands which must be dry and clean when we meet.
  8. Any document or photographs you present, MUST be dry and clean and readable without my touching them but digital copies can be transmitted via an online medium.
  9. At the funeral, hand shaking, and hugging should be avoided.
  10. Seating will be spaced and there may be a limit on capacity of the venue.
  11. To avoid cross contamination, there may not be a Guest Register
  12. The Chapel management may institute additional safety protocols.
  13. Grave side committals have fewer restrictions as they are outdoors, but safe distance requirements still apply.
  14. Guests may take part via video link in their homes or cars (anywhere there is internet access and a device with an appropriate app)

WEDDINGS

Options for your booked wedding are:

  1. Continue but with hygiene practices adopted.
  2. Reduce the physical presence of guests to minimise risk.
  3. Keep the numbers but video link guests to anywhere there is the internet, a device and an app
  4. Have a smaller ceremony now and a larger Celebration of Marriage later
  5. Postpone your wedding
  6. If someone is sick, we could possibly still proceed but with a high level of safety protocol e.g. protective gear (could actually be fun and make it a wedding to truly remember)

Here are some additional considerations

  1. You must postpone if you are sick, have a temperature or cough, or a runny nose.
  2. I will not attend if I become sick, have a temperature or cough, or a runny nose (other than allergies)
  3. You can NOT have guests in attendance who have recently travelled overseas
  4. YOU MUST maintain a safe distances at all times.
  5. YOU MUST have washed or sanitised your hands which must be dry and clean.
  6. Any documents MUST be dry and clean and readable.
  7. At the wedding, hand shaking, and hugging should be avoided but the ‘first kiss’ is your own choice.
  8. Seating MUST be spaced and there may be a limit on capacity of the venue.
  9. To avoid cross contamination, there may not be a Guest Register
  10. The Chapel management may institute additional safety protocols.
  11. Outdoor weddings may have fewer restrictions.
  12. Guests may be able to take part via video link
  13. If anyone falls ill after the wedding, you must notify me and the guests immediately

WHAT TO DFO IF YOUR VENUE CANCELS

Venues and vendors need your business to survive, so please be patient, kind and understanding.

The CV-19 pandemic has significantly impacted upon the events industry and livelihoods and some businesses may not survive extended closure.
If your date cannot go ahead (as confirmed with venues and/or vendors), here are a few simply tips to follow:-

  1. Create a Social Media Group (e.g. Facebook, WhatsApp etc) for family & friends already invited
  2. Announce your date has been POSTPONED (not cancelled because you will definitely still be getting married in the future).
  3. Chat with the venue in regard to transferring ALL costs to a future date. Yes there may be additional costs or penalties, but these will be insignificant in comparison to them applying the T&C’s of your original contract.
  4. Once you have that date, contact each and every vendor letting them know that:
        • because of the new restrictions imposed, the venue has advised your day cannot go ahead as planned but it has been rescheduled to <new date> and you hope they are happy to transfer your existing invoices to that date.
    1. Monitor those who can assist and those who cannot.
    2. For those who can, ask for an updated invoice.
    3. For those who CAN’T, ensure you reach an agreement in regard to how to cancel any existing arrangements . As most will be relieved you have a new date, hopefully there will be very few who cannot transfer.
    4. For those who can’t commit to your new date, ask them for recommendations and/or pop a post in the group.

 

 

News

JUSTICE OF THE PEACE PROTOCOL

As the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation develops, the best way to protect yourself is the same as you would against any respiratory infection. Practice good hygiene by:

  • making sure to clean your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand rub
  • cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing with tissue or a flexed elbow
  • observe social distancing of 1.5 metres and avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms
  • make sure you stay home if you are sick   

Due to the daily developing Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, many organizations have reduced service. I have not but am of course being cautious.

I have consulted with the office of the NSW Attorney General and have instituted a community safety plan.

