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Australia – Getting Married "Down Under"
Every year, hundreds of couples from the UK travel to the other side of the world, or as many refer to it – ‘Down-Under’ to get married. Maybe it’s always been your dream to visit Australia, see the spectacular Sydney Opera House right on Sydney Harbour, dive through the beautiful blue waves on Bondi Beach or travel into the red center and visit Uluru – the real aboriginal name for Ayres. Rock out and see the sun rise over its massive height, turning the rock into a huge red and gold spectacle?
Perhaps your honeymoon dream was to cruise the Whitsunday Passage calling in all the islands along the way or bask in the warm tropical sunshine at Cairns and Port Douglas in North Queensland? Perhaps the attraction for you is the famous vineyards of the Margaret River south of Perth in Western Australia or the raw white sands of Broome on the north-western reaches of this vast and wonderful country?
Every year Civil Marriage Celebrant Wendy Bull marries hundreds and hundreds of couples who travel to Sydney – to avoid the UK’s Winter illnesses and chills, and to avoid the enormous costs of the big full on, family wedding. Instead couples choose to combine their romantic wedding day with a wonderful and memorable honeymoon to follow, Down-Under.
So where can you get married?
That’s easy to answer – you can get married absolutely anywhere in Australia, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week there are no restrictions on where or when you can get married. You don’t have to get married in a certain registered venue – there is no such thing in Australia.
Two firm favorites to get married in Sydney are both on Bondi Beach with the water lapping at your feet, or in the beautiful and scenic Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens, which overlooks the Opera House on Sydney Harbor with the Harbor Bridge as your backdrop to the west and skyline to the south – these are easy choices. The gardens are right in town just a 5-10 minute taxi ride from most hotels.
Perhaps you would like to choose to get married while sailing around Sydney Harbor on a yacht or standing on the headlands of the North Cape overlooking the sparkling Tasman Sea, looking towards New Zealand. If you have your heart set on a chapel wedding, there’s one right in town. Alternatively, weddings are performed in the Celebrant’s apartment or in the couple’s hotel suite or hotel function room. There are many beautiful spots along the foreshore of Sydney Harbor looking across the Opera House and Harbor Bridge, or perhaps you’d like to hire a small pavilion in the Chinese Friendship Gardens at Darling Harbor and then wander over to try one of the. many restaurants, cafes or trendy bars to celebrate! Some choose to do it “their way” and take a helicopter flight while zooming over the Sydney skyline with its Harbor and beaches below. For the whole family I even hired a DC3. Sydney Harbor Bridge is another option and a great attraction, or on the steps of the Opera House. Maybe you prefer to be on top of the Sydney Tower with its amazing views stretching straight across Sydney’s west side to the Blue Mountains. Any option can be organized and hired for you by the Celebrant – whatever your budget. always something for you in Sydney to make your day extra special.
So many honeymoon options…
Do you also want to spend most of your honeymoon time in Sydney?
Big tip here – don’t rent a car in Sydney or any big city, unless you know the usual urban CBD road complex (they are very busy places, as you find in all big cities worldwide). Public transport by bus, train or ferry is the way to go, and daily or weekly passes are easy to get and very economical. Just jump off any bus, train or ferry and hop on another simply by showing your pass. And while you’re on that once-in-a-lifetime honeymoon, visit the world-famous Aquarium at Darling Harbor within walking distance of the city, sample from the many trendy cafes and bars in and around the city and Darling Harbour, or tour the city. Taronga Park Zoo right next to Sydney Harbor – just take a ferry. Take a train (8.23 from Central Station) or a guided bus tour (highly recommended) to the Blue Mountains to see the 3 Sisters, the famous rock formations at Katoomba – there is so much to see and do in and outside of Sydney. during a visit. A tip here – never “book” a taxi in the city – just wave one down and hop in. No intention of getting lost on your wedding day or while sightseeing!
For something a little different, why not experience an outback trip to a sheep and cattle station or join a National Park tour?
So many choices!
Your wedding dream can be very easily realized because it is also a very easy process to get married in Australia. What are the legal procedures?
Again, very easy. The Civil Marriage Celebrant will send you the ‘Notice of Intended Marriage’ which you must complete and have witnessed no less than a calendar month before the wedding but obviously most couples do this many months, sometimes years before they travel, generally immediately when they decided to get married Down-Under.
You then simply witness your signatures on this form, either at Australia House in The Strand, London or by a Notary Public who can be found through any solicitors or solicitors in all areas of the UK. You then send this form to the Celebrant for accommodation. The other legal requirements are pretty straightforward, you must be over 18 and either single/divorced/widowed. (Documents of divorce and death or your former spouse must be shown to the celebrant before marriage).
Two witnesses must attend the ceremony – the photographer can even be a witness!
After your wedding the Celebrant will register your marriage and arrange for your Registered Marriage Certificate from the Government to be sent to you or if time permits, you can collect it yourself the next working day and take it home with you, as legal proof of marriage. And if you’re wondering – your marriage in Australia is 100% legal and is legally recognized worldwide, and you don’t even have to notify the UK authorities of your marriage upon return, as you will be legally registered here in Australia. , a British Commonwealth country.