Although many JPs are no longer available, I am still happy to continue providing services locally as a Justice of the Peace however cannot accept people at my home at present and so while we have a threat of a pandemic in our midst, this is  the current protocol:

  1. You MUST phone to make an appointment.
  2. When you phone, you may be asked certain questions to ensure public safety.
  3. Subject to availability, I will meet you at the St Clair Library.
  4. I will NOT meet with you if you are sick, have a temperature or cough, or a runny nose.
  5. YOU MUST stand at a safe distance at all times.
  6. YOU MUST have washed or sanitised your hands which must be dry and clean when we meet.
  7. The document/s MUST be dry and clean.
  8. YOU MUST bring your own black pen which only you will use (I have my own)
  9. Any copies for certification must be complete and ready and presented with the original. If it is a two-sided document you must have both sides copied.
  10. Any declarations MUST be completed and ready before you call.
  11. Any ID documents must be clean and readable to be without my touching it.
  12. If you are unable to comply, or I suspect for any reason, that you have not complied, with eh safety protocols, the meeting will be cancelled without notice whether or not documents have been signed.
  13. If I am unable to sanitise my hands before and after our meeting, the meeting will be cancelled without notice.
Funeral, funeral

FUNERAL FLOWERS

You’ll find lots of information on my webpage about flowers used in specific situations such as funerals and anniversaries:

However, for some specific advice on flowers though, Kevin Rodrigues, American gardener and blogger, has this advice on:

 “10 Popular Funeral Flowers that will help convey your feeling”

Attending a funeral can be distressing in many ways.

You want to show your support to grieving family and friends. But sometimes it can be difficult to know what to say or do in such situations.

That’s where funeral flowers can help you.

They can help you convey your feelings of love, sympathy, sorrow, and respect.

Here are some popular flowers that you can give during a funeral and share your support.

        1. Lilies
        2. Roses
        3. Chrysanthemums
        4. Carnations
        5. Hyacinth
        6. Gladiolus
        7. Forget-me-not
        8. Irises
        9. Baby’s breath
        10. Tulips

Lilies

Lilies are the most common flower you’ll find at any funeral. They are an aromatic and beautiful choice.

The white lily is a symbol of innocence and purity. They bloom in summer and are a sign of rebirth and renewal.

You can give them to the grieving family to offer hope. They are a good choice for a funeral when someone has died young.

Roses

Roses are another popular choice in any funeral. You get them in a variety of colors that signify different meanings.

You can offer white roses to symbolize purity and innocence. A bunch of red roses can be used to indicate deep love and grief.

If you’re grieving a friend, you can go with yellow roses that signify friendship. And you can use pink roses when you want to be thankful to the person.

Chrysanthemums

Chrysanthemums are a great choice for funerals when you want to express sympathy and honor.

The red color ones symbolize love while the white ones indicate innocence. You can also use chrysanthemums to show your encouragement and support for the grieving family.

Carnations

Carnations make a good choice in funeral wreaths. You can get them in different colors.

The red ones are used to express affection while the white ones signify innocence. You can use them to express love for the family.

They’re a great choice to honor a mother that has passed away in a family.

Hyacinth

This is a flower you can use to communicate the pain you feel for the loss of a loved one.

It’s a way of showing that you offer prayers to the deep anguish felt by the family.

Gladiolus

The gladiolus flower is used to represent the strength and character of the person that has passed away.

It helps you communicate your compassion in times of sorrow and pain. You can use it to remind the family of the strength of their loved ones.

Forget-me-not

As the name suggests, the forget-me-not is a good flower to give as a mark of remembrance.

It helps you express to the family about the stories, memories and positive attributes of the loved one that passed away.

Irises

People in ancient Greece believed irises helped guide the soul to the afterlife. It marks a symbol of faith and friendship.

You can use it to express your feelings of hope and gratitude for the person that has passed away.

Baby’s breath

As the name suggests, you can use the baby’s breath to express sympathy and grief at a child’s funeral.

But you can also use it for the funeral of your friends and family members to do the same.

Tulips

Tulips grow in the Spring and they represent a sign of new beginnings.

You can use them to express feelings of hope and gratitude towards the one that has passed away.

Conclusion

There are many types of flowers popular in funerals and the ones you choose depend on your feelings towards the person.

You should think and introspect deeply about your feelings. It may not be easy to do but it’s the best thing you can do to give your respects.

Choose the right flowers and give comfort to yourself and your family and friends in their time of grief.

Fun Weddings, funeral, News, wedding

Growing your own Roses for your ceremony.

From time to time, I find couples or families who have grown their own flowers; a bridal bouquet, a table setting, room decoration or for presentation at a funeral.

Gardening is not my forte but Kevin Rodrigues is a gardener in the USA who has some great advice on growing roses. Yes it is an American article and so temps and measures are empirical but still a good read if you want to grow your own:

https://gardeningmentor.com/how-to-grow-roses/

 

News

THE SCOTTY SCAM

The emails from ‘scotty’ are appearing on every Celebrant network all over the country.

Yes it is a Scam!!

Sending out emails via yahoo, gmail and Hotmail so far.

It is the old ‘overpayment scam’ that has been running in the USA, Europe and UK for years but with Facebook and other forums, most celebrants in those regions recognise the scam immediately and so that area has largely closed to these criminals.

Australia was immune because of the  NOIM and requirement to provide ID however the same does not apply to renewals and so Celebrants all the country are getting the ‘Scotty’ email.

Some Celebrants have reacted by enrolling him (or her) into every persistent, obscure and/or oddball subscription they could find. Scotty is doubtlessly getting hundreds of emails from porn sites, religious sites such as ‘a prayer a day’ and any & all politically radical sites that can be found. It seems he is currently being bombarded with spam

Others took the appropriate step of reporting the emails to scamwatch by Forwarding the unaltered emails to:    report@submit.spam.acma.gov.au

The tactic is to overpay by Paypal, cheque or credit card and then ask the Celebrant to pay other vendors.

The other vendors are actually accounts Scotty owns and quickly closes after he has your money and just before he cancels his original transaction to you.

So far he has claimed to be a ‘local’ in every capital city in Australia, claims to be deaf and so can only communicate via email, has apparently given out addresses and venue names that are false, and writes that it a surprise for a son or nephew.

If you get an ID, bank account details or Venue account, or any other personal detail; forward immediately to scamwatch and/or police, after all it is a fraud.

Last year some celebrants in the UK and USA were scammed of $thousands!

News, wedding

Wedding Cake Charms

Like Christmas puddings, there was a custom of baking charms into wedding cakes, but guests need to be warned of this to avoid choking or injury. Probably for both hygiene and safety, this was replaced with a ribbon surrounding the cake so that the charms can readily and easily be removed without risk.

There are ten traditional:

      1. Anchor, airplane, car or carriage, for hope, travel & adventure
      2. Clover or Horseshoe for good luck
      3. Flower or a fleur de Lis, for new love
      4. Heart for true love
      5. Highchair for the arrival of children
      6. Purse for wealth
      7. Ring for an engagement or the next to marry
      8. Rocking Chair for long life
      9. Wedding bells for the marriage
      10. Wishing Well so that all dreams & wishes may come true
Funeral, funeral

I love the feedback that I receive after a Life Celebration Ceremony.

 

I regard my role in Leading a funeral service, as a privilege and a great honour and so it is wonderful to hear validation:

“that was a beautiful Ceremony. I have never seen those things that you do, at a funeral before and how you engage everyone, is just beautiful – that is so special, so unique”.

News

GRIEF: What are the symptoms of grief?

Grief is what we feel and experience when we suffer a loss.

It can be completely overwhelming and even painful in so many ways, but it can also be delayed, occurring sometime well after the loss.

We commonly of course associate grief with the loss of a loved one which of course can be extraordinarily traumatic however the same or similar symptoms can arise at any traumatic loss or series of losses, and can be compounded by each repeated trauma.

The loss of a partner through death can be compounded by the loss of self-confidence in continuing to manage life alone, the sudden loneliness,  the fear of the future and the realisation of each occurrence itself can be a further trauma.

Upon the death of a patriarch, matriarch or child, there may the trauma of the loss of family unity that was maintained only by the common thread of the parent/parenting.