What can we have for our ceremony?
Common questions are, ‘What can we have for our ceremony’ and ‘How long will it take?’
Most celebrants will send you a comprehensive Ceremony Guide from which to choose your own very special wording. There are choices of verses and promises – again the choice is yours.
Alternatively, you may wish to write your own vows and exchange of ring words.
You can either choose a traditionally worded ceremony or a contemporary one – you may like to include some of your own traditions and practices and may even include spiritual or religious wording.
A celebrant can perform any type of ceremony you want, from Rose, Candle and Sand ceremonies to a religious or non-religious ceremony, this is entirely up to you as to what you choose to have. Many couples from the UK wish to incorporate the Celtic Hand Fast into their ceremony, an ancient tradition where a bond is tied and knotted around the couples hands – hence the words ‘tying the knot’. Many choose to have. this and often, with the sounds of a professional bagpiper playing in the background. Most ceremonies are not too long, about 15-25 minutes but again, this decision is yours….it can be as short or as long as you wish. .
What needs to be organized in advance?
The Celebrant will reserve for you the wedding venue of your choice, for the date and time you wish to marry. Most couples arrive a few days before the ceremony to recover from jet lag, get oriented and meet with the Celebrant to finalize any paperwork.
There is generally a fee to pay to local councils to get married in a park, garden or beach, but there are also some fantastic free venues that don’t cost a cent. The Celebrant will also organize a photographer if you wish to have one. Small 1-2 hour packages are usually the idea here, shots taken during the ceremony and then afterwards, in and around the place of marriage. Photos and CDs can be delivered to the couple before departure if spending a few extra days in Sydney. after the wedding. The Celebrant can also arrange a bouquet and buttonhole, make-up and hair, wedding car, champagne, wedding cake, live trio, bagpipes and so on. Of course all this is completely optional but for the most part and the absolutely budget conscious , you don’t need any of the decorations – just be here! The Celebrant, the 2 witnesses (arranged for you), and yourself, under the Australian sun.
Of course there is no need to bring or buy a wedding dress or suit, most couples who come to Australia from the UK just get married in casual wear, something easy to pack and something you can take on the go. Some even just wore their shorts and T-shirts – it’s your day, so wear whatever you want. And there are no restrictions in Australia on how long you can get married as you can get married anytime day or night 24/7. And there’s no waiting period – as long as you’ve completed all the necessary paperwork with the Celebrant you can get married as soon as you set foot on Australian soil.
I once married a couple in the Arrivals Lounge at Sydney International Airport because they had a connecting flight directly west to Uluru and they wanted to get there “married”.
Another couple chose exactly midnight with flickering candles under the southern stars, because that meant the time of their marriage proposal. Another favorite is under an Australian Gum tree with kookaburras – you’ll get this even in the Royal Botanic Gardens, and another favorite is sailing across Sydney Harbour.
An intimate wedding or a “family and friends” occasion?
Entire families often come – many couples from the UK bring families and their children with them. Parents often come too (they are great babysitters) and sometimes even the grandparents fly in too (also great babysitters). There are some good accommodations available right in the heart of the city, making it an easy idea and base for families. It’s often a wonderful reason (or is it an excuse?) for parents and family members to fulfill their dream of traveling to Australia and combine it with a beautiful, cost-effective family wedding.
If you have friends already living here who are attending the ceremony, they can act as the witnesses, however witnesses can be arranged for you by the Celebrant. Some couples have even decided to immigrate after experiencing Australia – they can’t resist the friendship, the warm sunshine and their future prospects.
One most memorable wedding I did in the Royal Botanic Gardens, the bride and groom from Sussex had no guests – just the 2 legal witnesses who had been arranged for them. We were about to start the ceremony when suddenly 4 people ran across the lawn. You guessed it, both parents traveled to Australia and made the big surprise! There were tears and laughter, mixed with happiness and the wedding went ahead as planned. We popped a few champagne corks later just as the sun was setting in the west behind the Opera House – what a day to remember!
However, the majority of couples who come to Australia to get married prefer an intimate wedding ceremony on their own, to avoid the often huge wedding drama and generally, no one at home knowing. After the ceremony and photo shoot, the couple go to the restaurant of their choice and spend a romantic evening wining and dining in one of the many 5-star restaurants overlooking Sydney Harbour, and upon their return to the UK they have a surprise and relaxing party. to celebrate with their families and friends.
What is the first step?
Convinced to travel Down-Under and get married? Well, it’s now time to organize your airline reservations and hotel accommodations. Your local travel agent will help with some great deals available or go online for cheaper options.
And then of course, most importantly, contact the Celebrant to book in your day and time for the ceremony and then, start packing your bags. Come, we’re waiting for you, Down-Under. Under the lazy, warm, blue Australian Summer sky.
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