Other common events that may have similar symptoms of varying degree, are:

  • The loss of a partner, children and/or home through divorce or separation,
    • the loss of one’s own confidence after an accident, injury or assault.
    • Loss of a job or career
    • Loss of mobility and/or independence

The trauma of the each and every loss may manifest in both physical and emotional symptoms, including this alphabetical list:

  • ANGER:         Anger is one of the stages of grief associated with the denial of the trauma (a self-preservation). The anger may be commonly be directed at:
    • Your lost loved one for leaving you
    • The ambulance or medical staff for not saving your loved one
    • God, for allowing the death to occur
    • Anyone and everyone who fails to listen to you or understand your needs/requirements
    • Yourself, for a variety of reasons some of which may be completely irrational
  • CONFUSION:      the shock of the trauma of an event can result in confusion and an inability to properly function. This can be temporary and may improve after the initial shock, but as additional trauma’s arise, each can step of the process can be an additional trauma that reignites the confusion
  • DEHYDRATION: drinking plenty of water can help as anxiety can lead to excessive perspiration and this can lead to dehydration that may be compounded by crying. Be aware that the consumption of alcohol can increase dehydration.
  • DIGESTIVE UPSET:            nausea, a loss of appetite, indigestion, diarrhea, can all be a part of the bodies reaction to trauma and can also add to the inability to cope. a lack of exercise and an increased consumption can lead to excessive weight gain while a disinterest in eating can result in rapid weight loss.
  • DIMINISHED ABILITY:     the range of emotions and shock can result in an inability to concentrate or even to process thought. This can also manifest as forgetfulness, confusion, and an inability to make decisions.
  • DRAMATIC MOOD SWINGS:       grief can manifest in sudden and dramatic mood swings that may seem irrational and unexpected e.g. crying because the you spilled your tea on the carpet, suddenly getting very angry with a passer-by because they accidentally bumped into you, getting angry with the Funeral Director or Celebrant because a flower is out of place
  • HEAD ACHES:              The stress and anxiety can result in headaches as a result of fatigue, sleep loss, dehydration or another number of a combination of factors.
  • FEAR & ANXIETY:             a sense of helplessness and a lack of control of circumstances and surroundings is common and can manifest as anxiety, worry and a fear of the future or even a sense of hopelessness
  • INSOMNIA:  sleep is a great healer but disturbed sleep, broken sleep, restlessness, chemical/alcohol induced sleep, and disturbing dreams all add to fatigue and stress and diminish the ability to cope with stress and trauma. Without sufficient sleep we our bodies and well-being, begin to break down.
  • LOSS OF ENERGY/ILLNESS:           constant or recurrent fatigue and/or lethargy including physical aches and pains can occur. The effects of an existent illness may be exasperated because of a variety of influences leading to a reduction of immunity.
  • NUMBNESS: this commonly occurs in the initial period of ‘shock’, immediately following the discovery of the loss has even occurred.
  • SADNESS & MELANCHOLIA :             an overwhelming sadness is common but be aware that the ‘numbness’ and ‘denial’ (temporary lack of acceptance) can manifest as confusion and guilt i.e. why aren’t I crying/why can’t I stop crying; I don’t have enough money to pay for the funeral etc.
  • SELF BLAME & GUILT:    You may experience irrational guilt such as “what could I have done/not done to prevent this” , when in fact you may have had no control whatsoever.

  NB. For more information on this subject, go to my webpage and find Grief & Loss

News

every person is unique

I have always found that each and every person is unique.

Some may look alike, sound alike, or even be from the same gene pool;

But we are fashioned by our experiences; our loves and likes, successes and failures; our dreams and plans; actions and inactions. Every sunrise and sunset is a thing of beauty, just as each and every person shines each and every day.

Believe in yourself. Have confidence in yourself. Take care of self.

No one can achieve what you achieve in the way you achieve.

Lou Szymkow, 2019

www.alifecelebrant.com.au

News

Fears & Confidence – fear of death and death words

x

There is a common fear of death and death words.

There is a common fear of death and death words.

Any of us who regularly perform funerals or are of a certain age, have been to many funerals and as Celebrants we may consciously or even unconsciously, privately critique the Celebrant & Ceremony; and whatever is perceived, is likely influence our own performance. It is simply a part of personal development and personally I watch videos of all my own Ceremonies and have to admit that I am my own worst critic, always seeking to improve.

The thought in watching a ceremony may be complimentary such as “I liked how that was said/done” and when next writing a Ceremony, you might possibly be influenced in a positive way to ‘tweak’ your ceremony.

It may be derogatory: “That was appalling, I never/will never do that (again) in My Ceremonies”.

Or it may be a simple “oh, that was interesting/boring/uneventful/very routine” etc. and whatever it was, may be quickly forgotten.

There is one part that usually catches my eye and that is how the Ceremony is ended. In a Church service there is always a ‘recessional’ and people know when to leave but in a Civil Service, there is a ‘Committal’ and then……well that varies. I saw one recently where the Celebrant closed the curtains in a crem chapel, said a few words, and then began to pack up. I looked at the gathered and saw they were confused, and some were whispering to others who were shrugging shoulders completely bewildered as to whether the ceremony had concluded or not. Since then, I make certain that I give clear instructions “this concludes this ceremony, please follow the family as they leave the chapel and then….”. It is simple, polite and direct.

The other area of confusion is the fear of words such as coffin and death.

A Coffin is simply a box or chest for burying remains and so is a generic term for any funerary box. A Casket is more or less a four-sided coffin but perhaps because the word ‘coffin is associated only with death; many prefer to use the word ‘Casket’  just to avoid the use of the word ‘coffin’.

The greater avoidance though by many in the emergency services, medical profession, welfare industry and of course the funeral industry, is any finite words such as dead, or died. Few will ever say in a funeral service or eulogy that “Mr Jones died at/by …..”. This may be because there is no point to stating the obvious and referring to the cause, manner or time of death as it may not be purposeful but when there is a need to mention such, few use the direct words and instead resort to euphemisms.

It comes down to confidence. A confident Celebrant will use words with certainty and in so doing will generate confidence in those gathered and in so doing will assist in the grief process.

 I have listed a few euphemisms for death but what others do you use or have heard?:

Alive no more Bit the bullet Bit the Dust
Bought the farm Carked it Ceased
Ceased to be Ceased to exist Come to an end
Conked it Croaked Crossed the river
Departed Did not recover Died
Drew the final curtain Ended Entered another plain/realm
euthanised Expired failed to survive
Gave up the ghost Gone Gone to a better place
Gone to God Gone to meet his/her maker Gone to that (place) in the sky
Is no more journeyed into another realm Kicked the bucket
Killed/murdered Left us Lost
Moved on Moved to heaven Now at peace/rest
Paid the ultimate price Passed Passed away
Passed on Perished Pushing up daisies
Re-joined the universe Removed from this earth Sacrificed
Snuffed out Stopped living Succumbed
Terminated The big sleep Took a last breath
Took the final journey travelled on Was taken from us

News

Where to Marry?

  • I am not certain where to marry and so what are the differences between a Marriage Celebrant, Registry Wedding and getting married in a Church?

There are many differences, and some similarities (as may be required by law) and so I have made a list of around 70 direct comparisons to simplify distinction.

It is a personal decision dependant on what your dream wedding consists of.

Choose a Civil Marriage Celebrant you want a unique personalised Ceremony with guidance through lots of easy choices.

If you are content to stand in a queue for an hour for a 10-minute service using a set script with essentially no choice of location other than a small room, than a Registry ceremony might be acceptable.

If you are devoutly religious, then a religious ceremony might suit you.

Here is my ‘generalised’ ready reckoner listing my interpretation of differences but if you have any questions, disagree with me on any point, or find an error, just let me know and I will explain the basis of my reasoning and/or make any corrections.

The choices from left to right are Celebrant, Registry, Church.

Item/Activity Celebrant Registry Church
Requires one month’s notice under the law Yes Yes Yes
You must provide proof of identity as well date/place of birth Yes Yes Yes
You will be given a pamphlet to inform/remind you of what it means to be married. Yes Yes Yes
Only 2 witnesses required for the signing of your Certificates Yes Yes Yes
Only 2 witnesses required for the signing of your Certificates, but you can have any number sign another non-legal certificate Yes No Maybe
The Ceremony is designed/written especially for you Yes No No
The Celebrant will come to you for the NOIM Yes No No
The Celebrant will come to you to plan your Ceremony Yes No No
You can call the Celebrant any time of day Yes No No
You will be offered variety in your Ceremony Yes No No
You can choose your Ceremony content (beyond legals)? Yes No Limited
Is entirely about your marriage Yes Yes No
Can take place anywhere within Australia Yes No No
Can take place anytime Yes No No
Held at any venue/location of your choice such as in a garden, hall, restaurant, backyard, loungeroom etc.. Yes No Limited
The ceremony can be at the same location as the reception Yes No No
The ceremony can be a part of a reception or even a full day Celebration Yes No No
Can include a variety of rituals from different cultures or religions Yes No No
You must ‘say’ your legal Vows to each other Yes Yes No
You can add your own personal Vows. Yes Maybe Maybe
Will welcome Ministers of other denominations, or friends & family, to perform parts of the Ceremony Yes No Unlikely
Can have lots of friends of all denominations as guests. Yes Small Space Limited
The denomination of guests is irrelevant Yes Yes No
Everyone can have a role in the ceremony regardless of numbers Yes No Maybe
Can take place anywhere within Australian borders Yes No No
You will be given the Celebrant’s mobile number and email for direct & personal contact Yes No Maybe
Only one or two ceremonies performed in a single day Yes No No
By choice, the couple usually face each other or the guests that they have invited. Yes Yes No
Can marry regardless of age (but over 18), sex or sexual orientation, gender, religious belief, culture, race etc, Yes Yes Maybe
Will permit marriage if you are unable to have children Yes Yes Maybe
Will permit marriage if you are of the same sex /gender Yes Yes Probably No
Will permit marriage if you are LGBTQI Yes Yes No
Can have LGBTQI bridal party Yes Yes Probably No
Conducts same sex marriage Yes Yes Maybe
Can have almost any content, completely non-religious, religious, agnostic, pagan, or just be limited to basic legal words Yes No No
Will provide freebie extras such as photos, video etc.. Yes No No
Will work to your schedule, not theirs Yes No No
Has almost no restrictions as long as laws are not broken Yes No No
You choose your Celebrant Yes No Maybe
The same Celebrant will be able to perform other ceremonies for family members when needed e.g. Anniversaries, Memorials, Namings and Funerals Yes No Yes
You get a free copy of the Ceremony booklet Yes No No
Allows you the option of including any music of choice Yes No No
Can have any size Bridal Party whatsoever Yes No No
Your ceremony will commonly run for 20-40 minutes depending on inclusions of your choice Yes No Maybe
Will I be in a queue behind others waiting for an identical Ceremony? No Yes Maybe
Your ceremony will take only around 10 minutes Optional Yes No
Follows a church doctrine Your Choice No Yes
Will include the reading of religious or Biblical text Your Choice Maybe Yes
Will include the reading of non-religious text Your Choice Maybe Maybe
Couples face the altar/front Your Choice Maybe Yes
Couple and guests join in prayer Your Choice No Yes
Holy blessing Your Choice No Yes
Family blessing Your Choice No Maybe by Choice
Will not contradict or impinge upon religious context Your Choice Maybe Yes
Will include religious context or content Your Choice No Yes
Will have no religious content whatsoever. Your Choice Yes No
Must include members of the religious congregation Your Choice No Yes
The celebrant will wear vestments Maybe No Yes
You are limited as to how many can attend No Yes No
Can only take place within the state in which the Celebrant is registered. No Yes Yes
Is a specifically a religious service/Sacrament No No Yes
You can only call the Celebrant during business hours at an office No Yes Maybe
May perform up to 30 ceremonies in a single day No Yes Maybe
A specific common script is used No Yes Yes
Is restricted to specific times of the day No Yes Yes
You announce your vows by questions and answer only No No Yes
Is conducted by a Minster of Religion (Clergy member) No No Yes
You must be Baptised into the church (or similar ritual) No No Yes
One or both in the couple must join the religion or Church No No Yes
You wait in a queue at an appointed time No Yes Maybe
Must take place inside their Church building No No Yes
Must take place at a specific location/building No Yes Yes
Must attend Marriage Preparation courses. No No Yes
Must be of the same religious faith No No Usually
Must attend religious service and/or classes No No Yes
Requires your children to join a particular religion No No Yes
Restricts what you can wear No Maybe Yes
News

UNITY CANDLE: What is a Unity Candle and how is it used in a Marriage ceremony?

It is a candle that is lit from other candles and so unifying the flame, and in so doing, symbolises the unification of two families, two hearts, and/or two loves or lives i.e. making two into one.

The first candles may be lit by mothers or family members and handed to the couple who bring them together.

Another option is where all guests are also given a candle each, and after the first guest’s candle is lit, the flame is passed along until all are alight, and then the bride and groom together light their unity candle. This is to symbolise that it is the unity of not just family, but of friends who are supporting the couple in their marriage.

Once the Unity Candle is lit, the others may be extinguished because the flame of the Unity Candle is of course, the joining of all others.

The Unity Candle just needs to be prominent and so can be framed in a cage, on a pedestal, be the larger of other candles, or can be the higher, central candle on a candelabra.

If you have a candle from earlier in life such as from your Baptism or Naming Ceremony, you may wish to use that for the occasion or you may wish to have a new ornamental candle personalised with your names and the date, as a keepsake from your wedding.

News

CHURCH WEDDING: What is the difference between a Church/Religious Wedding Ceremony & Civil Wedding Ceremony?

CHURCH WEDDING: What is the difference between a Church/Religious Wedding Ceremony & Civil Wedding Ceremony?

The main difference is that a Church wedding is a religious service conducted by a member of the Clergy within a state, and at which a marriage takes place, as a Sacrament; while a civil ceremony is conducted by a nationally registered Marriage Celebrant so can take place anywhere in Australia, anytime, anyway, and with almost any content, religious or not, provided there is a compliance with the Marriage Act; and whilst the Minister may ask the couple questions in place of their Vows, in a Civil Ceremony, the couple say their vows to each other.

Church wedding

In a Church wedding, the couple face the altar and clergy member as it is about your  joining in Sacrament and so engage in prayer in a Church community to receive a holy blessing upon your union in the presence of the congregation you are joining as a couple/family and so the ceremony follows church doctrine, often limiting what can be done & said so as not to contradict or impinge upon religious belief or context and of course the congregation should be present in addition to your guests who may not be members of that congregation. If you are devoutly religious, attend a particular church together, want to take part Sacrament, wish to raise your children in that religion/church, want your children to attend the associated religious school and you will regularly attend Church services a family, then maybe consider a church wedding however if you are not intending to attend that church apart from your wedding, you should consider a Civil Ceremony.

Some Clergy will insist that your ceremony can only take place inside their Church building and may require you to attend Marriage Preparation courses.

If you are of different religions, some churches may also require a ‘conversion, i.e.. joining of that faith which may also include religious classes rituals over a period of time.

Civil Ceremony

A Civil Ceremony has almost no restriction.

It is entirely about your marriage and your choices.

A Civil Ceremony can be written especially for you and almost anything goes as long as the Monitum and vows are said and the Marriage celebrant is authorised. As with any marriage ceremony the vows and marriage law cannot be contradicted.

The couple usually by choice, face each other or the guests that they have invited.

You are required to have 2 witness for the signing of your Certificates but can have as many or as few guests as you like. If you want more signed witness a separate non-legal Certificate can be created.

No classes are required of any kind but as with as planned marriage, you will still be given a pamphlet to inform/remind you of what it means to be married.

A Civil Ceremony can have no religious content whatsoever or can include religious context and content. It is entirely your choice.

Here is my ‘generalised’ ready reckoner listing my interpretation of differences but if you have any questions or disagree with me on any point, let me know.

Item Civil Church
Requires one month’s notice under the law Yes Yes
You must provide proof of identity as well date/place of birth Yes Yes
You will be given a pamphlet to inform/remind you of what it means to be married. Yes Yes
Only 2 witnesses required for the signing of your legal Certificates Yes Yes
The Ceremony is designed/written especially for you Yes No
The Ceremony is entirely about your marriage Yes No
Can take place anywhere Yes No
Can take place anytime Yes No
Is a specifically religious service or sacramentNo Yes
Can take include a variety of rituals from different cultures or religions Yes No
You must ‘say’ your Vows to each other Yes No
You can have lots of friends of all denominations as guests. Yes Limited
Can only take place within the state or territory in which the Celebrant is registered. No Yes
The couple usually, by choice, face each other or the guests that they have invited. Yes No
You announce your vows by questions and answer only No Yes
Is conducted by a Minster of Religion (Clergy member) No Yes
Can marry regardless of age (provided over 18), sex or sexual orientation, gender, religious belief, culture, race etc, Yes Maybe
You can marry if you are unable or unwilling to have children Yes Maybe
You can marry if you are of the same sex /gender Yes Maybe
You can marry if you are LGBTQI Yes No
You can have LGBTQI bridal party Yes Maybe
You can marry if of the same sex as your partner Yes Maybe
You must be Baptised into the church (or similar ritual) No Yes
Can have almost any content, including non-religious, religious, ritualistic, humanist, agnostic, pagan, or not, Yes No
One or both in the couple must join the religion or Church No Yes
The ceremony must take place inside their Church building No Yes
The couple must attend Marriage Preparation classes. No Yes
The couple must be of the same religious faith No Usually
The couple must attend regular religious services and/or classes No Yes
Requires your children to join a particular religion No Yes
Restricts what you can wear No Yes
Has almost few or no restrictions apart from ‘don’t break the law or put any person in danger’. Yes No
Follows a church doctrine You choose Yes
Will include the reading of religious or Biblical text You choose Yes
Will include the reading of non-religious text You choose Maybe
Couple face the altar/front You Choose Yes
Couple and guests join in prayer You Choose Yes
You receive a form of Holy blessing You Choose Yes
You receive a Family blessing You Choose Your Choice
Will not contradict or impinge upon religious content/context You Choose Yes
Will definitely include religious context or contentYou Choose Yes
Will have no religion content at all. Your Choice No
Held at any venue or location of your choice
e.g. reception centre, garden, hall, restaurant, backyard, on horseback, mountainside, beach, cave, lounge-room, air-balloon, cliff face etc..
Your Choice Limited
Should include members of the local religious congregation Your Choice Yes

News

Today’s question: We have lived happily together for a while so why should we bother getting married?

Quite apart from the obvious proclamation of love, that will strengthen your relationship, unlike defacto rights (or possible lack thereof), a marriage offers protections under the law.

Rights for a couple in a couple in a de-facto marriage are not the same as for a legally married couple as a defacto partner may not be recognised as the next-of-kin .

With a marriage, you are immediately the next-of-kin, and so, given protection under the law with regards to property, assets, inheritance, insurances, medical care and so much more.

If for instance there is a medical emergency and you are required to make decisions for your partner but another relative arrives, that relative may be identified as the next of kin instead of you and so is able override your decisions; or if your partner had been married before but not divorced, the ex-partner remains the legal next of kin and so in those same circumstances could be in charge of life & death decisions.

Then of course, what if someone dies? The next of kin has rights in regard to property, assets, inheritance, insurances, that may override that of a partner and a legal battle might result between partner and legal next-of-kin.

There was the horrible incident of a man in Adelaide whose parents did not approve of his relationship and had not spoken to him or his partner for 17 years. The man took seriously ill and the partner of some 18 years, phoned the estranged parents out of respect and concern. The parents soon after arrived at the hospital and as next of kin, enforced their authority, excluding the partner from medical decisions or even visiting the patient and upon the poor man’s subsequent death, also excluded the partner from the funeral and made no mention of the relationship at all in the eulogy. The couple had a home together but no Will and so the next of kin became the beneficiaries of the estate and subsequently attempted to evict the grieving partner from the jointly owned home and/or force a sale of the home even though it remained the grieving partner’s home.

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FLOWERS: Why can’t specific flowers colours be guaranteed for my ceremony?

Flowers are a product of nature, and so are subject to variation that might be influenced by seasons, the element when growing and condition after being cut. Many are now grown in greenhouses on the South American continent and have no scent, and are flown overnight to all parts of the world. Your florist will try but cannot guarantee. Discuss it with them or go to the flowers markets in your city.

For more answers, go to : 300 Wedding Questions Answered

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Donating a body to science

Who can donate a body to medical science or research?

Under the Anatomy Act 1977, a person who wishes to donate their body must provide consent for the donation in writing before their death. Alternatively, the senior available next of kin is able to provide consent in writing after death, provided that they are not aware that the person would have objected. The executor of a will cannot give consent unless they are also the senior available next of kin.

If the body is at a hospital or forensic institution, a designated officer at that facility must authorise use of the body for anatomical examination.

The Coroner’s consent is needed where the death has been reported to the Coroner.

It is important that you discuss your wishes regarding body donation with your family.

Ref: https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/humantissue/Pages/anatomy-public.aspx

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